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UFC 74: Respect review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on February 3, 2009, 2:28 PM

UFC 74: Respect

Las Vegas, Nevada

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Lightweight Fight: Marcus Aurelio vs Clay Guida

Decision to put Pride import Aurelio on the undercard was a bit of a confusing one to be honest, especially when you consider Aurelio was one of Pride’s top Lightweights at the time, with his win over Takanori Gomi still embedded in most people’s memories. Guida too was coming off putting on a FOTYC with Tyson Griffin at UFC 72 despite losing the decision there, so this was clearly quite a strong matchup for the Lightweight division. Still, gotta trust in the UFC brass sometimes I guess.

We begin Round One and both men press forward, with Guida keeping a very low stance, clearly looking to avoid the takedown. Very little happens for the first minute, until Guida comes forward with a body kick and follows with an overhand right that clips the Brazilian. Aurelio looks to work a left jab as Guida continues to push the action, but nothing truly significant lands. Guida lands a combo and closes in, but Aurelio answers with a jab and smiles. More of the same follows before Guida catches him with a straight left, sending him down to the mat! Guida leaps into the guard to attempt to capitalise, but Aurelio grabs the wrists immediately so Guida stands off and lets him back up. Guida continues to push the action, throwing combinations as opposed to Aurelio’s one-jab, and closes the round out with a strong combo and a takedown.

Second round opens with Guida landing a couple of leg kicks. He continues to swing, as Aurelio looks tentative, and ends up on his back off a slip. Guida stands over him, but then lets him back up. Clay continues to push the action, throwing combos, before Aurelio pulls guard. Guida’s having none of it though, and immediately stands back up and away from the guard. Aurelio lands some jabs, answered by a strong leg kick from Guida. Surprisingly for a Clay Guida fight this is pretty dull, actually. Aurelio shoots in, but Guida stuffs it so the Brazilian pulls guard instead and manages to keep him down there this time. Guida lands a couple of very short elbows, but Aurelio looks content to keep him tight in the guard, without really threatening with any submissions. Couple of good hammer fists land from Guida. Aurelio keeps shifting his hips, but doesn’t really go for anything, and Guida continues to work him over with short elbows and hammer fists as the round ends.

Third and final round now and naturally Guida isn’t even breathing heavily. We begin with more of the same – Guida working combinations as Aurelio stands off and tries to pump the jab. “Guida!” chant erupts right as Aurelio finally lands a good right hand that snaps Clay’s head back. Guida answers with another leg kick and continues to push forward, though. Aurelio is looking tired now as Guida continues to pick him off with combinations. Guida shoots for a takedown, but Aurelio surprisingly sprawls and avoids instead of pulling guard. Glancing left high kick lands from Guida who continues to push forward. Aurelio tries a last-ditch takedown attempt and almost gets it, but Guida manages to sprawl and muscle him off, landing a knee to the body as they break. More of the same follows as the round closes out.

Judges score it 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27, *Split* decision for Guida. The hell? I have no idea which judge scored that for Aurelio, or what fight they were watching to be honest. Guida controlled the fight from start to finish and although it wasn’t the most exciting fight he’s ever had, by a long shot, to get a win over Aurelio on his resume is a pretty solid notch on his belt. Aurelio for his part fought a totally flat fight, as you would’ve expected him to be shooting for takedowns non-stop and yet he just didn’t, as he stood back and pumped a relatively harmless jab for most of the fifteen minutes. Very poor showing from him and not the most exciting opener.

Middleweight Fight: Thales Leites vs Ryan Jensen

Jensen was making his UFC debut here and was originally set to fight Travis Lutter, but Lutter injured his back and so poor Jensen ended up with a far tougher opponent in Thales Leites, who for all intents and purposes is an upgraded version of Lutter anyway. Leites had actually fought like a month or so prior to this, submitting Floyd Sword on the TUF V Finale card.

Jensen comes out throwing some high kicks that don’t really land, before Leites answers with a missed superman punch and a leg kick. Both men fire off kicks as Jensen really pushes forward aggressively. Couple of really hard leg kicks land from Leites, but he eats a combo and drops for a takedown. Jensen tries a guillotine, but Leites leaps right to side mount to avoid, so Jensen sprawls out into a front facelock. Jensen breaks off with a knee as they come back to their feet. Good right lands from Jensen, but Thales gets a double leg and takes him down by the fence. Jensen looks to scramble to his feet, giving his back in the process, and they stand with Leites holding a rear waistlock. Jensen lands an elbow, but Leites drags him down and takes the back with both hooks. He looks to be setting up for an arm triangle choke, but Jensen scrambles well and manages to escape to his feet. Leites backs off a little now as Jensen continues to press, landing a nice leg kick. Leites shoots, and pulls guard, and as Jensen stands to drop some shots Thales locks up an oma plata. Jensen manages to slip free and stands over him, dropping some right hands down, but as he tries to pass Leites slips his legs over and locks up an arm, rolling through into the armbar for the tapout.

