BRISBANE, Australia – At some point, there aren't words left to describe Mark Hunt's fight with Antonio Silva.
Slugfest. Rock'em-Sock'em Robots. Bloodbath. Fight of the Year.
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Whatever you want to call it, Hunt (9-8-1 MMA, 4-2-1 UFC) and Silva (18-5-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) beat each other up for 25 minutes, both refusing to go down for good. When it was all over – either mercifully, for the fighters, or shamefully, for the fans – the fight ended in a majority draw. Hunt took a 48-47 score from one judge, but two others scored it 47-47.
The heavyweight bout was the main event of UFC Fight Night 33 event at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Australia.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout – making a draw almost an acceptable way for it to end. Both fighters had turns nearly getting finishes of the other. Perhaps most surprisingly, it was Hunt who did better work on the ground against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Silva kicked 30 seconds in and switched stances to keep Hunt outside. It was more than a minute in before Hunt threw his first real punch, and he narrowly missed with a big right hand as Silva slipped and was quickly back to his feet. Silva continued to work for high kicks, but the shorter Hunt stayed just out of the way of them before coming inside again. Midway through, on a big exchange, Silva landed a right hand and dropped Hunt. He pounced, but Hunt got back to his feet and seemed to be unaffected.
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Thirty seconds into the second, Hunt pushed forward. But Silva kept his hands high to defend. Silva swung big over the top and missed, and seconds later Hunt connected with a right hand of his own – arguably his best strike of the bout. Moments later, he got inside again and got the better of an exchange, his confidence seeming to gain. But Silva kept working kicks, and he drilled Hunt's left leg and buckled it. It forced Hunt to change to southpaw stance, and he limped back to his corner.
Silva drilled the kick again right away in the third, but Hunt took him down. After some exchanges along the fence, Hunt landed a right that Silva survived. But he wouldn't stay upright on the second one. Hunt landed through the middle and Silva hit the canvas. He jumped into Silva's guard and worked ground-and-pound, trying to get the finish. From half-guard, he kept Silva's left arm pinned and landed elbows from the top, then hammerfists. But Silva survived the onslaught to see the fourth frame.
Silva swung immediately in the fourth and missed, then landed a big leg kick. But Hunt came back at him right away before the two clinched up. Silva looked to be the more tired of the two, but on the break, he landed nicely with a pair of right hands. A minute in, Hunt drilled a double-leg takedown along the fence and again went to work from his guard. Back on the feet, Hunt landed some giant elbows, his height disadvantage going right out the window. But Silva landed a big knee and then punches behind it. Hunt somehow managed to walk through them and landed his own bombs. But a takedown attempt resulted in "Bigfoot" on top delivering punishment while Hunt tried to reverse out. With a minute left, Silva got to full mount and started landing punches and elbows. He opened Hunt up in a big way – but he couldn't finish him.
The headhunting continued in the final frame as the two managed to stay upright in the first minute – but Hunt landed better. An elbow cut Silva open, and Hunt came behind it with three left hooks. Silva shot, exhaustedly, for a takedown only to have Hunt slip it. More left hands from Hunt wobbled the big man, and he came inside to try to get the finish. "Bigfoot" held on and tried to clinch up. With his back against the cage, Silva tried to defend as Hunt came inside. But with three minutes left, the referee stopped things to have a Silva cut looked at – and the doctor said he could tontine. Midway through, Hunt stayed calm inside and landed repeatedly – only to have Silva fire back and land. The two took turns trying to finish each other late, but neither could get it done.
The instant response on social media was that the fight was an instant classic, one with no losers, both literally and figuratively.
UFC Fight Night 33 results:
-- Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva declared majority draw (48-47 Hunt, 47-47, 47-47)
-- Mauricio Rua def. James Te Huna via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:03
-- Ryan Bader def. Anthony Perosh via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
-- Soa Palelei def. Pat Barry via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:09
-- Clint Hester def. Dylan Andrews via TKO (injury) – Round 2, 5:00
-- Bethe Correia def. Julie Kedzie via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-- Takeya Mizugaki def. Nam Phan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-28)
-- Caio Magalhaes def. Nick Ring via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-- Justin Scoggins def. Richie Vaculik via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:43
-- Krzysztof Jotko def. Bruno Santos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
-- Alex Garcia def. Ben Wall via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:43
Matt Erickson writes for MMAjunkie.com, a property of USA TODAY Sports Media Group.