Fight blog recap: Silva win highlights UFC 183 action

After suffering a broken leg in his last fight and spending more than a year away from competition, Anderson Silva completed his comeback with a unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 183 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Silva had to deal with an unrelenting mental attack from Diaz, who taunted him constantly from the opening minute through the final round. Diaz stood in the center of the Octagon daring Silva to hit him, but once the fighters started exchanging it was the former middleweight champion Silva who landed the better shots.

By the fourth round, Silva opened up Diaz with a pair of cuts over his left eye, but still couldn’t put together a combination to really hurt the former welterweight title contender.

When the final horn sounded, Silva was clearly the winner although Diaz had hung in there with the fighter many consider the greatest of all time.

Silva fell to the mat in tears after the decision was announced, overwhelmed by the moment until Diaz came over and helped him up off the mat as the fighters embraced.

Following the fight, Silva stated that his son begged him not to fight again and he’s going to return home before he makes any decisions about what comes next. Silva’s comeback to the Octagon is complete, but it may be the last fight of his historic career. 

Full results and play by play from UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz

MAIN EVENT: Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz

Round 1:

Diaz taunting as soon as the fight starts. Diaz just daring Silva to throw punches with him. Diaz with a pair of leg kicks and he’s landing some hard shots on Silva with his boxing as well. Silva counters with some leg kicks of his own. Silva starting to step forward now and he’s cracking Diaz with punches, coming over the top and straight ahead as well. Very close round.

10-9 Anderson Silva

Round 2:

Diaz cracks Silva with some kicks to his lead leg. Silva comes back with a three punch combo. Diaz presses forward with a nice left hand that tags Silva and it gets the former champion to come back at him with a nasty series of shots moving against the cage. Silva with a body kick but Diaz is stalking forward. Diaz with a few more punches to end the round

10-9 Anderson Silva

Round 3:

Silva feeling more comfortable now in the third. He’s picking his shots and not allowing Diaz to dictate the pace. Silva slips through with a big right hand and Diaz comes back with a few quick punches. Silva’s right hands have opened up a cut over Diaz’s right eye. Silva uncorks a wheel kick that just misses Diaz’s head. Silva gaining confidence.

10-9 Anderson Silva

Round 4:

Silva still winning the exchanges but he’s throwing less this round. Diaz using his leg kicks effectively. Diaz comes in with punches and Silva counters with a hard kick to the thigh. Diaz still taunting Silva trying to get him to engage but he’s not really doing much to actually put together any offense. Silva landing the more effective strikes although they are few and far between.

10-9 Anderson Silva

Round 5:

Final round — Diaz talking again, taunting Silva but he’s not throwing any punches at all. Silva is loose and bouncing, throwing single strikes. Diaz cracks Silva with a good left hand and Silva comes back with some punches and tries for a head kick but misses. Silva’s combinations are starting to come faster with less than two minutes to go. Silva opens another cut on Diaz’s face. Silva jumps in with a left hand that bangs Diaz on the chin. Silva’s comeback is complete and it should be an easy win

10-9 Anderson Silva

FOX Sports scores it 50-45 for Anderson Silva

Official result: Anderson Silva def. Nick Diaz by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)

Analysis:

Probably not the performance Silva wanted, but then again considering what he went through after a year away and dealing with a broken leg, a win is a win and that’s what’s most important. Silva did a good job not playing into Diaz’s head games and landed the better shots throughout the fight. Diaz showed up in a big way and stood in front of the greatest striker in the history of the sport and gave his all but still came up short.  Silva said after the fight his son begged him not to fight again and now he’s got some serious thinking to do. There’s a chance he doesn’t come back again after tonight, but at the very worst, Silva will go out a winner. 

Tyron Woodley vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Round 1:

Woodley with a power right hand to start the fight as Gastelum takes the center of the Octagon. Gastelum still pressing forward and Woodley firing back with counters. Gastelum stalking Woodley across the cage but it’s Woodley landing the more effective punches when he uncorks a single punch here or there.

10-9 Tyron Woodley 

Round 2:

Eye poke pauses the fight as Gastelum needs a minute to recover. Woodley finally opening up his offense and he hurts Gastelum with a straight right hand. Gastelum is wobbled, but he’s moving and seems OK for now.  Woodley with another straight right as Gastelum charges in. Gastelum is trying to find any kind of opening, but instead he catches another overhand right from Woodley.

10-9 Tyron Woodley

Round 3:

Gastelum really pressing the action now, he has to know he’s down and probably needs a finish. Gastelum has a cut over his left eye. Gastelum pops Woodley with a series of punches and it looks like he’s hurt. Gastelum stalking forward as Woodley backs up but he doesn’t engage and he’s giving him time to recover. Gastelum jumps in with a stiff left hand that hits Woodley right in the mush. Gastelum constantly moving forward, but he’s not landing many of his punches. Still he’s doing more than Woodley this round.

