UFC 183 recap: Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz
UFC 183 takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas, headlined by a middleweight bout between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz. Silva, widely considered the best pound for pound fighter in the sport’s history, is returning to action for the first time following a gruesome broken leg suffered against Chris Weidman in December of 2013. Diaz, a colorful and popular figure, hasn’t fought since March of 2013 himself. It makes for an unpredictable fight between two of the sport’s most exciting fighters to watch. In the co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum looks to join the welterweight elite when he takes on Tyron Woodley. Gastelum’s body shut down during the weight cut and he missed weight by 10 pounds.
Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz
Anderson Silva is one of the greatest fighters of all time, a dynamic, highly skilled striker who dominated his division for an unprecedented six years. However, he lost his title to Chris Weidman and then broke his leg in the rematch when Weidman checked a leg kick. Silva rehabilitated the leg and now fights again a little over a year later. He is 39 years old and it remains to be seen whether he can produce at the level he once did. Diaz is one of the sport’s most unique characters. The Stockton native has a tremendously entertaining style and has gotten into a war of words with many opponents over the years. He holds wins over B.J. Penn, Frank Shamrock, Robbie Lawler and Takanori Gomi, among others.
Round 1. Diaz begins talking right at the start of the fight. He throws some kicks and calls for Silva to attack. Silva attacks with a couple punches to the jaw and Diaz keeps talking. Diaz lies down and then gets back up. He then stands up against the cage and calls Silva in. He then turns his back on Silva. This is quite the spectacle. Both men like to counter and both like to taunt to get the other to attack. But it’s all Diaz with the trash talking. They clinch and both land punches from the inside. But Silva is landing more punches on balance. Diaz continues throwing leg kicks though. Diaz lands a few punches right up the middle. Silva doesn’t appear particularly quick. Diaz lands a few more punches up the middle. The trash talking has stopped for now. Silva lands a couple nice jabs and then throws a flying knee. Silva backs Diaz up by the cage and Diaz comes out firing. Silva counters with a jab. Silva lands a few hard punches by the cage until Diaz fires back and Silva backs off. Fun, competitive round. It could have gone either way. 10-9 Silva.
Round 2. Silva uses a low kick early. Diaz isn’t as active as he was in the first, either in terms of his talking or in terms of pressing the action. Diaz is usually a very active striker as far as volume but you can tell by the diminished output that he very much respects Silva’s ability to counterstrike. As anyone would. Silva lands a hard leg kick. Diaz moves in for a takedown halfway through the round but Silva prevents it with ease. Diaz lands a nice punch to the body and then the head, his best strikes of the round. Silva answers with an elbow and leg kick. He follows with a solid kick to the body that finds its mark. Diaz lands a few punches late and Silva just sticks out his chin. After the round, Diaz walks right towards Silva and referee John McCarthy has to hold him back. Another very competitive, close round. Silva was doing better but he let Diaz steal it in the final minute. 10-9 Diaz.
Round 3. Silva attacks with a couple of leg kicks early. Diaz stands still and Silva just backs off. Diaz throws a few punches but they don’t get through Silva’s guard. Silva then attacks with punches and likewise he doesn’t get through. Silva connects with a hard looping punch to the jaw. Silva flies in with a knee but Diaz answers back with punches. Diaz is bleeding around the left eye. Diaz attacks with some punches to the body, something he has done to great effect when applying more pressure in other fights. This has turned into Silva’s sort of fight - fought at range moving in and out rather than consistent pressure throughout. 10-9 Silva.
Round 4. Silva throws a high kick early. At the beginning of the fight, Silva’s kicks were mostly low but as time has gone on, he has thrown high more often and shown greater comfort. Diaz isn’t throwing that much and you can see heavy bruising on his body from Silva’s kicks. Diaz connects with a few solid punches and continues throwing low kicks. Diaz will move in with a few punches at a time but he isn’t able to get the volume going that has allowed him to overwhelm previous opponents with boxing. Silva lands a couple punches to the jaw and Diaz taunts him to land more. Diaz lands a few punches and elbows from close range. Diaz throws a few kicks practically in slow motion and then begins to dance. That was another competitive round. 10-9 Silva.
