Thiago Silva hadn't won in almost four years. Well, he had but then he hadn't. Two presumptive wins -- one against Brandon Vera, another against Stanislav Nedkov -- had been overturned after positive drug tests. The first came after Silva submitted a fake urine sample. The second came last November when he failed a drug test after marijuana metabolites were found in his sample.
Silva has been a man who's received many chances. Barring any new testing failures, he's back in the win column.
In a fight that had some personal overtones, Silva returned from his latest suspension to knockout Rafael Cavalcante at 4:29 of the first round.
The UFC on FUEL 10 light-heavyweight fight kept a blistering pace for most of the proceedings. While Cavalcante seemed to land the more impactful strikes early, he seemed to have trouble keeping up with Silva's work rate as time went on. The end came as Silva backed him to the cage and then implored him to fight.
As the two exchanged, Silva caught him with a thudding left hook, and a few punches later, dropped him with a crushing uppercut. A few ground strikes later and it was over, stopped by ref Dan Miragliotta.
"I think all the provocations and things I said are important for the fight," Silva (15-3, 2 no contests) told the Ginasio Paulo Sarasate audience afterward. "That's what the crowd likes and as soon as I'm here I'm going to give the best I can."
Silva's last official win came at UFC 102 in August 2009, when he knocked out Keith Jardine. It was also something of a homecoming for him. He hadn't fought in Brazil since 2006.
Cavalcante, who was also coming off a suspension of his own for the steroid stanozolol, fell to 11-4 with 1 no contest.