UFC 86: Contested decision

One of the most talked about judges decisions in UFC history was the Forrest Griffin light heavyweight title win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 86.

After an Ultimate Fighter season as rival coaches, Griffin was considered overmatched by most against Jackson. But on July 5, 2008 in Las Vegas, it appeared Griffin was at his best, and Jackson wasn’t.

Griffin took the decision on scores of 48-46, 48-46 and 49-46. Two of three Yahoo! Sports reporters scored it a draw while one had it for Griffin. What made it an exciting fight, including fight of the year in the Wrestling Observer, is that it did appear Griffin was winning the decision, but the entire time, the fight was in jeopardy because Jackson was always in danger of knocking Griffin out, as Griffin even admitted Jackson hurt him with every punch that connected.

Griffin had superior footwork and ring generalship, but whenever the two traded punches, Jackson usually came out the better. Griffin won most of the first round using leg kicks, and Jackson was limping by the end of the round, Jackson scored a knockdown in the round. Round 2 was Griffin’s strongest round, as he dominated on the ground.

Judge Adalaide Byrd gave Griffin the first three rounds and Jackson the final two, giving Griffin a 10-8 second round. Judge Nelson “Doc” Hamilton gave Griffin rounds two, three and five, including a 10-8 second. Judge Roy Silbert gave Griffin rounds one, two, three and five.

What caused so much discussion was Jackson losing on two cards in the first, and Jackson’s side protesting that because he scored the knockdown, it should have been 10-8. But MMA scoring isn’t that a knockout is an automatic 10-8 like in boxing.

NOTEWORTHY

A sellout crowd of 11,172 fans at the Mandalay Bay Events Center paid $3,350,730 also saw Patrick Cote get a middleweight title match later in the year against Anderson Silva, beating Ricardo Almeida via split decision in a dull fight.

With the exception of the main event, the most exciting fight was a three-round war between former TUF fighters Cole Miller and Jorge Gurgel.

Gurgel already clinched the decision winning the first two rounds. In the third round, Gurgel bloodied Miller’s nose with punches, and connected with a wicked head kick. After trading punches in a clinch, Gurgel got a takedown in the latter stages of a third round he was winning. But Miller, a purple belt, caught the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in a triangle from the bottom with 34 seconds left in the fight.

Gurgel, recognizing he just had to hang on to win, tried to last, but with 12 seconds left, he was put out.

Quoteworthy: “Every [expletive] punch hurt.” – Griffin, on going toe-to-toe with “Rampage.”

RESULTS

Jorge Gurgel def. Cole Miller, submission (triangle choke), 4:48 R3
Melvin Guillard def. Dennis Siver, KO, 0:35 R1
Justin Buccholz def. Corey Hill, submission (rear naked choke), 3:57 R2
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Justin McCully, submission (Arericana), 1:57 R1
Tyson Griffin def. Marcus Aurelio, unanimous decision
Josh Koscheck def. Chris Lytle, unanimous decision
Joe Stevenson def. Gleison Tibau, submission (guillotine choke), 2:57 R2
Patrick Cote def. Ricardo Almeida, split decision UFC light heavyweight championship: Forrest Griffin def. Quinton Jackson, unanimous decision (Griffin wins title)