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UFC 109 Round-Up

In MMA on February 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Relentless certainly lived up to its name, with 7 of the 11 bouts ending in hard-fought decisions. Here’s a run-down of all the fights:

Randy Couture def. Mark Coleman (Sub, Rd 2)

In the main event, Randy Couture blitzed a sluggish Mark Coleman to possibly send the ‘Godfather of ground and pound’ out of the UFC for the final time. Couture looked sharp as he jabbed a tattoo on Coleman’s stunned mug in the opening seconds, popping him seemingly at will. The Hammer Houser has never been known for his stand up, and Couture continued to dominate, pouring on some of his patented dirty boxing from inside the clinch.

As Coleman retreated to his corner between rounds, he had the look of a beaten man. His fears were well founded, as the ‘Natural’ opened up the 2nd stanza with a nice takedown. Looking like a fish out of water, Coleman quickly gave up his back and was finished in short order with an efficient rear naked choke.

President Dana White admitted afterwards that it was probably the last time we’d see the ‘Hammer’ in the octagon, and he may now return to Japan for some well-earned pay-days. Everyone’s favourite 45 year old, however, is back in the title shake-up at 205, according to White. With Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua not due to meet for another few months though, he may have one more hurdle to negotiate before he earns yet another shot at the light-heavyweight belt

Couture soundly outboxed the overmatched Coleman

Chael Sonnen def. Nate Marquardt (UD)

Major upset here as the seemingly unstoppable Marquardt ran into the human steamroller Chael Sonnen. Marquardt was just one win away from another shot at the middleweight belt, but the 32 year old Sonnen thoroughly drenched his parade with a nasty dose of ground and pound.

It was Sonnen’s 3rd decision win in a row since his loss to Demian Maia, and the former WEC contender continues to impress with his top notch wrestling. The only way he could really beat Nate ‘the Great’ was with an exhibition of smothering top control, and that’s just what he delivered. Marquardt briefly threatened from his back with a couple of tight guillotine attempts and a loose kimura, and also opened a nasty cut over his tormentor’s eye, but Sonnen showed admirable determination to stay on top in the bout.

The favourite also landed some nice knees on the feet and reversed position in the final round to go out with his head held high, but this one was just not meant to be. He must now rebuild, and will face some more tough fights as he climbs the ladder again. Sonnen, meanwhile, could face the winner of the upcoming Silva-Belfort match up in what could be a solid seller for the UFC. Silva’s PPV popularity has not matched his fighting ability in recent times, but plenty of fans could well tune in to see him put the mouthy American in his place.

A bloodied up Chael Sonnen refused to allow Marquardt into the fight

Paulo Thiago def. Mike Swick (Sub, Rd 2)

Brazilian bomber Paulo Thiago continued his one-man assault on the AKA camp with another win over one of their top fighters as he further tarnished Mike Swick’s record.

Coming into the UFC with a respected jiu jitsu game, Thiago shocked the world with a brutal uppercut which relieved the heavily favoured Josh Koscheck of his senses last February. He went on to drop a decision to Koscheck’s teammate Jon Fitch, before a rebound win earned him another bout with Kos. Swick stepped in at late notice after his teammate’s injury, and he will wish he hadn’t.

The first round was very even as the two tentatively felt each other out. The Brazilian landed the better shots on the feet, but a late takedown from ‘Quick’ left the round up for debate. The 1st frame was soon rendered academic, however. Swick began to open up on the feet, and backed up his Black House opponent with a solid combo that looked to have landed. Unfortunately, he then made the cardinal error of leaving himself wide open as he rushed in for the finish. A perfectly timed left hook counter dropped him, and Thiago swarmed the spaced Swick to lock on a split-second d’arce choke for the finish.

It’s back to the drawing board for Swick then, who has dropped two fights in a row for the first time in his career. He needs to string together a few wins to re-establish himself in the division, but these last two losses have shown he has some exploitable holes in his stand up game.

Thiago, meanwhile, showcased his punching power once again. He also gave us our first flash of his finishing ability on the ground as he chalked up his first submission in six fights, having started his career with seven subs in eight. He will probably face Koscheck again, with the winner likely to be right in the title shake-up.

Paulo Thiago finishes the fight with a lightning submission

Demian Maia def. Dan Miller (UD)

Demian Maia took a clear cut decision win in this one as he rebounded from his damaging KO loss to Marquardt back in August. He wasn’t impressing anyone in this snoozefest though.

Watching these two high level jiu jitsu black belts paw at each other’s jaws resembled a road race between a couple of F-16s. Miller obviously had a healthy respect for the Brazilian’s submission skills, while Maia struggled to get the fight to ground. The two would never be mistaken for Bruce Lee, but after a chastening opening round which he may have just nicked on takedowns, Maia settled and began to get the better of Miller with some nice counters. He used these to finally drag the fight to ground and keep it there in the 3rd, but never really looked like finishing.

Miller remains a solid competitor, but offers little in the stand up department. Maia meanwhile, will need to keep working on his kickboxing and add some wrestling wrinkles to his attack. Pulling guard will only work so many times, and a power puncher with good take down defence will give him fits.

Both fighters remain mid-table in the middleweight division, but Maia’s skill on the ground gives him the greater upside of the two.

Maia lands a jab in this mediocre stand up battle

Matt Serra def. Frank Trigg (TKO, Rd 1)

Motormouth Matt Serra notched his first win in the Octagon since 2007 as he made short work of ‘Twinkle Toes’ Trigg, who must now pursue a career outside the UFC.

The 35 year old Serra’s injury travails had many questioning whether he could be a force at welterweight once more, but he answered his critics with a one sided demolition of his veteran opponent. Trigg is only two years the senior of the two, but he’s looked a lot older than his 37 years in recent outings. His September scrap with Josh Koscheck ended in a similar fashion to this one, as his superb wrestling credentials were rendered null and void by a sub-par stand up game.

This one was only two minutes old when Serra moved away from the midsection, where he was scoring points, to drop his opponent with a powerful overhand right. The Jersey native pounced for the finish as referee Josh Rosenthal intervened for a justified stoppage.

The win took Serra a step up the ladder at 170 as he launches another attempt at the belt. He still has power in his hands, but he needs to prove that he can threaten off his back if he’s to upset some of the powerful wrestlers in the division.

Serra pounces for the stoppage

Undercard:

An interesting undercard opened up with the ‘Mexicutioner’ Joey Beltran surviving a hairy first round to pound out a gassed Rolles Gracie for a 2nd round TKO. Gracie may not return in a hurry after he failed to capitalise on some great positions on the ground only to run out of steam early and give up the stoppage.

From there, it was decisions all the way.

First, Brock Lesnar’s teammate Chris Tuchscherer scraped a much disputed decision over Tim Hague, before ‘Mr Wonderful’ Phil Davis put his All-American wrestling credentials to good use as he dominated a visibly frustrated Brian Stann. Rob Emerson got the better of Philippe Nover as he came out on top in a battle between two TUF alumni, as the much hyped Philippino  hope dropped to a disappointing 0-3 in the octagon.

In the two televised preliminary bouts, Melvin Guillard struck his way to a wafer-thin win over a game Ronnys Torres, who showed enough to earn another chance in the cage. And finally TUF season 6 winner Mac Danzig also gained a much needed win over Justin Buchholz. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Danzig though, who dropped the first round and admitted to underestimating his tough opponent.

Guillard got the better of debutant Ronnys Torres

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