Matt Brown dragged Erick Silva into the deepest of waters. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Matt Brown persevered in a fight of near unimaginable quality.
The man known as “The Immortal” stopped former Jungle Fight champion Erick Silva with standing-to-ground punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night “Brown vs. Silva” headliner on Saturday at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Having absorbed untold amounts of punishment, Silva (16-5, 4-4 UFC) finally wilted 2:11 into round three.
Brown (19-11, 12-5 UFC) shook off a pair of horrific body blows from the Brazilian -- the first one a kick, the second a punch -- that had him doubled over in obvious distress. Silva also had him in danger on the ground, scoring with a first-round takedown before transitioning to the Ohioan’s back and going to work on a rear-naked choke. Brown escaped to stage a dramatic comeback, slashing away with a series of vicious standing elbows. Punches, knees and more elbows flew next, forcing Silva to retreat to the canvas. Brown met him there with a ruthless standing kick to the body.
In the second round, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 quarterfinalist greeted Silva with a takedown before moving to full mount. Brown then softened him with punches before surrendering his position with an attempted armbar and triangle choke.
Silva had little left in the tank by the time round three arrived. Brown scored with a takedown inside the first minute and tore into him with ground-and-pound, opening a cut near his left eye with a clean elbow to the head. One final salvo of standing-to-ground punches led referee Herb Dean to intercede on Silva’s behalf.
“I just did what I do,” said Brown, who has won his last seven fights. “I didn’t think it was that good of a fight. I didn’t feel my best at all tonight. It’s my first main event, in my home state, close to my hometown. The pressure got to me a little bit. Once I started feeling the groove of the fight, I started pulling things together.”
Philippou Halts Skid, Stops Larkin
Bellmore Kickboxing Academy’s Costas Philippou threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak in decisive fashion, as he knocked out Lorenz Larkin with a savage two-punch combination in the co-main event. Philippou (13-4, 6-3 UFC) brought down the Millennia MMA export 3:47 into round one.
The two middleweights traded heavy fire throughout their brief encounter. Larkin (14-3, 1-3 UFC) turned to his kicks but failed in his bid to keep the Cypriot at a safe distance. Philippou closed in, clipped Larkin with a left hook against the cage and sent him into a nose dive with a crushing straight right to the face.
“Whatever it is I had lost, I found it tonight,” Philippou said. “I put in the work and it paid off.”
Underdog Cruickshank Blasts Koch
Daron Cruickshank wiped out Roufusport’s Erik Koch with a first-round head kick and follow-up ground-and-pound in a lightweight showcase. Cruickshank (15-4, 5-2 UFC) closed the deal 3:21 into round one, winning for the ninth time in 11 appearances.
A feeling-out period gave way to the Cruickshank head kick. Koch (14-4, 3-3 UFC) fell face-first to the canvas before retreating to his back. Once there, he was met by a barrage of unanswered punches and elbows that left referee Gary Copeland no choice but to step in on the World Extreme Cagefighting veteran’s behalf.
Magny Outworks Means to Decision
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 semifinalist Neil Magny posted his second straight win, as he picked up a unanimous decision over former two-division King of the Cage champion Tim Means in a featured welterweight contest. Magny (10-3, 3-2 UFC) carried the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 marks from the judges.
Means (20-6-1, 2-3 UFC) failed to establish a rhythm despite being the aggressor for much of the fight. Magny secured takedowns in all three rounds, slowing his opponent’s advances and keeping the momentum in his corner. In the third, he weathered a thudding knee strike from Means, scored with a takedown and advanced to mount before transitioning to his back.
The 30-year-old Means has lost his last three bouts inside the Octagon.
Streaking Palelei Plants Potts
Soa Palelei knocked out South African newcomer Ruan Potts with brutal first-round ground-and-pound from full mount in a heavyweight showcase. Potts (8-2, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to the numbing power of “The Hulk” 2:20 into round one, his modest three-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Palelei (21-3, 3-1 UFC) struck for a takedown inside the first minute, dodged an attempted guillotine and eventually moved to full mount. The Australia-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt postured into position, rendered Potts unconscious with one crushing left hand to the face and added a few follow-up blows before the referee could intervene.
The 36-year-old Palelei has won 11 consecutive fights, nine of them first-round finishes.
Cariaso Downs Prospect Smolka
Chris Cariaso leaned on his polished, versatile standup game and a few well-timed submission attempts in settling for a split decision over the previously unbeaten Louis Smolka in a featured flyweight scrap. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Cariaso (17-5, 7-3 UFC).
Cariaso did his best work in the second round, where he piled up points with punches and kicks, moved to the Hawaiian’s back and executed a beautiful outside trip takedown. The 32-year-old California-based kickboxer also threatened Smolka (7-1, 1-1 UFC) with a power guillotine choke late in the frame.
