Frank Mir, having dropped five straight UFC fights, was desperately in need of a win at UFC Fight Night 61 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, a predictably prominent figure — both in physical stature and popularity — in his native Brazil — was also coming off of a demoralizing string of fights. That wasn’t ending on Sunday.
Mir landed the first significant punch of the fight, and happened to finish it with that very shot. A sharp left hook did the job, and opened up a barrage of elbows on the ground for Mir. Silva couldn’t respond and was an open target until the fight was finally stopped by referee Mario Yamasaki.
Mir’s knockout of “Bigfoot” came at 1:40 into round one. This was his first knockout since 2008, and first win in MMA since 2011, and one that will certainly get people talking about the Las Vegas resident once again. Can he return to his previous heights and be a serious UFC title contender? That’s another question for another day, but, in a shallow Heavyweight division, he might just crack the top ten with this dust-up.
In the televised co-feature, Michael Johnson outpointed Edson Barboza over three rounds of an upset. The show was topped full of surprising results, but Edson Barboza falling short against Michael Johnson might have been the greatest of them all.
Johnson begun the fight perfectly, with a well-calculated attack and smooth boxing. He avoided the bulk of Barboza’s power shots at was impeccable on the defensive end. This trend would continue for much of the fight, with Barboza hunting for openings and Johnson offering little for him to work off of.
Over the course of the fight, Johnson earned the chance to drill Barboza with punch combinations. The Brazilian fighter is used to brutalizing his opponents, but, from the very beginning, Johnson would have none of it, and his good defensive posture and counter-punching really opened the door to some brutality of his own.
All three judges scored the contest 30-27 for Michael Johnson, who has crept back into the title picture with four straight wins. Barboza’s win streak is snapped at two, as he will be put on his own path to rebuild after this disheartening loss. “The Menace”, Johnson, is no stranger to that, and is primed to make a title run at age 28.
Other results from Brazil:
Sam Alvey KO 1 Cezar Ferreira (Punches)
Adriano Martins SD 3 Rustam Khabilov (29-28, 28-29, 29-28; one of three Brazilians to win on entire show)
Frankie Saenz UD 3 Iuri Alcantara (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Santiago Ponzinibbio UD 3 Sean Strickland (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Marion Reneau SUB 1 Jessica Andrade (Arm Triangle Choke; Women’s Bantamweight fight)
Matt Dwyer TKO 1 William Macario (Superman punch)
Mike De La Torre TKO 1 Tiago Trator (Punches)
Douglas De Silva UD 3 Cody Gibson (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Note: No fight of the night bonuses were awarded for this event, however, Frank Mir, Sam Alvey, Marion Reneau, and Matt Dwyer all received an extra $50,000 for their individual performances.