Matt Brown stormed back from an early body shot to defeat Erick Silva by TKO in a Fight of the Year candidate at UFC Fight Night 40.
The welterweight contest came in the main event of the Saturday night card, held in Brown's stomping grounds of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Brown was in evident pain after Silva kicked him in the side about halfway through the first round. Seeing his opening, Silva swarmed with punches and then worked for a rear-naked choke, but none of it elicited a surrender.
In fact, Brown somehow mustered the energy to recover, return to his feet and then exact his own punishment. Brown used the clinch to line up Silva for knees and heavy uppercuts and even threw the Brazilian to the ground a couple of times.
Despite his early trouble, Brown likely took the first round on many observers' scorecards.
As the second round began, both men—especially Silva—were exhausted from the early action and adrenaline dump. If he didn't learn in the first round, Silva certainly learned in the second frame that you can't really run from Matt Brown. Brown walked him down again, landing punches and other strikes as Silva retreated.
Though Silva did his best to return fire, headlined by another brutal shot to the body, he never fully turned the tables back in his favor after the first-round near finish.
Willed forward by the friendly crowd, Brown got Silva to the ground and almost forced a tap to a D'Arce choke. Brown ultimately ended up in full mount, and Silva's triangle choke went begging as Brown poured on the punishment.
The third round continued in much the same fashion. Another mount from Brown, a less fearsome triangle from Silva in response. Brown powered through it, kept raining blows and forced the ref to call a stop at the two-minute, 11-second mark of the third round.
After the fight, Silva was removed from the cage on a stretcher, raising a fist to the cheering crowd in what was hopefully intended as a reassuring gesture.
JIPP (@jippdogg) May 11, 2014
UFC President Dana White later told reporters Silva was transported to the hospital for evaluation. No further information was available about Silva's condition.
Dana White says they're transporting Erick Silva to hospital for possible concussion, possible fractured jaw. #UFCFightNight— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) May 11, 2014
Brown and Silva both received $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses. Brown also received an additional $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.
Scott Harris writes about MMA and other topics for Bleacher Report and other places. For more, follow Scott on Twitter.