It was a struggle to gain divisional footing for both fighters, as Silva looked to put two recent "No Contests" centered around drug tests behind him, while Hamill merely sought out his second Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) win in over two years.
On paper, Silva brought more ways to win to this mixed martial arts (MMA) bout, but in the end, he only needed one of them to batter Hamill on his way to a one-sided decision. The win doesn't come without controversy, as Silva missed weight and had to forfeit 25 percent of his purse to Hamill. It was the latest in a long series of strange transgressions from the talented Silva, and it leaves doubt as to whether the UFC will ever risk putting him in another high-level fight.
Still, he won last night in Barueri, and has been putting opponents away with relative ease as of late. Let's break down his brutal striking win at UFN 29.
Hamill's main area of advantage in this fight was his wrestling, and he looked for the takedown from the outset. "Hammer" found early success, but Silva was quick to get back to his feet and pepper Hamill with some good low kicks. Silva threw his trademark bombs, but Hamill stood his ground in the first round.
As the fight wore on, Hamill's shots began to noticeably grow less effective thanks to the many low kicks he had absorbed. At one point, he began to stumble from a kick, and it was a sign of things to come. Silva mixed up his striking with some huge punches that hurt Hamill, but "Hammer" actually recovered well enough to end the second round on Silva's back.
Each combatant was visibly tired as the final frame began. Silva stuck to his kicks, nailing an exhausted Hamill until the fight was nearly stopped. Hamill appeared to be on the brink of being knocked out at several points, but Silva never moved in for the kill. Apparently his conditioning is lacking, so that's an area he'll have to shore up in a big way if he wants to be a serious player in the UFC 205-pound division.
Despite his shortcomings, Silva has shown a ton of power and skill since losing to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on FUEL TV 2. He's earned some impressive stoppages; it's only a matter of if UFC trusts him enough to grant him a top-level opponent. Silva has lost to the best before when he faced Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida, so he's in a tough position right now. He'll likely be matched up with someone like the winner of UFC Fight Night 30's Jimi Manuwa vs. Ryan Jimmo bout.
Hamill was previously retired and his longtime coach, Duff Holmes, left his side prior to this fight, believing Hamill to be finished. Unfortunately, that could be the case, because Hamill truly had nothing to offer an obviously out-of-shape Silva last night.
He could rebound with a few fights against lesser-known competition, but with the opponents he's already faced, that would be an insult to a solid career. If his head is no longer in the game, he'll lose no respect for stepping down when the time is right. Praise is due to "Hammer" for his trail-blazing efforts for deaf athletes.
Thiago Silva continues to mow down opponents, but will he ever get back to top contender status? Is he standing in his own way? And is it time for Matt Hamill to step down for good? Let us know your thoughts below!
For more news, notes and reactions from UFC Fight Night 29, including fight video highlights and play-by-play coverage of all the action from Brazil, check out our "Maia vs. Shields" live coverage story stream by clicking here.