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Local fighters go undefeated at UFC 139

Wanderlei Silva knocks out retirement whispers for now

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Associated Press

Martin Kampmann, right, punches Rick Story in the second round during a UFC 139 Mixed Martial Arts welterweight bout in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Kampmann won by split decision.

UFC 139

KSNV coverage of Dan Henderson's win at UFC 139, which Dana White called one of the top three MMA fights of all time, Nov. 19, 2011.

UFC 139

Dan Henderson, top, punches Mauricio Rua during the fourth round of a UFC 139 Mixed Martial Arts light heavyweight bout in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Henderson won by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Three Las Vegas fighters entered the octagon Saturday night at HP Pavilion as underdogs and exited with upset victories.

Middleweight Wanderlei Silva, welterweight Martin Kampmann and light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar all defied the odds at UFC 139. Silva made the most emphatic statement as the longest shot of the three.

The 36-year old proved he was still capable of winning action-packed fights with a TKO of San Jose local Cung Le at 4:49 of the second round. Silva tore up Le’s face and finished with a series of knees and right hands.

“My last fight was embarrassing for me,” Silva said of a 27-second knockout loss to Chris Leben this summer. “It’s an amazing feeling for me just to go out after what’s happened to me in the last year.”

UFC President Dana White hoped Silva would retire after the Leben loss, fearing that the former PRIDE champion could no longer take a punch. White had entirely different feelings after UFC 139.

He was so impressed with Silva vs. Le that he awarded both fighters a $70,000 Fight of the Night bonus even though the main event surpassed them for the award. White couldn’t believe the way Silva got through a rough first round that saw Le drop him early.

“He was getting hit with some nasty kicks — his back, his arms, everything,” White said. “Wanderlei stayed in there, finished the fight and looked awesome tonight.”

Silva became emotional when addressing the crowd immediately after his victory. He thanked his large fan base for believing in him and told them he hoped they enjoyed the show.

The fact that it was his first knockout victory in more than three and a half years made the night more special to Silva.

“My coach gave me instructions for me to go into attack mode in the second round,” Silva said. “That was the plan.”

Like Silva, Kampmann was also a slow-starter on the night. Kampmann, who trains down the street from the gym Silva owns at Xtreme Couture, took several powerful shots from opponent Rick Story in the first round of their bout.

Story came out strong at the beginning of the second round too, but Kampmann began to take control after a couple minutes. He out-struck Story the rest of the way and also took him down twice to assure victory.

Kampmann won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), though it was first erroneously announced as a split decision.

“Sometimes, I need to get punched a little bit,” Kampmann explained. “I need to eat a few punches and taste my blood a little bit. I came out in the second round and felt good, but the first round I was not sticking to the game plan. I went in there sloppy and slow and just throwing punches with him. That’s not what we wanted to do.”

The first round was the type of slugging war Bonnar regularly finds himself in. But Bonnar surprised everyone by playing it safe and beating prospect Kyle Kingsbury without the typical bloody battle.

Bonnar took down Kingsbury in every round and smothered the San Jose native for the majority of the 15-minute fight. Bonnar wrestled his way to a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-25) for his third straight win.

“I’m really glad I didn’t go for a Fight of the Night-type fight because there was no way I was going to top those last two fights,” Bonnar said. “They were amazing.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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