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UFC 58: USA vs. Canada review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on July 14, 2006, 2:36 AM

UFC 58: USA vs. Canada

Las Vegas, Nevada

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

-Just a couple of notes here regarding this show – the title meant literally that – the card was comprised completely of fights involving US fighters against Canadian fighters. It was also one of the most injury-hit cards in recent memory, as not only did a couple of fighters pull out, but one fight (Diego Sanchez vs. John Alessio) was removed from the card entirely when UFC couldn’t find a suitable substitute for the sick Diego. Still, it was seen as one of the better UFC cards we’d probably see this year.

Heavyweight Fight: Tom Murphy vs Icho Larenas

This fight was basically the definition of “short notice”, as Murphy’s original opponent, Christophe Midoux, pulled out due to a hernia on the Friday before the event on the Saturday. Luckily though, TKO Heavyweight Champion Larenas was already on standby (UFC had some Visa worries surrounding Midoux) so he stepped in at the very last second. For those who don’t remember him, Murphy was the guy who put on what Dana White described as “the shittiest fight I’ve ever seen in my life” on TUF 2 against Rashad Evans. Announcers mention he had a knee injury in that fight, though, and he’s fully healthy here. We shall see....

For those who care, Larenas is HUGE, looking more like a pumped up bodybuilder than a fighter. They get underway in the 1st, and after circling, Murphy closes the distance with some punches and gets a big double leg down to Larenas’s guard. Larenas looks to tie him up as Murphy seemingly goes for a can opener, but the action is REALLY slow at this point. Murphy lands a couple of elbows, but the ref’s seen enough and he calls them back to their feet. Larenas throws a high kick that misses off the restart, and then they clash heads badly going into a clinch, busting Larenas wide open on the forehead. Murphy lands some punches on the inside and then they break. Crowd begin the first inevitable “USA!” chant of the night as Murphy closes in and gets another takedown to Larenas’s guard, where he works the cut to end the round.

Murphy comes charging out to open the 2nd and gets another double leg to guard, grinding away with some forearms and immediately re-opening the cut. Copious amounts of blood begin to pour from Icho’s head, but Murphy still doesn’t do enough work from the top to please the official, and they get stood again. Time is called to check Icho’s cut, but they agree that he can continue and they restart, and Murphy comes right out with another double leg to guard. This time he stacks up and drops some punches down, then grinds away with some elbows and forearms, further opening the cut. Official stands them again as things slow down, and Larenas comes out swinging, but Murphy easily avoids and gets another takedown, this time to half-guard. He passes into side mount quickly, and from there Murphy gets the crucifix (Hughes vs. Newton) position, and PUNISHES him with some nasty elbows until the round ends. Ten, maybe twenty more seconds there and the ref probably would’ve stopped it. Blood’s everywhere at this point as Larenas is bleeding like a stuck pig.

Into the third and final round, and Murphy comes out and gets another takedown with no resistance whatsoever. You’d think Larenas would at least try to sprawl or something. Tom re-opens the cut with ease and begins to grind away at it again, this time being a bit more active with his abuse. Blood’s going everywhere again, and this time the official decides Larenas isn’t really defending and stops it there.

Pretty bleh fight, to be honest. Murphy’s takedowns looked good (although Larenas wasn’t exactly defending them) but to say he was hardly Fedor with his offence from the top would be an understatement. When you factor in that the cut (which seemed to mentally finish Larenas off) was caused by an accidental headbutt, it does take a bit away from Murphy’s victory, too. If you’re a vampire this would be a definite Fight of the Year candidate, but sadly most of us aren’t vampires.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Jason Lambert vs Rob MacDonald

Another injury-hit fight, albeit not quite as bad as some of the others. This was originally planned to be a battle of TUF 2 veterans, as Seth Petruzelli was MacDonald’s original opponent, but when Seth got a concussion in training, Lambert (who was rumoured for TUF 3) was given the slot. Not really “short notice” either, thankfully, as Seth pulled out about a month before the event. Lambert was on an impressive five-fight streak coming in, with his biggest win being a KO over Travis Wiuff. And a quick TUF refresher for those who’ve forgotten MacDonald – he was the guy with the injured shoulder (like you’d forget that!) who got submitted by Brad Imes in one of the early shows.

