Anderson Silva victorious in return, wins decision over Nick Diaz

LAS VEGAS — Nick Diaz lasted longer against former middleweight champion Anderson Silva than most would have predicted Saturday night, but ultimately the veteran bad boy lost a unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 183. Scores were 49-46 and 50-45 twice in favor of "The Spider," who fought for the first time since breaking his leg at UFC 168 in December 2013 against champion Chris Weidman

The Brazilian collapsed to the mat in joy when his name was announced as the winner. Silva, who soon will turn 40, explained his emotion at winning again, for the first time in three fights. "This is a very important moment for me, for my family, and for all Brazilians," he said.

"Thank you for giving me one more chance."

Diaz landed scores of punches to Silva’s head when they were in close, but Silva controlled the pace and action, keeping Diaz at the end of his long reach for most of the fight, and battering him with knees and punches from the clinch. There were moments when Diaz appeared to be on his heels, but he always managed to survive and fire back.

Unsurprisingly, Diaz disagreed with the judges. "I felt like I won every round," he said. "Every round, I came forward … these judges don’t like my attitude, sometimes."

Diaz maintained civility throughout the build-up to the fight, but taunted Silva from the start Saturday. Diaz even laid flat on his back early in the first round and invited Silva to join him on the ground.

Throughout the fight, Diaz talked trash and invited Silva to come at him.

"I said, ‘Let’s go.’ I said, ‘Come get you some.’ I was like, ‘Throw it.’"

Both men hit the UFC 183 Octagon after long layoffs. Diaz hadn’t fought since losing to Georges St-Pierre in 2013. After the fight, neither man committed to returning for more, though their love for the sport was apparent.

"I don’t know, we’ll figure it out," Diaz said when asked if he’d keep fighting. "I’m always asking myself before these fights, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ … I love the people, I love the training … I love my fans."

When asked the same question, Silva said he had to consult with his family first. After he lost twice in a row to Weidman, they pleaded with him to retire, and he insisted to them that he couldn’t go out like that.

Now, an overjoyed Silva will go home and decide his future. "I don’t know," he said.

"Maybe I’m back. I don’t know."