- UFC Fight Night 33
Hunt, Silva fight to a draw in slugfestDecember 7, 2013 « Robertson holds off epic Bingham comeback | Chartbeat test »
Even the unsatisfying result of a majority draw couldn't cast a shadow over the heavyweight slugfest between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva.
The main event of UFC Fight Night 33 at Brisbane Entertainment Centre produced a majority draw on Friday, but it was one of those rare instances in which the result almost didn't matter. Perhaps there will be a time to argue over the judges' scores, but it wasn't immediately after the bout, which was an instant candidate for fight of the year.
Judge Charlie Keech scored the contest for Hunt, 48-47. Judges Kon Paapaioannou and Barry Foley saw it 47-47.
"I'm so happy," said Silva, who had trained with Hunt in the past. "Mark is a tough guy. I trained a lot for this fight."
UFC president Dana White, never afraid to share his opinion on poor judging, gave his reaction to the scores on Twitter.
I agree that I have NEVER been so happy with a draw in my life! I am happy it was a draw. Winner of that fight is US the fans!!!— Dana White (@danawhite) December 7, 2013
A recap of the five-round bout reads more like a movie script than a description of a professional sporting event. Both heavyweights appeared out on their feet at different points of the fight, only to rally back.
Silva (18-5-1) was the cleaner fighter early on. He used his size advantage to keep Hunt at bay, landing side kicks to Hunt's midsection while circling away from his knockout power. A brief exchange in the first round saw Silva knock Hunt down with a right hand, but Hunt recovered quickly.
The fight appeared close to being over in the second round when the volume of leg kicks landed by Silva had Hunt (9-8-1) limping badly on his lead leg. The 39-year-old visibly winced and switched to a southpaw stance near the end of the round.
Momentum changed drastically in the third round, however, when Hunt drove home a jab, straight right combination that knocked Silva down. A tiring Hunt almost casually followed Silva to the ground and finished in top position.
Hunt took Silva down again early in the fourth, but couldn't keep him there. After getting back to his feet, Silva walked through several hard elbows by Hunt to land a three-punch combination. Staggered, Hunt threw a defensive left hook up against the fence, but ended up falling onto his back where Silva would eventually open a deep cut on his forehead with an elbow from mount.
The final round would prove to be crucial, as all three judges awarded it to Hunt - two by dominant scores of 10-8, which produced the draw. Hunt managed to find a second wind as Silva faded, unloading on two-punch combinations and elbows.
Referee Steve Perceval stopped the action in the fifth to have Silva checked by a cageside physician. Silva would be allowed to continue and showed more life on the restart. The two heavyweights stood and threw in the pocket in the final moments.
The result marks the first draw on either's professional record. Hunt finished the year with a 1-1-1 mark in three appearances. He suffered a knockout loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 in May.
Silva also finished 2013 with a 1-1-1 record. Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez defended his belt against the Brazilian in May via first-round TKO.
Rua lands perfect punch to finish Te HunaMauricio Rua lives.
Facing loud rumors of his demise, Rua (22-8) knocked out James Te Huna with a perfect counter left hook just 63 seconds into their light heavyweight fight. The win snaps a two-fight losing streak for the former UFC champion.
Rua looked as sharp as one can look in a 63-second fight. He hit Te Huna (16-7) with a leg kick on the outside, a right hand to the body and nearly threw him to the ground when they tied up during an exchange.
Te Huna, looking to press, stepped into a lead left-hand uppercut. It ended up missing badly, as Rua stepped to the right and delivered the crushing counter left. The lights went out on Te Huna instantly.
"The strategy was to move and connect, use my speed and find the openings," Rua said.
Rua, 32, had relocated his training camp from Curitiba, Brazil, to UFC welterweight Demian Maia's facility in Sao Paulo. He told ESPN prior to the bout he was "100 percent healthy" headed into the bout.
"I'm very happy and emotional for this win," Rua said. "I've made a big sacrifice during this training camp. I moved to another city and was away from my family and friends but it has paid off as the reward is great. I'm so proud of my team and all of our efforts."
Meanwhile, Ryan Bader (16-4) was dominant in what was likely his final appearance of the year, mauling Anthony Perosh over the course of three rounds to record a unanimous decision.
Soa Palelei made quick work of Pat Barry, needing just more than two minutes to end their heavyweight fight via knockout.
Clint Hester landed plenty of offence in the first two rounds against Dylan Andrews. It was his defence, however, that ended the middleweight fight. Hester (9-3) improved to 2-0 in the Octagon after a separated right shoulder forced Andrews to retire between the second and third rounds. Replays showed the shoulder popped out when Hester moved to block an overhand right from Andrews. The result of the injury is a second-round TKO victory for Hester.
A closely contested female bantamweight contest ended in a split-decision victory for the underdog, as Bethe Correia pulled off the upset over Julie Kedzie.
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com
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