Lambert shoots in immediately to open, but MacDonald sprawls and they go into a brief, but wild exchange before Lambert thinks better of it and backs off to compose himself. They exchange into a clinch, where Lambert overpowers him and delivers a HUGE SLAM, but he loses position in the process and MacDonald pops back up to his feet. They clinch up again and this time Lambert lands a knee, and MacDonald somehow ends up on his back, with Lambert on top in side mount. Lambert lands some elbows from the top, and then grabs MacDonald’s arm and steps over the head, getting a nice kimura for the tapout. Post-fight Lambert leads the “USA!” chant, and for those keeping count it’s USA 2, Canada 0.

Really impressive debut performance from Lambert, who just overpowered MacDonald and made the submission look easy. Granted this wasn’t his toughest test, but he passed with flying colours nonetheless, and he’s definitely a guy I’d watch out for in the future.

Lightweight Fight: Sam Stout vs Spencer Fisher

Yep, after a long nineteen-month layoff, the UFC finally resurrected the Lightweight division with this show, putting together two pretty interesting fights (especially considering the USA vs. Canada theme). This was though another injury hit fight, as Kenny Florian was forced to pull out with a back injury, causing Spencer Fisher to cut a ridiculous 20lbs in two days in order to make the 155lbs limit. Stout, like Larenas before him, is the current kingpin of his division in the Canadian TKO organization.

They open up with a swift exchange of punches, before Fisher grabs a leg and takes Stout down to guard. Spencer passes into half-guard, but Stout scrambles and gets to his feet, where he lands a combination and they exchange again into a clinch. Fisher gets a beautiful hip throw, but the momentum brings Stout right back to his feet, where he catches Fisher with a nice left hand. Spencer grabs another clinch, but they break off again and Fisher lands a nice left as they exchange, then follows with a crisp right. Fisher TAGS him with a left into another clinch, and then gets a sweet throw to half-guard, but Stout gets the full guard in quickly. Fisher delivers a nice mini-slam, and then grinds away with some forearms, before standing and passing into side mount. Stout works back to guard nicely, but Fisher lands some elbows from the top, and then stands and delivers an AXE STOMP TO THE BODY!~! Love that move. Spencer drops for a leglock, but Stout uses the attempt to scramble to his feet, and they both land some good shots to close the round.

Round 2 opens up with a fast exchange with both guys throwing a mix of punches and kicks. Both are landing, but they’re also defending well so nothing really damaging connects. Spencer lands a nice right hook, but then he misses a spinning back kick and Stout tags him with a right hand as they exchange goes on. Fisher lands another crisp right, but Stout answers right back before they clinch. They break off quickly though, and Stout nails him with a one-two, and follows up as Fisher looks hurt and covers up, but suddenly Spencer answers back with a right hand. The exchange continues, but now although both are doing well, Stout begins to use better angles and lands some combinations. They clinch up again, and Fisher rolls for a kneebar, but Stout avoids, so Spencer grabs the other leg and tries an Achilles hold. Stout manages to escape, but ends up on his back in guard and Fisher works away to end the round.

Into the third and final round, and Stout comes out firing some nice punch/kick combinations as Fisher is beginning to look tired (probably from the massive weight cut). One of the shots knocks his mouthpiece out, and they call time to replace it, and on the restart Fisher lands a good left, but Stout knocks the mouthpiece out again with a combination of uppercuts. They exchange into the clinch and Fisher drops to his back, but eats some punches from the top before Stout stands. Fisher’s nose is bloody at this point as Stout avoids a takedown and ends up on top in half-guard, but then decides to stand anyway. Fisher follows and Stout lands another combination into the clinch, and would you believe it, it’s our first “CANADA!” chant of the night! Stout blocks another takedown, but then Spencer drops for a leglock, and Stout avoids but ends up in guard. Fisher passes into side mount, and tries to go for the full mount, but Stout scrambles to his feet, and they exchange some hard shots to close the fight out.

