Published Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 | 4:30 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 | 11 p.m.
- Antonio Nogueira spoils Randy Couture’s homecoming
- Win over Couture proves Antonio Nogueira is still one of the best
- Randy Couture leaves Portland feeling like a winner despite loss
- Nate Marquardt makes case for title shot
- Thiago Silva makes a point to prove he's back against Keith Jardine
- Looking back at UFC 102 by the numbers:
- Classic tunes rule fighters' entrance music
- UFC 102: Breakdown and Picks
- Fighters weigh in for first ever UFC event in Portland
- Pacific Northwesterners know Randy Couture for more than his UFC career
- Randy Couture's biggest fan in his home arena will be his son
- The battle of the heavyweight greats
- Couture vs. Nogueira preview
- Nogueira not worried about facing Couture crowd
- Road blog from Portland
- Fireside chat with UFC President Dana White
- UFC looks to be heading to Vancouver
- Loss to Lyoto Machida is all the motivation Thiago Silva needs
- Keith Jardine looking for consistency, not new career
- Marquardt hopes win at UFC 102 would give him Silva
- Undefeated Demian Maia is no secret
- Gabriel Gonzaga looking to add a little excitement to his game
- Randy Couture's Muay Thai trainer more than just a masseur
- Age nothing but a number for former champs
- Home cage advantage
- Complete UFC 102 coverage
If there was any notion the two heavyweight legends were past their prime, someone forgot to tell Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira tonight. The two former UFC champs put on an absolute show for the 16,088 fans inside Portland's Rose Garden Arena.
But it was the Brazilian Nogueira, who spoiled the hometown hero's homecoming by scoring a unanimous decision victory over Couture — taking the bout by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
“It was beautiful. I love Randy, he’s one of my UFC idols," Nogueira (32-5-1 MMA record) said addressing Couture and the crowd afterwards. "Thanks Randy for accepting my fight and thank you guys (the crowd)."
Couture (16-10) may be 46-years-old, but he told Joe Rogan right after the loss he's not thinking about retirement.
"I'm disappointed to lose (but) you gotta love this sport. The guys come out and every single fight they put it on the line," Couture said, as the fans gave him one last roar. "What keeps me going are guys like Nogueira and interesting fights. He was very tough tonight."
"Will let the dust settle, see what the UFC wants to do. ... I feel the best I’ve ever felt."
While the Rose Garden crowd didn't quite reached the sellout capacity of 20,000-plus, the fans in attendance to watch the first-ever UFC event held in the Pacific Northwest got to watch a thrilling show.
Newcomer Todd Duffee (6-0) set a UFC record for the quickest knocking out, finishing Tim Hague (10-2) in seven seconds.
Nate Marquardt (32-8-2) was nearly as efficient snapping Demian Maia’s (11-1) undefeated record with a KO just 21 seconds into their match.
It took Thiago Silva (14-1) slightly longer, but a big left hook against Keith Jardine (14-7-1) helped the Brazilian avenge his lone career loss to Lyoto Machida from UFC 94 in January.
Brandon Vera (11-3) recorded a victory over Krzysztof Soszynski (19-10-1), Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4) bounced back from his loss to Shane Carwin with a win over Chris Tuchscherer (17-2) and Las Vegas-based fighter Jake Rosholt (6-1), the four-time All-American wrestler from Oklahoma State, picked up his first UFC win by submitting another local fighter in Chris Leben (18-6).
Headliners Nogueira and Couture earned "Fight of the Night" honors and the subsequent $60,000 bonus check. Marquardt earned the "Knockout of the Night" award, while Rosholt took "Submission of the Night."
"I think it was great. The energy in that main event tonight was second to none. I'm serious we've had some high energy crowds, but that's about as loud as I've heard it," said UFC president Dana White of the event that drew a $1.92 million live gate, the fifth-largest in Oregon history.
"We'll be back, probably the next time we come to the area it will be Seattle. Then we'll come back here."
Main event (9:06 p.m.)
Time for the main event that everyone in the Rose Garden as well as the Pacific Northwest has been waiting for as hometown hero and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture faces the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The big Brazilian walks up first, wearing his lavender walk-out shirt and accompanied by the tunes of The Rolling Stones's "Gimme Shelter." UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva is in "Big Nog's" corner.
Next up, Couture. The crowd is goes crazy as "The Natural" walks up to ACDC's "Live Wire." He's got black shorts, Nogueira is rocking white bottoms.
“Two legends in the sport, the former UFC light heavyweight champ and former heavyweight champ Randy Couture against the only man to ever hold a PRIDE title and UFC title Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira," UFC president Dana White said moments earlier on the big screen.
Voice of the Octagon chimes in "This is the main event of the evening!"
Crowd loving every minute of it, as Couture's announcement can't even be heard over the speakers.
Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Couture looks to dictate the pace early with a quick flurry to Nogueira’s face. The crowd is going nuts chanting ‘Randy’. Nogueira lands a few shots and it looked like he tried to pull Couture into his guard. Couture lets him up and it’s back to the feet. Couture goes after him but Nogueira caught him with a few counters. Couture goes down but he’s got just enough to protect himself. Nogeira has the chokehold and it looks deep, but Couture got out. Not sure how he did it, man that looked close. Back on their feet, good leg kick by Nogueira to Couture’s body. Now just trading exchanges, both fighters getting their shots in. Couture looks dizzed by that last one. He needs to be careful with still over a minute to go. The pace is furious, the crowd appreciates what it's watching. The crowd becomes deafening as the two stand and trade with each other. Couture pushes Nogueira into the clinch against the cage for the first time, this is where Couture needs to keep this fight. Unbelievable first round. It looked like Nogueira did more damage but Couture is hanging in there and definitely got his own shots in.
Couture smiles seconds before the start of the round. Couture staggered by a Nogueira shot but he shoots and lands a takedown. Couture in Nogueira’s full guard and trying to get in ground and pound when he can. It’s effective. A few right hands land and then an elbow. But now Nogueira reverses the position and has Couture mounted. Couture moves around and puts him into half guard. Nogueira now looking for the arm triangle choke and it looks deep again. Tough spot for Couture. He’s got his left hand up holding his right forearm trying to prevent it. Nogueira hasn’t finished the choke but he’s landing multiple shots to Couture’s exposed left side. Couture gets his arm free and now escapes to his feet. Couture is going after Nogueira aggressively but he’s eating some hard counter shots. Round ends with the fighters on their feet.
Last round and you have to assume Couture needs to dominate this one. Between rounds he motioned to the fans he was good to go. Couture moves forward behind a jab, uppercut combination. Nogueira answers back though and lands some good ones. Now he knocks him down with a chance to finish. Couture showing incredible heart now as he blocks off shots that would definitely end the fight. He’s got his arms around Nogueira now and you can see blood coming from a cut on his right eye. There’s 3:22 left in the round. Nogueira works his ground and pound while he has Couture up against the cage. Now with 1:30 left Couture reverses the position to get on top and works some ground and pound of his own. Nogueira doing a great job of locking Couture up against him, limiting his movement. Just 45 seconds left. Couture ends the fight on top but that may not be enough.
Main card (7:00 p.m.)
Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva
Nice right leg kick to start things off for Jardine. Silva checks a leg kick and takes Jardine down. Jardine avoids a chokehold and escapes to his feet. Silva blocks a few punches and drops Jardine with a left hook. Few more punches with Jardine on the canvas and this fight is over at 1:35 in the first. Silva stands over Jardine and directs a few strong finger points toward him before offering his patented "throat slash" to the UFC cameras.
“I’m very happy, tonight is my night. I’m back," said Silva, who is coming off his only career loss to Lyoto Machida. "This fight was very important to me."
Chris Leben vs. Jake Rosholt
Both fighters are pretty patient to start to this fight and a ‘Leben’ chant starts throughout the crowd. Good right hand by Rosholt there halfway through the round. Now Rosholt lands a knee but Leben recovers and drags him to the ground. That knee definitely got Leben bleeding somewhere and as the fighters stand up you can see it’s coming from his nose. Leben glances at the clock to see about two minutes left. Rosholt takes Leben down and now looking for a guillotine choke against the cage. Leben is taking a beating, but he’s notorious for surviving rounds like this one. Now he’s back on his feet and on the aggressive side. A few shots have Rosholt backing up but a quick stuck out tongue from Rosholt tells Leben he’s fine.
Rosholt threw a quick and Leben ducked under and hit him with a left to take him down. The crowd got real excited but it doesn’t look like Rosholt was too hurt from the exchange. Leben is on top now though in half guard and working some ground and pound. Rosholt avoids most of the blows and the fight gets stood up. A left kick from Leben was blocked by Rosholt but then a straight right lands through his gloves. Rosholt answers with a good combination and then a takedown. Leben gets to his feet and lands a few shots before the end of the round.
Third round starts and it’s seemed like Leben has been at his best when he’s been aggressive. Rosholt shoots a takedown and puts the fight on the ground where he’d probably like to keep it. Now he works the mount briefly but Leben worms out of it. Now Rosholt has got him in an arm triangle and Leben tapped but the referee missed it! He looks like he’s going unconscious and it’s finally called at 1:30 in the third.
"It feels great," said Rosholt, the decorated collegiate wrestler from Oklahoma State. "I want that last one back, but they'll be more to come."
Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia
Nearly as quick as Todd Duffee did earlier in the night, Marquardt finished Maia quickly in the first round. Maia was attempting a high left leg kick and Marquardt threw a straight right hand that rolled Maia over in the air and ended his night.
Marquardt is a gentleman and he just showed by not throwing another punch even though he hadn’t been pulled off yet. He then helped Maia back to his feet.
“I want that belt and I don’t know who’s going to get the next shot, but if you want someone who’s going to kick Anderson Silva’s butt, you’re going to give that shot to me,” Marquardt told Joe Rogan afterwards as the crowd roared with approval.
Earlier in the week White said Dan Henderson, who had previously announced would fight Silva for the title, may face the winner of Marquardt-Maia. Silva, who was standing nearby in a gray suit didn't seem to mind as he just pumped his hands and gave a smile to the crowd.
Brandon Vera vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Soszynski comes out swinging and lands some early shots, weathered nicely by Vera. Good left leg kick by Vera and that has the potential to be a big factor in this one. Soszynski swings and Vera clinches to close the gap. The clinch moves up against the cage, then breaks. Good right jab by Vera and he gives Soszynski a little smirk after. Good leg kick lands to Soszynski, opening a small cut on his left cheek. Soszynski is throwing some powerful shots but he’s not landing many. Takedown attempt defended by Vera and he lands some nice close up elbows to finish the round.
Good left by Vera and he just looks to be more comfortable than Soszynski right now. Soszynski rushes and it’s back to the clinch against the cage. Clinch breaks and the fighters move to the center of the Octagon. Soszynski’s corner, anchored by coach Dan Henderson, is yelling at him that Vera’s tired and to pressure him. Vera lands a decent left at the end of the exchange that may be the best shot of the round so far. Soszynski clinches and lands the first takedown of the night, but Vera is quickly back to his feet.
Vera lands a nice kick to Soszynski body after feinting an elbow. More clinching against the cage, with neither fighter taking much damage. Now Vera lands his first takedown of the night off the clinch. Vera works some good ground and pound before Soszynski is able to get to his feet. Vera has a cut next to his left ear, didn’t see how that happened. Soszynski needs to press forward here with a minute left because he’s probably down on the scorecards, but he’s staying back. Few leg kicks from Vera, but a good counter from Soszynski with the left hand. Not the explosive fight fans were expecting, looks like a decision for Vera.
Vera wins by unanimous decision, winning every round on all three scorecards by 30-27. Following the loss, Soszynski stops to sign an autograph on his way out.
"I wish I could have knocked him out guys, next time," Vera said addressing the crowd that offered some boos throughout the fight. "Krzysztof's a tough dude. There's gonna be some good times at 205."
Undercard bouts (4:45 p.m.)
Ed Herman vs. Aaron Simpson
Herman comes out to a very warm reception from his hometown crowd of Portland and he looks sharp, counterpunching Simpson effectively. Simpson is staying aggressive though and he lands a few combinations before a big body slam against the cage. Herman is caught on the ground with Simpson standing over him but he’s doing a great job of using kicks to keep Simpson away. Herman gets to his feet. A big right hand by Simpson clearly hurts him with two minutes to go and it looks like the Portland native is in trouble. He survives and is able to escape to his feet. Another big shot by Simpson puts Herman on his back and it looked like he winced at the end when Simpson fell down on his leg. Round one ends and Herman is limping back to his corner.
Round two ends immediately. The two stood momentarily but Herman went down and grabbed at his left knee in pain. The bout was officially stopped at the :17 mark.
“I was in a war. Hats off to Ed Herman. I wanted it to go three rounds, so thanks for the boos I guess," said Simpson afterwards, while the crowd roared for Herman as he limped out of the arena."
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Chris Tuchscherer
The very first action of the fight is a hard left kick from Gonzaga straight to Tuchscherer’s groin. He is really hurt. Three attendants are looking down on him and it almost looked like he was wrestling with them to get up and out of the cage for fear of throwing up. Finally he’s up and walking. After much deliberation, it appears he’s going to be able to continue.
Oh and Tuchscherer get’s rocked by a left kick immediately once action gets going again. He’s able to recover a little bit but now Gonzaga has him mounted and now takes his back. Tuchscherer get’s him off but takes some brutal ground and pound. This one has got to be close to being over. Tuchscherer is getting pounded. Finally the fight is called, it looks like Tuchscherer may have even signaled he'd had enough. Gonzaga wins by TKO at 2:27. The crowd gives him a loud roar, meanwhile Tuchscherer is escorted out of the Octagon with the help of training partner and UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar
"The (groin kick) definitely affected the fight. This happens in this sport, but I wasn't looking to hurt him that way," Gonzaga said. "He's a real tough guy to come back from that.
Gonzaga rebounded from his loss to Shane Carwin and says he working on getting back in the heavyweight title hunt.
