Sunday, September 07, 2008

UFC 88: Sugar Over Ice

Before we get to the fight that shocked the world, let's take a look at the other results of UFC 88:

Nate Marquardt won by TKO in round one over Martin Kampmann. Marquardt landed a shot in the early going that got Kampmann in touble and then he simply stayed on top of him landing shot after shot until Kampmann could take no more. I thought this would be a tougher fight. Marquardt is just rock solid and showed ring smarts by not getting over-excited and continuing to mix up his punches. I look forward to Marquardt's next fight whoever his opponent may be.

Dan Henderson won a unanimous decision over Rousimar Palhares. Henderson surprised me by winning so easily. He came in with a game plan that worked and to his credit he stuck with it. His plan was to keep the fight standing up and avoid going to the mat with Palhares at all costs. It didn't make for a very exciting fight, but it did get Henderson the win.

Rich Franklin won via TKO in the third over Matt Hamill. Franklin was just too ring savy. I really thought that he'd have more trouble in defeating Hamill due to Hamill's strength and great wrestling ability. Franklin was able to keep Hamill at bay by mixing his hard kicks with punches in bunches. Franklin looked to be in danger of losing via a stoppage due to a deep cut by his eye, but before that could happen in was able to put Hamill down with a hard leg kick to the liver to end the fight.

"Sugar" Rashad Evans knocked out Chuck "the Ice Man" Liddell with a single punch in the second round! Yeah, I was as shocked as you... maybe more so. I didn't see Evans winning that fight, and if he did somehow find a way to win, I wouldn't have guessed it would have been by knockout. Sure, I know that anyone can be knocked out by the right punch, but I just didn't see it happening. Evans fought a smart fight. He didn't waste his time [despite being a superior wrestler] in trying to take down Liddell. Instead he bobbed and weaved and made Liddell miss. As Evans' gained confidence, he stayed in front of Liddell for longer [though still brief] periods of time and threw shots of his own. And each time as he would dance away he'd add a little something to irritate Liddell. He knew what he was doing. Evans wanted Liddell to come in so intent on knocking him out, that he'd leave himself open. And that's what Liddell did. He missed an uppercut and Evans landed one on his chin. Instant knockout. Evans now has a shot at Forest Griffin for the title and Liddell must contemplate his next move.

Some folks are calling for Liddell to retire. He's lost three of his last four fights [to Rampage Jackson, Keith Jardine and now Rashad Evans]. Although he looked good in his win over Wanderlei Silva, many will say that Liddell just doesn't have it anymore. I disagree.

Anyone who can mix it up with Silva still has it. But that's what Liddell has to do, He has to mix it up. In his losses to Rampage, Jardine and Evans, he was pretty much one dimensional. He went in looking to trade punches with Rampage and Jardine, no doubt thinking that he could knock them out before they got to him. I really don't believe that he respected Evans punching power and probably thought that Evans would want to rely on his wrestling skills. In all three fights, he was wrong. Rampage landed first and knocked him out. Jardine rocked him and then went on to win a decision. Evans caught him with one shot dead on the button. How different would those fights have been if Liddell had fought like he fought against Silva? Remember the surprise when Liddell repeatedly took Silva down? How many times did he try that against Rampage? Jardine? Evans? Liddell has excellent wrestling skills, good jiu-jitsu and we know he can strike. Maybe he should try combining all three in his next fight.


Mr. Hawthorne said...

I think I'm gonna start training and enter one of these things. They look like fun, and if all I gotta do is catch a dude with ONE GOOD SHOT then I feel like I could win at least one out of every ten fights! ;)


SpaceMan said...

GREAT ARTICLE! If you havent seen the full fight of Chuck Liddell getting WOPPED by Rashad Evans or you just want to see a replay of the full fight plus post fight interviews you can see it at