Whew. We’re going to the judges then, and it’s 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for Sam Stout via split decision. That was a REALLY close fight (easy to see why it was a split decision) and it could’ve gone either way, so you’ll get no arguments from me on the result. After the first round it was looking like Fisher’s fight, but then Stout got a lot more comfortable in the following two rounds and was able to land various combinations while pretty much avoiding the ground game nicely. How much of that was down to Fisher’s tiring from the weight cut I don’t know, but hey, credit where credit’s due, Stout put in a good showing. Really good, fast-paced fight, too, that showed what we’d been missing with the lack of LWs in the UFC.

Lightweight Fight: Mark Hominick vs Yves Edwards

And in the other Lightweight fight on the card, you had what looked to be a mismatch on paper, with the UFC’s uncrowned champion Yves Edwards – returning from a couple of good showings in Pride – against TKO’s Featherweight champion Mark Hominick, who was moving up from 145lbs to take the fight. Still, both guys are normally exciting as hell, so hey, it was interesting anyway.

Edwards opens up with a quick combination and grabs a clinch to look to deliver some knees, but Hominick manages to block most of them. Hominick answers with a sharp elbow from inside the clinch, and they break off, with Hominick stalking Yves across the Octagon. Edwards lands a couple of leg kicks and then goes for another clinch, where they exchange knees and break off once more. Hominick continues to come forward and they exchange some good combinations into a clinch. Back out, but Hominick continues to come forward, and they both exchange with Edwards missing a high kick. Hominick seems to have Yves retreating, as he comes forward, dictating a very high pace, and both guys exchange combinations to end the round.

Hominick comes out pushing the pace again to begin the 2nd, and catches Yves with a crisp leg kick. Edwards shoots in for the takedown, clearly not happy about the way the stand-up’s going, but Hominick manages to avoid and defends well into a clinch, where he lands a series of PUNISHING BODY SHOTS! Edwards looks badly hurt and backs off instinctively, then manages a takedown to guard. He looks to pass, but Hominick begins to methodically set up a triangle choke, and somehow Edwards either doesn’t notice, or ignores it. Soon it’s too late though, and Hominick tightens it up, and hooks Yves’s leg to prevent a slam....and Edwards taps out! Post-fight Hominick celebrates with some push-ups, and man, that’s probably the UFC upset of the year thus far.

Pretty exciting fight while it lasted. I think Yves basically underestimated Hominick, especially in terms of what he had in terms of striking and cardio (even though a submission finished him), and it turned out that he was outgunned standing which is pretty rare for Yves. As the announcers point out, the submission looked more like Edwards was just so badly hurt by the body shots that he was unable to react than it was any ground wizardry by Hominick, but you take what you get, I guess. HUGE upset that blew the Lightweight division wide open, at any rate.

Middleweight Fight: Nathan Marquardt vs Joe Doerksen

Marquardt’s only UFC appearance prior to this was the controversial fight against Ivan Salaverry in the main event of the first Ultimate Fight Night show. Not only was it a horribly boring fight that effectively killed the show (not that it was great beforehand anyway), but Marquardt tested positive for performance enhancers post-fight. Or at least they thought he did, as upon a retest, he was actually clean. The investigation into the whole deal was of course what kept him out of action for so long. The announcers make a big deal here out of Doerksen finally getting a fight not on short notice, and how he’d promised matchmaker Joe Silva that whatever Marquardt did, he would not have a boring fight.

They get underway and Marquardt opens with some good leg kicks, but Doerksen blocks a combination and shoots in for the takedown. Marquardt sprawls to avoid and grabs a guillotine, but Doerksen gets into side mount to avoid and manages to stand. Marquardt follows, and trips Doerksen down to guard, but Joe ties him up with the arms whilst utilizing a tight butterfly guard, and the subsequent lack of action causes the referee to stand things. Marquardt comes forward with a hard low kick and then some nice knees in the clinch, before they break and exchange some punches. Solid body kick from Marquardt follows, and then he lands a nice one-two as the exchange continues. Doerksen answers with a crisp bodyshot, but Marquardt continues to work the kicks, and then gets a takedown to half-guard. Doerksen quickly gets the butterfly guard in and ties him up again, so Marquardt brings things back to standing, where Doerksen tries a couple of superman punches to end the round.