Jensen basically came out a little too aggressive for his own good there, and left himself open a number of times; it was only a matter of time before Thales caught him. The submission itself was beautiful though as Leites showed once again why he’s considered one of the top submission guys in MMA right now. Very exciting fight while it lasted, too.

Heavyweight Fight: Frank Mir vs Antoni Hardonk

This fight was originally scheduled for April’s UFN, but Mir injured himself in training and was replaced by Justin McCully. This was, for all intents and purposes, the last chance saloon for Mir, coming off the bad loss to Brandon Vera and prior to that, the loss to Pe De Pano and the awful fight with Dan Christison.

They throw a couple of kicks and Mir immediately takes him down to guard. Hardonk surprisingly looks for an oma plata, but Mir easily works to escape, and ends up in half-guard, popping his arm free. From there he works for a kimura, and yanks the arm free. Hardonk rolls to try to escape, but Mir rolls through with him, and then steps over the head for the submission.

Post-fight Mir tells us he’s back, well, if being back means submitting a wildly overmatched opponent then yeah. Hardonk looked lost on the ground despite the oma plata attempt, and Mir was able to capitalise almost casually. Can’t knock the guy I guess though, he did what he had to do in quick fashion.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral vs David Heath

Heat for this fight began at the weigh-in, as Heath had gotten into the face of Babalu and talked a lot of trash, so Sobral was coming in an angry man. IIRC there was also some controversy over a t-shirt sporting Babalu’s mug shot (Babalu had had some legal problems prior to the fight) but I can’t recall exactly what happened. Both men were coming off losses going in; Babalu to Jason Lambert, and Heath to Lyoto Machida.

No glove touch, naturally. They exchange a couple of shots from the outside to begin, before Sobral tackles him down to guard with a double leg. Heath ties him up as Babalu lands some short elbows from the top. He looks for a can opener to loosen up Heath’s guard, but then gives up and works him over with punches to the body and to the head. Heavy punches land as Heath squirms from the bottom. Babalu continues to work him over with some vicious elbows, as Heath looks pretty lost on the bottom to be honest. Heath finally manages to scramble to his feet, and ends up in top position in Babalu’s guard after a scramble. Sobral throws his legs up, and then turns for an oma plata, but they get caught along the cage and Heath escapes back into the guard. Babalu lands some good strikes from the bottom as Heath remains on top, not really landing any strikes of his own. Babalu continues to throw his legs up, looking for a submission, as Heath lands the odd elbow. Round ends in Sobral’s guard. Babalu’s round for sure there.

Between rounds we see Josh Barnett in Babalu’s corner; had no idea those two trained together.

Good left hook by Babalu to open the round and he shoots, but Heath blocks and they clinch up along the fence. Sobral gets the takedown to guard, and then opens up with some big elbows and punches as Heath tries to cover up. BIG CUT opens on Heath’s forehead, and blood begins to SPEW EVERYWHERE as Babalu works him over with more punches, leaving Heath with a horrific crimson mask. Referee Steve Mazzagatti seemingly ignores it rather than calling for a doctor’s check, which is bizarre to me as the blood is EVERYWHERE at this point, seriously gory stuff. Babalu uses a series of punches to pass to half-guard, as Heath begins to wince with the blood running into his eyes. More shots land as Rogan compares the fight to a horror movie at this point. Mazzagatti is INSANE for letting this go on. Heath tries a desperate scramble, but Babalu locks up an anaconda choke as they stand, and rolls him over, tightening it up for the tapout....but as Heath taps Sobral ignores it and grits his teeth, choking Heath out cold. Damn.

Post-fight crowd are booing wildly as we hear one audible voice yelling “you fucking asshole!” over the noise. Babalu admits he kept the choke on to punish Heath for the weigh-in incident, and then tosses a baseball cap into the crowd, and it immediately gets thrown back at him; I think it was Manny Gamburyan who threw the hat back at him if I remember rightly. Decent fight, but the amount of blood was just criminal, I don’t know if Mazzagatti is a vampire on the side or something but he should’ve called the doctor stoppage. Ending left a sour taste too as whatever had gone on during the weigh-ins, there was no need for Babalu to do what he did, and sure enough it ended up losing him his winner’s purse AND his UFC contract.

