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Farewell, Fatty Boom-Boom: Reliving Tim Sylvia’s Most Memorable Performances in the Octagon

Sylvia vs. Arlovski II

In his next bout at Fight Night 3, Sylvia would defeat Assuerio Silva via unanimous decision. Rumor has it that he may have shit himself during the bout, but we here at CagePotato do not endorse such libelous and ungrounded rumors (*looks to ceiling and whistles*) (*backs out of room*).

Aaaaanyway, the win would earn Sylvia another crack at Arlovski, who had quickly developed a reputation as an unstoppable killing machine/greatest of all time in Sylvia’s absence (I guess the UFC’s marketing strategies weren’t so different back then after all). And for a brief moment in their battle at UFC 59, it looked like Arlovski was well on his way to thrashing Sylvia once again.

Roughly halfway through the first round, Arlovski caught Sylvia with a monster right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas. It was the very same strike that the champ had used to drop Sylvia in their first meeting, but like Steven Seagal at a funeral, massage parlor, or recruiter’s office, Sylvia simply would not be denied. “The Maine-iac” quickly got back to his feet, shook out the cobwebs, and on legs of jello, clipped an overzealous Arlovski coming in.

It was a victory pulled right from the jaws of defeat, and one that would be solidified when Sylvia defeated Arlovski again in their trilogy-competing fight just two months later.

Sylvia vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

(Check out Sylvia vs. Nogueira in its entirety here.)

After suffering a massive upset to the newly unretired Randy Couture at UFC 68, Sylvia was once again forced back into the heavyweight title hunt. He would bounce back from the tough loss by outmuscling Brandon Vera en route to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 77, and when Couture ran into what would be the first of many legal troubles with his longtime promotion, Sylvia would be paired against PRIDE legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with the interim title on the line.

For two and a half rounds, Sylvia was simply a step ahead of Big Nog, wobbling him with right hands and dropping him on two different occasions. It was one of the former champion’s most impressive performances to date, but as is so often the case when fighting Nogueira, Sylvia’s efforts were merely setting him up for an even more crushing defeat. A little over a minute into the third round, Nogueira pulled guard, swept Sylvia, and snatched up an arm-in guillotine that forced “The Maine-iac” to cry uncle. In a career filled with brutal setbacks, this was arguably the hardest to swallow for Sylvia, who would never fight in the UFC again.

While reflecting on his 14-year stint as Sylvia’s manager, Monte Cox attempted to shed some light on just what happened to Sylvia following his departure from the UFC (via the UG):

Tim came back to win seven of his next eight fights, but he was having trouble making weight as his body started to fail him. Once the hardest training heavyweight, he now simply couldn’t do the same kind of workouts without his knees or back giving out. He trained the best he could and we started taking bouts overseas… Japan, Philippines, Russia… but at the heavier weight, Tim had slowed down and was no longer able to beat the younger fighters. His fighting spirit remained, and he battled to the end, but it wasn’t the same Tim.

It would be over a year before Tim was close to another fight. A couple other fights were scheduled, but injuries prevented him from competing. This time he stayed healthy training, but couldn’t get the weight off. He weighed in at a career-high 350 pounds for his Mohegan Sun Casino fight (reports were 371, but that was actually his weight when he started training). In the end, it was an MRI that convinced him to call it quits. Because he is now 40, an MRI was required for him to fight and the results showed some damage. The doctor told me the MRI could mean nothing, or could be serious. But they wouldn’t take a chance and let him fight.

Tim agreed it wasn’t worth risking his life to continue fighting and made the right decision. He announced it in the cage where he was supposed to be fighting.

Which brings us to Sylvia’s most memorable moment of them all…

This Training Video

Come on, we had to have a *little* fun at Timmeh’s expense. BRIIIIIIIING MEEEEEEEEE TOOOOO LIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE!!!

Pay tribute to a true legend of the game by sharing your favorite Tim Sylvia memories with us in the comments section. 

-J. Jones

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