Doerksen catches a kick and shoves Marquardt to the ground to open the first, dropping punches down into Nate’s guard. Marquardt gets underhooks from the bottom, and then in a beautiful reversal, stands right back up and gets a legsweep to Doerksen’s guard! Into half-guard, but Doerksen quickly works the butterfly guard back in, so they come back to standing, and Doerksen lands a nice left hook. Another “USA!” chant begins as Marquardt lands a nice right hook, and follows with a body punch and then a crisp body kick. Marquardt gets a takedown to guard, and then lands some nice shots from the top as Doerksen tries to defend. Back up, and Joe lands some knees in the clinch as he comes forward. Marquardt throws a low kick, but Doerksen catches it and DECKS HIM WITH A BIG LEFT HOOK! Marquardt comes back up and eats a heavy right hand, but then manages to get a takedown to Doerksen’s guard, and looks to recover. Doerksen works from the bottom, and gets a sweep to come back to standing, and they exchange with Doerksen landing a nice left hook again, but this time Marquardt answers with a heavy uppercut, so Doerksen body tackles him into the fence to end the round.

Hell of a round, that was.

Into the 3rd and final round, and Doerksen presses forward again, but Marquardt counters with a nice overhand right and follows with an uppercut. Both men look to press the action now, and Marquardt lands another big right hook, sending Doerksen’s mouthpiece flying, before nailing him with another uppercut. Doerksen tries a takedown, but Nate blocks, and then catches him with a BIG LEFT HIGH KICK to the jaw as he stands. Marquardt follows with some more shots, and ends up on top in Doerksen’s guard as they hit the ground, but Doerksen ties him up again and the official ends up standing them, where they replace Doerksen’s mouthpiece, giving him a nice little breather. They restart and Doerksen gets a nice left hook, but Marquardt lands the big right/uppercut combination again to stun him, and follows with another nice high kick. This time Doerksen comes right back with a combination of his own and gets a takedown, but Marquardt quickly establishes half-guard. Doerksen works to pass, but Marquardt cradles his leg, and before Joe Rogan can finish explaining that Marquardt can do something called the ‘Electric Chair sweep’, Nate indeed pulls it off, coming out on top in Doerksen’s half-guard. Very cool. He works to pass, and manages to get into side mount, but Doerksen shows some nice defence from the bottom and gets his butterfly guard back. Doerksen looks to sweep from the bottom, and does so, but it’s to no avail as Marquardt catches him in a guillotine, and cranks on it as the round comes to an end.

To the judges then, where Marquardt picks up the unsurprising unanimous decision. It was pretty clear exactly who’d won that one, even if you could make a case that Doerksen took the second round with his knockdown. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but hey, I really, really enjoyed this fight. Granted they neutralized each other on the ground somewhat, but the transitions between stand-up and groundwork were awesome, and some of Marquardt’s reversals were beautiful. Nate also showed a much better striking game here than he did against Salaverry. A really good, technical fight to establish Marquardt in the Middleweight division after a bad debut.

Welterweight Fight: Georges St-Pierre vs BJ Penn

Well, this was obviously the fight that everyone wanted to see on this card. Pushed as a potential Fight of the Year Candidate by everyone and his dog, it was pretty much the ultimate title fight eliminator – with the guy who beat the current champ and then walked away facing the guy who’d been running through the rest of the division like a knife through butter. Personally I was picking St-Pierre, but it was quite clear that this would be his biggest challenge to date (outside of the Hughes fight, of course). Penn actually wears the Welterweight title belt that he won from Hughes to the cage, which garners a big pop from the crowd.

Penn comes out aggressively to begin, working a stiff left jab, before St-Pierre counters with a right hand. Big “BJ!” chant begins, as the crowd is clearly pro-Penn at this point. Penn continues to work the jab, and then suddenly a punch catches St-Pierre right in the eye and he backs off wincing. Penn keeps coming aggressively, still working the jab, and then he lands a nice clipping uppercut that catches St-Pierre on the tip of the nose and bloodies him up. St-Pierre comes back with a nice leg kick, but he’s beginning to bleed badly at this point; from the nose and a cut over his right eye. Penn blocks a spinning back kick, but then takes a leg kick and Rush muscles him into the fence. Penn lands some nice knees to the midsection, and St-Pierre tries a single leg, but Penn uses some SICK BALANCE and flexibility to block it. They break off and Penn continues to work him over with the jab, but St-Pierre does land a couple of solid leg kicks. Penn keeps coming, though, and nails him with a nice right to the body, then continues to land the jab and other shots before they clinch to end the round. St-Pierre looks really disappointed with his efforts, and wanders around staring at the ceiling before going to his corner.

