The lights have finally been dimmed on UFC 106: "Ortiz vs. Griffin 2" from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin hooked 'em up in the main event, which was a rematch from their controversial first encounter back in 2006. And tonight was eerily similar to the first chapter, with the exception of the final result.
"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" -- 18 months since his last fight and 13 months removed from major back surgery -- started off strong, but faded as the fight progressed. He hit takedowns early and beat up Griffin with patented ground and pound.
It didn't last.
Griffin got stronger as the fight went on and took over in the final frame, doing enough to earn the split decision nod from the the three judges sitting ringside. Both fighters revealed that they were limited because of injuries -- Ortiz with a "cracked skull" and bulging discs, Griffin with a broken foot -- but that didn't stop them from putting on a great fight.
With the score now even (1-1) it likely sets up a rubber match in the near future. In the meantime, Ortiz and Griffin will likely head to the sidelines and heal from their injuries before returning to action.
And after tonight it can't come soon enough -- they both put on great performances, hopefully quieting the critics who have besieged them in the past 12 months ... for at least the time being.Anthony Johnson was taking a huge leap up in competition in his co-featured fight against Josh Koscheck, looking to make a claim that he is a serious threat to division deity, Georges St. Pierre.
In a fight that was marred with odd stoppages, including several for inadvertent eye pokes and phantom illegal strikes, Koscheck and Johnson more than made up for it in a thrilling second round
Both fighters traded big blows before Koscheck secured a powerful takedown. He then brutalized "Rumble" on the ground with relentless ground strikes, splitting him wide open. Johnson did what he had to do to avoid taking further damage, but in the process, gave up his back.
Big mistake -- "Kos" quickly sunk in a fight-ending rear naked choke.
It was another big win for Koscheck, who later went on to call out Dan Hardy in his post-fight remarks, saying he hadn't fought anyone like Koscheck to earn an opportunity to challenge for the belt.
He might be right ... but it probably won't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Although, it would be a fine addition to a hurtin' UFC 108 card.
It appeared that the promotion finally threw Paulo Thiago a bone when they booked him to take on newcomer Jacob Volkmann in a welterweight match up after starting his tenure with back-to-back fights against top contenders Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch.
Not so fast.
Volkmann put up a great a fight and nearly finished the Brazilian in the third round with a crafty choke, but Thiago escaped and hung on to win a unanimous decision. It was back-and-forth for most of the contest with Thiago getting the better of the power exchanges.
In fact, Thiago dropped Volkmann on numerous occasions, but the collegiate wrestling stand out was game and kept on coming.
The crowd voiced its displeasure on numerous occasions, but overall, it was a very competitive fight. And while it didn't end early, there was no shortage of opportunities on both ends.
Surprisingly good stuff.
Brazilians Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Luis Cane reluctantly collided in a 205-pound match up that could slingshot the winner into the upper echelon of light heavyweight division.
Nogueira -- the brother of former interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira -- was making his promotional debut against the winner of three straight. "Banha," meanwhile, has been a menacing force in the division.
But tonight was just not his night.
Nogueira relied on his superior boxing skills to pick apart Cane, drilling him repeatedly with a big left hook. Cane couldn't escape it despite his best efforts, including a brief Kalib Starnes impersonation, tucking tail and running from his opponent.
It was short-lived, however, because Nogueira eventually caught up with him and dropped his fellow countryman with a thundering left that put him down for the count. Nogueira pounced and sprinkled in a few head bouncers just for good measure before the referee stepped in and stopped the action.
Cane is a bad dude and Nogueria totally dominated the fight from start to finish. Keep an eye on "Lil Nog" in 2010 ... he could very well make a run in a very talented, and deep, weight class.
Phil Baroni stepped back inside the Octagon for the first time since 2005, taking on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 winner, Amir Sadollah, in the opening match of the televised pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast.
Unfortunately for the "New York Bad Ass," he's still in search of his first UFC win in more than seven years.
Sadollah weathered the typical Baroni early storm, eating several hard punches, but not without inflicting damage of his own. His key to victory was the clench, which Baroni seemingly has zero ability to defend for 15 minutes.
Despite getting drilled with knees and standing elbows for most of the fight, Baroni -- bloodied and beaten -- hung tough throughout. He demonstrated his trademark heart and chin, but he also faded early ... as usual.
Not too sure where Baroni lands after tonight -- it may have been make or break. Perhaps he gets one more bite at the apple before he's asked to pack his bags. Sadollah, on the other hand, gets back on track with a win over an experienced veteran.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss "Ortiz vs. Griffin 2" in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs. Let’s hear what you have to say.
For complete UFC 106 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.