Brown continues improbable run

Matt Brown finally has our attention, and it took only seven consecutive wins.

As a journalist, I do my best to refrain from having a rooting interest in a fight. You can train yourself to do it fairly easily, believe it or not.

I'll admit, though, when Brown went down in the first round this weekend from a wicked body kick by Erick Silva, part of me was genuinely heartbroken for the guy.

Heading into the weekend, Brown had won six in a row, including five knockouts. He had finally been booked to a potentially career-changing fight against Carlos Condit in December, only to have to pull out of it because of injury.

For his return, the UFC matched him with an unranked opponent, who was quickly declared the betting favorite. At least the bout took place in Brown's home state, but even that didn't offer him much support. Attendance at the event was 6,143, about 10,000 less than the number the UFC's last card in Cincinnati pulled.

It already felt like Brown had been done wrong before the fight, which brings us back to the fight itself. One loss doesn't erase six wins, but had Brown succumbed to that kick, a lot of the magic he's built up in the past two years would have dried up.

And I guess, had that happened, it wouldn't have been completely tragic. If you can't survive a round with Silva, you're probably not surviving five with Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler or some of the other beasts at the top of the 170-pound division.

But as it was occurring, I couldn't help but think that Brown deserved better. If his streak has to end at some point, he's earned the right to have it end against a proven world-class welterweight -- which, at the moment, Silva is not.

Hopefully, Brown's thrilling comeback on Saturday has guaranteed that. If Brown faces any opponent outside of the top 10 in his next bout, the UFC will have an outcry on its hands. It took seven fights, but Brown has our undivided attention.

With that, here are the grades from this past weekend's UFC Fight Night and Bellator 119.