UFC 97 “Redemption” took place earlier this evening at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
In the night’s main event, Thales Leites looked to become the first fighter to dethrone the middleweight king Anderson Silva in the UFC.
Chuck Liddell and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua both looked for impressive performances and a much needed win inside the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
Brian Stann made his UFC debut against Krzysztof Soszynski.
Cheick Kongo and Antoni Hardonk faced off in a heavyweight bout.
Steve Cantwell looked for his second victory inside the Octagon against the vicious Luiz Cane.
Results and wrap-up after the jump.
- Anderson Silva defeats Thales Leites via Unanimous Decision
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua defeats Chuck Liddell via TKO (Strikes) Round One
- Krzysztof Soszynski defeats Brian Stann via Submission (Kimura) in Round One
- Cheick Kongo defeats Antoni Hardonk via TKO (Strikes) in Round Two
- Luiz Cane defeats Steve Cantwell via Unanimous Decision
- Sam Stout defeats Matt Wiman via Unanimous Decision
- Denis Kang defeats Xavier Foupa-Pokum via Unanimous Decision
- Nate Quarry defeats Jason MacDonald via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
- Ed Herman defeats David Loiseau via Unanimous Decision
- Mark Bocek defeats David Bielkheden via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round One
- TJ Grant defeats Ryo Chonan via Split Decision
- Eliot Marshall defeats Vinny Magalhaes via Unanimous Decision
Luis Cane vs. Steve Cantwell: Cane vs Cantwell was more of a kickboxing match than a MMA fight, but it was still pretty good nonetheless. Cane clearly got the best of Cantwell in the first round, tagging him with clean shots throughout the round. In the second, Cantwell turned the tide a little though, and came back with quite a few solid blows of his own. Enough to win the round in my opinion (two of the judges gave it to Cane). Cane took back over in the third though solidifying the decision victory.
Cheick Kongo vs. Antoni Hardonk: I don’t think there was ever too much of a question about who was going to take this one. Like I said in the predictions post, Kongo has never been too terribly impressive to me, but he’s certainly better than Hardonk. Not surprisingly, the majority of this fight took place on the feet with Kongo getting the best of most of the exchanges. Hardonk found himself on the ground quite a few times throughout the fight, and in the last instance, Kongo was able to capitalize, and finish him off with strikes.
Brian Stann vs. Krzysztof Soszynski: It was Brian Stann’s first time on the big stage, and unfortunately for him, it didn’t end well. He needed to keep the fight standing, and either knock Krzysztof out or out point him for a decision. Instead, the fight made it to the ground, and Krzysztof was able to exploit Stann’s lack of a decent jiu-jitsu game, and secure the fight ending kimura.
Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio Rua: It was not a good night for Chuck Liddell fans. I know this because the bar I watched the fights at went completely silent when Chuck got pounded out, and subsequently half the place emptied before the Wiman-Stout fight even started. Guess who was the lone drunken idiot jumping up and down yelling Shogun? Yep, that was me.
In all seriousness, I’ve always liked Chuck, and seeing the disappointment on his face was a bit saddening. I’m sure all the retirement talk will be in full effect over the next couple of weeks. Despite the loss, no, I don’t think he will nor should he retire if he still wants to fight. In the light heavyweight division, yes, I believe it’s time for Chuck to move on, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make the move up and see what he can do in the heavyweight division. At least half of the opposition will be bigger, but they’ll also be a little slower. I’d like to see what he can do there before he hangs it up for good.
As for Shogun, what a great performance for him. I don’t think you can draw the conclusion he’s “back” to PRIDE form from this fight alone, but it’s definitely a start. He took a few shots, but he looked much more composed in this fight. It’s hard to tell if his condition had truly improved from his last two since it didn’t make it out of the second, but it was apparent that he was much sharper, and has started to get his rhythm back. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.
Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites: This fight was awful from start to finish. If Anderson Silva wanted to silence all the critics who said all he did was showboat in the Cote fight, he didn’t do himself any favors. Instead, he threw a five gallon drum of rocket fuel on the already blazing inferno.
The first round consisted of a loooonnng feeling out process, not much happened. In the second, they engaged a bit more, and Leites was even able to get Silva to the ground. He worked for a more favorable position, but Silva was able to block his attempts and eventually made back to his feet. The third consisted entirely of Leites trying find a good place on the canvas to make his bed and take a nap. Then, to cap it off, in the final two rounds, Anderson, rather than going in for the kill, which it appeared like could have at any point, apparently thought it would be a better show for the crowd to channel his best impression of whatever showboating boxer he looks up to. I appreciate a tactical battle as much as the next guy, but this didn’t strike me as Silva playing it safe, at all. It struck me as him trying to put on a show, one the crowd definitely did not appreciate. The chants of GSP! GSP! said it all. It’s honestly the first time I’ve ever heard a crowd chant the name of a fighter who wasn’t actually in the fight.
It truly was a disappointing end to an event that was on it’s way to being a solid night of fights.
Update: MMA Frenzy has a report from the post-fight press conference claiming Dana “effectively” announced Chuck’s retirement. I may very well have been wrong about Chuck retiring. We’ll see. I still don’t think he’s done for good. Emotions are running high now, so who knows how Chuck will feel in a couple weeks. I think we’ll have a much better idea then.
Submission of the Night: Krzysztof Soszynski
Knockout of the Night: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
Fight of the Night: Sam Stout & Matt Wiman ($70k each)
Bonus info courtesy of MMA Junkie
Live Gate & Attendance
Live gate: $4.9 million
Live gate courtesy of MMA Weekly