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Sunday, January 3, 2010

UFC 108 Results and highlights ! Can this be the Next fight ? Rashad Evans Vs Rampage Jackson ?

One of the greats of the Ultimate Fighting Championship had yet another superb night Saturday at UFC 108 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
He was on top of his game, though the critics were out in full force beforehand, predicting his decline.

He came up with a superstar performance on a night when many were expecting little more than yawns.

Joe Silva, the UFC’s frequently badgered matchmaker, proved Saturday that he’s one of the company’s most valuable assets by putting together a sensational card of fights that frequently left the crowd of 13,255 delirious with excitement.

UFC 108 was decimated by nearly a dozen fighter injuries and illnesses, forcing Silva to rework the card multiple times. Enough guys dropped off the card to field a football team, there were replacements for the replacements and many critics were howling, predicting a disastrous card and calling for a cut in the pay-per-view price.

The critics would have been correct if the card ended after the first fight, a lightweight match between Rafaello Oliveira and John Gunderson that was a dull, desultory affair that Oliveira won by decision.

After the opener, though, fight after fight was a jaw-dropper, making it clear that Silva is still pretty good at what he does.

The main event, in which Rashad Evans defeated Thiago Silva on a unanimous decision, was a quality fight but seemed like a letdown after the series of other A-quality bouts.

“The show speaks for itself,” said Sam Stout, whose lightweight war with Joe Lauzon will be among the contenders for 2010 Fight of the Year some 363 days after it occurred. “Everyone who fought put on an impressive performance.”

Prior to the card, UFC president Dana White vigorously defended the quality of the show and went on the offensive against those who were critical of the matches.

Much is made on Internet bulletin boards of a perceived lack of respect that White shows fighters, but White got the last laugh Saturday. He wound up turning the critics’ words against them.

“All these guys (on the Internet) are always talking about respecting fighters,” White said. “But more disrespect was thrown at the fighters than ever. Listen, I think they were trying to take shots at the UFC, but what they’re doing is taking shots at the fighters.

“I go out and we put together the best fights we can and we go promote it. Saying that this card sucked, or that it was lackluster, or that it didn’t live up to being a New Year’s Eve card, well, I said it at the (pre-fight) press conference: These guys always deliver.”

Well, not always, but Silva comes through more often than not. On Saturday, there were at least a half-dozen mind-blowing moments.

The submission that Cole Miller slipped on Dan Lauzon in their lightweight fight was so incredible and came from out of nowhere that the UFC ought to consider adding it to the highlight reel they play in arenas before each show.

Stout and Joe Lauzon put on a battle for the ages, highlighted by a sequence in the first round in which they rolled across the cage as Stout attempted to work his way out of a kimura attempt by Lauzon.

Jim Miller also pulled off a brilliant submission, but he did so after playing Duane Ludwig’s game. He knocked down Ludwig, who seemed to have a striking advantage, with a clean shot and then immediately went about pulling off his submission.

Paul Daley bragged for weeks that he would knock out Dustin Hazelett, then he went out and did just that.

Heavyweight Junior dos Santos continued his ascent toward stardom, blowing away Gilbert Yvel.

There were many such moments throughout the night.

One of the reasons that cards that are panned turn out to be good is that the ones that are being ripped are generally the ones without the biggest stars.

When the big names fight, the matchups usually dictate themselves. In that instance, Silva doesn’t have the ability to influence the card.

But on cards like Saturday’s, where there are more mid-tier fighters, Silva can play with the matchups and arrange the bouts so the styles produce the most fireworks.

“He’s the best in the business,” White said of Silva. “… Joe Silva is awesome and he does a fantastic job. He’s the best.”

Jim Miller said he wasn’t surprised the card turned out the way it did. He was irked, as were many of the fighters on the show, by the constant flood of Internet whining about the quality of the show.

He had two other opponents who fell out before Ludwig took the bout. He said he was geared for a prime performance, believing an impressive win could vault him into the top 10.

“Everybody stepped up and it was a great night of fights,” he said. “People don’t understand that injuries happen in this sport. If they don’t believe it, they ought to get on the mat and train. We train harder than any other athletes on the planet. Guys are going to get hurt.”

And yet, there is always something going on. On Saturday, former heavyweight boxing champion James Toney was hanging around the press room, begging White for a fight, which White said he’d consider.

There were smiles all around, as White obviously was pleased by what he’d seen after what he’d heard for months.

“At the end of the day, if you’re a fight fan, you put your money down because you want to see great fights,” he said. “Sometimes, we have a card filled with our big names, like UFC 100, and they put on a show. And sometimes, we have guys who get hurt or have something go on in their lives and they can’t make it. But we are fight promoters and this is what we do. This is why we have so many guys under contract. We’re in the fight business and at the end of the day, if you come to one of our shows, you’re going to get a kick-ass night of fights.”Rashad Evans spent the first two rounds in his UFC 108 main event with Thiago Silva implementing a specific game plan. He’d move forward, throw a few punches to get Silva off balance, and explode with a takedown.

While he was unable to finish Silva, who was coming off a knockout win over one of Evans’ best friends and training partner Keith Jardine, he largely shut Silva’s offense down completely for two rounds and seemed on the verge of an easy decision.

Then, in a split second, things changed. Evans was caught with a punch and put down. Silva had him in trouble, but then held up and Evans had a chance to recover.

