Anderson “The Spider” Silva, the best pound for pound fighter in the world. It has been said many times before, but tonight he proved it.
Silva came into this fight against dangerous striker James “The Sandman” Irvin, who holds the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history, eight seconds.
Many wondered if Silva would be able to dominate fighters in a higher weight class like he has all of the opponents he has faced in the middleweight division. Simply put, no problem.
The Spider came into this fight looking thicker and more solid than ever, and it did not take long to show he can fight comfortably with the extra weight. After a minute of feeling each other out, James Irvin threw a right kick, which Silva caught. He immediately threw a right straight which found a home directly on Irvin’s mouth. He dropped to the mat and Silva followed with a barrage of punches until referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to end it.
Irvin received a two-inch gash on his right cheek that spewed blood until doctors could treat him. After the fight, the ever-gracious Silva explained that his duty is to defend his middleweight belt, but he wanted to be involved in the biggest fights possible, no matter what weight class that is.
Anderson Silva silenced any skeptics about whether he can handle the jump to a higher weight class and still dominate. His next fight is likely a defense of his middleweight title against Yushin Okami at UFC 88 in Atlanta.
After two consecutive losses in the heavyweight division, Brandon "The Truth" Vera dropped down to light-heavyweight to take on IFL veteran and 3-time All-American collegiate wrestler, Reese Andy.
The fight began with Vera landing a head kick. Andy then took Vera down, but Vera was able to immediately rise back up. There was some stand up with minimal action taking place before Vera took Andy down to side control. The second round began with Andy attempting a take down, they exchanged knees before a Vera take down. He attempted a choke, but was unable to lock it in. This fight saw a lot of standing with little action, and that continued into the third round.
The only noteworthy exchange had Vera delivering two big knees in the clinch. The judges scored a unanimous decision victory for Brandon “The Truth” Vera. After the fight, Vera explained his sluggish performance could have been the result of cutting weight.
In what many thought could be the fight of the night, a lightweight match up between Hermes Franca, who recently completed his year-long suspension for steroids after his title fight with Sean Sherk, and Frank "The Answer" Edgar.
"The Answer" entered the match up after a tough decision loss to Gray Maynard. When the action began, Edgar immediately took Franca down and began to ground and pound, landing huge elbows and punches. He rotated between standing up and landing shots and then going back into Franca's guard for more ground and pound.
Franca then attempted an arm bar but Edgar managed to escape and went back into Franca's guard. Edgar ended the round with more ground and pound. Round two began the same way round one ended, with Edgar taking Franca down and working his ground and pound. He again rotated between standing and kicking Franca's legs and then going back into guard for more elbows and punches.
They got to their feet with about forty seconds left, then Edgar took Franca down again. Franca's face is very swollen as the round ends. The final round started with Franca landing a big knee to the head of Edgar, who responded with a take down. They got back to their feet with Edgar landing a head kick and following with another take down. Franca, growing desperate, searched for submission opportunities, but Edgar was cautious.
They got back to their feet, Franca again landed a huge knee that opened the face of Frank Edgar. Edgar then ended the round with another take down. Edgar completely dominated this fight and controlled the action the entire match. The judges scored a unanimous decision for "The Answer," Frank Edgar.
The only heavyweight fight of the night featured Cain Velasquez and Jake "Irish" O'Brien. Velasquez, who owns an NCAA wrestling victory over O'Brien, is coming off of his UFC 83 debut victory over Brad Morris. O'Brien came into the fight trying to move past his recent loss to Andrei Arlovski.
The fight started with O’Brien attempting a take down and ending up on his back against the cage. Velasquez scrambled and ended up with side control. Velasquez was able to trap O’Brien’s left arm with his legs and began reigning down vicious shots to the face and head of “Irish.” He landed twenty to thirty solid shots before referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to end it.
Moving on to welterweight action, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson was matched against Kevin Burns. Johnson came into this match up trying to improve his UFC record to 3-1 after his 51 second knockout of Tommy Speer in April.
Burns is coming off of an impressive debut, a submission victory over Jiu Jitsu blackbelt Roan Carneiro at UFC 85. This fight began with each man throwing hay makers with none causing much damage. They locked up in the middle of the ring and exchanged knees to the body. Johnson was able to slam Burns down. Burns had him in full guard, and controlled the position from the bottom.
The referee stood them up with only a few seconds before the round ended. The second round saw a huge knee from Johnson that rocked Burns. "Rumble" followed up with another knee and some punches against the cage. Burns recovered and they began to exchange in the middle of the ring. Burns caught Johnson several times with fingers to the eyes, but none caused much damage and Steve Mazzagatti only verbally warned Burns.
Johnson took Burns down but again ended up in full guard. They were stood up with only a few seconds left and Johnson managed to take Burns down again right at the bell. Round three started with each fighter exchanging leg kicks. Once again, Johnson was able to take Burns down but ended up in full guard. This happened once more before the fight's controversial ending.
The fighters came together with Burns throwing an open-handed left jab and following with an uppercut. Unfortunately, he poked Johnson in the eye very hard, causing Johnson to scream in pain and go down to the mat. Mazzagatti ended the fight, calling it a TKO for Burns. "Rumble" Johnson, however, was very classy after the fight and did not blame Burns for the incident. Burns said he felt bad for the way it ended and that he would love to fight Johnson again. Hopefully it will happen, as it was a very good fight until the end.
In the match up most thought would take place in The Ultimate Fighter finale in June, Jesse Taylor took on CB Dolloway. This fight was vital for both fighters, as Taylor attempts to redeem himself from squandering a chance at an earlier UFC contract and Dolloway tries to attain his first win in the Octagon.
The fight started with both fighters coming out aggressively. Taylor backed Dolloway against the cage and was looking for a take down. Both fighters were scrambling for position when CB was docked one point for an illegal knee to the head of a downed opponent. When the action resumed, Dolloway took Taylor's back looking for a rear naked choke. Taylor reversed the position and started to ground and pound.
Dolloway scrambled, ended up on Taylor's back and eventually forced him to tap with a beautiful Peruvian neck tie at the 3:58 mark of the first round.
UFC's answer to the Affliction promotion was a great success. Many exciting fights capped off with a display of the greatest mixed martial artist in the world. The level of fighters in the UFC continues to separate them from the rest of the pack.