Las Vegas, NV–Randy Couture, the timeless legend of the octagon etched another chapter in his storied hall of fame career as he bested and ultimately choked out Mark “The Hammer” Coleman via rear naked choke in the second round of their UFC 109 main event. The two former UFC heavyweight champions had been itching for over a decade to finally see who was the better of the two. Though both fighters are in the twilight of their careers Couture is the rare gem that can still give fighters twenty years his junior a run for their money. He started the bout almost immediately landing stiff jabs that sent the former Pride GP winner’s head bouncing back. Coleman did not look good as if aging in the cage, keeping his head straight up like a chicken each time he would get hit or step back in a attempt to strafe Couture’s advances. Coleman ate all of Randy’s best shots and was never knocked down, displaying an iron chin. He was able to get off two hooks that momentarily held back Couture, but the pressure would prove to much as Couture would force Coleman into the cage dishing out nasty uppers from the clinch. He would work dirty boxing tactics the rest of the first round, with Coleman seemingly having no answer to what was being thrown at him. The second round might have been the last of Coleman’s UFC Career and certainly was the last of the fight. Couture secured a Greco body lock and took the fight to the ground. He took his opponents back and slapped a rear naked choke that put Coleman on his way to an appointment with the sandman.
Couture seems to be still growing as a fighter the older he gets. “I feel at 46 I still am getting better, ” said the former champion. Taking the fight to the ground was something Couture had worked on in the gym and it paid off. Coleman was visibly disappointed after the fight with thoughts of his future swirling in his head. “He beat me to the punch, Randy is a great fighter,” Said Coleman
Underdog Sonnen uses wrestling for the decision win
24 and 10 Chael Sonnen, the last WEC middleweight champion used his Olympic level wrestling to blow out what is seen as the second best middleweight in the UFC; Nate Marquardt. The Team Quest based fighter put Marquardt on his back for three rounds to gain a unanimous decision on the judges scorecards. Marquardt was confident that everything Sonnen did he could do better, but after the bout admitted that he did not stand or utilize his foot work to off set Sonnen’s takedowns. Marquardt did have some high points in the fight though. Cutting Sonnen on the forehead while on his back with a big elbow. It affected Sonnen so much so that he constantly kept thinking about it through out, “I was hurt from that first round, I was scared that they were going to stop the fight because of that cut,” Said Sonnen. He resiliently kept fighting on, taking Marquardt down at will and imposing some serious ground and pound, racking both points and damage. By the third round, Marquardt looked very wobbly but would make some major headway when compared to his first two rounds. First locking in a guillotine after a Sonnen takedown that almost had the fighter submitting, “It was deep. I was counting in my head when he had that guillotine in,” Sonnen said. Marquardt would finish the round strong transitioning a sweet sit out switch that had him now landing hard shots on Sonnen in his guard. It was too little, to late though as Sonnen was awarded the win. He now extends his UFC win streak to three with wins over Marquardt, Yushin Okami and Dan Miller.
Thiago takes down another AKA fighter in Swick
Paulo Thiago beat another American Kickboxing Academy fighter and almost mirroring his spectacular win over Josh Koshcheck. The Brazilian choked out a game Mike “Quick” Swick via D’arce choke that was set up by a wild right hook in the second round. Both fighters were cautious in the first round, with Swick changing levels and mixing in punch/kick combinations while Thiago would counter and press forward as the aggressor. The two fighters seemed much looser in the second round, with their body language telling how much they had relaxed. Swick planted Thiago with a right hand that moved him back and may have possible stunned him; Thiago countered almost immediately with a wild hook that sent Swick down. Thiago went in to finish, but Swick recovered his senses working in a under hook while Thiago was on top. This was a gift to the skilled Jiu-jitsu black belt as he immediately sunk in a tight D’arce choke for the win. Thiago now improves to 13-1, as he welcomes all challengers and maybe a possible rematch with Josh Koshcheck.
Maia gets the judges favor, while Serra takes out Trigg
Damian Maia continued improving his striking game as he mixed both his boxing and Jiu-jitsu for a unanimous decision win over Dan Miller. Miller, who is a black belt in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie was hoping he could use some of those skills but his game plan would not pan out the way he wanted. After eating a knee to the groin in the first, Miller would fight the advances of Maia, never really able to land committed strikes on his opponent. For Maia’s part, he would mostly land his lead left hand, landing cleanly throughout the bout. Miller’s underrated ground game would come into play as in the third he was taken to the ground but popped back up just as fast. He would work in his guard for the close of the third round, not taking much damage from Maia to the surprise of everyone. Damian Maia now improves to a record of 12-1 his only loss coming to Nate Marquardt, who lost earlier to Chael Sonnen.
The Frank Trigg/Matt Serra grudge match came to an explosive end in Las Vegas, with Frank Trigg suffering a first round knock out. The loss will probably end the comeback run of the once dominant welterweight. Serra came out working effective strikes in his brief night of work, making Trigg guess as to where he would place his shots. The head, body and legs of Trigg was open game as repeated strikes would eventually set up the end for him and his UFC career. With the two fighters finally deciding to engage full on in the center of the cage, Serra threw a wild over hand right that landed and sent Trigg down. Serra followed up with three shots that had Trigg out and forced the stop of the bout at 2:23 of the first. It would be the first win in almost three years for the former welterweight champion, as Serra celebrated trademark cartwheel and all while his opponent was being attended to. “I wanted to work the body and make my way up there, ” said Serra reflecting on his game plan. “I’m very happy, I really have a lot of respect for Frank; I really do. I’m not the prettiest guy on the pads, but I got the job done. I believe in my stand-up. It’s not pretty, but (when) I land it, it hurts.”
In the un-televised under card:
Mac Danzig def. Justin Buchholz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Melvin Guillard def. Ronys Torres via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Robert Emerson def. Phillipe Nover via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Phil Davis def. Brian Stann via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Chris Tuchscherer def. Tim Hague via decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
Joey Beltran def. Rolles Gracie via TKO in R2 (1:31)