Replays between rounds show that it looked like a knuckle that caught St-Pierre in the eye, so it wasn’t an accidental poke as was first thought.

St-Pierre comes out more aggressively to open the 2nd, clearly looking to push the pace, and they exchange. St-Pierre throws a leg kick, and Penn hops over it with one leg, so it catches his back leg in a weird spot. They clinch up, and St-Pierre muscles him into the fence, and this time he works and gets a single leg down to BJ’s guard. St-Pierre works the body, and then stands and drops some decent punches into the guard, only for Penn to get his feet on the hips and push off right back to standing. Penn’s moving much, much slower now though, and they go into a brief clinch before breaking off, where St-Pierre lands a leg kick and then a BIG left high kick. Rush muscles him into the fence again, but Penn blocks some knees nicely. St-Pierre breaks off with an elbow strike, and they exchange back into the clinch, where St-Pierre works and ends the round with another good takedown to the guard.

Much better round from St-Pierre there and you can clearly see the momentum shifting now.

Third and final round, and St-Pierre begins with some more good leg kicks as Penn comes forward. Into the clinch, and St-Pierre muscles him to the fence again, and looks for a takedown as Penn blocks and lands some heel strikes to the legs. GSP continues to look for the takedown, but Penn blocks, so St-Pierre picks him up and gets a HUGE SLAM!~! St-Pierre follows up with a solid elbow strike, but Penn manages to push off and stands once more. Again Rush clinches up and shoves him into the fence, but they break off quickly this time, and Penn now shoots in for the takedown, but St-Pierre manages to block it nicely, and works his way back from one knee to standing! Back into the clinch, and they exchange shots inside, before breaking and St-Pierre gets another takedown to guard! Penn squirms to try to get free, but Rush holds him down this time, so Penn throws his leg across for a gogo plata, but St-Pierre avoids it, and drops elbows to end the fight.

This is going to be a razor-close decision. First judge has it 29-28 St-Pierre....second judge has it 29-28 Penn.....and the third judge has it 29-28 for St-Pierre, giving him the win by split decision!!!

Even though that was one of the least action-packed UFC fights from either guy, as a big St-Pierre fan I’ll be damned if it wasn’t one of the most emotionally draining fights I’ve ever seen. Penn clearly took the first round, busting Georges up badly with his strikes and especially the left jab, but St-Pierre just showed tremendous heart and determination to come back in the following rounds, and Penn just didn’t have an answer for a guy who he just couldn’t mentally break. I think the decision was the right one, too. A lot of people thought Penn should’ve won based on “damage”, but really, although he clearly won the first round, BJ did very little in the following rounds, while St-Pierre was far more aggressive, controlled the pace, and definitely had the better of the exchanges. The other point to make, of course, is that the damage that Penn caused was more cosmetic damage than anything – St-Pierre’s face was busted up, but he was never close to being stopped, or even rocked for that matter. You could probably make a case, in fact, for this being St-Pierre’s most impressive performance, as it was the first time he came back from adversity to take the victory, showing the heart of a champion as well as the skills. GSP-Hughes II is going to be a WAR.

Middleweight Fight: Mike Swick vs Steve Vigneault

This was Swick’s third fight in UFC, after his first two (against Alex Schoenauer and Gideon Ray) had lasted a combined time of 42 seconds, earning him the new nickname of ‘Quick’. Vigneault, despite sporting a decent enough record, had two KO losses in his last three fights, so most thought Swick would handle him here.

