ARLOVSKI DEFENDS INTERIM HEAVYWEIGHT CROWN
Franklin Also Wins Spot On Second Season Of The Ultimate Fighter On Spike TV
ATLANTIC CITY , NJ -- Rich Franklin (20-1) of Cincinnati , Ohio , defeated Evan Tanner (33-5-0) of Gresham , Ore. , by doctors decision at the 3:25 point of the fourth round to become the new UFC middleweight champion, while interim heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (9-3-0) of Minsk, Belarus, vanquished challenger Justin Eilers (9-4-1) of Nampa, Idaho, by technical knockout with :50 left in the first round to headline an exciting eight-fight card as UFC 53: Heavy Hitters took place before a near-sellout crowd at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday.
With the win, Franklin also won a starring role as a coach on the second season of the Spike TV hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter.
I want to thank my training team for preparing me for this fight, said Franklin, who is now 2-0 lifetime against Tanner. This was a team effort tonight.
Tanner took a lot of punishment from Franklin , as the former high school math teacher landed several fists and knees to the now-former champs head. With blood streaming down Tanners face and his eyes nearly swollen shut, referee Hubert Dean asked for a medical review early in the fourth round. The doctors then stopped the fight, giving Franklin the crown.
Rich did an awesome job, said Tanner. It was his night. Congratulations to him.
Franklin got caught early by a Tanner left hook, but came away from the fight largely unscathed.
I dont remember much about that punch, said Franklin . That means he must have got me pretty good.
Franklin has now won his last six fights and is a perfect 5-0 in UFC action.
Arlovski was in control of his fight from the beginning and capitalized when Eilersa former football player from Iowa State went down with an apparent injury to his right knee. Arlovski then pounced and delivered several blows before the referee stopped the fight.
With the win, the stage may now be set for Arlovski to take on the reigning heavyweight champion, Frank Mir, who is recovering from an injury.
Im very anxious to have that fight, said Arlovski, who has won his last five fights and is now 6-2-0 in UFC matchups.
The next UFC title fight will come on August 20, 2005, in Las Vegas , Nev. , as light heavyweight champion Chuck The Iceman Lidell takes on Jeremy Horn at UFC 54: Boiling Point . The eight-fight card will also include a bout between Randy The Natural Couture and Mike Van Arsdale.
Other Fight Action:
Light heavyweight Forrest Griffin (11-2-0) of Athens , Ga. , defeated Bill Mahood (12-3-1) of Prince George , at the 2:18 mark of the first round after enforcing a rear-naked choke that led to a tapout by Mahood. It was the UFC debut for Griffin , who was one of the winners of the Spike TV hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter.
Im going to walk a lot better after this fight, said Griffin , referring to how battered he was after his decision over Stephan Bonnar in The Ultimate Fighter finale. I didnt get any uglier from this one.
The fight went to the ground early, then Griffin trapped Mahood against the Octagon fencing and executed his choke.
I heard a little gurgling (from Mahood) and I just held and squeezed to see if something good would happen, said Griffin .
Welterweight Karo Parisyan (22-3-0) of North Hollywood , Calif. , won a decision over Matt Serra (13-4-0) of Long Island , NY . The judges scorecard gave Parisyan a 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 win.
I got clipped early but told myself that I couldnt lose this fight, said Parisyan. So I came back and got the victory.
Heavyweight Paul Buentello (18-7-0) of San Jose , Calif. , defeated Kevin Jordan (7-3-0) of Fairfield , Calif. , at the 4:00 mark of the first round. The fight was short, but intense, as both fighters landed blows early. It was stopped when Jordan tapped out after Buentello executed a guillotine choke.
I wanted to throw a knee, but he (Jordan) fell in too tight, so I got the squeeze on him, said Buentello. I was stunned earlier by his punch. I tried to come in close on him and I got caught.
Middleweight Nate Quarry (7-1-0) of Salem , Ore. , beat Shonie Carter (66-13-7) of Chicago , Ill. , by TKO at the 2:37 point of the first round. Quarry survived a left to his right cheek from Carter early in the round, retaliating with a combination of strikes that led to the fight being called.
Middleweight David Loiseau of Montreal , Quebec , defeated Charles McCarthy of Miami , Fla. , by TKO at the 2:10 mark of the second round. After spending most of the first round-and-a-half on the ground, Loiseau landed a vicious spinning back kick to McCarthys mid-section then executed a flying knee kick before referee John McCarthy stopped the fight. An excited Loiseau did an exuberant back flip after his win.
Im a blackbelt in tae kwon doIve been doing that all my life, said Loiseau of his kicking skills.
Welterweight Nick Diaz (11-3-0) of Stockton , Calif. , defeated Koji Oishi (11-4-4) of Tokyo , Japan , by TKO at 3:25 of the first round. Diaz landed a solid left to Oishis chin, then followed with a flurry of strikes to his face that quickly led to the fight being called by the referee.
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