(Photo via Esther Lin| MMA Fighting)
Antonio Silva is every bit the monster the UFC’s hype machine have promoted him as but champion Cain Velasquez once more proved to be too quick for “Bigfoot.” Just as he did one year ago in their first meeting, Cain wasted little time in stopping Silva in the first round, via ground strikes.
“Pezao” absolutely earned the title shot he received Saturday night – he has a list of victims that include two former UFC heavyweight champions, former long-time pound for pound kingpin Fedor Emelianenko and, most recently, Alistair Overeem – but Velasquez once more proved that the combination of his quickness, relentless pace and striking power are very hard to beat. In the post fight press conference, Silva objected to the stoppage by referee Mario Yamasaki, saying it was premature and that he allowed Velasquez to hit him to the back of the head illegally.
“I do agree the fight was stopped too early,” the Brazilian said.
“It’s clear watching it that I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck.”
It was also clear that Silva was out of the fight altogether before he hit the ground, after Velasquez clipped him with a left and hammered him with a right. Strikes to the back of the head being illegal is one of the least clearly defined, hard to enforce and altogether counterproductive to realistic sport fighting rules that exists in MMA, besides. At the least, fighters should not be allowed to hide behind the rule while laying prone, face down.
Yamasaki did his job and protected Silva from taking more damage by stopping the bout after it was clear Antonio could not move himself out of danger but before the brave fighter was beaten senseless.
Grant vs. Maynard Goes On Too Long
The referee officiating TJ Grant and Gray Maynard’s lightweight contender’s bout can’t say he did the same. Grant dropped Maynard with flush punches and knees to the chin multiple times and delivered more clean punishment to a defenseless Maynard while on the ground before the referee stepped in all too late and called a halt to the bout.
Maynard was out of the fight from the first nasty jaw shot that he took and did nothing to avoid or mount his own offense during many, many shots afterwards from Grant. It all happened quickly but when a fighter does nothing but fall over and over again, he’s been done for awhile and the referee should have recognized this earlier than he did.
The “stakes” of a fight, whether it is a number one contender’s fight like Maynard’s and Grants, or a title bout, shouldn’t matter when it comes to deciding how long a fighter should be allowed to take a beating.