Monday, September 25, 2017

UFC 57: The Iceman-Natural Rubber Match

Chuck Liddell (Photo:

UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture 3 – Las Vegas, Nev. - Mandalay Bay Events Center – Feb. 4, 2006

Chuck Liddell knocked Randy Couture into retirement in the rubber match of a trilogy at UFC 57.

Couture won their first meeting at UFC 43, but the “Iceman” evened the score at UFC 52.

The final fight was for the Liddell’s UFC light heavyweight title, and he knocked “The Natural” out with a right hand in Round 2.

The bout drew a UFC record $3.3 million at the box office along with 400,000 buys on pay-per-view.

Couture announced his retirement after the fight, but he came back one year later and fought in the Octagon eight more times.

In a pair of heavyweight bouts – Brandon Vera knocked out Justin Eilers at 1:25; and Marcio Cruz beat Frank Mir by TKO – elbows and punches

Ultimate Fight Night 3: Feel the Bang

Duane Ludwig (Photo:

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 3 – Las Vegas, Nev. – Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Jan. 16, 2006

Duane “Bang” Ludwig scored the fastest win in UFC history at Ultimate Fight Night 3.

In a preliminary fight, Ludwig only needed one punch to beat Jonathan “The Road Warrior” Goulet in 11 seconds.

Tim Sylvia earned another shot at the UFC heavyweight title by scoring a unanimous decision win over Assuerio Silva. This set up a bout with champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC 59.

TUF 1 runnerup Stephan Bonnar used a kimura to submit James Irvin in four and a half minutes.

Monday, September 18, 2017

UFC 56: The Big Left

Gabriel Gonzaga (Photo:

UFC 56: Full Force – Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Arena – Nov. 19, 2005

Nate “Rock” Quarry became the first alumnus of The Ultimate Fighter to receive a title shot at UFC 56.

Things didn’t go so well.

Rich Franklin knocked Quarry out in 2:34 to retain the UFC middleweight title. Check out this devastating left.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 Finale: Suga and Stevenson

Joe Stevenson (Photo:

The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 Finale – Las Vegas, Nev. – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Nov. 5, 2005

Rashad "Suga" Evans and Joe Stevenson won UFC jobs by triumphing in The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 finale.

Evans won the heavyweight tournament by scoring a split decision over Brad Imes, who deserves credit for almost winning after being the last coaches’ pick.

Stevenson captured the welterweight tournament with a unanimous decision over Luke Cummo, who was also the last pick in his division.

Evans overcame an eight-inch height disadvantage to beat the 6-foot-7 Imes. Stevenson won his bout despite the fact that he tore his clavicle from his sternum during training.

Evans had the most success from the TUF 2 crop, as he won the light heavyweight title three years later at UFC 92 over TUF 1 winner Forrest Griffin.

The coaches for TUF 2 were welterweight champion Matt Hughes and middleweight champion Rich Franklin. 

However, we didn’t get this mouth-watering battle of the champs because they were friends and refused to fight each other.

UFC scored an all-time high rating of 2.0 for the finale. TUF 1 winner Diego Sanchez headlined the show with a unanimous decision win over Nick Diaz.

In the opener on Spike TV, Kenny Florian defeated Kit Cope by rear naked choke in Round 2.

Josh Burkman knocked out Sammy Morgan in 21 seconds in a preliminary bout. Burkman did not gel with Team Hughes and was eventually moved to Team Franklin.

In other prelim fights, Keith Jardine defeated Kerry "The Meat Truck" Schall by TKO in Round 2; and Melvin Guillard beat Marcus Davis on a second-round TKO.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

UFC 55: Fifteen Seconds to Glory

UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski

UFC 55: Fury – Uncasville, Conn. – Mohegan Sun Arena – Oct. 7, 2005

Andrei Arlovski only needed 15 seconds to retain the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 55.

The Belarus native plastered Paul Buentello with a right to the jaw, ending the main event almost as soon as it began.

Arlovski had been the interim champion, but was promoted to undisputed title holder due to Frank Mir’s injuries from a motorcycle accident.

Speaking of accidents, Ian “The Machine” Freeman missed the show due to a horse-riding mishap. He retired from the sport.

