I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed that one.
Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva was an instant classic and an early, yet very realistic, contender for Fight of the Year come award season.
Throughout the fight there was no let-up, zero chance to catch your breath and plenty of dry eyes, as this truly was a don’t blink contest.
As soon as referee Herb Dean signalled the start of proceedings, Brown raced to the centre of the Octagon and looked to pressure Silva from the get-go. Silva would score the first meaningful action of the fight, with a throw that took the fight to the mat momentarily, but with Brown using Silva’s momentum to reverse and stand-up, we were back on the feet in no time. It was here that Silva would crumple Brown with a kick to the body, and spark this bout in to its frenetic pace.
Silva swarmed on the fallen Brown, but was unable to do enough in the ref’s eyes to have the bout halted, but Silva did take Brown’s back and worked for a choke that he eventually failed to secure, as Brown was able to clamber to his feet.
Brown would go on to take the advantage from here on out, as the supremely tough Ohio native fighting in front of his home-state crowd pummelled Silva from pillar to post for the best part of the round with vicious elbows and knees combinations whilst in the clinch and solid shots to the jaw when at range. Despite Silva’s early exploits, the first round unquestionably belonged to Brown.
The second was much of the same, with Brown immediately going back to work on Silva, landing seemingly at will but only the enormous level of toughness displayed by Silva was keeping the Brazilian in the fight and standing. Silva would find success again with a body shot that backed up Brown briefly, but this round was all Brown and very well could have been scored 10-8, especially as Brown ended the round on top of Silva, having failed to lock in a submission prior, but still in full control of an exhausted Silva.
The third and ultimately final round saw very little output from Silva, as it was clear he was done and his main purpose in the fight now was to survive rather than thrive in the face of Brown’s relentless onslaught of precise brutality. The end came when Brown landed a takedown that pressed Silva up against the cage with Brown posted up raining down shots. Brown allowed for a moment of breathing space, and with that, Silva turtle up and ate a few more shots before Herb Dean waved off Brown’s advances.
This was a one-sided beating, remarkable not only for Brown’s unyielding pursuit of the finish, but for Silva’s extraordinary ability to withstand such punishment and remaining standing for as long as he did. Brown undoubtedly carries some of the division’s heaviest hands, but Silva took everything he could throw at him, and only caved when exposed to a sustained volume of strikes when on his back.
Silva is a talented, diverse, gutsy, entertaining and highly capable fighter, but his continued inability to take the next step in his development in beating Brown and the like, in addition to his poor fight IQ and questionable cardio, will always prove his downfall and ensure that he’s never called champ.
Brown, on the other hand, is now riding a seven-fight win streak and with this kind of star-making performance under his belt, the calls for him to be involved in a title fight will only increase in volume and reason. Personally, I see Brown as still one more fight away, perhaps squaring off with the winner of UFC 173’s Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger bout to decide the next challenger for Johny Hendrick’s belt.
Either way, it’s clear to see that the welterweight division is in rude health and has a newfound buzz and excitement to it that it lacked under the predictability of Georges St-Pierre’s unchallenged dominance, and that is clearly no bad thing.