Middleweight Fight: Kendall Grove vs Patrick Cote

After Grove had looked very impressive against another striker in Alan Belcher in his last fight, most people – myself included – saw this as a likely showcase for him, as Cote had lost to Travis Lutter and then didn’t really impress in a dull win over Scott Smith four months previous. Cote had been training with Mark DeLagrotte and SitYodTong though and promised a different outcome.

Round one opens and Cote immediately pushes forward, covering up to avoid an early exchange. They clinch up and muscle for position along the fence, with Grove looking to grab a leg for the takedown. Grove works a couple of foot stomps and random observation time; Kendall has spiderwebs shaved into his hair here and it looks ill. They continue to muscle for position, as Grove lands some knees inside. Ref breaks them up and Cote fires off a couple of leg kicks, but Grove comes back with a hard body kick. Both swing some punches into a clinch again and Grove shoves him into the fence. They muscle for position again as the crowd begin to chant for Cote, surprisingly. Cote lifts him for a slam, but Grove manages to avoid and stay on his feet, before breaking with a right. Grove lands a good right hand in an exchange and then another nice body kick, before he telegraphs a takedown attempt badly and Cote blocks into a clinch. Cote tries the takedown again, but Grove blocks and breaks with a knee, but on the way out Cote clips him with a BIG RIGHT that sends him crashing to the mat in cartoonish fashion. Cote mounts and pounds away, before taking the back and looking to sink in a choke! He can’t get it locked though, so instead just goes back to pounding, landing some nasty punches and elbows until the ref steps in. Massive crowd pop for that one too.

Big, big win for Cote to knock off Grove who had been on a major roll coming into this fight. Didn’t expect it at all but then Kendall’s chin has always been a question and Cote definitely packs knockout power. Nice to see Cote finally live up to his potential inside the Octagon, too. Fight wasn’t that exciting until the knockdown, but the ending was definitely cool.

Lightweight Fight: Joe Stevenson vs Kurt Pellegrino

Pre-fight package pushes this as a battle of mirror images, with both men being wrestling-based but with very solid submission games too. Both were on winning streaks coming in, but Stevenson’s was clearly stronger, having beaten Yves Edwards, Dokonjonosuke Mishima, and Melvin Guillard, and the general feeling was that a win here would secure him a title shot down the road.

They both look to throw some combos to begin, with neither landing cleanly, before clinching where Joe lands a hard knee to the body and muscles him off. Good right by Pellegrino and he gets a takedown, avoiding a guillotine as they hit the mat. Joe gets full guard and keeps looking for the guillotine, and then sweeps and takes the back. Kurt stands back up with Joe holding a rear waistlock, and Stevenson delivers a BIG GERMAN SUPLEX and takes the back again! Nice stuff. Pellegrino avoids the hooks and turns, getting a single leg, but Stevenson immediately locks up the guillotine again. He only has half-guard though, and Pellegrino eventually manages to break free. Joe looks for it again, but Pellegrino avoids and tries to control him down by the fence. Kurt can’t pass the guard, but he keeps working for it as Stevenson squirms from the bottom. Pellegrino lands a massive right hand from the top to end the round.

Round two opens and Joe pushes forward looking to land punches, using good head movement to avoid Pellegrino’s shots too. Joe breaks a clinch with a nice elbow, and follows with a couple of good left hands. Kurt misses a takedown attempt and ends up turtled on the floor, looks like he hurt himself somehow, and Stevenson stands over him landing some unanswered shots. Pellegrino manages to jump back to his feet though, not sure what happened there. Both men land some nice shots in the pocket, before they both look for a takedown and Joe ends up on top in guard. Stevenson opens a small cut on his forehead with a shot, and begins to work him over with some short punches. He passes and then takes the back with one hook in, but can’t get the second as he lands some nice punches. Kurt spins and manages to escape to Joe’s guard, where Joe goes for the guillotine immediately again. Kurt avoids once more and stands, delivering a beautiful diving right onto Stevenson’s jaw. Kurt stays on top, and then gets a front facelock as Joe stands to end the round.

