Although both Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione won their previous fights heading into last night's (Sat., Sept. 21, 2013) UFC 165 from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, they hadn't exactly set the Heavyweight division on fire as of late.
Both fighters also came under scrutiny for actions taken outside of a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage, with Schaub disgraced for his passive performance against Roberto Abreu at Metamoris 2 and Mitrione briefly suspended for his outspoken comments about transgender fighter Fallon Fox.
The pair needed a win to stay afloat in the competitive Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and it was Schaub who rose to the occasion to earn a statement win over his fellow The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 alum Mitrione. In the end, Schaub used his ground skills to silence his critics, at least for one night.
Let's break down the submission victory of "The Hybrid" from last night (watch full fight video highlights here).
This bout was billed as a slugfest, and it easily could have been with the sheer size and strength of its two participants. Schaub and Mitrione are well known for possessing massive power. However, Mitrione never quite fulfilled his end of the bargain at UFC 165.
He started off early with some low kicks that appeared to land, but failed to damage Schaub significantly. Schaub fought back with an excellent flurry of punches to back "Meathead" up, and soon locked up a big double leg takedown. From there, Schaub's ground transitions looked seamless.
"Hybrid" locked up a tight D'arce choke that had Mitrione in serious trouble. The former Minnesota Viking signaled that he was still in the fight, but the truth was a different story.
Mitrione was left unconscious on the canvas as Schaub celebrated an impressive finish. It was the best way to win after he was highly maligned for refusing to engage Abreu at Metamoris. Schaub's brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu paid dividends against a lesser-talented grappler like Mitrione, who didn't really have time to show anything during the bout.
Schaub has now won two in a row after a two-fight skid and will look to play spoiler against a higher-ranked Heavyweight. Perhaps a rematch with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira could be in the cards should "Big Nog" get back to health. No.10-ranked Stipe Miocic probably deserves a better fight after defeating Roy Nelson at UFC 161, but most of the top Heavyweights are booked, so Schaub could come calling.
Mitrione will have to go back to the drawing board and work on his game. Having lost three out of four, he might not have too many chances with the UFC. After starting his career out undefeated (5-0), it looks like he's going to need to re-evaluate his game. He can always knock someone out with a big punch, but his overall game is pretty limited at this point, or so it seems.
It was Schaub's night in Toronto and he got the submission he's been looking for. Were you surprised that this bout didn't end with a knockout?