Round 5. Silva throws a few low kicks and Diaz goes back to talking trash. He sticks out his chin but Silva just continues to circle. Diaz shuffles and again no reaction from Silva. Silva throws a couple punches to the chin. Diaz lands a nice straight punch to the jaw but Silva is fine and answers back. Diaz lands a few more punches after that. Diaz lands a couple leg kicks and Silva answers with one of his own. They exchange punches with Silva getting the better of it. Silva throws a flying knee but it misses. Diaz’s eye is a mess. Silva attacks with a couple punches and avoids the counter. Diaz misses a flying kick late. Another competitive round. 10-9 Silva, 49-46 Silva.
Winner: Anderson Silva, unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45).
Silva collapses in tears of joy at the end before being lifted up by Diaz, who congratulates him and tells him not to cry. That was a very nice moment. Nick Diaz tells Joe Rogan that he thought he won every round but congratulates Silva on the fight and praises him as a fighter.
Tyron Woodley vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Woodley is one of the world’s best welterweights, mixing excellent wrestling with tremendous knockout power. He sports a 14-3 career record with wins over the likes of Carlos Condit, Dong Hyun Kim, Jordan Mein, Tarec Saffiedine, Jordan Mein and Josh Koscheck. Gastelum is 10-0 and is coming off the biggest win of his career over Jake Ellenberger. This is unquestionably his biggest test yet and an opportunity to move into the welterweight elite. However, he missed weight by 10 pounds yesterday, causing concern about how prepared he is for the fight.
Round 1. Woodley is the aggressor early, leaping forward with a few straight attacks, but Gastelum covers up and takes no damage. Gastelum isn’t throwing much early, working at a much slower pace than he has in recent fights. Halfway through the first round, basically nothing of note has happened. Woodley lands a straight right hand. They close distance and exchange briefly from range before returning to distance. Each man lands a nice leg kick. Woodley cracks Gastelum with a hard right hand. Awful round. Neither man did much of anything. 10-10.
Round 2. Woodley lands a body kick. Gastelum moves in with a couple punches and mixes in leg kicks. Woodley hurts Gastelum with a straight right to the jaw. He moves in on the attack with increased confidence but still isn’t fully opening up. As Gastelum is moving in, he eats another hard straight right hand. Gastelum lands a series of low kicks. Woodley catches Gastelum with another right hand. That’s really the only thing that’s succeeded for either fighter the entire fight. 10-9 Woodley.
Round 3. As Gastelum moves in, he eats another counterpunch. Woodley then does the same thing moments later. Then again a little after that. Woodley hasn’t increased his aggression much, but he has Gastelum’s attacks timed pretty well for counters at this point. Gastelum moves in with a knee to the body. Gastelum lands a few nice punches moving in. Gastelum is bleeding above the eye. Gastelum lands a couple punches and clinches, before backing out. Woodley foolws with a looping right hand. Woodley dodges a couple punches but then eats a followup, sort of reminiscent of Weidman/Silva I only without the impact. They clinch and the fight ends with them trading by the cage. Not a good fight at all. 10-9 Woodley, 30-28 Woodley.
Winner: Tyron Woodley, split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
Al Iaquinta vs. Joe Lauzon
Iaquinta is regarded as a fighter on the rise thanks to his excellent striking developed in the Serra-Longo camp. He is coming off the biggest win of his career over Ross Pearson. Lauzon is one of the sport’s most entertaining fighters as he looks to finish all the time whether standing or on the ground and has the all time record number of postfight bonuses from the UFC for best fight, knockout or submission.