10-9 Kelvin Gastelum

FOX Sports scores it 29-28 for Tyron Woodley

Official result: Tyron Woodley def. Kelvin Gastelum by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Analysis:

Not a fight either fighter probably will go back and add to a highlight reel.  Gastelum was constantly plodding forward, but rarely if ever landing anything really significant. Woodley was complacent with standing back and trying to land counters although he failed to put together any significant combinations. Woodley gets the win, which is most important, and now he’s going to get a big fight in the top 10. Depending on how things play out, Woodley will likely be close to a No. 1 contender’s match later this year, but it all depends on how the next few months play out in the welterweight division. 

Joe Lauzon vs. Al Iaquinta

Round 1:

Lauzon looks really confident in his hands so far and he’s lighting Iaquinta up. Iaquinta still dangerous as he counters. Iaquinta starts utilizing good combos but Lauzon defending well. Lauzon with a right hand that tags Iaquinta hard on the jaw. Iaquinta comes back late and he’s opening up a big barrage of punches including a nasty left to the body. Fantastic first round.

10-9 Joe Lauzon

Round 2:

Lauzon looking to land a big uppercut and he’s throwing constant left-right combos. Iaquinta has blood dripping from his nose. Iaquinta establishing his jab and he throws a three punch combo to the head and body and Lauzon is hurt. Iaquinta presses forward and he’s just nailing Lauzon with right hand after right hand. Lauzon is literally stumbling across the cage. Brutal but the referee lets it go on. Iaquinta just teeing off on Lauzon. Finally and mercifully Marc Goddard stops it. That went on far too long.

Official result: Al Iaquinta def. Joe Lauzon by TKO (strikes) at 3:34, R2

Analysis:

Huge win, maybe a defining win as Iaquinta starts making a move towards the top 15 of the lightweight division. He took some good shots from Lauzon early, but Iaquinta’s boxing was just outstanding. Iaquinta listened to his coaches between rounds and just picked Lauzon apart, especially with the combination that precipitated the end of the fight. Iaquinta deserves a shot at a top 15 fighter now. The only other comment here is the referee allowing Lauzon to absorb far too much punishment. Sometimes a fighter is too tough for their own good and that one should have been stopped earlier. 

Thales Leites vs. Tim Boetsch

Round 1:

Boetsch grabs onto Leites’ head and fires off some big punches. Accidental eye poke to Boetsch and the fight is paused for a moment. Boetsch connects again, but Leites jumps in with a good combination of his own. Boetsch with a big uppercut on the inside. Boetsch doing really well whenever the fighters get close or in the clinch. Leites with a body lock looking for the takedown, but can’t quite get Boetsch to the mat. Leites presses forward and Boetsch counters with a quick combination and he puts the Brazilian down! But the round ends as Leites holds on to guard.

10-9 Tim Boestch

Round 2:

Leites starts good, ends up eating a huge overhand right from Boetsch that clearly has him rattled. Boetsch have great success with his right hand all day long in this fight. Boetsch nails Leites with a huge punch and he has him hurt! Boetsch swarms but Leites gets inside and clasps his hands and gets the takedown. Leites transitions and gets an arm triangle choke, but Boetsch fights his way out. Leites gets the mount and goes back for the arm triangle again and this time Boetsch goes to sleep!

Official result: Thales Leites def. Tim Boetsch by submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:45, R2

Analysis:

Amazing comeback and finish from Leites after he was in serious trouble thanks to some heavy hands from Boetsch in the second round. There’s been a lot of talk about the best comebacks over the last few years including welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, but Leites deserves a ton of praise for what he’s done recently. When he left the UFC after two losses in a row, it was hard to imagine Leites coming back much less doing what he’s done since returning. Now he’s knocking on the door of the top 10 of the middleweight division. 

Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein

Round 1:

Mein pops Alves with a couple right hands to open the action, doing a good job of keeping him at the end of his punches. Alves landing some leg kicks, but Mein firing back with punches and tagging the Brazilian at will. Mein connects with a big uppercut that rocks Alves. Mein traps him against the cage and opens up with elbows and now a barrage of punches. Alves is still standing somehow. Mein drops another huge right before the round ends.

10-9 Jordan Mein

Round 2:

Alves comes firing out of the gate in round two and he lands a huge body kick right to Mein’s midsection and he crumbles to the mat. Alves storms in and fires punches in bunches as referee Herb Dean comes in and stops the fight. Incredible comeback and finish.

