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UFC Fight Night 40 Recap

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If the 2014 Fight of the Year doesn't go to Saturday night's Matt Brown-Erick Silva fight in Cincinnati, then we're going to see one of top-10 fights in UFC history before the year is over.

In a thriller for the ages, the seventh-ranked Brown shook off a slow start to brutally beat the extremely-game Silva by third-round knockout. Brown hooked up his backers like me with a +200 payout (risk $100 to win $200). Gamblers backing 'over' 1.5 rounds at a -130 price were winners, as 'under' supporters suffered a heartbreaker.

Silva landed a vicious body kick that forced Brown to double over in pain in the opening minute. From there, Silva pounced on Brown, took his back and spent the next two minutes working for a submission and landing shots. But Brown defended extremely well and escaped back to his feet with two minutes remaining.

Then the hometown fighter went to work on the Brazilian, sending the crowd at U.S. Bank Arena into a frenzy. Brown peppered away at Silva's face and body with an incredible array of knees, punches, elbows and kicks. Silva was in deep trouble and badly hurt, but he somehow survived one of the best first rounds in UFC history.

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Brown roared out of his corner and went back on attack to start the second round. He landed big shots for 20 seconds before Silva responded with another body kick that hurt Brown again. He recovered more quickly this time, however, and never left his feet. It was a short-lived momentum shift for Silva, who was eating strikes galore again.

But yet once more at the midway point of the second stanza, another body kick from Silva halted Brown's assault. The pace and was insane, the crowd was electric and 'The Immortal' was dominating, but he couldn't seem to put Silva away.

The inevitable happened at the 2:10 mark of the third round, as referee Herb Dean finally stepped in to stop the carnage. Brown called for a title shot and who the hell could scoff at that notion after that performance? He's won seven in a row and has looked better every time out. Silva had to leave the Octagon on a stretcher.

Brown took home an extra 100 large after getting the Fight of the Night bonus and one of two Performance of the Night honors.

When asked about what's next for Brown, Dana White said, "We're going to do something special for him." Hector Lombard is a possibility and at worst, Brown should get a title shot with a win. Then again, I'm ok with Brown getting the next crack at Johny Hendricks' welterweight strap.

When asked about his performance, Brown said, "I just did what I do."

In the co-main event, Lorenz Larkin took on Constantinos Phlippou as a -270 favorite. This was another stand-up war with both men standing in the pocket and banging away at each other. Both men landed huge shots on each other for four minutes, but a combination from Philippou put Larkin to sleep.

Philippou hooked up his backers as a +220 underdog and that wasn't the only generous winner in this middleweight scrap. Bettors taking 'under' 1.5 rounds cashed nice tickets in the +210 range.

Many in the industry, including this guy, were perplexed to see Daron Cruickshank as an underdog as generous as +400 versus Erik Koch at some books Saturday afternoon. In the 2-3 hours before the fight, the number came down a bit but you could still back 'The Detroit Superstar' for a payout in the +260 range.

Cruickshank floored Koch with a couple of huge bombs and then finished the bout in ground-and-pound fashion late in the opening round. The 'under' (2.5 rounds) was an easy winner at a -110 price.

The underdogs barked at a frenetic pace all night, going 8-2 in the televised card on Fox Sports 1 and 2. The 'chalk' hit in the first three bouts on Fight Pass.

Neil Magny was another puppy who came through, winning a decision over Tim Means as a +230 'dog. The 'over' (2.5 rounds) was a winner at a -120 price.

The only heavyweight fight on the card pitted heavily-favored Soa Palelei (-325) against Ruan Potts in his Octagon debut. Palelei improved to 3-0 in the UFC and 21-3 overall with another win by first-round KO. The 'under' (1.5 rounds) was a winner for those risking the wager at expensive rate (-200).

Chris Cariaso won a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Louis Smolka as a +125 underdog in the opener of the main card on Fox Sports 1. Cariaso picked up his third straight win and improved to 7-3 in the UFC. Ed 'Short Fuse' Herman won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 twice) over Rafael Natal in a middleweight scrap. Herman hooked up his backers with a nice +160 payout (risk $100 to win $160). Natal was -160 for most of the week, but his price increased into the -200 range late Saturday afternoon.

Herman bloodied up Natal with strikes in the second and third rounds. Natal had success in the first round with a series of leg kicks and a takedown, but it was all Herman for the last 16 minutes of the bout.

Kyoji Horiguchi beat Darrell Montague via UD as a -210 'chalk.'

Zak Cummings took a unanimous decision (29-28 twice, 30-27) over Yan Cabral as a lucrative +425 'dog.

The biggest underdog on the board came out a winner when Johnny Eduardo, who was in the +600 range at most books, knocked out fourth-ranked bantamweight Eddie Wineland late in the first round. Wineland's defeat probably busted up a bunch of parlays and cost his chalk-eating backers more than eight units.

Eduardo landed a huge right that stunned Wineland and backed him up. Eduardo came forward with another huge right that floored Wineland and prompted referee Herb Dean to intervene.

There were three fights on the preliminary card televised on Fight Pass. Nik Lentz (-600), Justin Salas (-320) and Albert Tumenov (-270) collected victories in expensive 'chalk' situations.

  
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