If you missed last night’s main event, it can be summed up rather simply: Father Time did it once again.
Anderson Silva seemingly listened to critiques of his recent performances. He did a better job of walking the line between necessary aggression/volume and recklessness. Silva cannot afford to just throw kicks at this stage of his career and hope opponents walk into counters; he has to initiate some exchanges. At the same time, his moments of charging forward have seen him dropped several times in recent years.
In the first round, we saw perhaps the best Silva could do. He kicked actively at the legs and mid-section, landed some good strikes with his lead hand, and when Silva did press the action, he remained fairly unpredictable — and therefore hard to counter.
The second round saw Silva struggling to keep up with his own game plan. A huge part of Silva’s legacy is his creativity, but in this bout, he seemed to run out of ideas and retreat into himself.
Uriah Hall did everything possible to let Silva win this fight for nearly three full rounds. He did not press Silva. He did not feint actively. He barely targeted Silva’s legs, which are notoriously fragile at this stage of the game. After the first round, Hall’s coach was pleading with him to throw combinations and stop backing straight into the fence with his hands low.
Hall was totally willing to overly respect Silva, stay hesitant, and give Silva every opportunity to score the upset win in his final fight ... and it still didn’t happen.
Back to the fight: between the second and third rounds, both corners implored their fighters to throw more punches. The second was simply too close. Ultimately, both men obliged.
Silva did well early. For a time, it appeared he may be able to recreate that first round, simultaneously leading the dance and staying safe. However, Hall was no longer so willing to just jab. He started throwing his right hand, and “Prime Time” drops absolute hammers.
Once Hall actually started committing to his right, the fight was pretty much over. Silva hung around a bit too long in an exchange, and a right to the temple crumped him. A few more seconds would have ended the fight, but Silva was able to gut through and survive to the bell.
Age may degrade durability and reactions, but Silva’s heart and grit endured. It’s perhaps the only silver lining I can find in the whole affair.
It was too late for Silva to put the rabbit back in the hat. Hall fired his right hand and almost immediately dropped his opponent — that positive reinforcement was too strong to ignore. Hall continued trusting his right into the fourth, resulting in Hall catching Silva mid-stance switch with a quick right.
It was a quick shot that put down an opponent way out of position. In all honesty, it reminded me of Silva’s own knockout win over Forrest Griffin, in which one last pop proved all that was necessary to put down a wounded, charging foe.
That’s one hell of a role reversal.
For complete UFC Vegas 12: “Silva vs. Hall” results and play-by-play, click HERE!