Once-feared former UFC heavyweight champion Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia took one more step closer to relevance this weekend by scoring a knockout win over Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello. While far from being a relevant heavyweight himself anymore, Buentello is still a respected fighter and Sylvia defeated him handily, earning himself a measure of respect in the process.
The first round would tell the tale of the whole fight, the bigger, longer Sylvia used his weight and distance to land effective strikes and wear Buentello down by leaning on him against the cage. Despite a few restarts prompted by referee “Big” John McCarthy, the fight had a fair amount of action and Sylvia proved that he can still hang with technically sound fighters. Knowing that Sylvia had the first round in the bag, Buentello entered the second with a bit more urgency and scored well with punches and movement early, though it would not be long before Sylvia pressured “The Headhunter” back against the cage and eventually scored the fight-ending uppercut. With the uppercut, Syliva left Buentello splayed out on the canvas and earned the barely-significant Powerhouse World Promotions heavyweight title.
Sylvia is now on a three-fight win streak with victories over the little-known Jason Riley, world’s strongest man Mariusz Pudzianowski and, now, Paul Buentello. He is apparently to make his first title defense against fellow heavyweight bruiser Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo sometime in the future. Sylvia had seemed to have faded into irrelevance after leaving the UFC on the heels of a loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, losing handily to Fedor Emelianenko in the now-defunct Affliction promotion, then ballooning up in weight and losing by first round-knockout to aging boxer Ray Mercer. Sylvia still seems to have put his best days behind him and his chances against any of the UFC’s current crop of heavyweight contenders would not look good but at least now he is earning wins over competition that is not laughable.