They get underway and Swick comes out firing some typically fast combos, but Vigneault ties him up and muscles him to the fence, where they exchange knees. Things slow down enough for the official to call the break, and Swick lands a nice left hook and a follow-up combo off the restart. They go back into a clinch, but break again and Vigneault blocks a high kick attempt. Swick suddenly comes forward with a BIG FLYING KNEE, but Vigneault catches his leg and tries a single, only for Swick to hook him in a guillotine and pull full guard for the tapout.

Exactly as advertised really, a comfortable and relatively quick win for Swick. At least Vigneault lasted a bit longer than the previous two opponents, anyway.

UFC Middleweight Title: Rich Franklin vs David Loiseau

After a somewhat easy win for Franklin in his first title defense against Nate Quarry, this was seen as the champ’s first major test, as, although most agreed that Franklin had more tools overall, Loiseau was a dangerous, explosive striker with the most dangerous elbows in the game, and he’d also taken out the former champion Evan Tanner in his last fight. I was anticipating this one almost as much as St-Pierre vs. Penn, actually.

The DVD overdubs the original entrance themes with different songs, but DAMN, it can’t take away from a dope entrance from Franklin who looks INTENSE!~!, shadow boxing and looking ready for WAR. And both guys look in their best shape ever here.

Loiseau opens with some high kicks that Franklin blocks, and he comes out with almost a sideward stance for some reason, as Franklin counters a third high kick attempt with a bodyshot. They circle and throw tentatively, with not much landing, until Franklin catches him with a combination and then a body kick, causing Loiseau to cover up. Franklin lands a stiff right in a short exchange, and then wobbles him with a body kick, causing Loiseau to retreat off as Rich presses the action. Loiseau’s not being aggressive here at all. They clinch briefly, but then break off and Franklin lands a nice left hook, and continues to press with a good one-two and another body kick. Franklin continues to land combos from the outside as Loiseau backs up, and he continues to press the action, landing a right hand to put Loiseau down right on the buzzer for the end of the round!

Surprising round there as Loiseau spent most of it backing away from the champ. Eddie Bravo scores it 10-9 for Franklin.

Into the 2nd, and Franklin opens with a nice combo, and avoids Loiseau’s kicks, which seem to be his weapon of choice for the night. Franklin lands another body kick and a combo and Loiseau looks hurt, so Ace closes in with a knee and another combo as Loiseau backs off. Franklin chases him down and decks him with a left, and from there he starts to pound away as Loiseau turtles up on the bottom. Loiseau is really wilting here. They come back up and Loiseau’s right eye is swelling pretty badly now, and to add insult to injury McCarthy warns him for running away to avoid Franklin’s barrage. Franklin continues to land combinations as Loiseau looks hurt, and then Ace grabs him in an upper clinch and lands some knees, and a heavy inside elbow for good measure. A hard right hook wobbles Loiseau as he continues to retreat, and Franklin follows with more combinations before throwing him to the mat with what looks almost like a uranage. Franklin gets his back, and looks for the choke, pounding away as he does so to end the round.

Totally dominating round for Franklin there as Loiseau had no offense whatsoever and just seemed to choke under the pressure. Bravo scores it 10-8 for Franklin and I’d agree. Between rounds though we hear Franklin telling Jorge Gurgel that his left hand is broken.

Third round then, and Loiseau opens with a couple of kicks, but Franklin comes forward with a combination and then gets a big takedown right into the mount, before taking his back again. Franklin looks for the choke, but Loiseau scrambles from the bottom, looking for a way out. Ace out-manoeuvres him and stays on top, taking his back again before standing and landing a hard kick to the body. They stop things momentarily to check Loiseau over, as he’s now got a HUGE LUMP over his right eye. Jesus, that’s nasty. They restart, and Franklin comes forward, but Loiseau counters a body kick with a HUGE LEFT HOOK that crumbles the champ!! Loiseau follows up with a flurry, but Franklin manages to clinch, looking wobbly and trying to recover. Ace goes for a single leg, but Loiseau blocks, only for Franklin to land a sharp inside elbow and then a combination ending in another body kick to break off. Franklin suddenly looks fully recovered, and he lands a left hook and another combination as Loiseau retreats again, looking in trouble once more. Ace continues to work him over, as both of Loiseau’s eyes look badly swollen at this point, and the champ closes out the round with a high kick.

