There was a consensus belief that Antonio Silva vs. Mark Hunt would not go the distance. These were two gigantic heavyweights with a strong ability to end a fight at any given moment. It did last the full five rounds, but instead of your potentially nightmarish heavyweight gas-fest, the fans were treated to one of the best fights of the year.
The first two rounds were won by Bigfoot, who was able to chop away at Hunt's lead leg with thudding low kicks. Silva nearly finished Hunt early in the 1st when a hard right hand put him on his back, but in typical Hunt fashion, he weathered the storm and got back up. Hunt then scored a knockdown of his own in the 3rd round with a straight right that sent Silva to the canvas. Mark leisurely walked towards him and finished the 3rd with a barrage of short elbows and punches. Round 4 took a dramatic turn of events when Silva was able to capitalize on a Hunt slip in the final 2 minutes, advance to full mount, and rain down some heavy blows. The referee came close to stopping the bout but Hunt made it to the 5th, where he found a second wind and dominated Silva on his way to a 10-8 round on two of the three judges' scorecards.
A raucous crowd in Brisbane applauded both men for their efforts, as they took each other's best shots all night and somehow didn't go limp. Mark Hunt took Silva down twice, while Hunt stuffed all 4 of Silva's takedown attempts. That's definitely a statline I'm sure no one expected to read. I'm also certain that this is one of the few times in MMA history that fans have rooted for the judges to score the fight a draw. They got their wish, as the final scorecards read 48-47 Hunt, 47-47, and 47-47 for a majority draw in an enthralling showcase for the UFC's heavyweight division.
What was the high point of the fight?
The entire 4th round was really just end-to-end excitement. Both men were trading ferocious power shots but towards the end of the round Hunt slipped during an exchange, found himself on his back and ultimately mounted by Bigfoot. Silva came ever so close to stopping the fight there as he peppered away at Hunt's face, but Hunt fought back just enough to survive the 4th and take the 5th round to earn the draw.
What was the low point of the fight?
The final horn signaling the end of the fight.
Where do these two go from here?
...The hospital, of course.
Seriously speaking, Hunt (9-8-1) just fought to a draw with the #4 ranked heavyweight in the world. That's a big deal considering it was only 3 years ago he was submitted easily by Sean McCorkle. The fact that we're talking about him as a likely top 10 heavyweight (depending on how the rankings are sorted Monday evening) is astonishing in itself. He'll probably get another top 10 opponent, ranging anywhere from the Frank Mir/Alistair Overeem winner to Stipe Miocic/Gabriel Gonzaga.
Silva (18-5-1) ends 2013 with a win against Alistair Overeem, a loss against Cain Velasquez, and Friday night's draw. Don't let the 2-2-1 UFC record deceive you, he's clearly one of the best heavyweights out there and barring an immediate rematch between him and Hunt I think he'll get a top level opponent like Junior dos Santos or perhaps a rematch with Alistair Overeem if he gets by Frank Mir.
Watch now, later, or never?
You should watch it now, watch it again later, basically as many times as you see fit until this fight is permanently etched into your brain. It was without a doubt one of the best fights of 2013 and a classic for the heavyweight division.