Last night at UFC 153, a highly anticipated welterweight showdown took place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil between rising star Erick Silva against the battle-proven welterweight veteran Jon Fitch.
Silva was coming into the bout with an enormous amount hype. The young Brazilian superstar had finished all his UFC opponents within minutes of the first round, and looked unbeatable at times.
His opponent, Fitch, headed into the bout with a big chip on his shoulder. The former number two ranked welterweight was coming back from a devastating knockout defeat to top contender Johny Hendricks, who shockingly knocked Fitch out at UFC 141 in just 12 seconds.
As the bout began between the highly regarded welterweights, Silva rocked Fitch with a huge overhand right. Silva then proceeded to take Fitch down and laid down some powerful ground-and-pound.
However, by doing so, Silva entered into Fitch's world. The highly regarded grappler eventually swept the young Brazilian, and began doing what Fitch does best -- namely grinding out his opponent against the fence, but Silva was able to get back up and work his game as well as the two welterweights continued in a back and forth throughout the round.
In the second round, Silva was able to take Fitch's back and sink in a deep rear naked choke that seemed as if it would almost certainly force a tap, miraculously, however, Fitch survived the choke and reversed the position.
In the third round, Silva was exhausted, and Fitch easily ground out the round earning a unanimous decision victory.
UFC president Dana White gave the bout "Fight of the Night" honors.
After the exhausting bout, Fitch explained that he knew Silva wasn't going to submit him with the rear naked choke.
"After the training camp for BJ Penn nobody has come to close to finishing me with a rear naked choke," Fitch said. "Is not gonna happen. I was putting bounties out to guys with black belts, starting on my back with deep hooks, and still getting out and on top. It's almost a position I use to get on top sometimes because sometimes you can't sweep guys or whatever, I'll give my back and give hooks let you try to choke me, and then turn around on you."
At the conclusion of the battle Fitch approached Silva and gave him some words of encouragement.
"I told him he is very tough, to keep his head up, keep training hard," Fitch said. "He is the future of this weight class. The future of this sport, and not to let this fight get him down."
After Fitch's disappointing performance at UFC 141, many are saying this Fitch proved he's back as a top division contender, but Fitch made it clear that this was not a comeback fight.
"I think we have a better Jon Fitch, so don't call it a comeback."