CINCINNATI — In the mixed martial arts world, Cincinnati has long been considered the home of former middleweight Ultimate Fighting Champion Rich Franklin.
Not any more.
Jamestown native Matt Brown proved to the world that he deserves a shot at the UFC welterweight title. After surviving a submission choke hold early in the first round of his five-round fight with Brazilian Erick Silva, the no. 7-ranked Brown dominated the action the rest of the way to claim a third-round technical knockout victory, Saturday at US Bank Arena.
“I think a lot of people in this town have felt it was Rich Franklin’s town, you know what I mean?” UFC president Dana White said moments after Matt Brown had sent Silva to a nearby hospital for observation.
“Cincinnati’s Brown’s town, now,” White said.
With a flurry of elbows and punches to Silva’s face, the fight was stopped with 2:11 in the third round.
As Brown’s corner workers ran in to congratulate their fighter for a job well done, Silva’s cornermen and medical personnel ran to his aide. It was nearly a half hour before EMTs carried the 14th ranked Brazilian out of the ring. He gave the crowd of 6,143 a thumbs up as he was carried off.
In an interview with UFC Brazil, Silva said he was unable to explain how tired he suddenly felt from late in the first round on. He said he wanted to walk out of the ring, but the medical staff made him go out on the traction board as a precaution.
White said Silva was being treated for a possible broken jaw and a concussion.
Silva said he received 12 stitches to his forehead, but that he was otherwise okay. He thanked the Cincinnati fans for their support. “I hope to learn from this and continue fighting in America,” he said in the article.
Franklin was the UFC’s middleweight champ in the mid-2000s. Brown said he had trained with Franklin when he was first getting involved in mixed martial arts fighting. He said he was flattered to be mentioned in the same breath with Franklin.
Brown was also impressed with how Silva was able to take so many shots during the fight.
“I can’t say anything but good things about Erick. That was pretty amazing on his part, too. Being able to catch me cold and put me down, and then to be able to withstand more punishment than anyone else has withstood from me before,” he said. “I just do what I do. It’s my first main event in my home state. The pressure got to me a little bit. Once I settled down, I got going.”
He almost didn’t have a chance to get going.
Silva, a kung-fu specialist, typically finishes off his opponents with a first-round submission hold, and Saturday looked to be no different. Barely 30 seconds into the fight, Silva caught Brown with a right kick to the stomach that caused the Ohioan to buckle and fall to the mat against the octagon fencing.
Silva charged in and quickly had Brown in a submission choke hold. But with the fans chanting “Matt! Matt! Matt! Matt!,” Brown eventually muscled his way out of the Brazilian’s grip roughly two minutes later, and took over the fight from that moment on.
“I was hurt pretty bad. He got my stomach, not my rib. I wasn’t really warmed up,” Brown said. “My power wasn’t really there today, maybe he’s that tough. When I usually hit people with those punches, they go down. He kept fighting.”
Brown was the aggressor in the second round. With the fans now chanting “USA! USA! USA!,” Brown began a series of right and left punch and elbow combinations to Silva’s head.
In what turned out to be the final round of the match, Brown performed a shooting takedown that took Silva down roughly one minute into the round. He then began a series of punches and elbow hits while Silva did his best to fend off the flurry from the mat to no avail.
With Silva bloodied and unable to defend himself, the match official called the fight.
Brown hopes his performance will earn himself a shot at current welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
“Let me make this clear: I’m not going to call it a title shot, I’m going to call it a title fight. Because I’m not going to take a shot at the title, I’m going to take the fight,” Brown said.