Ultimate Fighter 11 winner Court McGee returned at UFC Vegas 27 on Saturday — with his back to the wall against Brazil’s Claudio Silva.
McGee had lost three straight, most recently to “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit back in October. McGee’s status as a veteran and TUF champ was likely what had paved the way for another shot in the octagon, but he was paired up with a very dangerous Silva whose only loss in six UFC bouts had come to James Krause.
McGee vs. Silva started out at a spirited pace, with McGee eating a head kick early. After a couple of exchanges on the feet, McGee landed a well-timed takedown, planting Silva on his back right in the middle of the octagon. McGee went to work in guard, and with both men dry and Silva nowhere near the fence, he had plenty of time to make something happen. But instead, Silva scrambled out, and was soon working on a single-leg takedown of his own, which McGee fought off. Some more exchanges were dotted throughout the round, with McGee likely ahead on the scorecards.
The second round had McGee a little lighter on his feet, and he connected early before closing the distance and looking for a clinch. Silva broke free, and before long, it was the Brazilian completing a double-leg takedown. McGee was quickly to a knee, wall-walking up by the fence. He’d sprawl, stuffing the next takedown, then wind up on top in guard. With three and a half minutes remaining in the second, that gave McGee lots of time to get something done. A scramble would ensue, however, with Silva trying for a heel hook. McGee took that opportunity to land some heavy punches on his opponent, likely the most significant of the fight. McGee put his opponent back done, landed some ground n’ pound, then locked in an arm-triangle choke. Silva trapped McGee’s leg, holding on to prevent him from getting in position, and even still just barely survived the attempt.
With McGee likely up 20-18 heading into round three, and Silva already looking tired in the second, the Brazilian would no doubt need a finish in the third. Silva looked understandably desperate in the third, and no less tired. McGee easily planted him on his back, eating up clock, and by the midway point of the round, Silva was still struggling to make it back up. And when he did make it up, McGee immediately changed levels and took the Brazilian back down. McGee finishes the round strong, looked solid the entire fight, and was rarely in any danger.
In other words, it was exactly the performance he was looking for.
Official Result: Court McGee def. Claudio Silva by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)