3rd Star: Erick Silva
Originally I wasn’t going to put Erick Silva as one of my three stars, given that he did what was he was supposed to do. Being a -1100 favourite and defeating a 9-to-1 underdog in quick devastating fashion. However, his knockout of the welterweight king of Pancrase, Takenori Sato really was a breath of fresh air on a card that just seemed to keep dragging on with decision after decision—eventually tying the UFC record with 10 total decisions on the card. Silva threw a few impressive heel kicks with Sato grabbing onto his leg attempting the single leg takedown, but it was ultimately the hammerfists that put Sato out and ended the fight in just 52 seconds. Earning himself a $50,000 performance of the night bonus in the process. Erick Silva now looks to regain some steam after this victory, having lost 2 of his last 3 coming into this fight.
2nd Star: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
A huge 5-to-1 favourite coming into this fight against the frenchman, Francis Carmont–who was on an 11-fight win streak and had been undefeated in 6 UFC fights, Jacare still managed to put on an impressive performance. Although he did not get the finish, not for lack of trying, as he had Carmont’s back for a near 4 minutes to begin the fight, coming close to securing a rear naked choke several times. This was followed by a less than impressive second round, in which Souza let Carmont get comfortable on the feet. But came the 3rd round where Jacare seemed to flip the switch, got the takedown and again poured it on Carmont in an attempt to finish. ‘Jacare’ eventually walked away with the unanimous decision victory, and had announced post-fight that he suffered an arm injury coming into this fight. Souza won his 6th straight fight dating back to Strikeforce, and has nicely positioned himself for a shot at the UFC middleweight title, but he will have to compete with the other victorious middleweight on the card, Lyoto Machida, for the shot.
1st Star: Nicholas Musoke
I’ll admit, it was tough to find a real 1st star that stood out amongst the rest on this UFC Fight Night 36 card, but I ultimately went with the Swedish fighter, Nicholas Musoke, who survived being on the brink of defeat to come back and win a unanimous decision. Aided by the premature celebration of opponent Viscardi Andrade, Musoke got dropped in the 1st round with a huge punch from Andrade but quickly recovered to survive the round. Musoke came out in the 2nd showing no ill effects from the knockdown in the 1st, working his standup and mixing in a takedown against a fading Andrade. Musoke proceeded to dominate the 3rd, scoring a takedown and delivering ground and pound from top position for the entire round, on way to a unanimous decision victory. This performance was similar to his first UFC fight, where he got dropped by Alessio Sakara and also came back to win—both times showing a great chin and resiliency. This was Nico’s return to his natural weight class of 170lbs, after making his UFC debut on short notice at middleweight. He improves to 12-2, winning his 2nd fight in the UFC in as many appearances, and is unbeaten in his last 8 fights.