Former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia was all but written off from a future in Mixed Martial Arts after suffering a nine-second knockout loss to boxing stand-out Ray Mercer in mid-2009. However, “The Maine-iac” has notched four consecutive victories since the embarrassing defeat including a TKO of Vince Lucero over the weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Extreme Challenge 170.
As had been the case in Sylvia’s previous three wins, the 6’8” striker was able to procure a finish against Lucero rather than risk a point-based stumble in the ring. After dropping Lucero multiple times in the opening minutes of the match-up Sylvia worked his way into mount and then forced the 38-fight veteran to submit from the ensuing ground-and-pound. However, before fans get overly excited about Sylvia potentially returning to the form once earning him a spot as a highly ranked heavyweight, it should also be pointed out Lucero had dropped ten of thirteen bouts prior to the defeat with a draw in the mix as well.
Regardless, the performance marked the continuation of a significant turnaround for the two-time UFC champion who had dropped four of five fights before rallying back to start his current streak of in-ring success. In addition to Lucero, Sylvia has beaten Paul Buentello, Jason Riley, and Mariusz Pudzianowski during the run. He also holds past victories in his career over respected competitors like Brandon Vera, Ricco Rodriguez, Andrei Arlovski, and Jeff Monson.
Five Ounces of Pain contacted Sylvia to get his take on the performance, as well as his turnaround in the ring. According to the imposing Northeasterner, he credits a change of camp with his recent success, explaining “I train in Muncie, Indiana now with about seven new heavyweights, two that are in the UFC right now,” as well as his new striking coach Mark Lemrick.
Sylvia also feels he is ready for another shot on a grand stage, saying, “As for me being back in the big show, I am ready – it’s just up to them to give me the call.”