Frank Mir put an end to his four-fight losing streak. | Photo: Buda Mendes/UFC/Zuffa/Getty
Frank Mir brought down the monster.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder closed the book on a four-fight losing streak, as he knocked out Antonio Silva with a left hook and follow-up ground strikes in the UFC Fight Night “Bigfoot vs. Mir” main event on Sunday at Gigantinho Gymnasium in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Mir finished it 1:40 into round one, leaving the cage victorious for the first time in more than three years.
Silva did not offer much in terms of resistance. After an initial punching burst, Mir clipped the Brazilian on the chin and sent him to the canvas. The 35-year-old Las Vegas native afforded Silva no time to recuperate, as he pounced with punches and then elbows, the second of which knocked “Bigfoot” unconscious for a brief moment and forced referee Mario Yamasaki to act. The victory allowed Mir to quiet critics who had called for his retirement and put him in position to move forward in what remains a rail-thin division, if he so chooses. Silva, meanwhile, now finds himself in a four-fight rut, with losses to Mir, Andrei Arlovski and Cain Velasquez surrounding a draw with Mark Hunt.
In wake of UFC Fight Night “Bigfoot vs. Mir,” here are six matchups that ought to be considered:
Related » UFC Fight Night By the Numbers
Frank Mir vs. Matt Mitrione: When Mir entered the cage, more than 1,000 days had passed since his most recent win -- a bone-breaking submission on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140 on Dec. 10, 2011. Losses to Junior dos Santos, Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem had followed, leaving him as something of an afterthought in a division he once ruled. While no one will confuse the knockout against Silva as a rebirth, it does buy Mir time in a sport about which he remains passionate. Mitrione has delivered three straight first-round finishes against Shawn Jordan, Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Michael Johnson vs. Benson Henderson: Sometimes you just have to give a man what he wants. Johnson put together arguably the most impressive performance of his career in taking a one-sided unanimous decision from Brazilian muay Thai machine Edson Barboza in the co-main event. The Blackzilians representative had Barboza on his heels from the start, as he paired hyper-aggressive forward pressure with four-, five- and six-punch combinations. Johnson has rattled off four straight wins and continues to build equity inside the loaded 155-pound weight class. Afterward, he jockeyed for a matchup with former champion Henderson, who moved up to 170 pounds and submitted Brandon Thatch on short notice on Feb. 14.
Edson Barboza vs. Myles Jury: Barboza stubbed his toe yet again in attempting to climb the lightweight ladder. The former Ring of Combat champion never got in gear against the aforementioned Johnson, as he was forced into a constant state of retreat. Barboza landed several blistering kicks to the body, but the fight-altering blow he needed never materialized. The defeat halted his two-fight winning streak. Alliance MMA’s Jury -- who holds a 2012 victory over Johnson -- last appeared at UFC 182 in January, when he suffered his first pro setback in a unanimous decision defeat to Donald Cerrone.
Sam Alvey vs. Daniel Kelly: Team Quest’s Alvey is becoming something of a cult hero. According to FightMetric data, the onetime Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder threw only four punches against Cezar Ferreira but nevertheless delivered a stunning finish in front of the Brazilian’s countrymen. Alvey absorbed a number of punishing kicks from “Mutante” before he felled the Vitor Belfort protégé with a clean left hook and then put him on ice with unanswered standing-to-ground punches. He has won six of his past seven bouts, a decision loss to Tom Watson in his UFC debut the lone misstep. Kelly, a four-time Olympian, remains undefeated nine fights into his MMA career. The 37-year-old Australian judoka captured a unanimous decision from an overweight Patrick Walsh on Feb. 14, their forgettable three-round encounter drawing copious amounts of criticism from the masses.
Adriano Martins vs. Rashid Magomedov: The 32-year-old Martins has lost to only two men in the last five years: Cerrone and Francisco Trinaldo. The former Jungle Fight champion sprang the upset on Jackson-Wink MMA representative Rustam Khabilov, as he walked away from his latest outing with a split decision over the Dagestani grappler. Martins was cautious but opportunistic throughout the 15-minute encounter, turning the tide with a late second-round knockdown and eventually improving his mark to 3-1 inside the Octagon. The once-beaten Magomedov has won 11 consecutive fights. He last competed at a UFC Fight Night event in December, when he stopped Elias Silverio on third-round punches.
Marion Reneau vs. Amanda Nunes-Shayna Baszler winner: Reneau has wasted no time in breaking down walls in the UFC. The 37-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt submitted the favored Jessica Andrade with a first-round triangle choke and planted her flag firmly in the soil of the women’s bantamweight division. Reneau, who trains under Cleber Luciano and former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Doug Marshall, lured the Brazilian into the fight-ending choke after eating a barrage of punches and falling to her back. Nunes will meet Baszler as part of the UFC Fight Night “Maia vs. LaFlare” lineup on March 21 in Brazil.