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Hunt-Silva heavyweight draw given rave reviews


When fights end in a draw, social media typically turns angry with every fan who’s ever signed up for Twitter or Facebook using the platforms to bash whichever guy they think lost, the judges and the entire system.

There was none of that Friday night after one of the great heavyweight fights in Ultimate Fighting Championship history between Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was announced as a majority draw.

It was a difficult to find a dissenting opinion about the main event of UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, Australia, in which the fighters took turns launching assaults on each other for 25 minutes.

When it was over, both were swollen, bloody and exhausted.

It didn’t take long for the accolades to start pouring in for the bout, which the Review-Journal scored 48-47 for Silva.

UFC president Dana White, who was not in attendance at the event, was excitedly tweeting throughout the bout.

“Both Hunt and Silva win (fight of the night bonuses) and both get their win bonus and I might buy them both their own private islands!!!! Sickest (heavyweight) fight ever!!!” White posted.

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who will defend his belt against Joseph Benavidez in the main event of UFC on Fox 9 in Sacramento, Calif., was entertained.

“It was a war. It was good to see and definitely awesome to watch,” Johnson said Monday.

Benavidez agreed, though he was quick to point out the differences between the heavyweight bout and what fans will see from the UFC’s smallest weight class during his fight Saturday night, when movement and technique is will be more highlighted.

“I think it was definitely an awesome fight. I’m a big fan of both guys. The way they both went out there and showed their heart and determination was pretty amazing,” Benavidez said. “It was one of the best fights of the year, but you hear a lot of people say one of the best heavyweight fights of the year. If that happened at a smaller weight, it wouldn’t necessarily be great. It’s just that much different. It goes back to you get a big guy to fight like a small guy and they’re super dangerous, but if you get a small guy fighting like a big guy, we wouldn’t be very good.

“I think it was an amazing great fight. They deserve every bonus there. But I don’t think you’re going to see that from us.”

■ DEL ROSARIO DIES — UFC heavyweight Shane del Rosario died in a Southern California hospital Monday afternoon, nearly two weeks after being admitted following a heart attack.

UFC officials confirmed Del Rosario died at Hoag Memorial Presbyterian Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., where he was taken after being found unconscious in his home on Nov. 26.

The organization issued a statement after the fighter’s death.

“The Ultimate Fighting Championship mourns the tragic loss of heavyweight competitor Shane Del Rosario, who has passed away at the age of 30. Del Rosario suffered a heart attack on Tuesday, Nov. 26 as a result of what doctors believe to a congenital heart disorder, according to his manager Jason House.

“The entire organization sends its deepest condolences to Shane’s family and friends.”

Del Rosario, a former pro kickboxer, began his MMA career with 11 straight wins before joining the UFC. He lost his only two fights in the organization, the last of which was last December against Pat Barry on a card at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Del Rosario had been scheduled to fight at UFC 168 at MGM Grand on Dec. 28, but withdrew because of a rib injury a week before going into cardiac arrest.

■ BROWN, DODSON OUT — A welterweight contender bout between Carlos Condit and Matt Brown has been scrapped from Saturday night’s UFC on Fox 9 card in Sacramento, Calif.

Brown, on a six-fight winning streak, has two herniated discs in his back and was forced to withdraw from the bout.

Condit, seeking another shot at the 170-pound belt after losing to champion Georges St. Pierre in November 2012, released a statement through his manager.

“I was greatly disappointed to hear of Matt Brown’s injury. This was a fight that I was looking forward to immensely, and I know it was a fight the fans have been excited to see,” the statement read. “When the fight does happen, I promise that the wait will be worth it. Right now I’m going to spend time with my family over the holidays and hope that Matt heals up quickly so that we can reschedule this fight soon.”

John Dodson also had to pull out of his scheduled flyweight fight with Scott Jorgensen on the card, but he has been replaced by Zach Makovsky.

Makovsky is a former Bellator flyweight champion. His fight against Jorgensen will air as part of the live preliminary card coverage on Fox Sports 1 (Cable 329).

■ EVENTS SET — A pair of early 2014 events are shaping up with official dates and main events announced.

Daniel Cormier will make his long-anticipated debut at light heavyweight in the main event of UFC 170 on Feb. 22 at Mandalay Bay, where he will face former champion Rashad Evans.

Cormier, an unbeaten former Olympic wrestler, was one of the top contenders at heavyweight. He decided to drop down to 205 pounds because of his close friendship with training partner Cain Velasquez, who holds the heavyweight belt.

A welterweight bout between contenders Demian Maia and Rory MacDonald has also been announced for the card.

The event had prematurely been announced last month with a title fight between Glover Teixeira and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones as the main event. Jones, however, said he needed more time before getting back into a training camp.

That fight has now been announced as the main event for UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas.

In addition to the main event, a welterweight bout between Hector Lombard and Jake Shields has been attached to the card.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

 

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