Round 1. Iaquinta ducks down twice early. It was unclear whether he was looking for a takedown or attempting to set up something else. Iaquinta lands a nice body punch but Lauzon answers with punches to the head that stun Iaquinta. Iaquinta has to back off as Lauzon opens up looking to finish the fight. Iaquinta recovers without going and throws a couple of head kicks. Lauzon lands a few solid jabs. Lauzon ducks in with a short straight right hand that connects directly to the chin of Iaquinta. Lauzon throws a knee and grabs a guillotine choke but he can’t secure Iaquinta’s body and Iaquinta is out of there. They return to the feet and Iaquinta opens up with series of shots at different levels. Iaquinta goes for a takedown late but time runs out. Close round. 10-9 Lauzon.
Round 2. Lauzon looks for some power punches early but Iaquinta defends well. Iaquinta uses a nice leg kick. Iaquinta in the second half of the first round and early in the second has gotten a much better feel for Lauzon’s reach and is consistently getting in on the longer fighter. Lauzon looks for a takedown but can’t get it. Iaquinta stuns Lauzon with a punch and looks to finish. He keeps nailing Lauzon with big punches. Lauzon goes down but gets back up. Iaquinta keeps landing shots and finally the referee steps in after a serious beating.
Winner: Al Iaquinta, TKO, round 2.
Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein
Alves is a former UFC welterweight title challenger who returned to action after a two year absence last April. He is looking to reestablish himself in the division. Mein at 25 years old is a fighter on the rise. He is 11-2 in his last 13 fights including 2 wins in Strikeforce and 3 in the UFC. This is one of the most high profile fights of his career.
Round 1. Mein lands the first solid shot of the fight, a right hook. He lands it again a little bit later. His length and reach advantage is evident and he’s throwing a lot of looping punches as Alves moves in. Mein is mixing in elbows as well and clearly getting the better of Alves in the early going. Mein lands a couple punches to the body. Alves lunges in with a hard straight punch. Mein stuns Alves with a shot and then pours on the punishment up against the cage. He’s just hammering Alves. He lands more big shots late. Dominant round for Mein. 10-8 Mein.
Round 2. Alves drops Mein with a body kick. Mein has to drop to a knee and Alves comes in with punches until the fight has stopped.
Winner: Thiago Alves, TKO, round 2.
Thales Leites vs. Tim Boetsch
Leites challenged Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title in 2009 but then found himself out of the UFC after another loss to Alessio Sakara in a terrible fight. Since then, Leites has gone 10-1 and worked his way into middleweight contender status again. Boetsch is a rugged overachiever who has generally struggled against elite competition but is coming off a TKO win over Brad Tavares.
Round 1. Leites lands a hard leg kick early. Boetsch answers back with some power punches that force Leites to back off. They start swinging wildly and Leites lands the best looping punch to send Boetsch back towards the cage. They clinch and Boetsch connects with a powerful uppercut, one of his best weapons. Boetsch charges in with big punches late in the round and Leites goes down and holds on. Leites was doing better early but Boetsch gets the round because he came on late. 10-9 Boetsch.
Round 2. Leites lands a hard left hook early. Boetsch soldiers on and lands a pair of looping punches of his own moments later. Leites grabs a clinch but can’t get the fight to the ground. Leites lands some big looping shots but again Boetsch fires back and rocks Leites with his power. Leites goes for a takedown and this time gets it halfway through the round. Leites grabs an arm triangle choke from the top and looks close to finishing but Boetsch is able to get out of danger. That’s incredibly impressive as arm triangles are very hard to avoid. Leites grabs another arm triangle and this time chokes Boetsch out.
Winner: Thales Leites, submission, round 2.
Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann
This is an important fight in the women’s bantamweight division between two recent title challengers for champion Ronda Rousey looking to get another title shot. Tate is a popular fighter with a well rounded game, coming off two straight wins. McMann is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and won her last fight.
