Last night, UFC 183 left many competitors with their hopes deflated so low that Tom Brady scored 72 points with them. While many of the fights weren’t high stakes battles, most contained interesting match-ups between top talent throughout the middleweight division. Repeat weight cut offender John Lineker missed the mark for the fourth time, this time five pounds over, and Kelvin Gastelum clocked in ten pounds overweight for his bout against Tyron Woodley. Gastelum was hospitalized during fight week citing flu-like symptoms. An opening bout between Jimy Hettes and Diego Brandao was removed before the event started after Hettes passed out backstage. He was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. Here’s a look at the big winners and loser.
Al Iaquinta Zombifies Lauzon
Ultimate Fighter 15 runner-up Al Iaquinta added his third straight TKO to his resume since his last loss. He promised that he would come to the fight quicker and stronger than Lauzon, and he backed that statement with a solid stand-up victory over the fan favorite. Though Lauzon landed some heavy hands throughout round one, Iaquinta was able to pick apart his opponent by attacking at different levels, combinations that ended with kicks, and stiff body shots.
Lauzon usually has trouble making weight because it’s tough to cut 80 pounds of balls, but getting punched until his spirit animal showed him the way to defeat his foe didn’t work out this time around. Iaquinta started throwing every combination he knew at Lauzon, and most of them connected. Lauzon was out on his feet a few shots in, but every shot that knocked him out simultaneously woke him back up. As Iaquinta continued to fill his highlight reel, Lauzon attempted to flee. You could actually see the battle between Lauzon’s legs and his brain over whether or not this coma thing was going to happen tonight start to form as the ref finally stepped in to prevent further damage.
Thales Leites - Fighter of the Night
Leites, now on his second run in the UFC, has improved his striking considerably since resigning with the promotion in 2013. He picked up his eighth win in a row, this time over top 15’er Tim Boetsch. Boetsch usually comes into a fight with one game plan. Clock in, clobber things until dinner, clock out. All was going according to plan, but then Boetsch fell into the jiujitsu trap. Boetsch possesses all the BJJ finesse you would expect of a chubby guy that named himself after primordial man. Boetsch was so lost on the ground, he found Joe Lauzon’s consciousness.
At the time, seven of Leites’s wins had come by arm triangle choke, so after one failed attempt already, as he slid from Boetsch’s mount into side control, everybody but Tim knew what was coming. Boetsch, seemingly gassed, offered little resistance from the bottom and, wait, did he pass out pinching his nipple?
Woodley Passes Gastelum
Tyron Woodley squeaked out a split decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum in a fight in which it quickly became apparent after the first round that both fighters were fighting to not get knocked out. Woodley won, but he’s becoming something of a one trick pony in the cage. He allowed Gastelum to control center Octagon for most of the fight while he circled and darted in and out looking for the big counter right. This strategy was his undoing in his fight against Rory MacDonald and almost cost him a victory at 183. Woodley was the more accurate and active of the two but Gastelum was the more aggressive of the two. By most standards, the fight should have been a draw, but draws are few and far between in mma due to judging criteria. Woodley won, but he looked more like the Woodley that lost to Rory than the one that defeated Dong Hyun Kim.
Gastelum will be stepping up to 185 per Dana White’s instructions. The only logical opponent for Woodley to keep him in line for a title shot is the winner of the upcoming Hendricks vs. Brown bout.
Anderson Silva, Back for Now
Anderson Silva made it clear that he is back after winning a five round unanimous decision, but he immediately voiced his family’s growing concern with seeing him fight. Enjoy “The Spider” while you can, he may not be here after 2015 if his post-fight interview was any indication of his future status.
Both men looked rusty, though Diaz’s mockery was in rare form. The opening round wasn’t so much a fight as it was a reenactment of Anderson’s career. Diaz faked a leg injury, pretended to back against the cage, and I think he tweaked sumthin’ once when Anderson was circling him. Diaz started off great, but Silva came alive and looked better the deeper the fight went, and Diaz seemed to stall in the championship rounds. It was probably the best possible outcome for both fighters. Diaz went against the GOAT and wasn’t completely dominated so he remains a viable contender when he steps back down to welterweight. Silva got the win, but it wasn’t the type of win that will make fans line up to see him face Weidman a third time. However, with Weidman temporarily out due to injury and a possible interim championship in the works, Silva may just see one final rise to glory.