Photo via UFC.com.
Going into the mixed martial arts (MMA) bout, the expectations likely weren't very high.
Sam Stout was supposed to ring in the second coming of the lightweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by taking on Kenny Florian at UFC 58: "USA vs. Canada." But when The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 alum dropped out because of injury at the last minute, Spencer Fisher stepped down -- and dropped down to 155 pounds -- to salvage the bout.
UFC was hoping to use Florian's starpower to usher the lightweights back into the fold, but fate intervened. Thankfully, fans still got one of the most memorable fights in Octagon history.
So impressive was the bout, it's often remembered as the best fight of the evening even though the first meeting between Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn and a middleweight title fight between Rich Franklin and David Loiseau were also featured on the card.
The two rivals tangled a second time a little more than one year later, that time headlining a Fight Night card on Spike TV.
Each man has walked home with a victory over the other and the fight to end the trilogy goes down this Friday (June 22) at UFC on FX 4: "Maynard vs. Guida" from the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Before the long awaited rubber match between these two lightweights, let's take a look at their historic fight from 2006, a back and forth war which put both men on the map.
Are you ready?
Both men come out swinging to start the bout off and Stout throws a kick Fisher's way which "The King" grabs. Stout is dumped onto the canvas and Fisher dives on top, hoping to land some ground the pound. The Canadian avoids most of his opponent's strikes, however, and quickly makes his way back to his feet.
A nice cross from Fisher lands as does a hook but Stout simply walks right through them. He clinches the American up and throws a knee to the body but Fisher amazingly tosses his opponent up and over onto the mat, nearly bending Stout's arm backward in gruesome fashion.
As both men get to their feet, Stout cracks Fisher across the jaw with a short punch while both men are still on their knees.
Not even 90 seconds in and it's unfathomable why the UFC did away with lightweights for so long.
Another kick from Stout is caught and countered with a straight by Fisher and the two warriors clinch up, leading to another impressive takedown from "The King." Working from Stout's closed guard, Fisher begins making his way towards the fence to pin his opponent up. He literally lifts up the Canadian and slams him down onto canvas before sliding "Hands of Stone" toward the chain-link.
From there, Fisher works towards sidemount, landing elbows the entire way before Stout is able to force him back to guard. Even from the neutral position, Fisher is able to land more elbows until his opponent kicks him off.
Back on his feet, "The King" is looking to dive back down onto Stout but the Canadian is using upkicks to keep Fisher at bay. So what does the American do? He latches onto a leg and threatens with an ankle lock until Stout boots him off. Seconds later, both men are back on their feet.
And yes, we're still in the first round.
A combination from Stout misses its mark and for the second time in the bout, a kick from the kickboxer is caught and countered by Fisher.
The second round opens as the first ended, with both men throwing heavy leather with seemingly reckless abandon. Fisher is still countering well and even begins to mix in legs kicks, giving his opponent a taste of his own medicine.
Stout starts to come into his own during this round, snapping off stiff combinations which pop Fisher's head back and landing good knees inside the clinch. His timing is better and Stout is avoiding the counter strikes which likely lost him the opening round.
Still, though, Fisher is game opponent and manages to land some decent strikes himself, ensuring a victory over "The King" would need to be hard-fought.
One minute remaining in the round, Stout gets behind his opponent, perhaps looking for a suplex-like takedown but Fisher rolls around and grabs onto the Canadian's foot, threatening once again with an ankle lock. It's tremendous fight IQ to realize the potentially dangerous situation he's in and immediately transform it into an offensive attack.
The third and final round impending, both fighters are wearing the bruises and cuts of the previous 10 minutes. And both look eager for more.
Stout is content to spend the remaining moments making the fight a kickboxing bout, a contest he has ample experience in. Combinations are fired off in rapid succession from the Canadian; punch, punch, kick over and over again.
When he gets Fisher close, Stout's clinch game -- elbows and uppercuts -- aid to sway the tide in his favor. Stout is actually able to get "The King" on his back momentarily, but the American is quick to pop back up. He almost immediately works towards his own takedown, but the seemingly fresher Stout is able to reverse it and wind up on top.
After some ground and pound, "Hands of Stone" allows his opponent to stand so he can continue the gameplan he implemented in the early half of the round.
Fisher finds himself on his back again but for the third time uses the threat of an ankle lock to keep Stout's offense at bay. He uses the submission attempt to gain top control and makes it to sidemount. His eyes being bigger than his belly, however, Fisher is kicked off while going for full mount and both fighters get back to their feet.
They trade punches in the final moments of the fight and when the horn sounds, fans know they've seen 15 minutes worth of amazing mixed martial arts (MMA).
Stout went home with the split decision that night and as previously mentioned, Fisher won out in the rematch. It's been over half a decade since both fights.
So who wins the rubber match?