It seemed only fitting as Nick Diaz began the UFC 183 main event talking trash to the fighter many say is the greatest to ever grace the Octagon, Anderson Silva.
The brash fighter from Stockton, Calif., has never cared who was in front of him in his entire career. And that wasn't going to change against the former Middleweight champion. Yes, he was respectful leading up to the fight, but once he flicked that "209" switch, he returned to classic Diaz form.
Hell, he even laid down at one point, which was a shock to all tuning in.
Silva was the better fighter over the five-round affair and won via unanimous decision, with two 50-45 scores and one 49-46, but Diaz was far from outclassed (watch video highlights here). Diaz stood in the pocket on many occasion with the striker sniper and at times he gave it as good as he got it.
Neither fighter was ever in danger of getting finished over the course of the full 25-minute battle, and Diaz proved what only a couple of fighters have, that if you aren't fighting scared against Silva, he isn't as unbeatable as everyone has made him out to be the last several years.
Now, Diaz said afterward that he thought he won all five rounds, and he is wrong about that, but for those scratching their heads at that thought and calling the former Strikeforce Welterweight champion incredulous, you are missing the point on Diaz. He is not interested in what the actual round-winning criteria is -- he never was. To him, moving forward and trying to finish your opponent is always what matters ... and that is what he has always tried to do throughout his career for the most part.
Diaz stood in there and took some of Silva's best shots and didn't waver and he marched forward and tried his best to do what he had to do to take out Silva. That is a win in his book. That is the reason fans either love or hate the anti-hero because he is built more for combat then for sport. He always walked the line for anti-establishment and has never strayed from it. No other fighter has fought Georges St-Pierre and Silva back-to-back, and he didn't win either fight, but he went the distance with both.
No other fighter has or will.
For Silva, it was a successful, and more importantly, a healthy return to the Octagon after the horrific leg injury at UFC 168. There was talk after the fight about his family wanting him to retire, and if that is the case, he has nothing left to prove at this point, but something tells me he will seek one last crack at Chris Weidman's 185-pound belt before that happens.
Let's take a look back UFC 183 and the memorable moments and performances that took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Diaz gonna Diaz
Diaz brought it against Silva, it just wasn't enough over the course of five rounds. He returned to action after almost a two-year hiatus and stood toe-to-toe with one of the greatest in the sports history. His preparation and training with kickboxing standouts Joe Schilling and Artem Levin seemed to be of great benefit. While this is three losses in a row for Diaz, he will be back in action again I would assume and most likely not in another two years. It's also worth noting that those three losses came against Carlos Condit, St-Pierre and Silva. That's a pretty ridiculous trio of opponents. You can know Diaz for a lot of things, but never attack him for his fight resume. Go take a peak at it. Silva was the seventh fighter he's faced that was either a UFC champion, former champion or a fighter who went on to be a UFC champion. Here is the list: Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, Condit, Robbie Lawler, St-Pierre, Silva and Frank Shamrock. Diaz falls to 7-7 in the UFC and 26-10 (1) overall.
Return of "The Spider"
Silva returned to action after the horrific leg break against Chris Weidman at UFC 168 and he looked to have no long-term effects. He threw good punches and leg strikes and moved quite well throughout the contest and his offensive attacks were on point and as accurate as they've always been. The former champion also mixed in several oblique kicks that were effective. Diaz nullified him in the clinch and did not get caught in the plumb, where he has ended several fights with vicious knees in the past. Silva took a few good shots, but was never in real trouble and landed several nice combinations, one that bloodied Diaz eye, which would need to be stitched after the fight. He fell to the ground in tears afterward, clearly the emotional toll of coming all the way back from the leg injury. He spoke at the post-fight presser about his family wanting him to quit fighting. I think he will come back, but if the man wants to call it a day and put his family first, you can't knock a guy for that. He came back from a horrible injury, so he went out on top, instead of writhing in agony. I still think we will see him one or two times. Will it be for a title shot? We will have to wait and see.
Tyron Woodley splits Kelvin Gastellum
Woodley had an underwhelming performance in a boring fight against Kelvin Gastellum in a catchweight bout at 180 pounds because Gastellum badly missing weight (highlights). Woodley worked with Duke Roufus for a few weeks to prepare for this fight and perhaps he will continue to do so -- it should be of great benefit to him. Roufus will need more than a few weeks to greatly improve Woodley's striking skill set, but he can certainly do so. Woodley earned the split-decision victory and remains a relevant contender in the 170-pound division.
Al Iaquinta takes out Joe Lauzon
Iaquinta looked awesome once again and has now finished Ross Pearson and Lauzon in back-to-back fights (recap here). The Serra-Longo fighter's striking looked outstanding once again and after rocking Lauzon he went in for the kill. Iaquinta has definitely earned a crack against a ranked opponent for his next fight. After the fight Iaquinta gave a heart-warming shout to Bryan Vetell, who was one of his first coaches and a fighter in the IFL on Renzo Gracie's New York Pitbulls squad. Vetell passed away last week.
Miesha Tate out-McManns Sara McMann
If anyone would've said Tate would out-grapple and out-wrestle the Olympic silver medalist, I would've scoffed at them, but that is just what she did (highlights). Tate looked really bad early and got rocked with an overhand right, but she survived. In the second she turned the tide and caught McMann in what was almost a fight-ending guillotine choke. After McMann got out, she gained top control to finish out the round. In the third, she was almost taken down and won the scramble with McMann to regain top position again and dominated the entire round to earn the unanimous decision victory. Tate doesn't get enough credit for her toughness, and this was a great victory for her to keep her in the top of the division as a contender for Ronda Rousey's belt.
Thiago Alves comeback body shot TKO over Jordan Mein
Mein looked awesome in the opening nine minutes against Alves. The 25-year-old put together combination after combination until less than one minute left when Alves connected on a homerun of a body kick right to Mein's gut (watch it here). That kick changed the whole course of the fight and Mein could not recover as Alves pounced on him for the win. Huge win for the Brazilian and he earned a $50,000 "Performance of the Night" bonus on top of it.
Yes, Pete Carrol should've gone to Marshawn Lynch from the one-yard line. However, the play Malcolm Butler made was simply brilliant and probably doesn't happen nine out of 10 times. It was a bad play call, but you have to factor in Seattle's timeout situation and if Lynch doesn't get in also. It is also worth noting the actual throw by Wilson. If he sticks it inside in Ricardo Lockette's gut, he probably scores and no one is having this discussion. Hindsight is always 20/20.