(photo taken from ufc.com)
What a way to end the year for the Ultimate Fighting Championships. It was another great night for mixed martial arts and it was filled with many surprises.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena erupted when Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva stepped into the UFC cage. Everyone knew the hatred both of these fighters had for each other coming into the fight, so many believed it would be a three-round war.
However, Rampage stunningly defied the odds by defeating the favored Brazilian native. Although Silva defeated Jackson twice before back at Japan’s PrideFC organization, Jackson proved to be a much improved fighter in this UFC 92 ‘The Ultimate 2008’ event. He was an underdog coming into this fight, but it seems like the third time was indeed a charm after he caught Silva with a quick left hook at 3:21 of the first round.
Immediately after the fight, Rampage stated "This is really sweet…I had to let you guys know that the last time I fought him, it wasn’t
right. I came to England with the Wolfslair, got my wolf on, now it’s
right. Rampage is back, baby. I ain’t going nowhere."
In the heavyweight title match, Antonio "Minotauro" Rodrigo Nogueira was attacked viciously by the hungry Frank Mir. Mir simply looked great with his combination of punches and kicks, while Nogueira just couldn’t respond. Mir’s stand-up gameplan looked pretty obvious as he prevented the ground game on numerous occasions. Nogueira survived several powerful strikes that threw him to the mat, but there is only so much a fighter could withstand.
In the second round, Mir was able to drop Nogueira to the ground with two back to back left strikes. Mir followed up with several bombs to Nogueira’s face until the referee was forced to stop the fight at 1:54 of the second round. Mir quickly looked over to Brock Lesnar and shouted out "be careful what you wish for." After an astonishing win over the great "Minotauro" Nogueira, Mir will look to fight Brock Lesnar in a rematch sometime in early 2009. And this time, their bout will be for the UFC heavyweight unification title.
The humble Mir had a few words to say right after the fight, stating "I faced such demons after my wreck…to come back and fight the best heavyweight to ever fight in the UFC,
and get a win over him after what I’ve gone through, it just shows man, everybody right now look at your life. They say you can’t do (expletive). I proved you can do things…I didn’t even think I could beat Nogueira. Come on. If I was a betting
man, I wasn’t on Mir’s side tonight. I came through this because of the
love of my family, my children, my wife."
The main event between Forrest Griffin and Rashad "Sugar" Evans lived up to its hype in every way. In fact, this bout earned "Fight of the Night" according to Dana White and the UFC. Griffin dominated the first two rounds with consistent jabs and kicks. At times, Evans even looked hurt with some of Griffin’s powerful leg kicks. Evans kept using his speed to dodge some of the strikes and was able to connect a few times. However, Griffin showed more aggression and used his longer reach to his advantage.
Evans seemed to have studied and analyzed Griffin’s gameplan pretty well throughout the first 2 rounds. In the third round, Evans caught one of Griffin’s legs and was able to capitalize with several devastating punches. Griffin survived the attack and kept Evans in full guard position. Evans persisted with more effective blows to Griffin’s face while they were still on the ground. At 2:46 of the third round, the referee was forced to stop the fight and Evans became the new light heavyweight champion of the UFC for the very first time in his career.
Evans has kept his undefeated record and added his eighth win in the UFC. After the fight, he stated "It was a great fight…Forrest gave me everything I could handle those first two rounds. It took a while for me to get warmed up, but I got there."
Here are the rest of the UFC 92 results:
Rashad "Sugar" Evans defeats Forrest Griffin via TKO (strikes) at 2:46 in the 3rd round
Frank Mir defeats Antonio "Minotauro" Rodrigo Nogueira via TKO (strikes) at 1:54 in the 2nd round
CB Dollaway defeats Mike Massenzio
via TKO (strikes) at 3:01 in the 1st round
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson defeats Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva via KO at 3:21 in the 1st round
Cheick Kongo defeats Mustapha Al-Turk via TKO (strikes) at 4:37 in the 1st round
Preliminary Fight Card:
Yushin "Thunder" Okami defeats Dean "The Boogeyman" Lister via a unanimous decision
Antoni Hardonk defeats Mike "The Juggernaut" Wessel via TKO (strikes) at 2:09 in the 2nd round
Matt "The Hammer" Hamill defeats Reese "Riptide" Andy via TKO (strikes) at 2:19 in the 2nd round
Brad "Bad" Blackburn defeats Ryo "Piranha" Chonan via a unanimous decision
Pat Barry defeats Dan "The Viking" Evensen via TKO (referee stoppage due to knee injury) at 2:36 in the 1st round