NEW YORK -- There were times on Saturday night when Anderson Silva looked just like the Anderson Silva of old. At 41, he continues to produce moments no one in the sport can replicate.
Those moments were enough to win over three judges at UFC 208, as Silva (34-8) defeated Derek Brunson via unanimous decision. The middleweight fight co-headlined the pay-per-view event inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
Silva, of Curitiba, Brazil, was overcome with emotion after the scores were read. It was his first official win since 2012 and snapped a four-fight losing streak.
"I'm very happy," Silva said. "I worked hard for a long time in my life for fighting. I just put it in my heart for a long time. Sometimes I had pain in my leg, pain in my back. Sometimes I just look at my family, when I go to training for months.
"I'm too old to fight. These young guys are fast and strong. But I put it in my heart."
The win comes with some controversy, as many observers scored the three-round bout for Brunson. ESPN.com had it a clear 30-27 for Brunson, who fights out of North Carolina.
All three rounds were close, however, as Silva managed to conjure up a little magic in each.
After a long feeling out period to start the fight, Silva started to come forward with front kicks and right hooks. He looked for his Thai clinch early, but Brunson did well throwing punches through it and making Silva pay a little for his aggression.
At the end of the first round, Silva threw a spinning back kick to the head that Brunson partially blocked. In the second round, Silva stood with his back on the fence and slipped punches with his hands down, as he has done his entire career. He stepped back and started dancing at one point, then leaped into a spinning-wheel kick.
Brunson (16-5) maintained his composure and scored consistently with his left hand. He attempted multiple takedowns but struggled to convert them.
According to Fightmetric, Brunson out-landed Silva in total strikes 118-54 and was credited with two takedowns, one of which came in the final round. Silva seemed to know the fight was close, as he fought with a real sense of urgency in the third frame.
Silva defeated Nick Diaz at UFC 183 in January 2015, but the bout was later changed to a no-contest due to a failed drug test. His most recent official win prior to Saturday was a first-round knockout over Stephan Bonnar in October 2012.
Brunson suffered his second consecutive defeat.
'Jacare' submits Boetsch, calls out Bisping
Souza is now 7-1 in the UFC but has so far been denied a title shot. He was scheduled to fight former champion Luke Rockhold in November in what would have been an obvious No. 1 contender's bout, but Rockhold was forced off with an injury. Souza was ultimately pulled from the card completely.
"I am the best," said Souza, after defeating Boetsch. "I fight for the middleweight title. It has been getting worse. The more frustrating it is, the more I want it. [Champion Michael] Bisping, you have to stop running! Luke, you have to stop running!"
Souza came out feinting the jab and changing levels to keep Boetsch guessing. It was obvious Boetsch did not want to go to the ground with the decorated grappler, who now has 17 career wins by submission.
About 2:30 into the round, Boetsch threw a leg kick that Souza caught and used to take him down. He easily transitioned into full mount and then locked in the kimura as Boetsch tried to scramble to a better position.
ESPN.com ranked Souza the No. 4 middleweight in the world coming into the fight.
Boetsch, 36, saw a two-fight win streak snapped.
Teixeira too much for Cannonier
Cannonier, of Alaska, boxed up Teixeira at certain times in the fight, but he was completely ineffective defending the takedown. Teixeira easily dumped him with single-leg takedown attempts in each of the three rounds and scored points with short punches and elbows from the top.
Teixeira, 37, never really hurt Cannonier on the ground, and the crowd grew restless by the final frame. The hardest punch of the entire fight likely came from Teixeira, in the form of a stiff right hand in the second round. Other than that, it was mostly a positional battle, which Cannonier lost badly.
After suffering a 13-second knockout loss to Anthony Johnson in August, Teixeira rebounded for his ninth win in the UFC. All but two of the victories have come via stoppage.
Poirier takes decision from Miller
Two of the three judges scored the bout for Poirier via scores of 30-27 and 29-28. The third saw it a 28-28 draw. ESPN.com scored it 29-28 for Poirier.
Poirier sealed the victory in the third round, when he was able to convert multiple takedowns, despite a chewed up right leg. Poirier was visibly hobbling on the leg, and he switched stances at one point to protect it. Miller recognized it and continued to throw leg kicks, but Poirier caught one and turned it into a takedown.
Both scored plenty on the feet, but it was Poirier who landed the harder punches, and he walked Miller down throughout. Miller put up one final threat in the final seconds with a kimura off his back, but it wasn't enough.
Poirier rebounded from a vicious knockout loss in his last fight to Michael Johnson.