Perhaps sensing he was down on the scorecards, Smolka made his move in round three, where he briefly mounted Cariaso and let loose with some effective ground-and-pound. However, the 22-year-old prospect’s late surge proved futile, as he experienced the sting of defeat for the first time.
‘Short Fuse’ Herman Outpoints Natal
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 finalist Ed Herman won for the second time in three fights, as he earned a unanimous decision over Gracie Fusion’s Rafael Natal in an undercard pairing at 185 pounds. All three judges scored it for Herman (22-10, 9-6 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
The two middleweights fought to a virtual stalemate through two rounds, frequently engaging in the clinch. Having weathered a series of powerful leg kicks from the Brazilian, Herman found another gear in the third. There, he pursued Natal (17-6-1, 5-4-1 UFC) with relentless forward movement and tore into him with occasional bursts of power punches.
Horiguchi Wins Seventh Straight
Onetime Shooto champion Kyoji Horiguchi utilized exquisite lateral movement, blinding hand speed, accurate punches and crushing kicks to the body, as he took a unanimous decision from Darrell Montague in a preliminary flyweight tussle. Horiguchi (13-1, 2-0 UFC) swept the cards by 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 scores, delivering his seventh straight win.
Montague (13-4, 0-2 UFC) had his moments -- he was most effective over the first five minutes -- but could not keep the promising Japanese prospect at bay. Horiguchi nearly finished the Millennia MMA standout in the second round, swarming the Californian with accuracy and aggression. Montague survived the onslaught but appeared to be out on his feet as he stumbled back to his corner at the end of the frame, victimized by a number of straight right hands to the face.
Though his pace slowed down the stretch, Horiguchi struck for a takedown in round three and battered the former Tachi Palace Fights titleholder with standing-to-ground punches.
Cummings Hands Cabral First Loss
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 qualifier Zak Cummings recorded his fourth consecutive victory, as he captured a unanimous decision from the previously unbeaten Yan Cabral in an undercard matchup at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Cummings (17-3, 2-0 UFC).
Cabral (11-1, 1-1 UFC) moved to a quick lead, as he lured the American into his guard in the first round and threatened him with a triangle choke.
Cummings was undeterred. He turned the tide in round two, pairing superb takedown defense with short punches to the head and kicks to the body. In the third, Cummings mounted the Nova Uniao-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, transitioned to his back and neutralized him on the mat. He later dodged a kimura, swept to top position and closed out the bout with a volley of left hands on the ground.
Eduardo Upsets World-Ranked Wineland
Nova Uniao’s Johnny Eduardo stunned the heavily favored Eddie Wineland, as he knocked out the former World Extreme Cagefighting champion with a pair of wicked right hands in the first round of their preliminary bantamweight encounter. Eduardo (27-9, 2-1 UFC), who had not fought in nearly two years, finished it 4:37 into round one.
Wineland (21-10-1, 3-4 UFC) never seemed comfortable. Eduardo scored with leg kicks and countered effectively throughout their brief battle, steering clear of his counterpart’s notoriously heavy hands. The 35-year-old Brazilian staggered Wineland with a counter right and put away the Duneland Vale Tudo representative with a clean shot to the jaw. Eduardo has won 13 of his past 14 fights.
Lentz Cruises Past ‘The Anvil’
Tight punching combinations, brutal knee strikes from the clinch and multiple takedowns carried American Top Team’s Nik Lentz to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 finalist Manny Gamburyan in an undercard clash at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Lentz (25-6-2, 9-3-1 UFC).
“The Carny” bottled up Gamburyan (13-8, 4-6 UFC) against the fence, unleashing knees to the head, body and legs. Lentz landed his most effective blows in the second round, where one of his knees resulted in serious damage to the Armenian judoka’s right eye. Gamburyan spent much of the remainder of the bout on the defensive, wincing in pain as swelling continued to build.
Lentz, 29, has rattled off four wins in five appearances since throwing out his anchor in the featherweight division.
Salas Stops ‘Smashes’ Alum Wall
Grudge Training Center export Justin Salas put away Ben Wall with first-round punches in a preliminary lightweight affair. Salas (12-5, 3-2 UFC) drew the curtain on “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” graduate 2:21 into round one.
Wall (7-2-1, 0-2 UFC) was on the defensive from the start. Salas closed the distance, stayed in the Australian’s face and attacked with close-quarters punches. A right hand followed by a straight left sent Wall crashing to the canvas, where a series of clubbing blows brought the match to a close.
Surging Tumenov KOs Lapsley
Albert Tumenov knocked out former King of the Cage champion Anthony Lapsley with a searing left hand in the first round of their undercard scrap at 170 pounds. Tumenov (13-2, 1-1 UFC) finished it 3:56 into round one, winning for the ninth time in 10 outings.
Lapsley (23-7, 0-2 UFC) never posed much of a threat. Tumenov floored him with an early left hook, sprawled out of attempted takedowns and trapped the 34-year-old against the cage. Another left brought it to a close, as referee Keith Peterson moved in to save Lapsley from further punishment.