Official result: Thiago Alves def. Jordan Mein by TKO (strikes) at :39 seconds, R2

Analysis:

A rough start for Alves, but a huge comeback in round two. Alves has been dealing with a ton of injuries in the past three years, but when he’s on his game, he’s one of the most dangerous fighters at 170 pounds. The welterweight division is much more striker-friendly than it was a few years ago and if Alves can stay active, he could be a serious threat to anyone in the division — including fighters in the top five — really, really soon. 

Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann

Round 1:

McMann slams a right hand into Tate’s jaw and then a second and Tate goes down! McMann is on top in guard looking to land ground and pound. McMann transitions over to Tate’s half guard and then side control. McMann looking for some elbows from the top. Tate throws up a triangle just before the round ends.

10-8 Sara McMann

Round 2:

McMann is standing and trading and landing some bombs on Tate, especially in the clinch and from dirty boxing range. McMann tags Tate with another big right hand. Tate is struggling bad to block that straight right from McMann. Tate fires back and lands a good combination and McMann is hurt! McMann grabs for a takedown and Tate sinks in a guillotine choke. McMann rolls and Tate still has the choke. Time runs out but big comeback for Tate

10-9 Miesha Tate

Round 3:

McMann opens with a big throw and Tate reverses and now she’s on top. Tate working from half guard and she’s staying heavy on top of McMann. Tate moves over to side control and starts working short elbows to the body and head. Tate moves into north-south position for a moment and she’s pounding away at McMann with elbows. Tate back to half guard and she comes down with a massive elbow with 30 seconds to go. Tate looks for a kimura as the fight comes to an end

10-9 Miesha Tate

FOX Sports scores it 29-28 for Miesha Tate

Official result: Miesha Tate def. Sara McMann by majority decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-28)

Analysis:

Incredibly hard-fought, gritty win for Tate after a rough first round and a well-deserved victory indeed. Tate got rocked hard early, but she really came back late in round two and completely took over in round three. Tate has now won her last three fights in a row and the way she’s going it’s going to be hard to deny a title shot at some point in 2015. Maybe she gets the loser of Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano to earn it? Only time will tell. 

Derek Brunson vs. Ed Herman

Round 1:

Brunson hits Herman with two big left hands, the second one rattles his opponent in a bad way. Herman stumbles back towards the cage and Brunson just opens up a barrage! Herman goes down and Brunson just unloads punches until the referee stops it. Wow, quick finish and what a performance from Brunson.

Official result: Derek Brunson def. Ed Herman by TKO (strikes) at :36 seconds, R1

Analysis:

Brunson continues to show real promise for his future in the middleweight division. He landed a solid pair of punches and just put it on Herman to get the finish. Brunson’s only loss in the UFC came to current top-10 fighter Yoel Romero after he was up two rounds to none early before getting caught and finished in the third. Hopefully, Brunson gets a top-15 opponent now because he certainly deserves it. 

Ian McCall vs. John Lineker

Round 1:

McCall cracking Lineker with leg kicks early before dumping the Brazilian on the mat with a nice takedown. McCall moves to half-guard and continues to pepper away on Lineker from the top. Lineker looks for a heel hook but can’t grab it and McCall just keeps hammering away.

10-9 Ian McCall

Round 2:

McCall goes for a takedown but Lineker snags a guillotine choke and it’s tight. McCall works at the hands and finds a way out but Lineker is on top. McCall scrambles and gets up. Lineker nails McCall with a big left hook. Lineker is stepping in and digging to the body whenever he gets close to McCall. Lineker getting comfortable on the feet and he jumps out of the way of another McCall takedown attempt. Lineker with another guillotine attempt before the end of the round.

10-9 John Lineker

Round 3:

Lineker is trying for a knockout with every punch and McCall’s takedown attempts aren’t working. Lineker lands a big left hand right to McCall’s jaw. Lineker blasts McCall and he opens up a cut over the left eye. Lineker just cutting McCall off as he plods forward looking for punches. Lineker came back strong and likely gets a win here.

10-9 John Lineker

FOX Sports scores it 29-28 for John Lineker

Official result: John Lineker def. Ian McCall by unanimous decision (29-28 on all cards)

Analysis:

Lineker came back strong after a rough first round and stayed very active in rounds two and three.  Considering he came in five pounds overweight, you have to wonder if Lineker didn’t stop trying to get down to 125-pounds just so he could reserve energy. Either way, Lineker isn’t getting his next fight at flyweight.  As for McCall, his loss means champion Demetrious Johnson has no one to fight unless he gets John Dodson for a second time. Unfortunately, Dodson is coming back from a long absence due to knee surgery so it’s hard to tell if that matchup will come together or not. 

