The flyweight division in mixed martial arts is easily overlooked, with none of the major American promotions putting 125-pounders in the cage. But the flyweights usually put on a show when they get the opportunity, and that was certainly the case on Friday night, when World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Ian McCall upset Jussier da Silva, the Brazilian who was generally recognized as the best flyweight in MMA heading into the fight.
McCall, who was cut by the WEC after losing to bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in 2009, put on an impressive performance to beat da Silva by unanimous decision on Friday night's Tachi Palace Fights card. McCall would now have to be considered one of the elite flyweights in the sport, and maybe the best flyweight in the world.
In the first round it was all da Silva: He caught a kick, took McCall to the ground and completely controlled him on the ground, sinking in a body triangle and keeping McCall's back. But the one criticism of da Silva has always been that he's not enough of a finisher, and he may have missed an opportunity to submit McCall -- because in the second and third rounds, McCall dominated.
McCall showed off his impressive striking for most of the final 10 minutes, and he stayed out of trouble on the ground. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for McCall, and that was how I scored it as well. It was a very solid showing for McCall.
Although he was a small bantamweight who struggled against the bigger Cruz, at flyweight McCall looks great. His pro MMA record now improves to 9-2. But da Silva, who falls to 9-1, looked disappointing. He's not No. 1 in the flyweight division anymore.