Hell of a round, but despite the knockdown Bravo gives it to Franklin 10-9. I’d agree – the knockdown was Loiseau’s lone offensive, and Franklin dominated the round outside of that.

We’re into the fourth round. They trade to open with Loiseau doing well with a high kick, but he slips on a second one and Franklin pounces and takes his back again. He knees the body as Loiseau turtles up, and Franklin then gets his hooks in and pounds away at Loiseau’s head from behind. Loiseau looks in trouble and in danger of being stopped, but then manages to stand...only to eat a big German suplex for his troubles. Jesus, this is a rout. Loiseau turtles up on the bottom again, with Franklin behind him, before Ace decides to stand. They come back up, and Loiseau’s right eye looks to be the size of a tennis ball at this point. Franklin continues to stalk him and work him over with combos, as Loiseau retreats, but at least tries to answer with some shots of his own. Loiseau lands a good body kick, but eats some more combinations from Franklin as the round ends.

Another dominating one from Franklin, and another 10-9 from Bravo.

So we’re into the fifth round, marking the first fight to go that far since Ortiz vs. Couture in 2003. They circle to open, and Loiseau throws a couple of hard kicks to the body, before a brief exchange that sees Loiseau land his first elbow strike of the night. Franklin quickly backs away and checks himself for a cut, but he’s clean, and Loiseau slips, enabling Franklin to get a takedown to guard, and a quick pass into full mount. Ace switches to side mount, but Loiseau works to his feet and then gets a takedown of his own, but immediately Franklin scrambles and reverses to side mount in top position. He lands a knee to the body and then mounts, where Loiseau gives his back. Franklin pounds him again, showing just total dominance, before going into side mount. Loiseau turtles up once more and then stands, so Franklin delivers another beautiful suplex, and then continues to work him over with punishment to end the round and mercifully, the fight.

Bravo gives it 10-9 to Franklin, making for a total of 50-44. Judges actually score it 50-43, 50-42, 50-42 all for Franklin, total dominance as Franklin retains the belt.

Post-fight Ace explains that he broke his hand in the second round, but just sucked it up and continued to beat on him. He jokingly explains the Loiseau knockdown as an attempt to make the fight a bit more exciting, but then says Loiseau tagged him good. Rogan calls it his most dominating performance ever, but Franklin disagrees – he’s never been to a decision before. Ha, what a champion.

Well, that was an entertaining, if one-sided fight. Loiseau just seemed to choke and wilt under the pressure in the first two rounds, and that allowed for Franklin to just assert his authority and build a dominant lead, so when Loiseau finally seemed to get his head into the game (halfway through the third, seemingly), Franklin had already done a large amount of damage and it was only ever going one way. Still, despite taking a hell of a beating, Loiseau did show a ton of heart to go the distance. Franklin looked as dominant as ever in pretty much dismantling what most people felt was his toughest ever test, and despite being out with a broken hand since, I personally can’t see anyone de-throning him any time soon.

-Announcers go through the card to end the night, awarding Mark Hominick with the tapout of the night award. They fail to tell us that overall, USA ended up winning the series with five wins to three. BOO! We end with a highlight reel of the night’s action.

Final Thoughts....

Really good show I thought, far better than the preceding UFC 57 and arguably the best UFC show of the year, too. Only Murphy-Larenas really stands out as being a bit of a nothing fight, as everything else – even the one-sided stuff like Swick-Vigneault and Lambert-MacDonald – is a ton of fun. Hominick-Edwards was one of the biggest upsets you’ll ever see, while Marquardt-Doerksen was one of the better technical wars the UFC’s put on recently. St-Pierre-Penn, while not quite living up to the ‘Fight of the Year’ bill, was still a hugely emotional, entertaining battle, while the main event was just a brutal, brutal war with some awesome spots. This show will definitely be up there as one of the best of 2006 when all is said and done, I think. Highly recommended.

Coming Soon....

Pride: 9, 10, 11, 18 and 29.
UFC: 18, 20, 21, 59, 60 and 61.
Cage Rage: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.
WFA: 1, 2 and 3.
King of the Cage: 15, 18, 21, 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42 and 48.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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