Tom Watson vs. Rafael Natal

Round 1:

Fighters exchanging kicks early. Natal catches a leg and puts Watson down, but he pops right back up. Natal is landing some heavy kicks to the body.  Watson is taunting him to keep coming, but he’s eating heavy shots in exchange for wagging his tongue. Watson throwing a lot, but barely landing. Natal fires off a combination and hurts Watson and he’s back against the cage. Watson fires a kick and Natal takes him down.

Watson has a big knot on top of his right foot. Not looking good.

10-9 Rafael Natal

Round 2:

Natal catches Watson’s kick and he puts him down for the fourth time so far in the fight. The fighters works back up again, Watson finally starting to hit Natal with kicks and a few punches as well. Natal gets a body lock takedown, but Watson is back up again. Natal gets another takedown before the end of the round.

10-0 Rafael Natal

Round 3:

The biggest problem Watson has had all fight and continues to happen in the third is throwing shots and coming up short on Natal constantly. Watson has to know he needs a finish and he’s definitely turning up the volume. Natal comes back with some good combinations that rattle Watson’s jaw. Natal tags Watson hard with straight punches, puts him down with a takedown.

10-9 Rafael Natal

FOX Sports scores it 30-27 Rafael Natal

Official result: Rafael Natal def. Tom Watson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Analysis:

Good win for Natal to put him at 2-2 in his past four fights. Natal did a great job of landing straight, hard punches all night and taking advantage of his reach. Watson drops to 1-3 in his past four. After making a lot of noise overseas with some great knockouts, Watson has struggled to find anything resembling consistency since coming to the UFC. 

Richardson Moreira vs. Ildemar Alcantara

Round 1:

Moreira starts swinging wildly after a slow start to the fight.  Alcantara and Moreira jockeying for position against the cage. The fighters fall to the mat and it’s Alcantara who lands on top in the mount. Moreira reverses and just rolls over and now he’s in the guard of Alcantara. Moreira drops back for a leg lock just seconds before the round ends but doesn’t get anything.

10-9 Richardson Moreira

Round 2:

Moreira struggling to put together combinations on the feet and Alcantara looks much more comfortable. Alcantara connects with a big head kick about halfway through the round, but Moreira barely flinches. Moreira leans down and eats another kick from Alcantara. Moreira goes for a takedown but Alcantara reverses just as the round comes to a close.

10-9 Ildemar Alcantara

Round 3:

Moreira gets a good body shot in on Alcantara early but he’s still not putting any kind of combinations. Alcantara’s movement is great and he’s firing back with jabs and quick punhces. Moreira goes for a takedown and Alcantara grabs the fence, landing him on top. Referee Marc Goddard stops the fight and stands them back up and explains that he won’t allow Alcantara to get dominant position based on an illegal move. Not much happening in this fight at all and the Las Vegas crowd is restless.

10-9 Ildemar Alcantara

FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 Ildemar Alcantara

Official result: Ildemar Alcantara def. Richardson Moreira by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Analysis:

Not much good to say about either fighter in this one. Alcantara’s striking was decent but he refused to engage while Moreira looked like a novice when it came to the standup game and he was woefully bad with his takedown attempts as well. Forgettable performances from both men. 

Thiago Santos vs. Andy Enz

Round 1:

Enz starts strong looking to use his reach and keep Santos at the end of his punches. Santos fires back with a nasty body kick that hurts Enz and sends him back against the cage. Santos follows up with a barrage of punches, Enz drops to the mat and the fight is stopped.

Official result: Thiago Santos def. Andy Enz by TKO (strikes) at 1:56, R1

Analysis:

Thiago Santos shows once again the kind of damage a well placed body shot can do to a fighter. The loss drops Enz to 0-3 in the UFC and it’s hard to imagine him getting a fourth fight after his latest defeat. 

UFC 183: SILVA VS. DIAZ

MAIN CARD PAY-PER-VIEW (10 p.m. ET)

MAIN EVENT: Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz

Tyron Woodley vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Joe Lauzon vs. Al Iaquinta

Thales Leites vs. Tim Boetsch

Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein

FOX SPORTS 1 UFC 183 PRELIMS (8 p.m. ET)

Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann

Derek Brunson vs. Ed Herman

Ian McCall vs. John Lineker

Tom Watson vs. Rafael Natal

UFC 183 EARLY PRELIMS on UFC Fight Pass (7 p.m. ET)*

Richardson Moreira vs. Ildemar Alcantara

Thiago Santos vs. Andy Enz

* Jimy Hettes fell ill and will be unable to fight so his bout against Diego Brandao has been scratched from the fight card.