Jon Fitch made his return to the Octagon at tonight's (Sat., Oct. 13, 2012) UFC 153: "Silva vs. Bonnar" event at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, almost one year removed from his first knockout loss under the Zuffa banner.
His opponent was Erick Silva, who came riding into town on a Brazilian hype train populated by supporters of his and haters of Fitch alike. It's funny how far a knockout loss can drop a guy down the ladder in a division he dominated for so long (save for Georges St. Pierre, of course).
Derailing a major prospect would go a long way in reestablishing Fitch's name amongst the 170-pound elite.
It was that motivation, perhaps, that led to his coming out so fast and furious in the opening frame, looking for submissions even when the two were standing in the clinch. He didn't get one, but made it out of the round with the scorecards in his favor.
The fight turned in the second when Silva landed a big knee that put the American down and had him scrambling just to survive. He did, but only until Silva took him down, got his back and locked in a rear-naked choke with 1:30 to go in the round.
Just as Mike Goldberg revealed Fitch has escaped 23 submissions in his UFC career -- a record -- he managed to pop out and get free, turning around into Silva's full guard. The reversal of fortunes was complete when Fitch inexplicably took Silva's back then grabbed an armbar but couldn't finish before the bell.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he was all out of air by the time the third round came. He barely made any effort to stop the takedown, did even less to avoid the onslaught of punches his relentless opponent was raining down on him, and even let Fitch take his back.
It was ugly. That is until Silva suddenly got a burst of air and stood up, grabbing Fitch's neck and dropping down for a guillotine that brought his home faithful to their feet. His arms were gone, though, tired from all the action in the first two rounds.
Fitch, meanwhile, never let up, smash, smash, smashing away. It was good enough to earn him a unanimous decision victory by the time the final horn sounded.
That was one hell of a fight, folks. Jon Fitch brought it like he's never brought it before.
For complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the UFC 153 action click here.