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UFC 102 – Couture vs Nogueira

Countless times I’ve heard fans complain about the UFC putting on too many events. Some fight fans feel they’re paying way too much buck and not getting enough bang. So many pay per views with nothing on the line. No titles up for grabs. No bad blood or long standing feuds. No scores to be settled. Are you kidding me? This is MMA, everything is on the line. Just like in the NFL, where any game can make or break your season, every fight counts.

This past Saturday night was UFC 102. It wasn’t the best fight card the UFC put on this year. But it was a damn good one! There were some great fights with big implications. For some of the fighters that walked into the cage that night, the Octagon door may have closed behind them for the last time. Others may have shot themselves up the ladder towards a title shot. Some fell further down. Like I said, everything is on the line.

coutureThe main event of the night was obviously, Randy Couture vs. Antonio Nogueira. Some fans and critics were saying that this fight was four or five years too late and didn’t mean much now. Before the fight, I said bullshit to that! And after… I say the same. I think every time “The Natural” Randy Couture steps into the cage it’s something special. The man is amazing. To compete at the highest level in this sport at the age of 46 is superhuman. The fight was amazing. It won “Fight of the Night” honors  and it deserved it. The battle was back and forth for all three rounds. “Big Nog” landed some big shots on Randy and dropped him twice in the fight. But Randy fought back, keeping it close. He always does. Nogueira won the fight that night taking the judges scorecard and inching himself closer to a title fight with heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar. Could a rematch with Frank Mir be out of the question? If there is a rematch, look for it to end much different then the first time. What’s next for Randy though? Before the fight he signed a new six fight contract, so you know he still has some battles left in him. At the age of 46 though can he still hang with the ‘HUGE’ UFC heavyweight division? With guys like Lesnar and Shane Carwin in that division, I’m not really sure. So what should he do? Move back down to light heavyweight! There are some great match ups for him at 205. The list is too long.

Also that night Nate “The Great” Marquardt took on Demain Maia and only needed 21 seconds to score a highlight reel knockout. Now what happened next is one of those things you never hear about in MMA. It happens, you just never hear about it. After delivering the shot that dropped Maia, Nate cocked back his fist ready to dish out another dose of pain. When suddenly, before the ref could stop the fight, Marquardt knew it was over. Knowing full well Demain was two blocks over and to the left of Queer Street, he didn’t throw the punch. Now, does that sound like a savage? Like some thug that goes into a cage just to beat people up. No it doesn’t. Sadly that is what the general public thinks. It showed what is great about this sport and the beauty of competition. The discipline it takes. The honor and respect these warriors have for each other. Kudos to you Nate Marquardt. Unfortunately for him this win pushes him closer to a rematch with the middleweight champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. (More on that next week)

Another standout fight the other night was Thiago Silva against Keith Jardine.  Ladies and gentlemen, we may have seen the “Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine in the Octagon for the last time. Silva left him twitching in the center of the cage sending a message to the rest of the division, “I’m Back”. Jardine is now 1-3 since beating Chuck Liddell two years ago. That usually means pink slip time in the UFC. The man is so inconsistent. Maybe some time away for the UFC would do him good. Silva on the other hand, looked great and showed no signs that the Machida fight was still in his head. For the rest of the results head over to ufc.com

There may not have been any titles on the line or hatred between the fighters. No great selling points other then the promise of some interesting match ups and entertaining fights. That’s exactly what we got. Again the UFC delivered. Next time, don’t judge the card just on the fights. It goes much deeper then that.

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About Phil Devine Phil is a producer and co-host of "Sirius Fight Club" which airs on Sirius 127 / XM 105 @ 5-7pm ET Live Tuesdays & Fridays.

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