Wow! Last night was freaking awesome! We saw five fighters establish dominance in two rounds or less and a battle of wills between a grizzled veteran and a young lion. I also correctly predicted the winners of five out of the six fights, so my gut instincts, while not perfect, are very good. Here are my thoughts on each fight:
Maia vs. Story: Maia managed to take Story down in the first round and submitted him with a nasty rear naked choke against the cage. I'm glad that Story tapped because when blood dripped from his nose, I was worried that he would get permanently injured.
Davis vs. Prado: Davis dominated Prado in Round 1 with several takedowns and in Round 2, managed to transition from an arm-triangle attempt into a wonderful (pun intended) anaconda choke with a gator roll. I hope that he gets another crack at one of the top ten light heavyweights after this.
Fitch vs. Silva: Fitch controlled most of the fight early with superior grappling. In the second round, Erick Silva caught him with a deep rear naked choke and I thought that Fitch was finished. However, the veteran managed to tough it out and get an armbar, which Silva escaped. He caught Silva in a rear naked choke of his own and survived a guillotine choke. In the end, it was his heart that won out. In Round 3, he broke Silva's will with ground-and-pound. The fight should have been stopped because Silva wasn't defending himself intelligently. He was just covering himself with his arms and trying not to die, basically. Nonetheless, it was a great match and Fitch proved that he is still one of the toughest welterweights around, giving the young lion the learning experience of his life.
Texiera vs. Maldonado: Texiera dropped Maldonado with a left in Round 1 and dominated him on the ground with calculated punches and elbows. He went for an arm-triangle but Maldonado defended against it. Maldonado managed to get up and stunned Glover with a left hook, but he had already taken too much damage. His face looked like someone had taken a hammer to it. Thankfully, the doctor stopped it at the end of Round 2, but you got to give it to Maldonado. He not only asked for this fight, but refused to give up. Glover was very impressive and is clearly a force to be reckoned with. He deserves a match with a top ten light heavyweight. Hopefully, that test will come in the form of his original opponent: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
Noguiera vs. Herman: Minotauro made a great UFC comeback, submitting Herman with an armbar in Round 2. He took him down, sink it in deep, and rolled with Herman when he tried to roll out of it. I doubt that Minotauro will become a champion again, but I can see him being a top five heavyweight for the next two years and hope that he gets a third crack at his rival, Frank Mir. At any rate, I have definitely become a serious Minotauro Noguiera fan.
Silva vs. Bonnar: I like Anderson Silva and think he is a funny guy. That being said, his antics in this fight were a bit much. When he was up against the cage and Bonnar was hitting him, I thought he was getting hurt. That was until I noticed the bored look on his face. I realized that he was just playing with him and was trying to see if he could still dodge Bonnar's blows with his back to the cage to try to challenge himself. Suffice it to say that he succeeded, pulling matrix-style evastion tactics even after he had allowed himself to be cornered. As soon as he got tired of clowning around, he smashed Bonnar with a knee to the solar plexus and dropped him.
I sincerely hope that Silva decides to challenge himself by facing Jon Jones. Even though he said that he only went up to light heavyweight to save the event and wants to stay at middleweight, I don't see what he has to gain by humiliating outmatched opponents. I hope that one day, Dana White will finally convince the two greatest MMA fighters to go at it. For now, I will simply look forward to the Battle of the Strategists: GSP vs. Carlos Condit.