Chuck Liddell combined some new takedown tactics with his familiar striking skills as he won his Dec. 29 mixed martial arts
by unanimous decision over Wanderlei Silva at Ultimate Fighting Championship 79 in Las Vegas.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for the former Cal Poly wrestler, who snapped a two-fight losing skid with the win over the former PRIDE middleweight champion. The victory marked the first of the year for the "Iceman," with his last win coming on Dec. 29, 2006, when he knocked out Tito Ortiz.
Liddell and Silva exchanged powerful punches from the opening bell and kept the capacity crowd on its feet for the duration of the three-round brawl.
In the second round, Liddell was dropped to the mat after eating a Silva punch but quickly rose again. He then pinned the Brazilian on the fence and connected with a left elbow--which split Silva's right eye open and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Liddell opened the final round with a double leg takedown--a skill he honed while competing on the wrestling team at Cal Poly. Moments later, Liddell successfully used another unusual tactic as he connected with a spinning backfist and followed up with barrage of headshots. In the closing seconds, Liddell once again took Silva to the mat and held on for the victory.
"He had a lot better chin than I thought he did," Liddell told the audience after the fight. "I hit him with a lot of shots real hard but he still kept coming."
With the win, Liddell improves to 21-5 and Silva falls to 31-8-1.