UFC 114: "Rampage vs. Evans" tonight (Sat., May 29) brought the house down inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After a year of hype, an entire season on The Ultimate Fighter and three weeks of unprecedented trash-talk, former light heavyweight champions Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson finally went to war inside the Octagon.
And it looks like "Rampage" won't be getting that "Shogun" rematch he so desperately wanted.
If he wants to point fingers at someone he should probably start with himself, as he apparently missed the Thiago Silva fight back at UFC 108. Like the Brazilian, Jackson had Evans on rubber legs at the halfway mark in round three but decided to give him what seemed like an eternity to recover and claim the unanimous decision.
Outside of the third round fireworks, the only other notable moment came in the opening stanza, when Jackson was rocked by "Suga's" stampeding bumrush.
Still, the quicker and busier Evans did enough to take home the win and perhaps a championship showdown with Mauricio Rua later this year.
Dan Miller came into his 185-pound slugfest against Michael Bisping with the urgency of a man who was in an 0-2 hole both personally and professionally.
It wasn't enough.
"The Count" was able to take all three scorecards in his unanimous decision win over the Sparta native, utilizing an effective striking attack that beat Miller to the punch, literally.
Unfortunately the former IFL star was unable to impose his wrestling or grappling, which left him at the mercy of the fleet-footed Brit, who kept a fair amount of distance and simply outclassed Miller on the feet.
Michael Bisping pushes his record to 19-3, but is he any closer to getting back into the title hunt?
Up-and-coming heavyweight phenom Todd Duffee made a name for himself in the UFC's 265-pound division with a record setting six-second knockout of Tim Hague.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Mike Russow stunned his muscular foe in the final round with a one punch, come-from-behind knockout victory in what cageside announcer Joe Rogan called "the craziest finish he's seen in 1,000 fights."
Consider the Duffee hype train officially derailed.
Despite his heroics, the Chicago cop was in danger early and often, taking a pounding from Duffee's patient and powerful striking, but gutted through two rounds of punishment with a little help from a seemingly bulletproof cranium.
Following tonight's display, don't be surprised if BP executives try and use it to plug the oil hole in the gulf. Anyone think Russow can be a force in the heavyweight division?
Or is he simply 2010's luckiest fighter?
After dropping Luis Cane on the corner of Lights and Out, PRIDE import Antonio Rogerio Nogueira made his second appearance under the UFC banner against late replacement Jason Brilz, filling in for an injured Forrest Griffin.
I believe the term we're looking for is "highway robbery."
Tonight the role of "Minotoro" Nogueira was played by Jason Brilz, who may have been the better striker and in round two especially, the better grappler.
Much like his brother before him, Nogueira looked old and tired, unable to capitalize on the few advantages he did have while also leaving his head high and tight like a little league batting tee.
"Lil' Nog" managed to turn it up in the third and final round, and apparently it was enough to convince two of the three judges that he was the better man overall.
A furious MGM crowd did not concur.
The pay-per-view action got underway from "Sin City" with the much-ballyhooed return of Diego Sanchez to the promotion's welterweight division.
And John Hathaway reminded him of why he left in the first place.
"The Hitman" made it a "Nightmare" for the original Ultimate Fighter, knocking him around for the better part of three rounds and nearly shutting off the lights with a beautifully timed knee in the opening frame.
As always, Sanchez showed a ton of heart and weathered the storm but it was obvious that he was no longer suited for the new-look welterweight division. Similar to his loss to Jon Fitch, Sanchez was just too small and too far out of range to overwhelm the larger Brit.
Now that the smoke has cleared, Hathaway is still undefeated and moving on to bigger and better things while Sanchez is left to try and figure out where he belongs in a rapidly improving sport.
This blogger votes for a return to 155-pounds where Sanchez can still be a force.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss "Rampage vs. Evans" in the comments section below. Let’s hear what you have to say about Rampage, Duffee and everyone else who competed tonight by sounding off in the comments section below.
For complete UFC 114 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.