KEITH JARDINE D. CHUCK LIDDELL (DECISION): I never, in all my thinking leading up to this event, thought I would type those words. The problem is that I overestimated Chuck Liddell — he looked listless and slow in this fight, and never once displayed the killer instinct that carried him to fame and fortune. He’d press the action occasionally, but wouldn’t finish — and finishing a fight is his specialty. Or at least, it WAS his specialty before Rampage knocked out him out in May. Liddell bloodied him up, but Jardine was never in trouble in this fight and Jardine knocked Chuck down with a hard right in the second.
FORREST GRIFFIN D. MAURICIO SHOGUN RUA (SUBMISSION): Once again, I never thought I would type those words. Shogun gassed in the middle of the second round and could barely lift his arms for the rest of the fight, but he kept pressing the action and got the submission win with 30 seconds left in the fight. Rua really wasn’t the same fighter here that he was in PRIDE, but I’m getting tired of saying that (as I did with Cro Cop and Minotauro).To me, this is the defining fight in Forrest Griffin’s career, because he dominated the man many people believed to be the top 205 pound fighter in the world, and he did it standing AND on the ground. No matter how many championships Griffin may win in the future, this fight tonight will go down as the major turning point, the time where he entered the ranks of the best in the world.
JON FITCH D. DIEGO SANCHEZ (DECISION): Fitch looked like a world beater in this fight. There were bunches of moments when Sanchez had him in a sure-fire submission, only to see Fitch somehow slip away. This was a fantastic fight.
LYOTO MACHIDA D. KAZUHIRO NAKAMURA (DECISION): I’ll be honest, I went to the grocery store during this fight and only caught the decision. There were four fights I wanted to see and this was not one of them.
TYSON GRIFFIN D. THIAGO TAVARES (DECISION): Good lord, was this fight awesome. Griffin is an absolute machine and kept spinning out of bad predicaments. Tavares looked good, but Griffin looks like a title contender, especially after this fight.
Overall, this was a night full of great fights. No knockouts usually equals dull fights, but there was a ton of great ground action on this card that helped it stand above your average UFC event. Two gigantic upsets with Forrest and Jardine winning probably throws a wrench into UFC’s plans; I guess they could still do Silva vs. Liddell in December, seeing as both fighters have lost their last two fights in a row. I think Forrest needs to get the next shot at Rampage for the 205 belt; if they don’t want to do that immediately, then they could have Griffin vs. Jardine in January for a title shot, but I’m hoping they go ahead and give Griffin a shot. He did beat one of the best in the world, after all, and Jardine beat a merely adequate Liddell who looked like he’s lost the fire he had when he was champ.