Third and final round now, and Joe looks much fresher and pushes forward immediately. Nice uppercut lands from Pellegrino, and they clinch up briefly before breaking. Joe presses, but Kurt gets a good takedown to side mount, only for Stevenson to quickly get guard. Ref ends up standing them after a moment and Stevenson really presses the action on the restart, clinching against the fence. Pellegrino pulls guard with a guillotine, but he looks exhausted and Joe pops out. Joe begins to work him over with some elbows by the fence, and then stands but can’t deliver a knee as Pellegrino has one knee down. Joe lands a couple of punches instead, really unanswered shots to be fair. Kurt stands and eats two hard knees before Joe backs out, and at this point Pellegrino looks beaten up. Joe ducks a high kick and gets a takedown, but messes up and gives his back. Kurt ends up on top in side mount, but Joe wall-walks up the cage and reverses, taking Pellegrino’s back and landing some shots before Kurt rolls for a leglock to end the round.

I have this 29-28 for Stevenson, with Pellegrino taking the first, Joe the 2nd and 3rd, and the judges agree, scoring it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Joe. I thought the last round would decide it myself, and in that round Stevenson’s conditioning really took over as Pellegrino looked exhausted with around three minutes remaining while Joe still seemed fresh. The fight wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it being on a first watch, but it was still a fast-paced war with swings in momentum, and was definitely fun to watch. God bless the Lightweight division.

Lightweight Fight: Roger Huerta vs Alberto Crane

This, incredibly, was Huerta’s fourth fight of the year, after he’d reeled off wins over John Halverson, Leonard Garcia and Doug Evans. The choice of opponent – grappling legend Alberto Crane – was frowned upon by cynics who felt Zuffa were babying Huerta, but in reality Crane had an impressive record of 8-0 and with his grappling pedigree, he was a decent test for El Matador.

We get started and Crane throws a few kicks, answered by Huerta with some kicks of his own. Crane shoots on a single and they roll, with Huerta taking Crane’s back, but Crane slips free and looks to get on top. Huerta rolls again and takes the back, then looks for a kimura/armbar, but Crane gets free and takes Roger’s back with an over-under with Huerta turtled up. He tries to get both hooks in, but Huerta manages to get on top, and he sprawls back, getting on top and landing some good punches. Crane continually tries for submissions, going for an attempt at an armlock, but Huerta avoids and ends up on his back. Huerta gets half-guard, as Crane looks to pass to the side. He gets side mount and Huerta rolls, giving his back, but Crane can’t get both hooks in and Huerta scrambles free and gets top position, opening up with some big punches that land cleanly. Huerta avoids a guillotine as we see that Crane has a huge mouse under his left eye. Round ends with Huerta on top.
Huerta comes out aggressively into the 2nd, landing a kick and then avoiding a takedown, where he ends up on top dropping some punches as Crane looks to go for a leg. Roger avoids the leglock and pounds away with elbows in half-guard, as Crane’s eye looks in bad shape at this stage. Crane rolls for an armbar, then goes for an oma plata and a footlock combo, using it to sweep into top position in side mount. Roger looks calm though, and tries to roll to escape, ending up in the turtle position. Crane gets a crucifix, but Huerta slips free and escapes to his feet, where he lands a vicious kick to the body that knocks Crane down. Huerta avoids a desperation shot and gets on top in the guard. He lands some strong punches to the body and head as Crane continues to look for submissions, locking up an armbar! Huerta manages somehow to avoid though, popping the arm free, but in the scramble Crane gets on top. Huerta uses his legs to elevate him off though, and then stands, with Crane staying kneeling in front of him. Crane looks tired now, and shoots again, but Huerta gets on top once more in half-guard and continues to land. His conditioning is SICK. Huerta mounts, and then gets the back, landing a myriad of hammer fists and punches, before standing to drop more bombs. Crane looks GASSED as the round ends.

Third and final round now. Crane throws a kick and drops to his back, still very tired. Huerta lets him stand though and lands a kick of his own, Crane again falling to his back. Crane does manage to get an ankle pick, but Huerta pops right back up and lands some punches as Crane goes to his back once more. Huerta enters the guard to drop some shots, but Crane grabs a leg and desperately tries to pull him down. Crane takes the back, gripping double underhooks, but in a famous spot, Huerta uses the big screen to check out where Crane is on his back, and lands some vicious back elbows from the position! Huerta spins into top position and mounts, and from there he lands a series of punches for the ref stoppage.

