Randy Couture did it again.
For the second time in as many fights, Couture shocked the world and defeated a challenger that was supposed to run him over. This is nothing new to Couture. He’s been an underdog for the majority of his career. However after two huge wins over two dominate heavyweights, can Couture be an underdog any longer?
Couture dominated challenger Gabriel Gonzaga over two rounds and an assault of strikes on the ground two minutes into the third forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight, allowing Couture to retain his UFC Heavyweight Title. Gonzaga laid in the Octagon, bloodied and exhausted, in front of the 11,118 in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. It was a sight that many did not expect to see.
Gonzaga put himself on the map with a vicious knockout of Mirko Cro Cop this past April at UFC 70. A single headkick from Gonzaga left the supposed best striker in MMA unconscious on the mat. Couture said that he had developed the perfect strategy to beat Gonzaga during training. Gonzaga (8-2) stated that he found that Couture (16-8) had a fatal flaw in his game. It was Couture that ultimately won the chess match.
Clay Guida def. Marcus Aurelio - Split Decision
Thales Leites def. Ryan Jensen - Submission (Armbar)
Frank Mir def. Antoni Hardonk - Submission (Kimura)
Renato Sobral def. David Heath - Submission (Anaconda Choke)
Patrick Cote def. Kendall Grove - TKO (Strikes)
Joe Stevenson def. Kurt Pellegrino - Unanimous Decision
Roger Huerta def. Alberto Crane - TKO (Strikes)
Georges St. Pierre def. Josh Koscheck - Unanimous Decision
Randy Couture def. Gabriel Gonzaga - TKO (Strikes)
Here are the official results from the UFC 74 weigh-ins.
Thales Leites weighed in at 188 lbs, 3 lbs over the 185 lb limit at middleweight. He currently has two hours to lose the extra weight. Since his fight against Ryan Jensen is a non-title bout, he will be permitted to weigh-in at 186 lbs if need be. We will be sure to have an update on the situation as soon as we get the information.
Update 9:30 PM: Leites made the required weight within two hours and will be permitted to fight tomorrow night.
Randy Couture (228.5 lbs) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (252 lbs)
Georges St. Pierre (170 lbs) vs Josh Koscheck (170 lbs)
Joe Stevenson (155 lbs) vs Kurt Pellegrino (155 lbs)
Patrick Cote (184.5 lbs) vs Kendall Grove (184 lbs)
Roger Huerta (155 lbs) vs Alberto Crane (155 lbs)
Marcus Aurelio (155 lbs) vs Clay Guida (155 lbs)
Frank Mir (255 lbs) vs Antoni Hardonk (244 lbs)
Renato Sobral (204 lbs) vs David Heath (205 lbs)
Thales Leites (188 lbs) vs Ryan Jensen (185 lbs)
Joe Stevenson talks with ESPN about his upcoming fight with Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 74. Stevenson discusses Pellegrino’s skills, what strategies he will try to use in the Octagon, and whether or not he will receive a title shot if victorious.
Catching up on things in the world of MMA…
- The Fight Network is reporting that officials at American Top Team have stated that Denis Kang is still in negotiations with K-1 and has not yet signed with the promotion:
American Top Team representatives have confirmed that popular Vancouver, British Columbia fighter Denis Kang is in negotiations to sign a five-fight deal with the K-1 HERO’S promotion. Rumors have been circulating about a possible match-up pitting Kang against Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba Sept. 17 at the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa, Japan, but the ATT would not confirm the pairing.
- Tonight’s episode of IFL Battleground will preview the 10 matchups that will take place in the opening round of the upcoming IFL Grand Prix. It will air 8 PM EST on MyNetworkTV.
- Highly regarded trainer Greg Jackson has announced that Georges St. Pierre has now become an official member of his training team”>Georges St. Pierre has now become an official member of his training team. St. Pierre is excited to be able to train with the likes of Nate Marquardt, Rashad Evans, and Keith Jardine on a regular basis:
“It’s absolutely great, and I think I am blessed because I am lucky to be able to train with such a great group of guys and under Greg Jackson, who is the best MMA coach in my book,” St. Pierre says. “People say you’re only as good as your training partners, and I believe that is the truth.”
- Continuing with some more St. Pierre news - His former manager, Stephane Patry, who also serves as president of TKO, is stating that St. Pierre is still contractually obligated to him. St. Pierre says that is just not the case:
“My manager now is Shari Spencer. She takes care of my sponsorships and my fights, as well,” St. Pierre says. “It’s nothing personal. Me and Stephane are still good friends. We were not in agreement about some stuff in training, and we were not agreeing to some stuff regarding my management.”
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Masakazu Imanari will return to Cage Rage to take on Jean Silva at Cage Rage 23 for the promotion’s World Featherweight Title. Silva will be dropping down from lightweight to featherweight for the first time in his career.