Round 1. They come out swinging. Each lands solid punches in the exchange. McMann in particular lands a few hard right punches. She drops Tate with another huge punch and looks to finish the fight on the ground. She opens up with big punches on the ground but Tate is able to regain her composure. McMann is conservative from within Tate’s guard, landing punches while making sure Tate can’t set up any submissions from the bottom. McMann works her way into the more dominant side control position and lands more frequent punches from there. McMann opens up with punches and elbows late before Tate controls her with a triangle that isn’t in position to choke. 10-8 McMann.
Round 2. McMann lands a few hard punches early again. They clinch and McMann uses some hard knees to the body and more right hands. Tate moves in and eats a powerful straight right hand. McMann is really having her way with Tate. Tate then comes in and has some success. She lands some hard punches that send McMann back. She then grabs McMann’s neck and looks for a guillotine choke submission. McMann is on top but she rolls to the bottom to avoid the submission. Tate continues to crank it as the round comes to an end. Very hard round to score. McMann controlled most of the round but Tate had the most success at the very end. 10-9 McMann.
Round 3. McMann uses a nice judo throw at the start of the round but Tate deftly hangs on and takes top position. Tate works from side control, landing elbows and punches while controlling McMann’s body. Tate nicely prevents McMann from getting into better position and continues to land shots from the top. Tate keeps going to work from the top and is completely dominating McMann in this round. Tate looks for a kimura late but time runs out. 10-8 Tate, 28-27 McMann. Highly likely the judges gave it to Tate based on the flurry at the end of the second round.
Winner: Miesha Tate, majority decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-28).
Ed Herman vs. Derek Brunson
Herman has fought in the UFC since 2006, occupying a spot as a well known midcard fighter coming off his time on the highly rated third season of the Ultimate Fighter. Brunson is perceived as a fighter on the rise and he has taken on well known fighters like Kendall Grove, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Chris Leben, Yoel Romero and Lorenz Larkin. He is a heavy favorite in this fight.
Round 1. Brunson dazes Herman with some power punches at the start of the round, including a pair of hard left hands. Herman goes down, Brunson follows with additional punches, and the fight is stopped less than 40 seconds in.
Winner: Derek Brunson, TKO, round 1.
Ian McCall vs. John Lineker
McCall and Lineker are top contenders in the thin flyweight division. McCall gave UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson one of Johnson’s toughest recent fights and has won two straight fights. Lineker has won five of his last six and is one of the division’s top finishers. However, he has a continued problem making weight. Lineker missed weight again yesterday, the fourth time in his UFC career he has been unable to make the contracted weight.
Round 1. McCall comes out shooting off his footwork, bouncing back and forth on the balls of his feet while Lineker looks to load up a power shot. McCall moves in and out, looking to land punches while avoiding Lineker’s power. Two minutes in, McCall scores a takedown and goes to work with punches and elbows in Lineker’s half guard. Lineker is forced to mostly defend while McCall is active from the top. Lineker attacks the leg and looks for a submission but McCall defends well and attacks with punches from the top. 10-9 McCall.
Round 2. McCall lands a kick and goes for a takedown. In the process, Lineker grabs a guillotine choke that looks very tight. McCall looks in trouble but he is able to hang on and then work his way out. Lineker gains top position in the process but McCall stands up quickly. Back on the feet, Lineker punishes McCall with a hard punch to the body. Lineker then lands a left hook. Lineker is doing a much better job in the second round of catches McCall when McCall comes into his range. One would have expected Lineker to slow down more as the fight wears on, but it is McCall that doesn’t have the same speed edge that he did in the first. McCall looks for a takedown and cannot get it. McCall looks for another takedown and Lineker again attacks the neck with another guillotine choke that McCall works his way out of. Big round for Lineker, this one clearly is coming down to the third. 10-9 Lineker.
Round 3. The third round begins with the same basic feel as the first two: McCall looking to move in with shots and get out before Lineker can counter with something. McCall is effective to that end in the first half of the round, connecting more and avoiding Lineker’s shots for the most part. Lineker then hurts McCall with a punch three minutes in. He swarms in, looking to finish the fight by the cage, but McCall fires back and forces Lineker to back off. In the process, Lineker opened up a cut by the eye of McCall. Lineker follows with another flurry of punches a little bit later. Lineker sticks out his belly, taunting McCall after the continued discussion of weight. 10-9 Lineker, 29-28 Lineker.
