Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson
He just whooped my ass, said former UFC champion Quinton Jackson. In defeat Quinton Jackson was as charismatic as he has been after his victories, but the man that many felt would walk through Forrest Griffin, met his match on the UFC's best main event of the year.
In the first round it looked like it would be a short night as Jackson caught Griffin with an uppercut that sent the TUF 1 winner to the canvas. Jackson leapt on his opponent but could not capitalize on his opportunity to finish, as Griffin tied him up and held on until he could regain his senses. Jackson's inability to finish would prove to cost him, as Griffin recovered and went on to win three of the next four rounds to secure the most established belt in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The second stanza was all Griffin as he caught Jackson with the defining strike of the fight, and surprisingly it was a leg kick that would do the damage. The unassuming strike changed the flow of the bout as Jackson turned awkwardly after taking the kick, and wasnt the same again. The fellow TUF coach capitalized on the injury and used it as the focal point of his offense throughout the rest of the bout.
Griffin was able to use Jackson's injury to take advantage on the ground, securing the top position and eventually mounting his opponent with several minutes left in the round to punish him and easily take the second stanza. It could even be argued that he won the round 10-8, and for the remaining three rounds Jackson looked slow on his feet, and searched for the big punch to end the fight. That punch never materialized, and while he was able to land some solid shots, Griffin never backed down at any point in the fight. In fact, Griffin stayed in the pocket and fired back dangerously giving and taking shots in the remaining rounds that saw him use his superior footwork and mobility to control most of the exchanges from the outside with kicks and punches.
In the end, Jackson lost the five-round decision and despite some interesting talk leading up to the bout, both fighters were more than respectful afterwards. He jacked my leg up. I tried to pretend but I aint that good an actor, Jackson said about his injury. Despite the loss, the fight was as entertaining as the Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva fight and there is a very good chance a rematch will take place at some point in the future. It was a possibility that even Griffin acknowledged after the bout. I think we are going to have to do it again, and that sucks for me, he said. I am sure the UFC would like to do the fight again, only it is not going to suck for the pocketbooks of the UFC brass.
Patrick Cote over Ricardo Almeida
In the least entertaining fight of the card, Patrick Cote took the split decision over Ricardo Almeida in a mild upset that saw neither fighter assert himself as the number two contender in the 185 lbs. division. The first round saw Almeida get the takedown and batter Cote to easily win the first stanza, but that was all the offense he could muster as his gas tank deserted him and he had nothing left for the rest of the fight.
In the first it looked like Cote might not make it out of the round, but in the second he looked like he would have an opportunity to finish the fatigued Almeida like he did against Kendall Grove and Drew McFedries, but it was not to be. He was unassertive in the second and third stanza despite the fact Almeida was dead tired and dropping his hands throughout the final two stanza's. Cote didn't capitalize and looked like he was almost too wary of the takedown, never putting combinations together to overcome his weary opponent. Cote landed one solid right hand at the end of the second round and a handful of leg kicks in the third round to sway enough judges to have him move on in the middleweight division. In many ways Cote almost backed into the win, doing just enough to get the split decision, but it wasn't impressive by any means.
Joe Stevenson over Gleison Tibau
Stevenson and Tibau competed in a very entertaining bout that saw both aggressive fighters jockey for position and submissions at every opportunity. At first glance, Tibau looks much bigger and stronger than Stevenson but it was Stevenson who landed the first telling punch, dropping Tibau to the mat. Tibau recovered well and locked in an oma plata of his own off a scramble in response that had both fighters at a stalemate against the fence. It would prove to be his best opportunity to win the fight but he was unable to finish the submission and it would cost him.
In the second Stevenson went for an unsuccessful takedown and Tibau was able to muscle a reversal, get a takedown of this own, and secure the mount position. Tibau took control of this fight from there but just as he started to drop punches down, Stevenson was surprisingly able to get back to his feet and out of danger. After getting back up Stevenson appeared to wait for Tibau to commit on another takedown, and when it happened Daddy sunk in his trademark guillotine choke inducing the tapout to get the come from behind win over Tibau in the second round.
Josh Koscheck over Chris Lytle
Josh Koscheck won a dominant decision over Chris Lytle after three rounds taking the fight with ground and pound against the runner up of the Ultimate Fighter 4. As expected Koscheck was able to get the takedown at will and controlled the action when it went to the ground. Lytle made every effort to throw hands, but appeared non committal and it would prove to be his downfall. In the second round Koscheck took Lytle down against the fence, passed to the half guard, and dropped punches and elbows to the face that filleted the forehead Lytle. Mauling Lytle from the ground with elbows, the fight could have arguably been stopped in the second but the referee allowed the bout to continue, but the third round was no better for the TUF 4 veteran. Despite a couple of restarts by the referee Lytle couldnt land the defining punch and lost the decision after three rounds. Contrary to some of his previous bouts Koscheck was more respectful of his opponent afterwards saying
"he has been around for a long time, so I had a lot of respect for him as a fighter." It didnt help him in the eyes of the fans however, who poured a chorus of boo's upon the fighter that has had a difficult time winning the appreciation of the fans.
Tyson Griffin over Marcus Aurelio
Tyson Griffin went to a decision again in defeating American Top Team black belt Marcus Aurelio. Using his superior stand up and wrestling game to keep Aurelio from using his jiu jitsu to his advantage, Grffin controlled the bout from start to finish. The 24-year-old Xtreme Couture product went to the leg kicks, battering the thighs of his opponent, and punched the face and body with almost no reciprocation en route to securing the judges cards from all three judges. Griffin wins the unanimous decision victory take his fourth consecutive win, a win that should put him on the road to title contention.
The Dark Matches
Gabriel Gonzaga over Justin McCully submission Kimura 1:57 Rd 1
Cole Miller over Jorge Gurgel submission Triangle choke 4:48 Rd 3
Melvin Guillard over Dennis Siver Ref Stoppage 0:35 Rd 1
Justin Buchholz over Corey Hill 3:57 Rd 2