The Hit List: Top 5 moments from UFC Fight Night: Miocic vs. Maldonado
JUN 01, 2014 10:05a ET
The octagon has made frequent stops in Brazil over the last few years, but never with a main event quite like this, a blown-up light-heavyweight fighting a legit heavyweight contender. It was a risk for the UFC to gamble with Miocic, particularly in a division where new contenders arrive so rarely, but they had a card to fill.
Miocic's gamble was part of the UFC Fight Night card, along with TUF Brazil finals and more.
Without further ado, this is the Hit List ...
Stipe reminds us why weight classes exist
When Junior dos Santos was forced out of fighting Stipe Miocic, there was slim pickings available for the UFC. Fabio Maldonado raised his hands to volunteer and with no better options, he got the opportunity to step up and fight a peaking heavyweight.
From the second it was announced, Maldonado was a deep underdog, but the fight's execution was another reminder of why weight classes exist. Size matters. And Miocic is a beastly man, 6-foot-4 and nearly 240 pounds when he's truly in shape. That was way too much for Maldonado who has fought his share of wars and may not have that much tread left on his chin.
At least Miocic got the highlight reel kind of win that will hold off any criticism. He did what was expected, and can now move on to something that can advance him forward instead of keeping him in neutral.
Cheers for the late finish
By all accounts, Elias Silverio was cruising towards the finish line. Up two rounds and dominating in the third, it would have been easy enough to limit risks and limit opportunities for his opponent, going the conservative route until the final horn.
But he didn't do that. Instead, with the clock under a minute left, Silverio did what he'd been doing all along. He tried to finish. As the two scrambled for position near the fence, Silverio snaked his left arm under opponent Ernest Chavez's neck. Simultaneously, he got his hooks in and sunk the rear naked choke to earn the first finish in his three-fight UFC career.
Elapsed time is inversely proportional to submission success. Fighters get fatigued and opponents get sweaty, and the level of difficulty simply increases. When you're winning, it's easy to want to stay off the gas pedal and risk gassing yourself out, that's why late stoppages are so worth celebrating. Well done, Elias Silverio. Well done.
Magomedov answers Brazil
Sometimes you've gotta give love to the outside the octagon stuff, too.
Lightweight Rashid Magomedov pushed his winning streak to 10 straight after defeating Rodrigo Damm via unanimous decision, but it was what he said afterward that might have been his best moment of the night.
Brazilian fans are fond of chanting the English equivalent of "You're going to die," a sentiment they sent his way during the fight.
His response? He went all philosophical on us, saying, "The crowd here is really loud with the 'Uh, vai morrer,' but one day we are all going to die, so it didn't bother me."
Winning, then getting all existential on us? That's deep, man.
Well done and well played.
Maia's first knockdown
Demian Maia has been in the UFC since 2007, and his Saturday night fight against Alexander Yakovlev was his 19th trip to the octagon. During that time, he's done a lot of things. He's submitted opponents, he's had winning streaks and losing streak, and fought for the UFC middleweight title.
One thing he'd never done though, was knock a fighter down. That streak, which spanned over 40 rounds, finally ended when he put Yakovlev down with an overhand left in the first round.
Remember, back when Maia was a UFC newcomer, he was considered overwhelmingly one-dimensional, a problem that really began to trouble him around the time he reached elite competition like Anderson Silva.
These days, Maia is a serviceable striker able to do all of the basics but who has lacked KO power. At 36, he's probably not going to suddenly become a knockout artist, but the more opponent have to respect his striking, the tougher he gets as a matchup.
Boasting strength, athleticism, and a name that's just fun to say, Warlley Alves captured the TUF Brazil season 3 middleweight final, defeating Marcio Alexandre "Lyoto" Junior via guillotine submission in the third round.
Warlley looked fantastic in the fight, showing veteran savvy by crowding Alexandre and taking away the space he desires to work his favored distance striking game. Alves out-struck "Lyoto" 44-22, had two takedowns and knocked him down with an overhand right on the way to the finish. Oh yeah, he showed finishing instincts, too, jumping the guillotine as soon as he knew Junior was dazed.
At 23 years old, Warlley has plenty of growth ahead of him, and as a natural welterweight, he'll drop down a weight class where his power will be an even more significant factor.