His scheduled opponent was TUF winner Forrest Griffin, who instead beat Elvis “The King of Rock & Rumble” Sinocic by TKO in 3½ minutes.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ultimate Fight Night 2: Don't Mess with Monday Night

David Loiseau (Photo:

Ultimate Fight Night 2 – Las Vegas, Nev. – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Oct. 3, 2005

UFC battled WWE for Monday night ratings at Ultimate Fight Night 2.

Who won? Well, there’s a reason why World Championship Wrestling no longer exists.

Invading the traditional night for pro wrestling, UFC drew a 1.6 rating on Spike TV. Monday Night Raw returned to USA Network that night after several years on Spike TV.

Raw blew out UFC in the ratings by presenting a three-hour reunion show, featuring the returns of Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley.

In the UFC main event, David “The Crow” Loiseau beat Evan Tanner on a second-round TKO due to severe cuts.

Loiseau scored his fifth win in a row and earned a middleweight title shot against Rich Franklin at UFC 58.

Chris Leben remained undefeated in the Octagon, forcing Edwin DeWees to tap out to an armbar at the 3:26 mark.

Monday, August 28, 2017

UFC 54: Chuck Liddell Puts Another Foe on Ice

Photo: Jeremy Horn (

UFC 54 – Boiling Point – Aug. 20, 2005 – Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Garden Arena

Chuck Liddell held onto the UFC light heavyweight title with a fourth-round TKO win over Jeremy Horn at UFC 54.

Liddell, who had won the title four months earlier by knocking out Randy Couture, scored his 12th UFC victory to break Royce Gracie’s record.

Horn returned to the UFC after racking up 31 wins during a four-year odyssey through Pride, WEC, IFC, King of the Cage and other smaller promotions.

The title fight ended when Liddell blasted Horn in the eye, and Horn told referee John McCarthy that he could not see.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ultimate Fight Night 1: Back to TV

Nate Quarry (Photo

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 1 – Las Vegas, Nev. – Cox Pavilion - Aug. 6, 2005

The Ultimate Fighter finale was such a huge success that UFC began airing “Ultimate Fight Night” shows on Spike TV later that summer.

Although Forrest Griffin and Diego Sanchez were the TUF winners, Nate Quarry became the first alumnus to earn a title shot.

Quarry beat Pete Sell by TKO in 42 seconds, although the fans protested that the fight was stopped too early. Quarry went on to challenge Rich Franklin for the middleweight belt at UFC 56.

Former King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt won a unanimous decision over Ivan Salaverry in the main event. However, Marquardt tested positive for a banned substance in his post-fight drug test.

UFC 53: School's Out

Rich Franklin (Photo:

UFC 53 – Heavy Hitters – Atlantic City, N.J. – Boardwalk Hall – June 4, 2005

Rich Franklin, a teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio, won the UFC middleweight title from Evan Tanner at UFC 53.

Franklin had earned the title shot win a win over UFC legend Ken Shamrock at the finals of The Ultimate Fighter.

Franklin dominated Tanner in the second and third rounds before the doctor called for an end to the bout in the fourth.

Andrei Arlovski retained his UFC interim heavyweight title with a win over Justin Eilers, who got the title shot because fights with Mirko Cro Cop and Ricco Rodriguez fell through.

With less than a minute to go in Round 1, Eilers blew out his knee. Arlovski moved in for the kill and won by TKO.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

UFC 52: The Iceman Winneth the Title

Chuck Liddell (Photo:

UFC 52: Couture vs. Liddell 2– Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Arena – April 16, 2005

Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell won the UFC light heavyweight title by knocking out Randy Couture at UFC 52.

The bout drew a crowd of 14,562, paying a record gate of $2.5 million. Couture and Liddell were the coaches for the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, which concluded one week earlier.

Liddell gained redemption for his loss to Couture at UFC 43 two years earlier by knocking out the champ at the 2:06 mark.

Matt Hughes retained the UFC welterweight title by defeating Frank Trigg with a rear naked choke at the 4:05 mark. This was the first fight to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Finale: The Fight That Changed Everything

Forrest Griffin (Photo:

The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Finale – Las Vegas, Nev. – Cox Arena – April 9, 2005

An electric battle of newcomers launched UFC into the mainstream of the sports world at The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finale.

