SAN JOSE, November 19 - Kill the retirement talk. Wanderlei Silva isn’t going anywhere after a hair-raising come-from-behind win over Cung Le in the UFC 139 co-main event at HP Pavilion Saturday night that saw the Brazilian legend turn back the clock to the glory years when he was one of the sport’s most feared knockout artists. See post-fight interview
Dropped in the first round by a nasty Le spinning backfist, Silva dominated round two with hard punches over his fading foe, who was badly hurt after a right head kick-right hand combination. Silva, renowned as one of the game’s best finishers, furiously attacked and further punished the San Jose, Calif., hero with knees to the face and punches. A bloodied and battered Le fell to the canvas, and shortly thereafter the referee halted the bout at 4:49 of round two.
“Man, it’s an amazing moment for me,” an emotional Silva (34-11-1, 1 No Contest) said. “Everybody has tough moments in life -- but never give up. If you just work hard, you can (do it).”
The southpaw and highly unorthodox Le, a former Strikeforce champion and occasional movie star, had seemed in control through the bout’s first 3 and ½ minutes. As fans in his hometown chanted “Cung Le! Cung Le!” he damaged the former PRIDE champion with spinning backfists and spinning backkicks, along with a varied assault of kicks and punches. For a time it did not seem Silva would last until the final horn, let alone dramatically turn the tide.
In the end, as Silva predicted, many fans in the pro-Le crowd were chanting, “Silva! Silva! Silva!”
“He hit me hard,” Silva said. “He’s a real tough guy. He kicked me hard. After I hit him, I felt in that moment the finish.”
URIJAH FABER VS. BRIAN BOWLES
Dominick Cruz, get ready champ, because it’s you and “The California Kid” one more time. The rubber match between the heated bantamweight archrivals was born after Faber choked out former World Extreme Cagefighting kingpin Brian Bowles at 1:27 of round two. See post-fight interview
“That’s how you finish fights,” Faber said. “Dominick, you can run but you cannot hide, boy. Put some gel in that hair … Let’s do some work. Let’s do battle.”
Bowles (10-2) hung tough in the opening stanza, though Faber’s speed seemed to cause him trouble. The Alpha Male head honcho avoided Bowles’ dangerous right hand and was busier with his punching combinations. For good measure, Faber cinched the round with a takedown and ground and pound.
In round two, Faber (26-5) turned up the heat. He faked a takedown and Bowles bit – leaving himself wide open for a vicious right uppercut that wobbled the Athens, Ga., fighter and left him searching for his wits. Faber swarmed, unleashing a hail of punches on his gutsy foe, who courageously survived the fistic onslaught but could not find his way out of a mounted guillotine choke.
“I know that Bowles is very tough and mentally tough, and that’s my biggest thing,” Faber said, “so I felt like I could go anywhere with this fight.”
RICK STORY VS. MARTIN KAMPMANN
Coming off two razor-thin losses to Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields, Denmark’s Martin Kampmann rebounded by inching past Rick Story in an exciting welterweight bout that saw both fighters drawing plenty of blood in the fight’s opening minutes. See post-fight interview
The heavy left hand of Story repeatedly cracked Kampmann throughout the bout, and the Washington state native also went hard to Kampmann’s body. But Kampmann (18-5) answered with hard shots of his own and timely takedowns, busting up Story’s face along the way. The difference in the fight may have been a couple of Kampmann takedowns in the second and third rounds as Story (13-5) seemed to tire and lose steam on his punches. Late in the third round, Kampmann came close to securing a rear naked choke but the final horn sounded.
Ringside judges awarded the Xtreme Couture fighter a split decision via scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29.
STEFAN BONNAR VS. KYLE KINGSBURY
This matchup began in typical Bonnar fashion – with a riveting standup war, including a moment in the first round when both fighters simultaneously wobbled each other with hard right hands. But the back-and-forth slugfest proved short-lived as Bonnar, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Sergio Penha, repeatedly scored takedowns and dominated Kingsbury with ground and pound and threatening chokes. See post-fight interview
Kingsbury, with a bloody nose and welted eye, survived the onslaught but lost via unanimous decision (30-27 across the board). Normally a crowd favorite, Bonnar fielded boos from fans at HP Pavilion arena for depriving them of a toe-to-toe war.
“I’m not used to fans booing my fights but it’s hard to get wins in here. I felt I had good control on the ground, so I didn’t want to risk it and do something silly,” said Bonnar, who improved to 17-7.
In a most unusual gesture, Bonnar (partner to a “Punch Buddies” side business that makes cartoonish skits about fighters) said he had thought about “calling out” Josh Koscheck for a fight because the frosty-haired UFC welterweight had been miffed that Bonnar made a t-shirt bearing his likeness. Instead Bonnar conceded he was in the wrong and apologized to Koscheck for not seeking his approval before making the shirt.
Kingsbury, meanwhile, fell to 11-3 with 1 No Contest.
UFC 139 Main Card Results - The Axe Murderer is Back in Business
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