With ten fights out of the entire card going to a decision, it would be easy to declare that the fighters who finished their bouts were the clear standouts.
Of course, as always, it is far deeper than that.
There were many notable performances at UFC Fight Night 36; Lyoto Machida looked masterful against a terribly good opponent in Gegard Mousasi.
In addition, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza imposed himself on Francis Carmont, taking him down two times and dominating the grappling exchanges. This becomes even more impressive when considering just how hard Carmont is to put on the mat, as the 32-year-old has managed to avoid 80 percent of takedown attempts in his career.
Yet amid it all, one man really seized the moment.
Erick Silva looked fantastic in his bout, exploiting not only his physical gifts but his opponent's inexperience under the brightest lights on the biggest stage. Many fighters tend to freeze up a bit when they fight for the first time in the UFC, which could have been the case for Takenori Sato, Silva's opponent.
But there were equal measures of desire, desperation and sheer violence in Silva’s victory that do make it stand apart from the rest.
Silva came out with one clear goal—to take the fight to his opponent right from the very start.
Silva fought as if his career in the UFC was in jeopardy. He paid no heed to the fact that his opponent had a strong grappling base, attacking with a hard kick that set the dominos tumbling in his favor.
In addition, as soon as Sato grabbed hold of his leg in a low single, Silva began attacking with any tool available. At that moment, it was turning and trying to land kicks with his free foot, almost behind his back.
Finally, overwhelming Sato with a tidal wave of aggression, Silva posted on his free leg and began to slam punches into his opponent’s head—over and over and over.
When he finally pulled his leg free, Sato was done and the referee mercifully jumped in to prevent any needless damage. And the damage Silva did in a short period of time was breathtaking. He didn’t just attack with purpose; he attacked with a kind of unrestrained fury that made Sato wilt.
In his destruction of Sato, Silva imposed his will from the beginning, kept his foot on the gas and ran over Sato, and in doing so, stole the show at UFC Fight Night 36.