Despite the lack of big-name matchups on the UFC Fight Night 33 card, it turned out to be a rather memorable event thanks to the entertaining five-round slugfest between Antonio Silva and Mark Hunt that capped off the affair.
A few other combatants also did their part to turn what some originally considered a weak fight card into an action-packed event, while others failed to live up to expectations.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from the UFC Fight Night 33 fight card held on Dec. 7, at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Queensland, Australia:
1. Antonio Silva and Mark Hunt
No surprise here, these two put on one of the most engaging fights of the year, giving MMA fans 25 minutes of pure entertainment. Silva and Hunt alternated winning rounds during the bout, and they both survived their share of tough moments.
Hunt and Silva refused to quit despite being bloodied up, leading to what will undoubtedly go down as one of the best fights in 2013.
In the end, the judges ruled the bout a draw, and, even though it seemed like Silva edged it out, most who watched the fight would probably agree that was a fair decision.
UFC president Dana White was so thrilled with their performance; Silva and Hunt were awarded with “Fight of the Night” honors, the extra $50,000 apiece that came along with it, and their win bonuses.
2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Many MMA fans wondered whether Rua still belonged inside the Octagon after Chael Sonnen walked right through him at UFC Fight Night 26, and the Brazilian gave them a clear answer when he stepped inside the cage with James Te Huna. Shogun put the Aussie to sleep with a left hook to the chin 63 seconds into their UFC Fight Night 33 showdown, reminding us that all he’s still a dangerous light-heavyweight.
The win earned Rua the “Knockout of the Night” award and an extra $50,000. Not bad for a guy who Dana planned to have the “retirement talk” with if he lost.
3. Debuting fighters Alex Garcia and Bethe Correia
These two made strong statements during their first fight under the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s banner. Garcia made quick work of his opponent, Ben Wall, at UFC Fight Night 33, putting the Australian away with a savage uppercut 43 seconds into the first round of their encounter.
Correia was also impressive during her UFC debut, securing a split decision against respected veteran Julie Kedzie. Her striking technique was solid, she threw lots of hard shots, and she looked extremely relaxed inside the Octagon. Correia should fit in nicely with the rest of the gals in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s women’s bantamweight division.
Notable mentions: Ryan Bader and Soa Palelei.
1. Pat Barry
With his UFC Fight Night 33 loss to Palelei, Barry has now lost three of his last four fights inside the Octagon. At this point in his career, Pat seems to go down whenever his opponents find his chin, so, despite the fact he’s an entertaining fan-favorite, it’s hard to see him lasting much longer in the UFC if that trend continues.
2. James Te Huna
After falling short against Glover Teixeira earlier in the year, Te Huna was in perfect position to prove he’s a serious contender in the 205-pound division, but he ended up suffering his second consecutive first-round loss. That makes him 0-3 against top contenders (Rua, Teixeira, and Alexander Gustafsson), failing to make it out of the first round in all three fights.
3. Anthony Perosh
Perosh built up some momentum with his 14-second knockout victory against Vinny Magalhaes, but that didn’t mean much when he stepped inside the cage with Bader at UFC Fight Night 33. Perosh wasn’t able to get much going during the fight, failing to win a single round on any of the three Octagon-side judges’ scorecards. And he also took a lot of punishment.
At 41 years-old — with remote odds of ever securing UFC gold, retirement might be Perosh’s best option.
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