Really fun fight actually, as before he gassed, Crane was like a spider on the ground going for all the submissions and it was awesome to see Huerta somehow escape them all and then drop bombs with his usual reckless abandon. Huerta’s conditioning here was also something to behold as he fought at an incredible pace and just didn’t get at all tired. As for Zuffa supposedly babying the guy at this point, who cares when the fights are this much fun? Huerta rules.

Welterweight Fight: Georges St-Pierre vs Josh Koscheck

Koscheck for his part was coming off the big, albeit boring, win over Diego Sanchez at UFC 69, and wanted a title shot, but the big story here was how GSP would look coming back from the massive upset loss to Matt Serra that cost him his title. Personally I figured GSP would bounce back and look better than ever, while some were expecting him to be mentally shattered by the loss to Serra and for Koscheck to blow through him.

Staredown here is interesting as GSP looks to have a big size advantage, which is quite surprising given I never saw Kos as a small WW. Big “GSP!” chant pre-fight.

We begin with Kos swinging for the fences, as GSP looks tentative on his feet, but then he surprises everyone by shooting in and planting Koscheck firmly on his back! GSP controls him and passes to half-guard, looking to work to a better position from there, albeit not landing many strikes from the top. Kos does well to reclaim full guard, where GSP lands a couple of elbows. Kos looks to use the fence to help him stand, but GSP continues to control him and gets to half-guard again. GSP looks to pass, but Kos reverses and gets a leg, looking for a takedown of his own. GSP blocks initially, but Kos keeps driving forward and finally gets the takedown to GSP’s butterfly guard. Kos works to pass, but GSP avoids using the butterfly guard, and defends against the strikes well too. Round ends with Koscheck on top. Probably GSP’s round but really it could’ve gone either way.

GSP opens the 2nd with a right hand-leg kick combo, before quickly getting a single leg to Kos’s guard. He immediately passes to half-guard, and looks to be working for side mount while controlling Kos’s upper body. He goes for a far-side kimura, but Kos escapes. GSP goes for it again and really yanks at it this time, but Kos grabs his own shorts to block, and then pops free again. GSP passes to side mount now, and stays firmly on top, preventing Kos from escaping to his feet off a scramble. Kos gets half-guard again though. GSP goes for the kimura once more, and steps over the head this time too, but Kos again grabs the shorts to block, even with GSP really wrenching with all his strength at the arm. Round eventually runs out before GSP can finish the hold off. Total domination for GSP in that round.

Third and final round, and realistically Koscheck needs a finish to win here. St-Pierre looks to have settled into a rhythm on his feet now though, firing off leg kicks at will and avoiding Koscheck’s big swinging punches. GSP even busts out a SWANK superman punch-leg kick combo. Koscheck tries an elbow strike and then shoots for a leg, transitioning from a single to a double leg...but GSP pulls out a RIDICULOUS sprawl, leaping backwards across the Octagon and ending up on top in Kos’s guard. Sick athleticism there. GSP begins to work Koscheck over with elbows inside the guard, and Kos squirms, but GSP controls him as before and continues to land. Finally GSP drops back for a leglock attempt on the buzzer.

Pretty much a dominating performance from GSP, who gets the unanimous decision from all three judges. I scored it 30-27 myself, and those people who claim Koscheck was “one takedown away from taking the decision” are on pills, to be quite frank. Amazing showing from GSP yet again, as although he looked tentative early in the standing portion, he was able to take down a world-class wrestler at will on two separate occasions, and not only that he became one of the only men to avoid Koscheck’s takedown in the third round. Sure, he didn’t do that much damage, but he did come close to finishing in the 2nd with the kimura and it’s not like Koscheck is an easy opponent. Koscheck for his part just didn’t look like he was expecting GSP to be able to take him down, and looked confused from his back for the most part. Still, it’s a learning curve for him I guess. Tremendous performance from GSP coming off the devastating KO loss to Serra.

UFC World Heavyweight Title: Randy Couture vs Gabriel Gonzaga

Big main event here as for most fans, despite holding the title and upsetting Tim Sylvia in his last appearance, Randy was once again the big underdog coming in as Gonzaga was of course coming off his high kick knockout of Mirko Cro Cop, and not only did he possess devastating power in his strikes, but he also had world-class BJJ on the ground. General consensus, surprisingly given Couture was 44 at this point, was that to win Randy would have to drag it into the later rounds and test Gonzaga’s as-yet-unproven conditioning. Personally I had picked Gonzaga by submission in the second round, as Randy had struggled with larger foes (Rodriguez, Barnett) before and Gonzaga had a huge size advantage over Captain America.