“Just getting more weight, just more strength, more everything (it takes) to get another title shot again," he said.
Michael Russow vs. Justin McCully
Russow takes immediate control of the fight, taking down McCully and putting him up against the cage. McCully is avoiding damage but Russow is dominating early on, working his ground and pound and making his opponent use a lot of energy. McCully is able to reverse position and actually take Russow’s back for a second, but it doesn’t last long. Shortly after he nearly catches Russow in a leg lock, but again Russow slips out. Besides those two close calls, Russow clearly took the first round.
McCully does not look good. He couldn’t get on his stool at first and nearly fell over when he tried before leaning on the cage. It actually looks like the fight is about to be called but Herb Dean motions to Russow’s corner he should get ready. Now the medical examiner is giving what looks to be a sobriety test to McCully, testing his reactions. Finally the second round is set to start.
Russow comes out aggressively and lands a takedown following the delay. He’s in McCully’s half guard and is looking for a kimora attempt but McCully prevents it. More ground and pound from Russow and Dean brings the fight to their feet but McCully stalls, taking forever to get up. Russow lands a takedown and ends the round with another kimora attempt. Had the round been 10 seconds longer, he probably would have had it.
Russow takes McCully down ... who saw that coming? McCully is able to stand back up this time though and lands a few combinations before Russow is able to get it back to the ground. Final round goes about the same as the first two. Russow wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-27).
"I'm very disgusted with the fight. I really thought I'd be able to finish him in the first round," Russow said. "I'm happy with the win, but I really think I'm a lot better than that. I want to see the film and see what I did wrong."
Todd Duffee vs. Tim Hague
Duffee's UFC debut didn't last long, seven seconds to be exact as heavyweight from American Top Team set a UFC record for fastest knockout when he floored Hague with a big left right after the bell. All six of Duffee's wins have been KOs.
"You sure it wasn't six-something," Duffee joked with Joe Rogan. "Very tough, tough guy. I expect to see him back soon and winning some fights. But I can't wait to bring more heat."
Mark Munoz vs. Nick Catone
The two fighters clinch with Munoz’s back to the cage and Catone lands some clean exchanges. Munoz recovers and shoots a takedown but Catone defends it well. Action stops when Munoz lands a direct left kick to Catone’s groin. Fighters clinch again and go to the ground where Catone gains side control and lands some good knees before Munoz is able to escape. Impressive first round for Catone.
Munoz throws a kick as Catone shoots, resulting in an easy takedown. Neither fighter has been able to control the fight much on the ground and it’s resulting in a lot of back and forth action. On their feet again, Catone lands a solid combination and Munoz seems to stagger a bit. But he may have been trying to bait him closer. Just thirty seconds left in the round and Munoz looked to be in position for a guillotine choke but couldn’t find the leverage to finish it.
Fighters trade strikes for the first minute. Catone tried to take Munoz’s back following a takedown attempt but sweat from both fighters made him slip right off. The fight goes to the ground and Catone was in great position for a heel lock but Munoz somehow got out of it. Catone now briefly takes Munoz’s back but again Munoz reverses the position. Now Munoz working his ground and pound, landing some good shots to his opponent’s head. Tough fight to call, but Munoz may have stole it in the final minutes. Munoz wins by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).
"My corner told me it was round a piece heading into the third so I knew I needed to go get it and win the third round," Munoz said. "I knew he was going to come at me with wrestling so I knew my stand-up needed to be strong. I felt my feet and my hands were better this fight."
Marcus Aurelio vs. Evan Dunham
First fight of the night and Oregon’s own Dunham receives a warm welcome. The fight stays on its feet and its Dunham landing the cleaner exchanges. At 2:30 in Dunham floors him with a left hand and is quick to jump on top. He’s unable to finish and motions Aurelio to his feet. Aurelio is clearly still shaken by that shot, he tries for a takedown but Dunham defends.
Second round begins and it’s clear Aurelio wants to take the fight to the ground but Dunham is defending all takedown attempts. Aurelio briefly gets dominant position against the cage following a clinch but Dunham escapes. Action stops when Dunham gets caught with an accidental eye-poke but quickly resumes with both fighters landing combinations. Another round ends dominated by Dunham.
Aurelio finally lands a takedown to start the third round. Aurelio looks to mount from full guard but Dunham avoids it. Now Aurelio is trying for a guillotine choke but Dunham slips out as the crowd cheers. Aurelio goes for another takedown but he looks exhausted. Now with 10 seconds left the two trade strikes until the horn sounds. Dunham wins by split decision as the judges scored it 28-29, 29-28, 30-27.
"I knew he's never been finished so I knew the fight would go on," said Dunham, who was born in Eugene, Ore. "I love fighting in Portland. The fans were great."