Forrest Griffin defeated Stephan Bonnar by unanimous decision in the best fight of the year, drawing millions of fans to the first live MMA show on cable TV.

Everything UFC achieved later – fights on Fox TV, coverage on ESPN, million-selling pay-per-views – can be traced directly to this fight.

The Ultimate Fighter was a reality show that ran on Spike TV for 14 seasons before moving to the Fox family of networks. 

Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture were the coaches during Season 1, and they fought one week later on the UFC 52 pay-per-view.

TUF drew big numbers on Spike TV, retaining more than half of the viewers from WWE Monday Night Raw.

Bonnar was so impressive in defeat that he also earned a UFC contract from company president Dana White.

Three years after his big win, Griffin defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to win the UFC light heavyweight title.

At the TUF 1 reunion three years later, White said,"It's amazing to think how close we came to not being here today. If it weren't for what these guys did, I don't know if there would even be a UFC. I'll never forget these guys. Ever.”

In the main event of the telecast, Rich Franklin defeated Ken Shamrock by TKO at the 2:42 mark.

Diego Sanchez won TUF 1’s middleweight tournament by defeating Kenny Florian by TKO in 2:46.

Sanchez went on to challenge B.J. Penn for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 107. He also invented the “YES!” chant, which was popularized by Daniel Bryan in WWE.

Florian got three title shots (against Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn and Jose Aldo), but he was unsuccessful each time. Florian eventually moved on to become a UFC broadcaster.

The preliminary bouts also featured several fighters who went on to successful MMA careers.

Bobby Southworth lost by unanimous decision to Sam Hoger, but Southworth went on to become the first Strikeforce light heavyweight champion in 2006.

Josh Koscheck knocked out Chris Sanford at the 4:21 mark. Koscheck went on to challenge 
Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title in 2010.

Nate Quarry beat Lodune Sincaid by TKO in 3:17. Quarry was fast-tracked to a middleweight title match later in the year. Sincaid won the WEC light heavyweight title in 2006.

In other bouts, Chris Leben defeated Jason Thacker by TKO in 1:35; Alex Karalexis by Josh Rafferty by TKO at the 1:40 mark; and Mike Swick knocked out Alex Schoenauer in 20 seconds.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

UFC 51: Tito Ortiz vs. Vitor Belfort on Super Saturday

Evan Tanner (Photo:

UFC 51: Super Saturday – Las Vegas, Nev. – Mandalay Bay Events Center – Feb. 5, 2005

Tito Ortiz won a razor-thin decision over Vitor Belfort at UFC 51, the second annual Super Saturday show.

The judges scored the bout 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 in favor of Ortiz, who won his second straight pay-per-view main event.

The Ortiz-Belfort fight was a big hit, drawing 105,000 PPV buys and nearly $1.5 million at the gate.

Andrei Arlovski captured the UFC interim heavyweight title, defeating Tim Sylvia in 47 seconds with an Achilles lock. Frank Mir, the heavyweight champ, was sidelined after a motorcycle accident.

Evan Tanner won the UFC middleweight title, which had been vacant since 2002, when champ Murilo Bustamante defected to PRIDE Fighting Championships. Tanner beat Dave Terrell by TKO in 4:35 to win the title.

In another middleweight fight, Pete Sell beat Phil Baroni with a guillotine choke with 41 seconds left in the fight.

UFC 50: Welterweight Greatness

Revised DVD cover for UFC 50

UFC 50 – The War of ’04 – Atlantic City, N.J. – Trump Plaza – Oct. 22, 2004

Matt Hughes conquered Georges St.-Pierre at UFC 50 in a battle of the two most dominant welterweights in MMA history.

BJ Penn held the welterweight title after upsetting Hughes at UFC 46, but he was stripped of the belt after he signed with K-1.

In the battle for the vacant title, Hughes used an armbar to force GSP to tap out with one second left in Round 1.

Tito Ortiz defeated Patrick Cote by unanimous decision in the main event. Ortiz was scheduled to face Guy Mezger, who had to drop out due to medical issues.