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Couture wins battle of living legends at UFC 109

Octagonside by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Photos courtesy of Josh Hedges, UFC

In a battle of two living legends, Randy “The Natural” Couture defeated Mark “The Hammer” Coleman by rear naked choke at 1:09 in the second round.

The bout was 12 years in the making, as the pair were originally slated to meet at UFC 17 before Couture was forced off the card with an injury. Back then, Coleman would’ve certainly been the favorite.

Time has a way of changing things. In the 21st century, Couture went on to MMA prominence; Coleman slowly began to fade away. As a result of their divergent career paths, Couture was the heavy favorite and the man known as “Captain America” showed why.

From the opening bell, Couture was the calm and confident fighter fans have come to admire. Coleman was never able to get into a rhythm. Couture’s stiff jabs kept Coleman at bay. When the two were in close quarters, Couture again controlled the tempo with dirty boxing and rocked Coleman with a knee.

Before the fight, analysts predicted that wrestling would be a non-factor, as both men are decorated mat technicians. Surprisingly Couture showed dominance grappling, pinning Coleman against the cage for the majority of the opening round.

Going into the second frame, a visibly tired Coleman seemed ripe for the picking.

Couture continued his assault using his boxing to set up a takedown. When the fight hit the mat, it was the beginning of the end for the man who founded “Team Hammer House.” Couture immediately secured a mount and looked to finish the fight with punches. Coleman attempted to shake Couture, giving up his back in the process. Couture wasted no time applying the rear naked choke.

In what was likely Coleman’s last trip to the Octagon, he refused to tap and lost the bout after blacking out.

While retirement is on the horizon for Coleman, Couture lives to fight another day.

“It seems to be par for the course,” Couture said when asked about his age. “I’m having a blast and I seem to be improving every time.”

Sonnen flattens Marquardt, springs to top of the division

The only likely person who believed in Chael Sonnen prior to his co main event bout with Nate Marquardt was Chael Sonnen (and his training partners). On paper, Sonnen, known for grinding out victories had nothing for Nate Marquardt—who is known as an aggressive finisher.

The reality could be no further from the truth.

From the start of the first round to the end of the third, Sonnen battered Marquardt with his trademark ground and pound attack. After a brief exchange on the feet, it was all Sonnen all the time.

Marquardt was taken down almost at will and was unable to escape Sonnen—who lived up to the name of the evening’s event, “Relentless.” The theme for the bout seemed to be “wash, rinse, repeat” as Sonnen kept a frantic pace complete with takedowns, punches and forearms from the top position.

Marquardt showed signs of life for a moment in the second, cutting Sonnen with an elbow.

Marquardt brought the crowd to their feet in the final round as he locked in a guillotine choke, but was unable to pull out the upset.

“I was counting the seconds down in my head hoping he’d let go,” Sonnen revealed after the fight.

Sonnen will likely meet the winner of April’s middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.

All three judges scored the bout 30-27.

Thiago chokes out Swick

Paulo Thiago showed the world he was the real deal, choking out Mike “Quick” Swick with a D’arce choke at 1:54 in the second round.

In a role reversal, the beginning of the end came when Thiago showed off his underrated striking skills. During a wild exchange, Thiago fired a counter right which caught Swick behind the ear and immediately followed up the shot with a left hand that sent Swick to the mat.

Thiago immediately pounced on Swick, who attempted an underhook. Thiago seized the opportunity, sinking in the choke. When Swick went limp, referee Herb Dean halted the bout.

The victory over Swick marks Thiago’s second win over a member of American Kickboxing Academy. Thiago defeated Josh Koscheck in his UFC debut last year.

Maia 2.0 rebounds from defeat

After suffering his first career defeat via brutal knockout, Demian Maia got back on the horse in an unusual fashion, defeating Jim Miller by unanimous decision.

Maia’s five previous Octagon victories came via submission, the jiu-jitsu expert showed an improved striking attack. Not known for his standup, Maia was a step ahead of the usually scrappy Miller.

The second frame saw Maia connect with several left hands that gave Miller pause before engaging. Maia’s comfort on the feet was apparent, as he didn’t attempt a takedown the entire round.

However, that all changed as the Maia of old surfaced in the third round. Maia’s new and improved striking served as the precursor to a series of takedown attempts. A hapless Miller remained in a defensive posture for the duration of the third round, allowing Maia to pull out the win.

The judges scored the bout, 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28.

