Posted 07/18/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA

Top MMA Moments of 2013 Part 2

By Mike Fagan, July 18th, 2013

We’re counting down the best MMA moments of this year (so far). Click here for part one.

5. Wanderlei wrist rolls in Japan

The last time Wanderlei Silva fought in Japan Mirko Cro Cop clipped the top of his head with a cemetery kick and sent him involuntarily crashing to the canvas. That was 6.5 years ago. In the interim, he surrendered his long-held middleweight title to Dan Henderson on the penultimate Pride show, dropped a past-its-prime-but-still-cool! super fight with Chuck Liddell in the UFC, and found himself on the wrong side of a Chris Leben knockout.

This wasn’t the same Wanderlei Silva that had ravaged Pride for the better part of the early aughts. The UFC scheduled him in the main event of the second Japan show in the Zuffa era against Brian Stann. Stann was coming off a loss to Michael Bisping, but was still considered a fringe top 10 middleweight (though the fight would take place at 205 pounds). Most thought Silva would go out on his shield one last time in the country that built his career. He entered the fight a near 3-1 underdog.

Stann’s gameplan should have been simple. Throw straight punches, don’t get drawn into Wanderlei’s game, and maybe throw in a takedown or two. Instead, Stann fell for Silva’s aura. Admitting post-fight that Wanderlei was the fighter that inspired him to get in the game, Stann engaged in a firefight with Silva, and ended up looking into the rafters at the Saitama Super Arena.

For longtime fans, it was a moment on par with Minotauro Nogueira’s victory over Brendan Schaub in Brazil in 2011. And what many thought would be Silva’s swan song ended up as the final fight of Brian Stann’s career. Stann retired four months later.

4. Bigfoot Silva lets Alistair Overeem know what he thinks of him

There was bad blood here. Overeem, already that sort of confident-bordering-on-cocky personality that rubs people the wrong way, only needed to get through Bigfoot Silva to get his shot at heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez. Perhaps it was with the inevitability that Overeem spoke of said title shot that riled Bigfoot up.

For a while, that inevitability seemed to play out. Overeem outstruck Silva in lackluster fashion en route to winning rounds one and two. Whether through confidence, fatigue, or some combination of the two, Overeem’s hands fell ever so slowly in the third round.

It took Silva only 25 seconds into the third to erase the previous ten minutes. A series of strikes sent Overeem backward into the fence. A right hand dazed him. And then a flurry of punches knocked him in and out of consciousness standing until Herb Dean stepped in, allowing Overeem’s body to fall limp to the canvas. Dean was forced to step in once more as Silva came back over to let Overeem know just how he felt about him.

3. Jimmy Lennon Jr. announces the Marquardt-Saffiedine result

Scott Coker’s baby only survived seven years in the MMA business. Born into the arms Frank Shamrock and Cesar Gracie, Strikeforce’s journey began in the friendly confines of San Jose’s HP Pavilion before branching out north and east. When former partner EliteXC folded, Strikeforce stepped into their Showtime deal, and eventually landed a spot on CBS after going further east into Russia to sign former no. 1 heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.

While Strikeforce’s growth provided a (and perhaps the last) legitimate number 2 alternative to the UFC, it also may have contributed to its downfall. Coker’s business partners unease grew with the costs of running a true national promotion, ultimately selling out to the UFC itself.

Zuffa heads Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta announced they would continue running the organization. And they did. Sort of. They purged talent. The scheduled slowed. Strikeforce put on 16 events in 2011. They scheduled 8 between 2012 and 2013, running only 6 of them. The writing was on the wall, and on December 20, 2012, Coker announced that their January 12 show would be their last.

The last event resembled very little of what made the promotion what it was. Four of the five main card bouts were one-sided squash matches. The faces that built the organization – Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Nick Diaz, Frank Shamrock – weren’t scheduled to fight. (Shamrock was on broadcasting duties.)

But the show ended on a somewhat satisfying moment. Strikeforce prospect Tarec Saffiedine defeated UFC castoff Nate Marquardt to become the last Strikeforce welterweight champion.

2. Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche stare down in the Octagon

Women’s MMA didn’t suddenly appear when Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche met as headliners at UFC 157. The female side of the sport found itself on a national stage thanks to EliteXC and Strikeforce and Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Justine. Women had been fighting for much longer than that in Japan and in promotion’s like Hook ‘n’ Shoot based out of Indiana. Hell, it wasn’t even the first women’s fight under the Zuffa banner.

But it still meant something for two women to not only step into the UFC’s Octagon, but to find themselves as top bills. Nevermind that the matchup was a safe squash for Rousey, two women were going to fight under the UFC name. This just months after UFC President Dana White’s claim otherwise.

The future of women’s MMA in the UFC will an interesting study going forward. It’s unlikely the UFC would revert back to an all-male format so long as Ronda Rousey remains the face, but just ask lightweights around in 2003 what it’s like to have a division taken away.

1. Anderson Silva’s half-conscious body claws at Herb Dean’s leg

It’s always fun to read these lists and wonder if the author will go with the obvious number one, or if he’ll reach broadly, spitting in the face of logic in order to shock and awe and annoy.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint you, dear reader. We’re still less than two weeks out from Chris Weidman’s division-changing upset of Anderson Silva, but I assure you, recency bias played no part here.

Silva’s lost before. He’s lost in embarrassing fashion to embarrassing opponents, but he never lost like THIS. Weidman shrugged off Silva’s clowning attempts to get into his head, pressed forward, and landed a left hook on the back end of a four-punch combo, catching Silva’s prone jaw right on the button.

And that was all it took. Herb Dean stepped in, Silva grasped at his legs in the way that newly unconscious fighters do, and Weidman became the middleweight champion of the world.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes.