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UFC 81 recap and final thoughts on 'Breaking Point'

UFC 81 recap
True to form Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira survived a beating to defeat Tim Sylvia via submission (guillotine choke) in round three of their fight tonight at UFC 81: "Breaking Point" to capture the interim UFC heavyweight championship crown.

With the win, "Big Nog" made history, becoming the first man ever to hold titles in Pride FC and the UFC.

Some fans newer to the sport may call it "luck," however, it's how Minotauro has made a name for himself throughout his career. Even Sylvia acknowledged in his post-fight comments that the Brazilian has an uncanny ability to endure punishment and come out victorious.

As far as the fight is concerned, Sylvia looked dominant in the early rounds, peppering Nogueira with stiff jabs and effective power punches. In fact, "The Maine-iac" had Noguiera hurt bad in the first round, dropping him with a devastating left-right combination. However, Sylvia -- like the 30-some odd opponents before him -- could not finish.

And he paid dearly for it in the third stanza.

Nogueira respectfully called out Randy Couture during his in-ring post-fight interview. Couture already turned down the fight, but he may want to reconsider after tonight's performance of Minotauro. It would only add more to his legacy and free him up from his contractual stalemate.

Not to mention, with a win, it would truly mean that Fedor Emelianenko is the only man left for him to conquer to be considered the best heavyweight of all time.

Of course, how could we forget the ridiculously hyped Octagon debut of former WWE wrestling superstar, Brock Lesnar, against former heavyweight champion, Frank Mir.

We didn't.

Lesnar -- with former co-workers "The Undertaker," Kurt Angle and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin sitting ringside -- started out solid, taking down Mir and brutalizing "The Baddest Man on the Planet" with destructive ground and pound. For a minute it seemed like Mir was tapping and the fight was over when the referee stepped in and called a halt to the action.

However, Lesnar dropped about three sledgehammers on the back of Mir's head as he rolled to avoid the rape. Mazzagatti docked Lesnar a point and the fight wasn't the same after -- Mir eventually caught the giant in a knee bar and he was forced to tap.

Or was he smacking that ass?

That's what it looked like, anyway ... perhaps Greg Nelson didn't cover the proper way to tap during MMA 101.

It just showed that he was real green when it comes to MMA competition. But having said that, Lesnar did not look terrible. He's an incredibly strong and athletic fighter with loads of talent. Look no further than Mir's face after less than five minutes of fight time -- it looked like he got into another motorcycle accident.

Put simply, Lesnar has promise ... but is UFC President Dana White prepared to pay him a quarter-million dollars to beat up cans while he buds into a potential title contender?

I guess the pay-per-view (PPV) buys will tell that tale.

Mir more than likely didn't earn himself a title shot with the win, but he did more than enough to earn himself a rematch with Sylvia if he wants it.

In other action, Nate Marquardt was about seven seconds away from ripping Jeremy Horn's neck off his spine before "Gumby" wisely tapped. Marquardt looked real strong and powerful. If he keeps it up he'll get another crack at the 185-pound crown real soon.

"Nate the Great," in the meantime, may have earned himself a rematch with Ricardo Almeida, who wasted no time submitting last-minute replacement, Rob Yundt. Almedia tapped Marquardt in a legendary Pancrase bout that included a Renzo Gracie post-fight kick the face.

Google it.

Tyson Griffin kept on trudging, earning a well-deserved unanimous decision over a game Gleison Tibau. Griffin is a force, but he needs to start putting guys away if he really wants advance to the front of the line in a crowded lightweight division title picture.

It's late and the New York Giants are on the eve of winning their first Superbowl in 18 years; therefore, this recap is ending a bit sudden. For all the UFC 81 round-by-round coverage click here.

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