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UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz – Winners and losers

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Karim Zidan delves into the real winners and losers from Saturday night’s UFC 183 PPV event from Las Vegas.

Esther Lin

UFC 183 was certainly a peculiar event.

From the main event, which was an odd bit of matchmaking that pitted two competitors from different divisions with divergent career trajectories, to the remainder of the card that featured minimal prospects and a handful of guaranteed action-fighters - it was a card that was made to break the recent trend that the UFC had fallen into.

Sadly, however, an overall entertaining night of fights was overshadowed by the three events that preceded it earlier in the month. The card that featured the return of "The Spider" lacked a certain flair coming in, but it certainly proved to be worthwhile night of fights.

Without further ado, here are the real winners and losers from Saturday night's PPV card.

Winners

Anderson Silva earned his first win since 2012 and did so against a tough and provocative opponent with an endless gas tank. Silva ignored Diaz's countless taunts and maintained a balanced and patient strategy en route to his unanimous decision victory. The former champion looked overwhelmed with emotion following the fight, and rightfully so; Silva overcame two significant losses to Chris Weidman, as well as a harrowing injury, to get back to the familiar sensation when his name is announced and his hand is lifted in victory. Here is to the hope that we are fortunate enough to watch Anderson fight just a few more times.

Tyron Woodley won the one fight on the card that arguably should not have even taken place at all on Saturday night. The Strikeforce veteran put on the better performance against Gastelum to earn a tight split decision victory. Woodley is now on a two-fight win streak and 4-1 in his last five fights with the promotion. He will continue to work his way up the ranks, even though he defeated an opponent who will no longer be fighting in the welterweight division.

Al Iaquinta is quickly coming into his own as a UFC fighter. Following early snags against Michael Chiesa and Mitch Clarke, Iaquinta has now compiled a three-fight win streak, all of which he finished by technical knockout. His latest stoppage was a particularly vicious one, as he battered Lauzon for the better part of three minutes in the second round of the fight before the referee mercifully stepped in to call an end to the bout. The 27-year-old is looking better with each win and will likely get a step up in competition following his last two notable victories.

Thales Leites continues to prove that he is an entirely different fighter than when he first joined the UFC ranks back in 2006. Not only is he riding an eight-fight win streak - five of which came during his second UFC run - his last three performances have seen some devastating finishes. Following two KO wins in 2014, Leites kicked off his 2015 by putting the durable Tim Boetsch to sleep less than halfway through the fight. It was an impressive finish considering he was badly hurt in the opening round and was basically saved by the bell. It will be interesting to see who the UFC matches him up with next.

Thiago Alves produced one of the best finishes of the night when he weathered an early storm from his Canadian adversary to defeat Mein via second round TKO. After taking a significant beating early on, Alves landed a perfectly timed kick to the midsection that downed Mein. He followed that up with a devastating running knee to the head, and finished the fight off with a flurry of strikes that forced a referee stoppage. It was a fight that reminded many of the old "Pitbull," even though he appeared to be well past his prime prior to landing the fight-ending combination.

Miesha Tate pulled off a gusty comeback performance against Sara McMann to defeat the Olympic silver medalist via unanimous decision. She was overwhelmed in the opening round, and was even wobbled badly by a right hook at one point, but she quickly adjusted and took control of the bout over the next two rounds.  She dominated an opponent with a higher wrestling pedigree than herself (by far) and proved that her will to win is pivotal to her success in the octagon.

Derek Brunson wasted little time in his preliminary match-up against Ed Herman. Brunson bull rushed his opponent in the opening seconds of the fight and forced a referee stoppage following a barrage of unanswered strikes to the head. While it was an admirable showing, Brunson almost lost his spot in the winner column with his ridiculous post-fight dance.

Losers

Nick Diaz took part in one of the oddest main events in recent memory, and it was mostly his own doing. He provoked Anderson Silva on countless occasions in the most bizarre of manners, and ended up losing a clear unanimous decision - which he immediately contested when asked about it in the post-fight interview. All in all, it was a typical Nick Diaz fight, and as he so eloquently put it, he will continue to walk his walk and talk his talk. I can live with that.

Kelvin Gastelum suffered the first loss of his professional career in the culmination of a tempestuous fight week that saw him get hospitalized prior to weighting in nine pounds above the contracted weight. While he only lost a split decision to Woodley, it was a fight that many initially expected him to win and it was unfortunate that the situation played out as it did.

Joe Lauzon may not have looked his best on Saturday night but he certainly proved that he has unquestionable heart - maybe too much for his own good. The veteran was outclassed by Iaquinta and took a serious beating in the second round before referee Marc Goddard saved him in a somewhat late stoppage. The longtime UFC fighter has now lost three of his last five fights and is in an awkward position in a crowed division.

Tim Boetsch failed to capitalize on his opportunity early on and eventually paid the price when he was separated from his senses against Thales Leites on the main card. Boetsch has now alternated between wins and losses for the better part of the past two years, and is 2-4 in his last six fights overall. Unless he makes some noticeable adjustments, the middleweight division will continue to pass him by.

Jordan Mein looked heartbroken following his loss to Thiago Alves and rightfully so; he was well on his way to an impressive win, and looked the best he had in a long time, but that still was not good enough to beat "The Pitbull." It was a disappointing loss given that Mein appeared hungry and motivated to turn over a new leaf in his UFC run.

Sara McMann was one of the more shocking upsets on the fight card, as she looked to be on her way to a unanimous decision victory against an outclassed opponent. However, after dominating the opening round, McMann found herself being controlled by a high school-level wrestler over the next two round and lost a clear unanimous decision. It was a disappointing setback for a fighter who looked as though she had made some changes to her game and improved her striking. It will be interesting to see how McMann rebounds following her second career defeat.

Ian McCall had a two-fight win streak snapped on Saturday night when he suffered a clear unanimous decision loss to John Lineker - a fight who will no longer be a member of the flyweight division come Monday morning. Not only did he lose an opportunity to challenge for the 125-pound title, he now has a losing record with the promotion for the second time in his UFC tenure. While he will remain a staple in the abhorrently shallow division, he is no longer the fighter many once expected him to be.

Other Thoughts

John Lineker may have earned an impressive victory on Saturday night but it did little to benefit the flyweight division overall. Since the Brazilian missed weight for a FOURTH time, he has been forced to move up to bantamweight by UFC officials. This leaves Demetrious Johnson in a peculiar position, as he can no longer milk a trilogy fight against Ian McCall, and the interesting match-up against Lineker is no longer an option. Lineker's weigh-in woes are an unfortunate blow to the division and keep him out of the winner column this week.