MINNEAPOLIS - For heavyweight Antonio Silva (17-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), the second time proved to be the charm.
Following a disappointing loss to Cain Velasquez in his UFC debut, the Brazilian "Bigfoot" bounced back in impressive fashion with a first-round TKO win over Travis Browne (13-1-1 MMA, 4-0-1 UFC) in the main event of Friday's UFC on FX 5 event.
It was Browne who appeared the more dangerous fighter in the early going, as he fired off powerful overhand rights and teased a few leaping and spinning kicks. Unfortunately, Browne blew out his left knee on one of the first high kicks of the fight, and his mobility would be hampered for the remainder of the contest. Meanwhile, Silva simply covered up to defend the strikes and patiently moved forward while looking for an opportunity to unleash.
That moment finally came as the two started to open up with powerful punches in the pocket. Both landed with crisp right hands, but Browne's left leg buckled as his opponent pushed in, and after Silva landed another powerful right to the chin, he pushed his opponent to the floor and followed up with nasty hammerfists on the floor. Referee Herb Dean gave Browne a chance to recover, but he simply covered up on the floor, and the bout was halted at 3:45 of the opening frame.
With the much-need win, Silva snapped a two-fight losing streak and posted his first UFC victory. In his first opportunity as a UFC headliner, Browne sees a three-fight win streak snapped and can no longer claim an unbeaten record.
In the night's co-main event, welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger (28-6 MMA, 7-2 UFC) earned a unanimous decision over Jay Hieron (23-6 MMA, 0-3 UFC) in a rematch of the pair's 2006 International Fight League contest.
While the contest matched two 170-pounders with impressive records, the bout was a rather tentative affair. Hieron appeared a bit faster in the cage and offered up an impressive array of spinning strikes and kicks to all levels, but he was never really able to land flush. Meanwhile, Ellenberger was content to attack patiently from the outside. While the strategy was effective in scoring points with the judges, it resulted in few highlight-worthy moments.
Nevertheless, Ellenberger earned a win over the first man to ever defeat him and at 7-1 in his past eight fights remains relevant in the UFC's 170-pound title picture. Hieron, competing in the UFC for the first time since 2005, remains winless in the octagon.
"I was doing a lot of defence and counter training for this fight," Ellenberger said after the win. "Jay's a well-rounded fighter. He is quick, athletic and dangerous. It was hard to come into this fight with a gameplan for him.
"It's back to training for me and finding ways to keep improving and making adjustments to my game. It does feel good though to get this win."
Earlier in the night, "The Ultimate Fighter 14" winner John Dodson (14-5 MMA, 3-0 UFC) earned the right to face flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson with a second-round TKO win over promotional newcomer Jussier Formiga (14-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC).
The bout wasn't initially well received from the Target Center crowd, who booed early and often when the pair felt each other out for the majority of the opening round. However, the action picked up the second frame, and Dodson began to find a home for his left hand.
Formiga recovered from a knockdown early in the frame, but Dodson kept the pressure high and scored with another powerful left in the final minute of the frame. The Brazilian grappler toppled to the floor, and Dodson rushed in with a barrage of powerful follow-up punches that forced referee Daryl Guthmiller to halt the fight with 25 seconds left in the second round.
Less than one year after making his debut, Dodson will now challenge for the UFC's 125-pound title. A date for the contest has not been determined, but "The Magician" promised a memorable clash with an equally speedy opponent.
"It's going to be a super-fast fight you've never seen," Dodson said. "You guys have this on DVR, and please rewind it and watch it in slow motion."
UFC on FX 5 had two bouts scrapped in the final 24 hours before the event, as Dennis Hallman vs. Thiago Tavares and Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens were both cancelled.
The former was scratched when Hallman failed to make weight at Thursday's ceremony and then promptly returned home to Washington to deal with what he said were "serious personal family matters." The latter was nixed when Stephens was arrested Friday morning for an out-of-state felony warrant.