LAS VEGAS – Match-by-match coverage of Saturday's Ultimate Fight Night from the Pearl at the Palms Hotel.
Light heavyweights: Anderson Silva (22-4) def. James Irvin (14-5-1)
How: TKO, 1:01, round one
Key moment: Silva caught an Irvin kick, landed a crushing straight right and finished him on the ground.
Analysis: The best fighter in the world lived up to his billing in his move up to what turned out to be a heavyweight battle. UFC middleweight champion Silva, ranked No. 1 in the Y! Sports pound-for-pound poll showed the power that has made him a destructive force at middleweight and could make him a factor at light heavyweight. The loss is devastating for Irvin, who did nothing and got squashed by a fighter who had been competing 20 pounds lower. The victory was Silva's eighth in a row.
Light heavyweights: Brandon Vera (9-2) def. Reese Andy (7-2)
Judges scores: Unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Yahoo! Sports score: 30-27 Vera
Key moment: There were none. The fight was horrible and sleep inducing.
Analysis: If this is what Vera is going to fight like at light heavyweight, send him back to heavyweight.
Lightweights: Frankie Edgar (9-1) def. Hermes Franca (19-7)
Judges scores: Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Yahoo! Sports score: 30-27 Edgar
Key moment: Edgar repeatedly took Franca to the ground and pounded him relentlessly.
Analysis: Edgar showed great resilience, coming back from a loss to Gray Maynard by dominating Franca. Franca was fighting for the first time in a year, since ending a steroid suspension, and he offered little. Edgar beat him up thoroughly.
Heavyweights: Cain Velasquez (4-0) def. Jake O'Brien (10-2)
How: TKO, 2:02, round one
Key moment: Velasquez took O'Brien down in the opening seconds and pounded the veteran wrestler until referee Steve Mazzagatti mercifully stopped it. Velasquez trapped one of O'Brien's arms with his legs and had the other behind his head and then pounded away.
Analysis: Velasquez is a superstar in the making and did nothing to diminish that billing Saturday. He looks good in all areas of the game and will be ready for upper-level MMA fighters before much longer.
Welterweights: Kevin Burns (8-1) def. Anthony Johnson (5-2)
How: TKO, 3:35, round three
Key moment: Burns ended the fight by poking his finger into Johnson's eye as he was throwing a left. Referee Steve Mazzagatti didn't see it and when Johnson went down and covered it up, declared it a technical knockout.
Analysis: Johnson won over a large portion of the crowd by the way he fought and then by the class he showed afterward in forgiving Burns. Johnson controlled the bout with his strikes and had two big slams, so the loss shouldn't hurt his standing in the division.
Middleweights: C.B. Dollaway (8-2) def. Jesse Taylor (7-3)
How: Peruvian neck tie submission, 3:58, round one
Key moment: Dollaway controlled most of the fight, but Taylor had his moments when he was doing some ground and pound. As Dollaway was getting up, Taylor fired a right at him that Dollaway avoided. Taylor wound up out of position and Dollaway managed to land the submission.
Analysis: Dollaway needed a win after losing two of his past three fights. He was highly touted during Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter, but then lost twice to Amir Sadollah. He looked good Saturday, though Taylor showed little offense. He didn't seem to have a game plan and was outclassed on this night.
Middleweights: Tim Creduer (11-4) def. Cale Yarbrough (0-1)
How: TKO, 1:54, round one
Key moment: Creduer landed a hard right that shook Yarbrough and had him backing up and on the defensive until Creduer finished him off.
Analysis: The fight pitted the veteran Creduer against the rookie Yarbrough, who was making his pro debut. Yarbrough is supposedly a kickboxer, but he looked uncomfortable on his feet against Creduer, who is a submission guy. Creduer looked good, but Yarbrough's inexperience was obvious and it's difficult to gauge Creduer as a result.
Welterweights: Rory Markham (16-4) def. Brodie Farber (13-4)
How: Knockout, 1:37, round one
Key moment: Markham had just taken a hard punch to the jaw when he let go of a highlight reel kick to the head. Farber simply fell flat on his back, knocked out, and stayed down for several minutes.
Analysis: The fight was spectacular during the short period it lasted. They were trading strikes, but Farber seemed to have the edge. Markham, though, responded with an unreal kick to the head that is guaranteed to be on UFC highlight reels for years. Markham is a former IFL fighter who was once regarded as a hot prospect. He'll get another chance based upon that kick on Saturday.
Middleweights: Nate Loughran (9-0) def. Jonny Rees (10-1)
How: Triangle choke, 4:21, round one
Key moment: Loughran slowly used his jiu-jitsu to move into position for the finish from the time the fight hit the ground, though he took a lot of punishment in the process.
Analysis: Both fighters proved they have a future in the UFC. Both came in undefeated and fought like they're quality fighters. Rees closed Loughran's right eye and opened a bad cut outside the left, but Loughran showed excellent jiu-jitsu and worked the triangle. It's early, but that could win Submission of the Night.
Welterweights: Brad Blackburn (13-9-1) def. James Giboo (11-3)
How: TKO, 2:29, round two
Key moment: Blackburn's striking was far superior to anything Giboo brought. He ended it with a left-right-left combination, all of which were hard, and referee Steve Mazzagatti decided to halt it.
Analysis: Giboo is a high school biology teacher who is a ground specialist. But he looked weak in all aspects against Blackburn, who was repeatedly landing his right. Blackburn was hurting Giboo with every punch and Giboo seemed like he might be better competing in smaller shows.
Lightweights: Shannon Gugerty (10-2) def. Dale Hartt (5-1)
How: Rear naked choke, 3:33 round one
Key moment: Gugerty wriggled free of a guillotine attempt and gained the dominant position.
Analysis: Both fighters were making their UFC debuts. Gugerty works with Dean Lister and is an excellent jiu-jitsu fighter. He spent hours before the fight working on his striking, but when crunch time came, he relied on his jiu-jitsu to earn an impressive victory. The loss likely won't hurt Hartt, a charismatic type who came out very aggressive and briefly had Gugerty in trouble.