Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia made a successful return to the cage Friday night, Sept. 18, in Council Bluffs, Iowa as he defeated rising prospect Jason Riley with a first round TKO.
With three losses in a row, this was a must win fight for “The Maine-iac.” He said prior to the fight that if he could not defeat Riley there was no reason for him to keep competing.
For a time Sylvia considered branching out into professional boxing. However, after a very quick KO loss to elderly ex-boxing champ Ray Mercer, Sylvia realized that trying to start a boxing career at his age was not the smartest move.
For Jason Riley, the opportunity to fight Tim Sylvia was a dream come true. He even stated prior to the bout that it was such an important fight for him he would have fought “The Maine-iac” for free.
As the fight started, Riley came out swinging for the fences, hoping to land a big shot much like Mercer and Emelianenko had done in Sylvia’s last two bouts. Riley connected on a couple of shots but big Tim was still standing, unshaken.
Sylvia looked much like the Tim Sylvia of old; the big Tim that was once at the top of the heavyweight food chain in the UFC. He picked Riley apart, blow by blow, wearing him down with jabs and punches. In spite of what happened in the Mercer fight, Tim does have good boxing for MMA.
At the 2:32 mark of the first round Sylvia landed a left hook to the temple of Riley that sent him to the canvas. Sylvia followed it up with rapid hammer-fists. The referee stepped in and Riley was done. And just like that Tim Sylvia is back in the game.
No, Riley is not a top ten competitor, nor is he ready for the UFC; but he was a 6-1 legitimate threat, and big Tim proved he is far from finished. MMA is such a strange game. It is easy to forget everything a person has done and can do after a loss, even more so after a string of losses.
At the very least, Sylvia has found his drive again. Although he looked leaner than in his last fight, he did say he still needs to lose some weight.
In his post-fight interview, Sylvia said he may be headed to Japan for his next fight. The big guy may never be invited back to the UFC, but then again… stranger things have happened.
In another highly anticipated fight on the “Arenaline MMA IV” card, Houston Alexander defeated Sherman Pendergarst via first round TKO in the co-main event. For complete details of all the action check out the PROMMA.INFO play-by-play commentary and results.