Dubai: Uriah Hall battled his emotions and the legendary Anderson Silva, who looked a poor shadow of his former self, to score a fourth round TKO in the headline act as the UFC returned to its home in Las Vegas for a 12-fight card that featured mostly one-sided contests.
Silva (34-11 MMA, 17-7 UFC), one of the all-time greats of MMA who was making his return to the Octagon at the age of 45, showed fleeting glimpses of his once-revered skills but would eventually surrender to Father Time and an opponent who appeared, at times, to be kind to him.
The end came at one minute and 24 seconds in Round 4 as the referee rushed in to save Silva from further punishment, which must have come as a big relief to Hall (16-9 MMA, 9-7 UFC), as much as it was to the Brazilian’s legions of fans watching around the world.
Hall was reduced to tears after he was pulled off the huddled and broken figure of Silva as he surrendered to his emotions and inner feelings.
“I felt bad leading up to the fight, there’s a lot of emotions and we all know Anderson is a ‘G’ and what he’s done for the sport,” said Hall. “So for me to beat him up and potentially kill him is weird.
“Right after the event, all the emotions just came out. Even today, I woke up like, ‘I’m fighting him? So I said I’m sorry.”
Hall is by no means an explosive fighter but even he was able to dominate Silva who has clearly lost his battle with Father Time and must now seriously consider retiring from the sport that was the biggest part of his life for close to two decades.
It would appear that Silva has a fan in Conor McGregor who took to social media to offer some words of encouragement to the Brazilian icon.
“Sad to see tonight, but I say keep going! Real fighters never lose that fire so why try to force it out? Simply put time into finding the correct competition and continue on. The right competition is out there, for all levels and ages. Find it and do what you love to do,” he said on Twitter.
However, UFC boss Dana White, who signed Silva for the fight, had a totally different view after what happened on Saturday night at the Apex Arena in Vegas.
“Look at Anderson. When the fight was over, he couldn’t even stand up to do his interview,” he said in the post-fight interview.
“He had to sit down and do an interview. I made a big mistake and I shouldn’t have let him fight this fight tonight.
“He’s a legend of this sport and he’s a legend of this company, and I did something I disagreed with. I knew I was right, and tonight proved I was right, and Anderson Silva should never fight again.”
White confirmed Silva has one fight remaining on his UFC contract, but said that if Silva insists on continuing he will have to compete for another organisation. “I’m not trying to prevent him from doing anything,” White said. “He’s a grown man and he can do what he wants, and he’s got one fight left with us. I’ll never let him fight here again. I want him to retire. And what I hope that when he goes home his family, he tells him that same thing.
“He’s almost 46 years old. Unless you’re trying to defend your life or save your family, no one at 46 should be fighting.”
Elsewhere on the card, former NFL standout Greg Hardy (7-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) continued his impressive run when he beat Maurice Greene (9-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) by TKO at the 1:12 mark of Round 2 in a heavyweight contest.
“Get in, get out and get it,” Hardy said in his post-fight interview with former champion Michael Bisping. “I will do it again next week.”
Meanwhile Kevin Holland (18-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) became the first fighter to win four fights in a calendar year when he beat Charlie Ontiveros (11-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by first-round verbal submission victory in their middleweight matchup.
Uriah Hall Def. Anderson Silva, TKO — Round 4, 1:24
Bryce Mitchell def. Andre Fili, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) — Round 3, 5:00
Greg Hardy def. Maurice Greene, TKO — Round 2, 1:12
Kevin Holland def. Charlie Ontiveros, submission — Round 1, 2:39
Thiago Moises def. Bobby Green, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) — Round 3, 5:00
Alexander Hernandez def. Chris Gruetzemacher, TKO — Round 1, 1:46
Adrian Yanez def. Victor Rodriguez, KO — Round 1, 2:46
Sean Strickland def. Jack Marshman, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) — Round 3, 5:00
Jason Witt def. Cole Williams, submission — Round 2, 2:09
Dustin Jacoby def. Justin Ledet, TKO — Round 1, 2:38
Miles Johns def. Kevin Natividad KO — Round 3, 2:51