Gonzaga comes out with a right hand to open things, but Couture catches him with a left and then looks for a takedown. Gonzaga avoids, but eats another heavy left and then Couture grabs a rear waistlock and pulls him to the ground. Gonzaga stands in the waistlock and gets to the clinch, where Randy muscles him into the fence. Randy gets a brief takedown, but Gonzaga quickly pops up, only to eat a knee and a right hand as they break. Left high kick glances off Couture’s neck and then Napao lands a punch, but Couture shoots and shoves him to the fence again. BIG SLAM follows but Gonzaga pops right back up and they exchange knees in close. Big elbow and left hand land from Gonzaga but it becomes apparent that his nose is busted up big time. Again Randy muscles him to the fence in a clinch, as blood runs from Gonzaga’s nose onto the champion’s back. Good right hand lands inside the clinch for Randy. Couture uses some shoulder shrugs as Gonzaga looks like he’s struggling to breathe due to the nose injury. Randy continues to work him over inside the clinch with his dirty boxing, and Gonzaga breaks only to be shoved right back into the fence on the buzzer.

Replays between rounds show that the nose injury was caused by a clash of heads during the slam, as Randy’s head drove itself downwards into Napao’s nose.

Gonzaga tries a high kick to open the 2nd, but Randy ducks under and grabs a clinch again, forcing Napao to the cage once more. They break off and exchange some wild punches, before Couture grabs the back of the head, delivers a couple of hard uppercuts, and grabs a waistlock once more. Gonzaga then tells ref Herb Dean he can’t see, causing Dean to call for time. Dean asks Gonzaga if he can continue, to which Napao replies yes, but he can’t see. Doctor cleans off the blood and they decide to let the fight continue in the same position. Randy tries to drag him down, but Gonzaga grabs the fence to block and loses a point in the process. More punches from Randy land on the inside. This is a gutter war at this point and Randy is all over Gonzaga. Couture breaks and stuns him with some heavy punches, landing hooks and uppercuts, before going right back to the clinch as Napao appears to be wilting. More big shots from Couture land, and Gonzaga’s face is a mess at this point. More uppercuts land, and as Gonzaga tries to move out, Randy clinches and smothers him to the fence again. Huge uppercut from Randy lands in the clinch. More of the same ends the round, with Randy blocking a takedown on the buzzer.

Into the third round now, and Randy blocks a right high kick with his arm to begin, I believe that was the shot that broke his forearm in fact. Randy tries to close the distance, but EATS another big right high kick and somehow shakes it off, getting to the clinch again! Takedown to half-guard from Couture follows and the champ smells blood, opening up with a flurry of punches as Gonzaga covers up, barely defending, and eventually Herb Dean steps in and calls it.

Absolutely amazing showing for Couture as he just overwhelmed the younger, bigger fighter by turning the fight into a clinch war, just not allowing Gonzaga any room to breathe or get off his big strikes from the outside. He was all over Gonzaga from the off and the Brazilian never seemed comfortable, to be honest. It was admittedly bad luck that an accidental headbutt caused the nose injury, as that was definitely pivotal to Gonzaga mentally breaking I think, but you just can’t take a thing away from Randy as he executed his gameplan flawlessly here. Unbelievable that he was able to take those two high kicks in the third round without flinching, too. Some slow moments here and there, but overall this fight was an absolute war and a fitting main event to the show.

-Highlight reel closes us out.

Final Thoughts....

At the end of 2007 I crowned this the show of the year for the UFC and I still stand by that I think. Outside of the slow-ish Guida-Aurelio there were no bad fights on the card, and everything else is gravy, from the exciting prelims between Leites and Jensen and Babalu and Heath, to Cote’s awesome knockout finish, Huerta’s sick conditioning, and the excellent fight between Stevenson and Pellegrino. The top two fights also delivered, as GSP-Koscheck might not have been the most exciting fight in the world, but it was a stunning performance from GSP in the way he executed his gameplan, and Couture-Gonzaga turned into an absolute war and is up there with the better Heavyweight title fights I would say. Two thumbs up for this one then.

Best Fight: Couture-Gonzaga
Worst Fight: Guida-Aurelio

Overall Rating: ****

Coming Soon....

UFC: 75-92, Fight Nights 11-16, and TUF V, VI and VII Finales.
Pride: Shockwave 2005, 32, 33 and 34.
WEC: 28-37
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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