Serra stops Trigg

Matt “The Terror” Serra opened up the main card with a bang, stopping Frank Trigg at 2:23 in the opening round via knockout.

After a brief feeling out process, Serra found his range. After a brief skirmish, Serra connected with his patented overhand right that landed flush on Trigg’s jaw.

The blow sent Trigg spiraling to the canvas with Serra immediately following. Three unanswered right hands later signaled the end of the bout and the likely end of Trigg’s MMA career.

Danzig defeats Bucholz, stays alive in the UFC

Rolling into his bout with Justin Bucholz, Mac Danzig was facing the very real prospect of unemployment. After three straight losses, the Ultimate Fighter winner knew that a loss meant the end of his UFC days.

With high stakes, the outspoken vegan dug down deep, besting Justin Bucholz via unanimous decision.

Danzig dropped the first round to Bucholz but quickly rebounded with the remaining ten minutes.

The more experienced fighter found his range, and mixed his ground game with striking to keep Bucholz off balance. Danzig scored with takedowns in each of the final two frames, and nearly closed out the bout with a rear naked choke as time expired.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28.

Guillard impressive in victory

With more than 50 fights to his name, Melvin Guillard is one of the youngest MMA veterans. Let him tell it, and he’s currently 1-0. In his first fight under coach Greg Jackson, “The Young Assassin” defeated Ronnys Torres in the first bout of Spike’s live broadcast.

Guillard displayed a much improved ground game, thwarting Torres’ storied jiu-jitsu game each time the fight hit the canvas. Though Torres handily took the opening round, Guillard seemed to just be warming up.

With no submission in sight, Guillard let his hands go in the final two rounds, peppering Torres with straight jabs. While Torres connected on several big overhands, he was unable to seriously hurt Guillard.

The bout came down to the wire with both fighters claiming a round. With time running down, Torres attempted a takedown but allowed Guillard to land on top. The Louisiana fighter took advantage of the position, throwing a series of punches as the bell sounded. With the round as close as it was, the final flurry may have sealed the victory for Guillard.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28.

Beltran ruins Gracie’s debut

There are a number of famous MMA families, but none more decorated then the Gracie clan. While Royce Gracie dominated the first UFC, the same could not be said for the youngest Gracie, Rolles. A highly anticipated debut turned into disappointment for the fighter and the fans.

Fighting on short notice, Joey Beltran, defeated Rolles Gracie at 1:31 in the second round by TKO.

The younger Gracie appeared to have the bout wrapped up in the early going, taking Beltran’s back after a takedown. Victory would elude Gracie, as his rear naked choke attempt fell short and Beltran took the top position and got the fight standing.

From there, the Gracie’s momentum deflated and the fight was Beltran’s for the taking going into the second round. After a failed takedown attempt, Gracie appeared to stop working for position. Beltran seized the opportunity and pounded Gracie until referee Herb Dean halted the bout, saving the lifeless—but conscious—Gracie from further damage.

Tuchscherer edges Hague

In what may go down as one of the worst examples of judging in 2010, Chris Tuchscherer edged out Tim Hague via majority decision.

Tuchscherer dominated the first two stanzas, but put up virtually no offense in the final frame. Hague, perhaps sensing he was down two rounds to one, came out swinging. The haymakers found a home on the face of Brock Lesnar’s training partner, as Hague sent his opponent staggering back to the cage.

The remainder of the round was all Hague, as Tuchscherer was taken down, mounted, and punched repeatedly.

Davis owns Stann

Decorated college wrestler Phil Davis made a statement, dominating former WEC champion Brian Stann in a lop sided unanimous decision.

Davis relied on his bread and butter, taking Stann down in all three rounds.

Once the match hit the mat, Davis was in familiar territory, while Stann was a fish out of water. Davis seamlessly transitioned from the mount, to side control and back again. Davis also showed off an impressive ground and pound game, effectively keeping Stann from mounting any offense.

The judges scored the bout 26-30, 26-30, and 30-27.

Emerson controls Nover in decision win

At one time, Phillipe Nover was hailed as the second coming of middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Three consecutive losses later and the comparison is a regrettable one. Rob Emerson controlled Nover from bell to bell en route to a unanimous decision win.

Aside from two very tight guillotine choke attempts in the first and final rounds, Nover was unable to mount any sufficient offense.

Emerson controlled the tempo from the early going and maintained a dominant top position until the final bell sounded.



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