In a recap of UFC 101 it was noted the show “was a night for the current champions and rookies but not for the TUF vets”. UFC 102 didn’t have a championship fight but in many ways was more of the same. This was the UFC’s thirteenth live event, ninth pay-per-view of the year.
As noted in the preview for this show this was the second time this year the main event featured two fighters coming off losses. That in itself could be overcome but the downside is these fights are not for titles and therefore are only three rounds, an issue that resulted in both Franklin/Silva at UFC 99 and this main event of Nogueira/Couture ending in decisions. This main event in particular had an unresolved air as Nogueira definitely won the decision but was slowing down by the middle of the third round. Couture again seemed to have trouble at heavyweight but nobody will ever know if he could have outlasted Nogueira had this main event been five rounds.
That fight won Nogueira and Couture the “Fight of the Night” bonus of $60,000, the second time for both fighters they have won that bonus.
In what some considered the most anticipated matchup confirmed ADCC Worlds 2009 competitors Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia faced off under MMA rules with Marquardt emerging the victor just twenty-one seconds into the fight. Maia threw a kick, Marquardt blocked, Maia threw another, and Marquardt countered with a straight right to the chin which KO’d the reigning ADCC -87kg champion. No word is currently available on Maia’s condition or if he will still be able to compete in Barcelona in four weeks.
It was a good night for the rookies statistically but not realistically. Todd Duffee was hard to judge as his KO win took just seven seconds, Michael Russow’s decision win didn’t wow the crowd, and Chris Tuchscherer’s loss to HW contender Gabriel Gonzaga arguably revolved around Tuchscherer receiving a kick to the groin. 2-1 to the rookies in any case.
In the recent past a few fighters like Jon Jones and Shane Carwin have been not-so-quietly climbing the ranks undefeated. Now two more names should be added to that short list as Evan Dunham and Aaron Simpson picked up their second UFC wins. Both fighters made good use of their standing striking while Dunham’s defensive sprawling was the key to frustrating Marcus Aurelio and Simpson’s offensive wrestling frustrated Ed Herman. Also of note on this card Mark Munoz rebounded from his first loss ever in his UFC debut to hand former ROC champion Nick Catone his second loss in a row.
And finally the TUF angle. At UFC 101 the TUF vets went 2-7, this time the more established ones went 0-4. Ed Herman apparently injured his knee in round 1 but it took seventeen seconds of round 2 for “Short Fuse” to throw a kick and get pushed to the mat where he immediately screamed in pain and the fight was ended leaving Herman 4-5 in the UFC. Keith Jardine’s offensive flurry was countered by Thiago Silva’s knockdown punch and subsequent punches to the downed TUF vet for a TKO and move to 5-6 UFC record for Jardine. Chris Leben didn’t submit to Jake Rosholt’s arm triangle and ended up choked unconscious in the third, moving Leben to 8-5 in the UFC. Finally the most promising TUF vet Krzysztof Soszynski faced his first UFC defeat as Brandon Vera showed superior movement in a one-sided decision bringing Soszynski’s UFC record to 3-1.
Next up UFC Fight Night 19 takes place September 16th followed by UFC 103 three days later.
Evan Dunham def. Marcus Aurelio by split decision
Mark Munoz def. Nick Catone by split decision
Todd Duffee def. Tim Hague 0:07 R1 by KO
Michael Russow def. Justin McCully by unanimous decision
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Chris Tuchscherer 2:27 R1 by TKO
Aaron Simpson def. Ed Herman 0:17 R2 by TKO
Brandon Vera def. Krzysztof Soszynski by unanimous decision
Nate Marquardt def. Demian Maia 0:21 R1 by KO
Jake Rosholt def. Chris Leben 1:30 R3 by technical submission
Thiago Silva def. Keith Jardine 1:35 R1 by TKO
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Randy Couture by unanimous decision