Saying goodbye is always hard, even when it could be argued it should have been said sooner than it was. All indications point to this being the last time we saw the legendary Anderson Silva in the Octagon at UFC Vegas 12. Unfortunately for MMA fans, we didn’t get one last moment of magic from the 45-year old former champion. Instead, Uriah Hall delivered a couple of knockdowns, the first one saw Silva saved by the bell at the end of the third. Herb Dean saw enough after the second one as Hall didn’t let up on the assault and Silva couldn’t defend himself intelligently any longer. For a large portion of the contest, Silva’s mystique mesmerized Hall, allowing Silva to pick him apart with low kicks and the occasional jab, with a lack of activity defining the first two-and-a-half rounds.
As Silva (potentially) rides off into the sunset of his career, he leaves behind a plethora of memories few – if any – can match. Love him or hate him during his historic title reign, he gave fans a reason to watch. As for Hall, while Silva represents the biggest scalp on his resume, his inability to pull the trigger early leaves questions if he can overcome the mental blocks that have plagued him in the past to climb any higher on the middleweight ladder. Only time will tell.
As for the rest of the action….
- While the emphasis on camo shorts got to be annoying, Bryce Mitchell and Andre Fili lived up to the high expectations most placed on them. A dominating first round from Mitchell was followed by Fili finding his footing in the second, only for Mitchell to take the final and deciding round on the strength of his wrestling. Neither fighter had anything to be ashamed of, but kudos to Mitchell for getting the job done.
- Is it just me, or does it feel like Greg Hardy got lucky? There’s no debating the stoppage as he hurt Maurice Greene with an awkward uppercut before finishing him off, but the former NFL All-Pro looked like his energy level was flagging early in the second round. Good win for Hardy, but it’s hard to feel he’s turning the corner when he botched his weight cut as well.
- It wouldn’t be Halloween without a scary moment in the evening. That came when Kevin Holland injured Charlie Ontiveros with a slam takedown, prompting a medical team to immobilize Ontiveros and stretcher him out after stating he had severe pain in his neck. Hopes are there is nothing permanently wrong with Ontiveros, but Holland is the first UFC fighter to win four fights in 2020.
- There was anything but a consensus among viewers as Thiago Moises and Bobby Green fought to a razor thin decision. Green had the volume on his side whereas Moises threw his strikes with more oomph, not to mention a DEEP Achilles lock Green escaped from. Regardless, all the judges favored Moises’ power, giving the Brazilian the biggest win of his career.
- Fighters always do their best work when they know who they are. No longer suffering from an identity crisis, Alexander Hernandez returned to his aggressive roots and blew the doors off a gritty Chris Gruetzemacher in less than a round. A change of camps appears to have done wonders for him.
- DWCS alumni have been hit and miss in their UFC debuts. Adrian Yanez proved to be a big hit, finishing off Victor Rodriguez with a brutal head kick in the first round. It was one-sided prior to the finish too. Can’t wait to see more of Yanez in the near future.
- Outside of a Diaz fight, trash talk usually isn’t one of the most memorable characteristics of a fight. Sean Strickland proved to be the exception, complementing Jack Marshman with such nuggets as “Why won’t you fall down!?” That exclamation summed up the fight well as Strickland picked apart Marshman with simple combinations, coasting to a comfortable decision.
- Wanting to erase the memory of his embarrassing UFC debut, Jason Witt completely dominated Cole Williams for a round and a half before getting the finish with an arm-triangle choke. In the process, he left shades of his work all over the cage for the rest of the night as Williams’ blood marked the canvas the rest of the evening following a brutal elbow. Hell of a way to make his mark.
- Dustin Jacoby last fought in the UFC in January 2012. To put that in perspective, Frankie Edgar was still the UFC lightweight champion. Returning to the Octagon against Justin Ledet, Jacoby proved he added to his skillset in his time away, kicking out Ledet’s legs from him and finishing him off with punches in the first round. Proof that persistence pays off.
- Few fights are as definitive of how effective a good jab can be as Miles Johns plastered Kevin Natividad with his time and again… and didn’t do much else. Well… he didn’t do much else until blasting Natividad with an uppercut that put the newcomer out cold. Excellent way to get back on track for Johns.