Remembering Three Great UFC Tilts
By Mike Pace
The Ultimate Fighting Championship remains so young that it could not legally buy a drink in a bar, but it has already experienced some thrilling and legendary moments. The greatest UFC moments are so great that they’ve helped the organization to grow to be worth more than an estimated billion dollars. The UFC also has its own television network (more so integrated partners such as FOX Sports) and a magazine. To share in the glory of UFC, what tilts have knocked fans out of their seats like no other? On the heels of this past weekend’s bloody brawl for the ages between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, we look back at three other great UFC tilts.
Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen I — UFC 117
The title bout fight at UFC 117 may be better described as a professional wrestling match more so than an MMA bout due to the shameless publicity and theatrics. Silva and Sonnen had shared more than their fair share of trash talking. Silva typically chooses the high road, but he did just the opposite as he did when he called Sonnen, of all things, a butt-face. Their bout could have easily fallen short of expectations. Instead, Sonnen played cat-and-mouse for the first four rounds, winning each round by a clear decision. In the pivotal fifth round, however, Silva latched a triangle armbar on his adversary, forcing Sonnen to tap. This fight helped increase the popularity of the UFC amongst more main stream fans, and now these highly-regarded fights (the original and the rematch) are available on mobile platforms. Many fans can watch the UFC on their mobile phones because the organization streams highlights and updates through their apps and mobile site. Best of all, aspiring fighters can train harder by mimicking training routines and taking nutrition tips from the pros.
Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture I — UFC 43
The UFC is nothing without its great rivalries, and the rivalry between Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Randy “The Natural” Couture may be the most memorable. The first tilt between these two light heavyweights at UFC 43 set the stage for a historic trilogy of fights. Couture slimmed down from the heavyweight division for the fight. UFC fans predicted it would put him at a disadvantage because his wrestling style is dependent upon a heavier body position. Instead, Couture went toe-to-toe with Liddell — becoming the first man to KO the Iceman, as well as the first UFC fighter to win a title in dual weight classes. Liddell had his revenge though. He won the next two tilts in the trilogy, which became one of the most popular UFC DVD releases.
Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon — UFC 155
The title bout of Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez drew most of the attention at UFC 155, but the best fight featured lightweights Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon. Both fighters entered the ring as contenders with big fan bases, but the cut that Miller opened on Lauzon’s face would go down in UFC history as one of the bloodiest. In the first round alone, Lauzon lost so much blood that half his entire face was stained red. When asked by his trainer if he wanted to throw in the towel, Lauzon replied, uncensored on national television, “fuck no.” This thrilling contest would go a full five rounds, as Lauzon bled openly, but stood his ground after every hit. The crowd chanted his name and roared when the two men touched gloves as a sign of respect. In the final seconds, Lauzon went for broke in applying a leg lock, but could not get the tap before time expired. After the fight, he needed 40 stitches to repair his face and Jim Miller won what many are still calling the Fight of the Year for 2012.
(UFC logo Photo: www.pixelworlds.deviantart.com)
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