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‘Bigfoot’ Silva falls in violent, back-and-forth decision in Russia

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

People have questioned Antonio Silva's chin. No one, though, has ever said anything negative about his heart. Both things proved more than up to the task Friday.

"Bigfoot" made his return to MMA after being cut by the UFC last month on a card in Russia and fought valiantly in defeat. Ivan Shtyrkov took the victory by three-round decision at RCC Boxing Promotions in Yekaterinburg.

The fight could have easily been stopped in the second round when Shtyrkov repeatedly teed off with punches to Silva's face on the ground and in the turtle position. But the referee allowed it to go on and "Bigfoot" somehow survived the onslaught.

Silva, 37, might have even come back to win the third round against his exhausted Russian opponent. The first round was a tossup, with Silva landing some damaging blows, but Shtyrkov putting forth more volume and cumulative damage.

Video can be found here.

"Bigfoot" (19-11, 1 NC) was released by the UFC in October after falling by second-round knockout to Roy Nelson at UFC Fight Night: Cyborg vs. Lansberg in September. Silva, a popular heavyweight and former EliteXC champion, has just one win in his last nine fights and has been knocked out six times in that stretch.

Shtyrkov (5-0) has finished all of his pro fights, including a 31-second submission victory over Jeff Monson in May.