- Jorge Gurgel announced at an open house for his gym over the weekend that he will be facing Alvin Robinson at UFC 77.
Some media links as well…
Sherdog: Georges St. Pierre Training Pictures
MMA Weekly: Pellegrino Hunting Down a Title Shot
The Fight Network: Murphy’s Law
UFC Junkie: What’s Next for Wanderlei Silva?
Yahoo! Sports: Gonzaga sniffs out his biggest opportunity
Rogers Sportsnet: Koscheck eager to get it on
Fight Opinion: Monday maintenance: Lots of activity in the UK
Fightlinker: Brandon Vera is back and I don’t care
Bloody Elbow: More Doubts About GSP
MMA Analyst: An Interview with Cub Swanson, WEC featherweight contender
What a night! When sitting here and looking back on tonight’s event I am lost for words.
The evenings event was kicked off with a fight between lightweight contender Spencer Fisher and 18-year old Dan Lauzon. Lauzon worked well early on but Fisher overcame his initial assault and returned fire with some good punches and knees. Fisher was eventually able to rock Lauzon and the fight was called at 4:38 of the first round.
Next up was a battle between the big men. The question coming into this fight was would Carmello Marrero be able to take Kongo down. Marrero showed he could do just that as he took Kongo down at will throughout the whole fight and neutralized anything Kongo had to offer. Kongo didn’t do much throughout the first two rounds but he look a little better in the third. In the end though that wasn’t enough and the fight was scored a split decision win for UFC newcomer Carmello Marrero.
After a tribute to UFC legend Ken Shamrock, Jon Fitch and Kuniyoshi Hironaka took to the octagon. Hironaka looked excellent early in the first as he caught Fitch in a triangle which he worked for the majority of the first. Fitch eventually broke free and he ended the first on a high note as he took Hironaka’s back and worked for a submission.
The second and thirds were a lot alike. Fitch came out hard each round and imposed his will on the Japanese fighter working some vicious ground and pound along with some good stand-up. At one point in the second Fitch took a shot to the face which caused he nose to bleed but it had little effect and the outcome was definitive as Fitch was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
To me Fitch showed a lot tonight. He showed he can overcome adversity and that he is touch as hell. Fitch got caught in a submission early but he weathered the storm and from that point on he controlled the fight with vicious ground and pound and striking.
Next up was the co-main event of the evening for the UFC lightweight title. Sean Sherk proved that the lightweight division is the proper place for him.
Sherk came out early and secured a strong takedown and that set the tone for the fight. Sherk worked excellent ground and pound throughout the whole fight and he neutralized anything Florian had to offer except for the little roadblock he ran into in the second round.
While working from the top, Sherk was firing off his shots and Florian threw an elbow from the bottom. The shot landed and opened up a big cut on the forehead of Sean Sherk. The cut had to be checked but the fight was allowed to continue. Blood poured out of the cut but Sherk jumped the hurdle and continued to pound Florian for the remaining three rounds.
Sherk was able to neutralize any offense Florian had to offer by taking him to the canvas time after time. Late in the final round, Sherk picked Florian up and slammed him to the canvas sending one final message to the crowd. In the end Sean Sherk won by unanimous decision and was crowned the new UFC lightweight champion.
Next up was the fight everyone had been waiting for, the battle for the UFC middleweight title between Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva. As the fighters made their ways to the octagon you could sense the difference in attitudes. Silva looked very calm, composed and ready while Franklin on the other hand came out looking pissed and uptight.
Anderson Silva dominated Rich Franklin from start to finish as he utilized a devastating Thai clinch. In one exchange Franklin was able to land a couple of shots but that was the beginning of the end. Silva worked hard knees to the body and head before momentarily releasing his grip. When he grabbed back on he fired off a knee that landed square to the face and broke Franklin’s nose and sent him crumbling to the canvas.
Afterwards Silva was very emotional as he was crowned the new UFC middleweight champion of the world. Franklin was very humble and he assured fans that he’d work his way back up the ranks.
In other action, Clay Guida put on a ground and pound clinch and he went to work on Justin James choked him out late in the second round after working some excellent ground and pound.
Yushin Okami moved one step closer to being middleweight contender as he knocked out ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ alumnus Kalib Starnes late in the third round.
Kurt Pellegrino set himself straight tonight after losing in his UFC debut as he choked out Junior Assuncao early in the first round.
Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino will make his return to the octagon at UFC 64: Unstoppable when he takes on Junior Assancao in a lightweight fight.
The UFC has officially announced the remaining fights set to take place at UFC 61 and ‘Ultimate Fight Night’. Rounding off the June 28th ‘Ultimate Fight Night’ card fans will see Rob MacDonald vs. Kristian Rothaermel and Justin Levens vs. Jorge Santiago. UFC 61 will have a welterweight battle between Drew Fickett and Kurt Pellegrino and tough lightweight Hermes Franca will take on Roger Huerta.