It became a battle, both with a clock ticking away and with both men’s conditioning as Evans tried to hold on. But Evans, in his first match back since dropping the UFC light heavyweight title to Lyoto Machida, survived the third round to win the unanimous decision by straight 29-28 scores on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“I said to myself, `No, this isn’t going to happen again,’” said Evans (14-1-1). “I was thinking, `Keep your composure,’ and I was talking myself through it. When I get rocked with a good shot, I talk with myself. My legs felt a little loose so I was going to try and tie him up.”

He blamed the knockdown and the period when he was in danger of losing to getting tired after pushing the pace heavily, as well as a mental lapse causing him to do exactly what he had been drilled in training not to do.

“I know he’s a pretty good striker but I didn’t think he had the power, the one-punch power, even though he knocked out Jardine (Evans’ good friend and training partner),” said Evans after the fight. “I wasn’t too afraid of his power.

I would go to implement my game and break him down with pressure. In the third round, I got a little bit tired. I don’t know if I got lazy, and he got me with a shot.”

“My coaches told me, `Don’t fade away after somebody throws a jab,’ and that’s exactly what I did,” Evans continued. “He slipped a right hand in there and it caught me. It landed, and I thought I rolled with the punch. I tried to move my legs. But my legs were gone, so I grabbed him and tried to recover.”

The key moment where Silva (14-2) let Evans off the hook was when, a moment after his big shot, he started playing to the crowd, which fired up the crowd, but gave Evans a chance to recover.

Silva had been taunting Evans, putting his hands down and inviting Evans to throw, and waved to get the crowd to react, but Evans ignored getting shown up.

“He was giving himself a chance to recover,” he said. “I felt him breathing. After we got done with that exchange he was breathing really hard and he was doing everything he can to motivate himself.”

“It didn’t affect me at all. He was trying to excite himself and he was trying to rest a little bit. It’s not my first fight. I’m not going to get goaded into somebody waving his hands and saying ‘come get me.’

“A fight is a strategy,” he continued. “He was trying to get me to lose my head. There’s a saying, if you lose your head, your ass goes with it. You can’t fault him for trying to get me out of my element and to open up so he can catch me.”

The score was obvious, as there was little question Evans won the first two rounds, that Silva won the third, and that Silva didn’t follow up his advantage and do enough damage to earn a 10-8 third which would have made the fight a draw. Still, most of the crowd announced at 13,255 fans, heavily pro-Silva from the start, booed the decision heavily.

The win will lead to a much-anticipated match with Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, which UFC president Dana White said he’s hoping to put together on the scheduled May 1 show in Montreal.

The match has been the source of a lot of controversy. The two were opposite coaches on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, which ended early last month, which featured a number of confrontations ending with Evans vs. Jackson being one of the most anticipated matches in company history.

But Jackson pulled out of the original Dec. 12 fight date in his hometown of Memphis to take a lead role as the B.A. Baracus character in “The A-Team” movie. At one point, mad at White being critical of him for taking the movie role, he said he was quitting the UFC. Most recently he said that he didn’t want the fight if Evans were to lose to Silva.

“I don’t have any messages for Rampage,” said White. “This fight should have happened a few weeks ago. I’m over it, I’m past it. It’s time to do this fight when he’s done with the movie.”

Evans noted that his coaches wanted him to implement a new fighting strategy and feels he needs another fight to get it down before facing Machida.

“Sticking to a game plan is always hard, especially when your opponent is trying to stop you,” said Evans. “I said it time and time again before the fight, I said that I was going back to wrestling. I wanted to throw hands but my corner warned me against it. They told me not to get into a battle where it’s Russian Roulette and whoever gets the punch wins.”

Still, Evans admitted disappointment, even though he beat one of the top names in the division, and avenged the loss of his teammate. “Overall, yeah, I was happy to get the win, but I really wanted to go out there and be really impressive,” he said. “I worked really hard and I integrated stuff that I really don’t do. I was moving forward and I usually stay on the outside.

Moving forward with Thiago you put yourself in the line of fire. It’s hard to stick to the game plan when you’re used to doing things one way. But I’m disappointed I got tired in the third round.”With UFC post-fight bonuses consistently hitting the high five figures, the promotion’s athletes are constantly gunning for the honors… and the bonus check. Saturday’s UFC 108 roster was no different, and they didn’t make it easy on UFC brass. Seven of the night’s 10 bouts ended via submission or knockout.

After entertaining 13,255 fans at the MGM Grand Arena, pulling in a $2 million gate, according to UFC officials, the award winners at UFC 108 took home bonus checks of $50,000


Rashad Evans Premium White Silver Star Mma Shirt (S)

Paul “Semtex” Daley kept blazing up the UFC welterweight trail on Saturday night, and he did it in stunning fashion. Dustin Hazelett, whose forte is grappling, showed admirable stand-up abilities, but he stood just a split second too long, eating a left hook from Daley that sent him crashing to the mat, lights out. It was another highlight reel finish for Daley that also earned him the Knockout of the Night.

Cole Miller found a way to survive after being dropped by a Dan Lauzon overhand

left, but he didn’t stop there. In a tremendous display of jiu-jitsu, he locked on an inverted triangle then finished Lauzon with a Kimura shoulder lock for the Submission of the Night.

Sam Stout was cut open and nearly submitted in the opening round, but somehow escaped Joe Lauzon’s submission attempts to come back and batter him. They fought on through rounds two and three, Lauzon searching for a way to catch Stout in a submission, but Stout continually staying a step ahead, outstriking the


elder Lauzon brother. For their efforts, both Stout and Lauzon went home with an extra $50,000 and Fight of the Night honors.


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