There Can Be Only One: Ufc 44 Yields Couture Domination,sylvia Reigns Supreme
There Can Be Only One:
UFC 44 Yields Couture Domination,
Sylvia Reigns Supreme
By Loretta Hunt
There can be only one and Tito Ortiz knew it. He had commented prior to tonight that this fight would not only determine the undisputed champion of the light-heavyweight class; it would determine who is the greatest fighter ever to grace the UFC octagon. Randy Couture is that man.
In a second remarkable performance to match his decimation of number one contender Chuck Liddell just three months ago, Randy Couture again beat the odds to best 5-Time champion Tito Ortiz. Couture quickly gained momentum from round to round with his expert Greco-Roman takedowns and pinned Tito Ortiz to the ground for almost the entire twenty-five minute duration. For any other two combatants, this fight may have been viewed as less than exciting, but with these two athletes’ stellar histories with the sport, every moment was breathtaking to watch.
"I said it was going to come down to takedowns," Couture commented shortly following his fight. "I took him down in every round and that was the difference in the fight." Although it doesn’t seem possible, Couture has come into his own at age 40. The greatest tactician this sport may ever see, Couture’s next title defense will be the last one on his contract.
As for the unseated champion, an emotional Ortiz barely held back the tears in his post-fight address. Citing injuries and a overwhelming publicity schedule leading into the bout, he wants a rematch. Only time will tell if that ever comes to pass.
For the rest of the card, Undisputed yielded three impressive knockouts, two aggressive TKOs, and two slick submissions. Along with Couture’s performance, only one other fight went to decision. Here’s how it went down:
In the co-main event billed "The Battle Of The Giants," it seemed 6’8" heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia would have his work cut out for him with 6’10" opponent Gan McGee. McGee’s height and reach had allowed him to stand unconventionally up to this point, but faced with an opponent of comparable size, one would think that he would have adjusted his stance. With his left arm down and his chin unprotected, it was only a matter of time before champion Tim Sylvia landed the first of two straight right crosses that sent "The Giant" down a mere one minute and fifty-four seconds into round one. Slyvia retains the heavyweight title and moves on to his second title defense in November versus submission wizard Frank Mir.
Andrei Arlovski began his route into title contention tonight with a versatile win over veteran heavyweight Vladmir Matyushenko. Opportunities opened up for the 24-year old fighter early when "The Janitor" attempted to trade some punches with his fellow Bellarussian opponent. Although Matyushenko shot in for the takedown, Arlovski masterfully defended and fired off a shot that sent Matyushenko back. Arlovski attempted to finish the fight with some follow-up strikes but Matyushenko stayed in the game and pulled guard. With a fast-paced scramble that landed Arlovski in the full mount momentarily, "the Pit Bull" was able to finish with a clean standing KO 2:14 into round one.
For ten years, this sport has been built on upsets. Tonight’s first lightweight match-up was very much in that vein. Undefeated up-and-comer Hermes Franca would have to play his cards perfectly to catch Japanese legend Caol Uno. It was a somewhat predictable first round in which an ultra-aggressive Uno controlled the pace of his scuffle with Franca, taking down the Brazilian easily and dominating with active strikes from above. Franca took the reigns in the second with a dynamic toss that spiked the Japanese powerhouse square on his head and, it quickly became obvious that Uno would not be able to recover. Dazed and out of his element, Uno struggled to his feet and out of submission danger only to be nailed with a clean right hook along the fence. Promising up-and-comer Franca got the KO 2:46 into round two.
It took Meat Truck Inc. representative Rich Franklin a little bit longer than some may have expected, but "Ace" eventually got the job done, bombarding first-timer Edwin Dewees with knees, kicks, and punches to powerfully overcome him. Dewees was game at first, tying up with Franklin and taking him down early, but Franklin worked his way up to his feet, and took his opening along the fence with a close range flying knee and a strong follow-up. Franklin got the TKO via referee stoppage 3:35 into round one.
In preliminary action, welterweights Nick Diaz and Jeremy Jackson met for a third and last time to settle a personal vendetta that had left both cubs tied at one and one a piece. Diaz, the clear victor of their last scuffle two months earlier, was the clear dominator out of the gate, taking "The Scorpion" down with relative ease and working the strikes from above. Jackson had a couple of tactful escapes, but was unable to get anything going on his feet. Diaz eventually put this bout to bed with a quick armbar 2:04 into the third round.
Although known as a ground specialist, Gerald Strebendt made his way to the Octagon sporting the traditional garb and presentation of a Muay Thai practitioner — possibly to intimidate heavy-handed opponent Josh Thomson. It takes more than the headdress and prayers to stand with someone of Thomson’s caliber though, who quickly startled Strebendt with a leaping punch into a textbook takedown. Surprisingly, Thomson — a powerful stand-up artist with KO power — moved into Strebendt’s guard, where he was susceptible to his adversary’s unconventional "rubber guard" technique. After a few crafty but failed submission attempts, it took one offhanded back-fisted punch for Thomson to send Strebendt off-kilter. He wobbly escaped to his feet and Thomson pounced, quickly getting the TKO via referee stoppage at 2:45 after numerous punches were left unanswered on the ground.
In a hard-earned three-round standup demonstration, Massachusetts native Jorge Rivera pulled out the unanimous win over returning Canadian bomber David Loiseau by patiently chipping away at his heavy-handed opponent. At first both threw ample shots but neither athlete seemed flustered. Loiseau scored in the first with some penetrating elbows that caused two deep cuts in Rivera’s scalp and effectively applied knees in the clinch. Loiseau’s true enemy, though, seemed to be the intense fatigue that crept in on him halfway through the second round. Rivera capitalized with some combinations that sent "The Crow" backpedalling, and began to make some headway damage-wise in the third, finishing strong down to the last second. Persistent Rivera prevailed in the judges’ verdicts.
Karo Parisyan made an impressive debut in his first UFC welterweight outing this evening, tying up 23-3-4 opponent Dave Strasser handily, while dazzling the crowds with some savvy gi-less judo throws. Strasser defended well at first, even trading briefly with Parisyan once they made it to their feet, but in the end succumb to a Kimura out of the young Armenian’s swift judo positioning. Parisyan moves ahead with a tap out victory 3:52 into the first round.
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