Winner: John Lineker, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Rafael Natal vs. Tom Watson
Natal is a long tenured UFC veteran, having fought in the organization 11 times since 2010. He is a well rounded fighter with a solid ground game. Tom “Kong” Watson is a colorful British fighter coming off a much needed win over “Smiling” Sam Alvey in August of last year.
Round 1. Watson lands some kicks early. Natal catches one and looks for a takedown, but Watson is able to successfully defend. Natal then looks to establish his jab, while Watson continues to rely on leg kicks to establish range. Natal begins to land his punches more as the fight continues on. Watson keeps throwing his kicks but he isn’t landing nearly as many punches as the Brazilian. Natal gets a takedown late in the round up against the cage. Watson stands up but is deposited back on the mat. 10-9 Natal.
Round 2. Natal lands a nice straight right hand early. Natal continues to work his hands while Watson’s primary weapons have been his feet. A minute into the round, Natal takes Watson down. Watson works his way to the cage and then stands up. Natal goes for another takedown but Watson defends it. Watson catches a Natal kick and lands a kick of his own. Natal goes for another takedown late but doesn’t get it. Moments later he tries again and puts Watson on his back to end the round. 10-9 Natal.
Round 3. The standup begins at a similar pace to the first two rounds. The problem for Watson is he’s losing the striking game he wants to play and then Natal makes things even more difficult for him with the takedowns. Natal’s jab in particular keeps Watson from getting in range to land power shots. Natal stuns Watson with some stiff straight punches and sends him backwards across the cage. Natal uses that opportunity to score another takedown. Watson gets up but is slammed down one last time and the fight comes to an end. Impressive performance by Natal. 10-9 Natal, 30-27 Natal.
Winner: Rafael Natal, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Richardson Moreira vs. Ildemar Alcantara
Moreira is a finisher. All of his fights have ended via submission or knockout, and all but one of those in the first round. He postponed pursuing an MBA at UCLA to advance his MMA career. He lost his UFC debut in 20 seconds via knockout. Alcantara is 3-2 in the UFC, with all but one of those fights ending via decision.
Round 1. The fighters close range and clinch. Moreira opens up with his strikes and then looks for a takedown but Alcantara blocks it and takes top position himself. Alcantara quickly gains full mount position on top. Moreira reverses and gets the top. Moreira looks for a heel hook late but cannot get it. Slow round. 10-9 Moreira.
Round 2. The standup remains tentative. Alcantara lands a left head kick in the middle of an exchange. Moreira begins to press more but neither man lands much. Moreira goes for a takedown late but can’t get it. The crowd boos the slow, unimpressive action. 10-9 Alcantara.
Round 3. The action remains extremely slow. Halfway through the round, Moreira looks for a takedown. Alcantara grabs the fence and uses it to take top position. Referee Marc Goddard returns the fight to the feet and warns Alcantara for the fence grab. On the feet, the standup remains inactive and ineffective. Moreira goes for a takedown but has it blocked again. Neither man improved his stock one iota here. 10-9 Alcantara, 29-28 Alcantara.
Winner: Ildemar Alcantara, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Thiago Santos vs. Andy Enz
Santos, sporting two of the most common names in Brazilian MMA, competed on the second season of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil television show before entering the UFC and going 1-2. He fought very respectable competition in each of those bouts. Enz, a native of Alaska, has lost both of his UFC fights and made little ripple in the process.
Round 1. The fighters exchange low kicks early. Enz lands the first big shot of the fight, a right hand that gets through Santos’ defense. Santos comes back swinging and hurts Enz with a body kick and a few punches that drop Enz. Santos follows on the ground with additional punches and the referee stops the contest.
Winner: Thiago Santos, TKO, round 1.
Follow on Twitter at @ToddMartinMMA.
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