Only two major events -UFC on FX 5 and UFC 153- took place in the tenth month of the calendar year, however those two events produced some spectacular results.
There were slick submission finishes, brutal knockouts, all-out wars and another phenomenal performance from UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
The past month has been unforgettable, but as MMA fans we are always looking forward to the next event – we rarely take time to appreciate the great moments that have passed us by. Before shutting the door on October for good, take a moment to look back and give credit to the best of the month that was.
Fighter of the Month – Anderson Silva
The reigning UFC middleweight champion outclassed Stephan Bonnar in every way possible in the UFC 153 main event, having his way with “The American Psycho” from beginning to end. Watching the fight it was obviously it was only a matter of time until Silva did something spectacular – that time roughly four and a half minutes into the first round when the Brazilian connected with a perfect knee to the solar plexus that send Bonnar crashing to the mat in agony.
While everyone and their mother knew the fight was a mismatch, the fact Silva stood in the cage with his hands down letting his opponent punch him in the face shows why he is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Less-skilled or not, Bonnar is a professional fighter who has competed against some of the best in the world, and “The Spider” made him look like an amateur. It’s not exactly surprising though; it’s what we’ve come to expect of Silva at this point in his career.
Silva stepped up on short notice, moved up a weight class, knocked out an opponent who had never been knocked out and extended his record for consecutive wins in the UFC to 16. The Brazilian was without a doubt the number one star of the month.
Honorable Mention – Jon Fitch
Fight of the Month – Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva at UFC 153
Jon Fitch brought an end to Erick Silva’s hype train at UFC 153 in on one of the best back-and-forth fights you will ever see with Fitch emerging the victor by unanimous decision. Both fighters threw big strikes, nearly submitted each other, and had the crowd roaring after an outstanding 15 minutes of competition. The majority of the fight was classic Fitch as he landed takedowns, worked ground-and-pound and attempted submissions. Silva did his best to stop Fitch’s attack though, as he scored a few takedowns of his own and had his American counterpart inches away from tapping with very close rear-naked and guillotine choke attempts.
Going in to UFC 153, Jon Fitch made his financial strains very public and let it be known that he needed a “Fight of the Night”-worthy performance against Erick Silva. The 34-year-old has been in the UFC since 2005 and of his 17 appearances inside the octagon, his bout against Silva at UFC 153 was arguably the best. It was so good, in fact, that of several very entertaining battles on the card, Fitch and Silva were awarded an additional $70,000 for “Fight of the Night”.
On the heels of a devastating 12-second knockout loss to Johnny Hendricks last December, Fitch needed a memorable performance and he absolutely had one at the expense of Silva. What a fight.
Honorable Mention – Diego Nunes vs. Bart Palaszewski at UFC on FX 5
Knockout of the Month – Michael Johnson def. Danny Castillo via Knockout (Strikes) at UFC on FX 5
On a card filled with brutal knockouts, submission and comeback victories, Michael Johnson’s stunning second-round knockout of Danny Castillo was the highlight of the UFC on FX 5 undercard on Oct. 5.
“The Menace” was brutalized by Castillo in the opening round of their lightweight affair, getting dropped and nearly finished with strikes and an arm-triangle choke. Johnson showed his willingness to fight through adversity as he came out like a renewed fighter in the second round and began to work his game. At the 1:06 mark of round two, Johnson sent Castillo crashing to the mat with a perfectly placed short left hand followed by a number of blows on the ground.
After over one year without a finish, the 26-year-old made an emphatic statement with his knockout of Castillo. The finish was so brutal, in fact, that on a card with three other (T)KO finishes, Johnson’s was deemed as the best and the Missouri native earned an additional $40,000 for “Knockout of the Night”. The bonus was Johnson’s first in the UFC and proved he is more than one of the best athletes in the division; he is also capable of ending a fight at any time.
Honorable Mention – Anderson Silva def. Stephan Bonnar via TKO (Strikes) at UFC 153
Submission of the Month – Demian Maia def. Rick Story via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at UFC 153
Demian Maia earned his first submission win since Feb. 2009 when he submitted Rick Story in the first round to push his record in the UFC welterweight division to 2-0.
Story came out overly aggressive when the fight began and Maia took advantage by quickly taking the fight to the ground. From there, Maia showed a clear advantage in grappling skill as he dominated Story from every position, eventually securing the back and locking in a neck crack that sent blood shooting out of Story’s nose at the 2:30 mark.
It was hard to gauge where Maia stood in the 170-pound division after his debut against Dong-Hyun Kim last July, however at UFC 153 he showed he is a force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division. The Brazilian looked stellar against Story and has revived his career in a big way.
Honorable Mention – Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Dave Herman via Submission (Armbar) at UFC 153
This article was written by Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBohnMMA. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.