Just a few months ago, back in March, the UFC returned to the U.K. for the first time since prior to the pandemic, putting together a highly successful UFC London card at the O2 Arena.
On Saturday night, the promotion was back at that same venue for an encore performance, with a welterweight fight between Cláudio Silva and Nicolas Dalby kicking off the preliminary card.
Off the opening bell on Saturday, Silva immediately pursued a takedown, driving Dalby up against the fence. Dalby fought it off, showing impressive balance as the pair moved across the octagon with Dalby still on one leg. After about a minute, Silva finally got the fight down, and in mere seconds he moved to mount. Dalby tried to buck Silva off, to no avail. Silva, in response, began firing right hands to the side of Dalby’s head.
By the final minute of the round, Dalby had shrimped back to the fence, and was sitting upright against it. But Silva was still on him, delivering a fair bit of damage, and soon Dalby was on his back again.
Round two found Dalby firing a leg kick, and it looked as if we might get a bit of a firefight for a moment. But Silva timed a takedown perfectly, changing levels and driving through. Dalby was on his back again, and though he powered up along the fence, Silva took the back and dragged him down again. Dalby rolled from side to side while Silva clamped down on a body triangle and hunted for a rear-naked choke. But Dalby turned in and reversed, getting on top! With three minutes left in the round, he hand plenty of time to work from inside Silva’s closed guard.
Dalby landed a big elbow and some short punches from there, while Silva fought hands. But Silva was able to scramble out and up— although he was visibly drained, allowing Dalby to easily stuff a couple of sloppy takedown attempts. Dalby then found a home for his right hand, and later another. Dalby began firing knee after knee in a clinch up against the fence. Silva was rocked, shaky on his feet, but the seconds were ticking away in the round! A left landed for Dalby just before the buzzer, and they’d head to a third.
When they went to the ground early in the third round, it was Dalby on top and in control. Silva had his guard closed, but Dalby found enough room to sneak in a few elbows. Silva tried to throw up a triangle, to no avail, and exhaustion was clearly a factor for the Brazilian.
When Silva escaped out, Dalby fired a high kick that nearly landed flush. Silva fired a body kick, but Dalby launched several more kicks, and landed with a heavy left hand. Silva then changed levels, landing a takedown with just over a minute left. Surprising just about everyone, Dalby threw up an omoplata, but it was more of a defensive move as he tried to roll through and reverse the position. Silva would end up on top only for Dalby to scramble free just prior to the final horn.
A fun start to the UFC London card saw Dalby awarded the decision, winning the second and third rounds to get the nod from the judges.
Official Result: Nicolas Dalby def. Claudio Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)