UFC 92: Triple main event
With three main events, UFC 92 became the third mixed martial arts pay-per-view show to top 1 million buys.
The December 27, 2008, show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena saw a battle of former winners of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. Rashad Evans, the winner of Season 2, finished Forrest Griffin, the Season 1 winner, to capture the light heavyweight championship. Griffin took the first round solidly, while Evans won the second, although it was closer. In the third round, Evans got the takedown and started throwing punches and elbows, and eventually, some punches were bouncing Griffin’s head off the mat and referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight.
The second main event was for the interim heavyweight title, the belt created when Randy Couture left the company, but still in existence after Couture returned. In a huge upset, Frank Mir dominated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, the defending champion, in a match set up when the two spent a season as opposing coaches on the reality show.
Nogueira, slowed by a staph infection that hospitalized him leading up to the fight, didn’t seem himself. Whether it was the infection or the accumulation of beatings in a long career was not determined, but Mir constantly beat him to the punch. Mir knocked Nogueira down twice in the first round, and was pounding on him after a second-round knockdown until the match was stopped, the first time in Nogueira’s 38-match career that anyone finished him.
This led to a confrontation as heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, situated at ringside, got up and had a big smile on his face, since Mir’s win was to lead to a rematch, while Mir responded to him, “Be careful what you with for.”
The third main event saw Quinton Jackson, who had been knocked out, violently, twice in Japan, years earlier, by Wanderlei Silva, stop his former nemesis with a one-punch knockout at 3:21. The win put Jackson back in the light heavyweight title hunt, while it led to questions about former PRIDE champion Silva’s future in the cage, and to his decision to drop down a weight class.
The show was an interesting lesson about MMA fans and their buying decisions. Traditionally, with both boxing and MMA events, it is the main event that determines the buys. In this case, none of the three main events, on their own, was at the level of the biggest matches in company history, only one of which up to that point, the 2006 Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell match, had hit the million mark. But the combination of the three surprisingly outdistanced one of the company’s biggest singles matches, the Lesnar vs. Randy Couture match from a month earlier.
Quoteworthy: “I wish I could make the statement that the odds were against me but you never quit. Itâs not true. I wanted to give up.” – Mir, talking about his career ups and downs.
Pat Barry def. Dan Evensen, TKO, 2:36 R1
Brad Blackburn def. Ryo Chonan, unanimous decision
Matt Hamill def. Reese Andy, TKO, 2:19 R2
Antoni Hardonk def. Mike Wessel, TKO, 2:09 R2
Yushin Okami def. Dean Lister, unanimous decision
Cheick Kongo def. Mustapha al Turk, TKO, 4:37 R1
Quinton Jackson def. Wanderlei Silva, KO, 3:21 R1
C.B. Dollaway def. Mike Massenzio, TKO, 3:01 R1
UFC interim heavyweight title: Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera, TKO, 1:54 R2 (Mir wins title)
UFC light heavyweight title: Rashad Evans def. Forrest Griffin, TKO, 2:46 R3 (Evans wins title).
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