UFC 78: Heading east
UFC had not run a show in the New York City market since the explosion of the sport created by television nearly three years earlier, when UFC 78 came to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The show gave the company strong national publicity because of its location, but it was far from one of the company’s best outings. The lineup was weak, largely being a one-match show, and that match – Michael Bisping vs. Rashad Evans – was heavily criticized as being not worthy as a pay-per-view main event.
UFC promoted the Nov. 17, 2007, event around a battle of two undefeated fighters who each had won “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, Evans in Season 2 and Bisping in Season 3.
The match didn’t really prove anything. Evans came into the fight with a 10-0-1 record and a lifetime of wrestling while Bisping, 15-0 coming into the fight, came from a country with little in the way of organized wrestling. Bisping was able to connect more often, but Evans’ had more power in his punches. The fight came down to the third round: Whenever Bisping would start to get something going, Evans would take him down, earning a split-decision win.
The biggest star for the crowd of 14,071 fans was Houston Alexander. Coming off quick knockout wins over Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara, he clicked with the crowd the way few fighters do.
Unfortunately his weakness – the lack of a ground game – was exposed by undefeated Thiago Silva. The opening seconds were spectacular, as Silva rocked Alexander with a punch, but Alexander came back with a choke slam. Silva wasn’t hurt by the move and got a takedown. Alexander couldn’t get Silva off him and after a flurry of punches on the ground, Silva had knocked Alexander out.
Probably the second most popular fighter on the show was Boston’s Joe Lauzon. Lauzon was able to stop Jason Reinhardt in just 1:14 with a rear naked choke.
Quoteworthy: “This was originally pulled off of pay-per-view and off of cable because John McCain wanted it to be sanctioned, and the former owner didn’t want it to be sanctioned. Now, there are other commissions saying they won’t sanction it when we’re trying to be sanctioned.” – UFC president Dana White, on the eternal struggle for New York sanctioning.
Akihiro Gono def. Tamdan McCrory, submission (armbar), 3:19 R2
Marcus Aurelio def. Luke Caudillo, TKO, 4:28 R1
Thiago Alves def. Chris Lytle, TKO, 5:00 R2
Frank Edgar def. Spencer Fisher, unanimous decision
Joe Lauzon def. Jason Reinhardt, submission (rear naked choke), 1:14 R1
Ed Herman def. Joe Doerksen, KO, 0:39 R2
Karo Parisyan def. Ryo Chonan, unanimous decision
Thiago Silva def. Houston Alexander, TKO, 3;25 R1
Rashad Evans def. Michael Bisping, split decision
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