Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - If Thiago Silva was gun-shy in his first fight since losing for the first time against Lyoto Machida in January, he certainly didn’t show it in the UFC 102 co-main event at the Rose Garden Arena, as he blasted Keith Jardine into defeat in just 95 seconds Saturday night.
“Tonight was my night,” said Silva, now 14-1. “I’m back.”
By Thomas Gerbasi
PORTLAND, OR, AUGUST 29 –If Thiago Silva was gun-shy in his first fight since losing for the first time against Lyoto Machida in January, he certainly didn’t show it in the UFC 102 co-main event at the Rose Garden Arena, as he blasted Keith Jardine into defeat in just 95 seconds Saturday night.
“Tonight was my night,” said Silva, now 14-1. “I’m back.”
Jardine (14-7-1) opened the bout with a flurry that missed, but his follow up kick to the leg landed to a thud. The next kick Jardine threw was caught by Silva though, and the Brazilian took the fight to the mat. Jardine quickly got to his feet and went back to work as Silva looked to counter, and counter he did, drilling “The Dean of Mean” with a left hook that dropped him to the mat. The follow-up barrage from Silva finished Jardine off, bringing in referee Herb Dean to halt the bout at 1:35 of the opening round.
“This fight was very important to me because I love fighting here,” said Silva. “UFC is my life.”
After a series of spectacular submission victories that led him to an 11-0 record, the only question that remained about middleweight contender Demian Maia was how he would react when caught by a flush shot from a world-class foe. Nate Marquardt asked that question early with a big right hand, and at the 21 second mark of the first round, he had scored the biggest victory of his UFC career, handed Maia his first pro loss, and moved ever closer to a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
“I want that belt and I don’t know who’s gonna get the next shot, but if you want someone who’s gonna kick Anderson Silva’s butt, you’re gonna give that shot to me,” said Marquardt, who was stopped by Silva in July of 2007.
Marquardt, who sent Maia airborne with the finishing blow, forcing referee Dave Hagen to halt the bout when the stunned Brazilian hit the deck, improves to 32-8-2; Maia falls to 11-1.
Jake Rosholt got his first UFC victory in a big way, submitting Portland veteran Chris Leben in the third round of a hard-fought middleweight bout.
The pace was tactical for the first two minutes, with Rosholt (6-1) breaking the ice with a knee to the head that was followed by a Leben takedown. While on the mat, Rosholt did a good job of nullifying Leben’s attack, and he was quickly able to get back to his feet, only to take Leben to the canvas with a little over a minute to go. Rosholt scored some points on the mat before getting back to his feet, and though Leben (18-6) chased Rosholt wildly, he was unable to get even before the end of the round.
Encouraged by his strong first round, Rosholt got more aggressive on his feet early in the second, but after landing a hard shot, Leben cracked him with his trademark left hand and soon Rosholt was on the mat, with Leben working his ground and pound. With less than two minutes left, the fight resumed on the feet, and Leben had the spark he needed, but Rosholt wasn’t done yet, and he was able to get a takedown at the four minute mark that allowed him to score with some strikes before the bell.
Rosholt opened the final stanza with a takedown, and he began exerting control immediately, eventually sinking in an arm triangle. And even though referee Yves Lavigne missed what looked to be a tap from Leben, Lavigne halted the bout a moment later at 1:30 of the round.
The bout was dead even at 19-19 after two rounds on two judges’ scorecards. The third score read 20-18 for Rosholt after two.
In the light heavyweight opener, Brandon Vera scored his second straight victory at 205 pounds, unanimously outpointing Krzysztof Soszynski over three rounds.
All three judges scored it 30-27 for Vera, who improves to 11-3; Soszynski falls to 19-10-1.
“It was a good fight,” said Vera. “Krzysztof’s a tough dude. I wished I could have knocked him out.”
Soszynski went right at Vera at the opening bell, but ‘The Truth’ was cool under the initial assault, sending his foe backwards with a body kick. Soszynski jumped right back into the fray, but the early question was whether his aggressive attacks would be enough against Vera’s more technical striking. With two minuted gone, Soszynski bulled Vera against the fence, but the Californian was able to work his way free and bring the fight back to the center of the Octagon as Soszynski nursed a cut under his left eye. Soon after, the two locked up and traded knees against the fence to a stalemate, and it was Vera ending the round on the positive side with an elbow to the head just before the bell.
Mimicking his first round attack, Soszynski engaged with Vera immediately to start round two, and he scored well. Vera was able to get his distance though, and that’s where he fought best, as he fired off kicks from long range. When Soszynski got within grasping range in the final minute, he effectively muscled Vera against the fence before scoring a takedown. Vera got up immediately, yet was ineffective the rest of the round.
With the fight still up for grabs, Vera went on the attack to start the third, getting a rise out of the crowd with some flashy striking. Soon the bout reverted to its previous pattern, with Soszynski nullifying Vera’s offense with smothering inside work that drew boos from the crowd. Midway through the round, Vera turned the tables with a leg trip takedown, and after some ground strikes, he looked for Soszynski’s back as the two rose, but the Ultimate fighter alum was able to escape further danger outside of a low knee that forced a brief halt to the action. Once the bout resumed, the two light heavies began to engage, with the faster Vera holding a slight edge until the final horn sounded.