UFC 91 “Couture vs. Lesnar” took place this evening at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Randy Couture made his return to the UFC following a 15-month hiatus to defend his UFC Heavyweight Championship against the monstrous Brock Lesnar. It was billed as “the biggest fight in UFC history,” but did it live up to the hype?
Two of the UFC’s elite lightweights, Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson, battled it out for a chance to face UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn in 2009.
Gabriel Gonzaga looked to stay relevant in the UFC’s heavyweight division by facing UFC newcomer Josh Hendricks.
Demain Maia tried to keep his UFC winning streak alive against hard-hitting Nate Quarry.
Dustin Hazelett and Tamdan McCrory met in the Octagon in a match some are calling the “Revenge of the Nerds.”
Results and commentary after the jump.
- Brock Lesnar defeats Randy Couture via TKO (Strikes) in Round Two
- Kenny Florian defeats Joe Stevenson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round One
- Gabriel Gonzaga defeats Josh Hendricks via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
- Demian Maia defeats Nate Quarry via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round One
- Dustin Hazelett defeats Tamdan McCrory via Submission (Armbar) in Round One
- Aaron Riley defeats Jorge Gurgel via Unanimous Decision
- Jeremy Stephens defeats Rafael dos Anjos via Knockout in Round Three
- Mark Bocek defeats Alvin Robinson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round Three
- Matt Brown defeats Ryan Thomas via Submission (Armbar) in Round Two
“Oh no, Maia immediately moved into mount. This is death.” – Joe Rogan. That pretty much summed Maia-Quarry up. Quarry’s only chance was to stay on his feet and he couldn’t even do that for 30 seconds. A few moments later Maia had the rear naked choke sunk in. Pretty soon here, it’s going to be hard to talk about the UFC middleweight title picture without including Demian Maia in the conversation. Time for a step up in competition.
Josh Hendricks got KTFO. Damn, that looked like it hurt. Not much else to say about that one. Gonzaga didn’t underestimate the UFC newcomer and did what he was supposed to do. I’d really like to see him against Shane Carwin next.
Did I miss something? Since when did Matt Brown become the jiu-jitsu guy? Good for him, showing he has more in his arsenal than just stand-up. Great victory considering he came in on two weeks notice, and had to drop 25lbs in the process. That’s just ridiculous.
How about McLovin’s beard?! Tanner tribute beard? Jesus beard? Kimbo Slice beard? Vietnam war beard? Whichever it is, it’s awesome. That was a fun fight. The Barn Cat’s striking looked good, but he just didn’t have an answer for Hazelett’s slick ground game. It’s going to be tough to top McLovin for submission of the night.
Oh, nice, the UFC is cutting out all the bs and going straight to the start of each prelim fight. Maybe we’ll get them all in tonight.
OMG! Jeremy Stephens just obliterated dos Anjos with that uppercut. Stephens was in trouble for much of the fight on the ground against the Brazilian with the superior ground game. Stephens is tough though. He hung on, and absolutely blasted dos Anjos for what has to be knockout of the night.
Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson are two guys you hate to see lose, but one of them had to. And tonight it was Joe. What a great performance by Kenny Florian. That kid is a tactician. There’s not way he should have beat Stevenson that easily, but he did. He improves every time out and absolutely deserves a chance at BJ Penn. Give that man his title shot!
Here it is, the big one!
So, Brock Lesnar just beat Randy Couture. Wow. I’m not going to run away from my prediction. I was extremely confident that Randy Couture was too smart and experienced for the raw talent and sheer strength and size of Brock Lesnar. I thought Randy’s game planning, instincts, and all around superior mixed martial arts skills would be too much for Brock Lesnar. I was wrong. Dead wrong (doesn’t it always happen like that?). Brock was a monster next to Randy and just proved to be too much for Couture’s technique to overcome. I will say though that appearance-wise and performance-wise, the Randy Couture we saw tonight was not the Randy Couture of 2007. He was definitely smaller, slower, and just wasn’t as sharp as we saw him against Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga. He just couldn’t put it together against Brock. Instead of the dirty boxing and punishing elbows in the clinch, it seemed like he was just trying to prevent the beast that’s Brock Lesnar from getting free. Maybe his age has finally caught up to him. Maybe it was the 15-month layoff. Whatever it was, it doesn’t matter now because Brock Lesnar was the better man tonight and is now the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.
One thing we can finally put to rest now is the Fedor-Couture fight. I think it’s safe to say that fight just lost all of it’s appeal, and not necessarily just because Randy lost, but because he just didn’t look all that good. Make no mistake, Fedor would have destroyed Randy tonight if it would have been him inside that cage and not Brock Lesnar. Oh well, I’m sure now there will be a little bit of Fedor-Lesnar chatter starting, but what I’m really looking forward to now is Brock Lesnar taking on Minotauro Noguiera (assuming he beats Mir, I hate to make an assumption like that because it will come back to bite you in the ass, but what the hell). Brock Lesnar owns one half of the UFC Heavyweight Championship. But can he get the other? In 2009, we’re going to find out!
Submission of the Night: Dustin Hazelett
Knockout of the Night: Jeremy Stephens
Fight of the Night: Jorge Gurgel & Aaron Riley ($60k each)
Bonuses courtesy of MMA Junkie
Live Gate & Attendance
Live gate: $4.8 million
Attendance: 14,272 (“near sell-out”)
Live gate courtesy of MMA Junkie