With “Super Saturday” officially in the books, fight fans around the world can sit back and analyze last night’s events. UFC 183 brought a super fight match-up that featured the long-awaited return of former UFC middleweight king pin Anderson Silva as he rebounded from a brutal injury suffered last year in his loss to Chris Weidman. “The Spider” stepped into the cage to meet the renowned challenger Nick Diaz who, despite suffering back-to-back losses, proved to be a tough fight for anyone. The fight itself will go down as one of the most interesting battles to have ever taken place inside the Octagon, but that’s not all that happened last night. A lot of interesting results occurred; with that said, let’s take a look at what you can take away from UFC 183 which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Watch Out For John Lineker, Wherever He May Be
Stepping in against the top ranked contender in Ian McCall, all eyes were set on “Uncle Creepy” to dish out the impressive performance needed for him to earn a third shot at UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. However, the hard-hitting Brazilian, John Lineker, spoiled McCall’s plans as he battered the sharply groomed man for 15 minutes. Lineker’s go-to techniques – wild hooks thrown from his hips – proved to be a weapon that even the likes of a top-ranked opponent fighter like Ian McCall could not figure out. In addition to Lineker’s heavy punches, an air-tight guillotine kept McCall from being able to take the fight to the ground without prompting serious risk. Despite his impressive performance, Lineker did miss weight and not only that, but because trouble on the scale is a common occurrence for him, UFC president Dana White has told the media that Lineker will be forced to fight at bantamweight for his next contest. While this might have robbed Lineker of a title shot at flyweight, Lineker will instead bring his hard hits to the 135 pound division. Whether he’s at 125 or 135, John Lineker is a force to be reckoned with.
Bloodied, But Not Beaten
Miesha Tate is known as being one of the best women bantamweight fighters on the planet, but losses to Cat Zingano and Ronda Rousey put her status in serious question. However, Tate made a serious case for why she should still be regarded as one of the best, and even made a case for another shot at the title (the winner of Rousey/Zingano). Miesha Tate struggled badly in the first round against Olympic silver medalist, Sara McMann, as the Olympian’s right hand gave her about as much trouble as she could handle. McMann dropped Tate and had her hurt on several occasion, but if there’s one thing we know about Tate it’s that she is as tough as they come. Miesha responded in the second and third rounds with her firepower, and some key takedowns and reversals that gave her the top position. From there, Tate dominated the action as her counterpart did all she could just to hang on and not give up any worse positioning. Miesha Tate suffered a broken orbital bone in the process, but her majority decision victory cements her as a top 3 woman bantamweight, and arguably the next fighter in line for the title shot.
The Pitbull Is Back
A UFC veteran since 2005, Thiago Alves has always been considered to be a top ranked UFC welterweight. The Brazilian’s cracking low kicks, crisp boxing, and stellar takedown defense looked to be the skills needed for him to some day be the division’s champion. However, injuries have kept the 31 year old from being able to string together consistent victories. Thiago’s second round TKO over UFC 183 counterpart, Jordan Mein, was just his 3rd fight in the last 4 years. Fortunately, it looks like “Pitbull” is finally healthy, and ready to dish out some serious damage to the welterweight division. While there are lots of young, hungry contenders waiting for him much like Jordan Mein who gave Thiago about all he could handle in the first round, Alves proved that his powerful kicks to the leg, body, and head can bring anyone down.
A Career Resurgence
After being cut from the UFC in 2009, the verdict on Thales Leites was that he just didn’t have the well-rounded skills needed to perform at the highest level. He had an embarrassing performance against Anderson Silva for the middleweight title, and then dropped a decision to Alessio Sakara after that in a fight that he should have easily been able to win. But when he left the UFC, a 6-1 streak would put him back under the bright lights. Since Thales Leites’s return to the UFC, the Brazilian has racked up 5 wins in a row including his UFC 183 victory over Tim Boetsch when he submitted the “Barbarian” in the second round with his patented arm-triangle. Leites stood toe-to-toe with the heavy-handed brawler for much of the fight, and both gave each other their hardest shots. Leites showed some serious bruising and swelling over his face, but a Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonus totally $100,000 will surely make it all feel worth it. With this win, Leites will surely move into the top 10 in the middleweight division, and will probably get his stiffest test in recent memory; perhaps even a chance to move into title contention.
He Back…. kind of
UFC 183’s main event featured the highly anticipated return of the former pound-for-pound king and greatest middleweight of all time Anderson Silva. “The Spider” shared the Octagon with his infamous counterpart Nick Diaz for a full 25 minutes of action, but unfortunately those unblinded by the context of the event were left slightly disappointed. Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz battled more with words and with taunting than punches, and even when they got to exchanging it seemed like neither were fully willing to commit to any serious power shots. Leg kicks on both ends battered each other’s legs, but it was clear that Silva was packing more firepower; especially in his rebuilt left leg that was injured just over a year ago. Diaz had his moments as he spent the whole fight pushing forward and trying to sway Silva into a firefight, but Silva showcased his calmness and collected nature as used his movement, a sharp jab, and cracking low kicks to gain the edge on the scorecards. Many fight fans felt robbed of an impressive performance by Silva, who never really pressed the action even when Diaz literally laid down on the mat for a brief moment, but the contest was perhaps more of a mental battle for the former middleweight champion than it was a fight against Nick Diaz. At the end of the day, millions of viewers tuned in for the intriguing contest, both got paid very well, and neither fighter was put in any sort of serious trouble (outside of a heavily lacerated left eye for Diaz, but that’s to be completely expected in any of Diaz’s fights) – so it was a win-win for both men.