UFC 49: Champ again

Randy Couture met Vitor Belfort for the third time, this time in a bid to regain the light heavyweight title. They had met at UFC 46 and Couture nearly had his eyelid removed by a punch in the opening minute, losing the fight and the belt when the doctor stopped the match.

Fully healed for this Aug. 21, 2004, bout, Couture was intent on regaining the title. He pummeled Belfort throughout and turned him into a bloody mess.

Belfort was cut by an inadvertent head butt in the second round. Couture took advantage and beat Belfort up on the ground, raking him with elbows and fists. The bout was stopped by the ringside physician after the third round, making Couture a two-time light heavyweight champion.

The undercard featured a spectacularly entertaining bout between Karo Parisyan and Nick Diaz. The fight was fast-paced and all over the place. Parisyan took a split decision.

But perhaps the most spectacular knockout of the night happened in the opener.

Yves Edwards and Josh Thomson were in the midst of an entertaining scrap when Thomson attempted a spinning back fist. Edwards saw it coming and landed a head kick that knocked Thomson down and out, ending the bout as the crowd oohed and aahed.

NOTEWORTHY

During the pay-per-view broadcast, UFC president Dana White announced the company was in the process of creating a reality series. The show, “The Ultimate Fighter,” wound up on Spike TV and is the vehicle that saves the UFC from extinction.

In his UFC debut, David Terrell knocked Matt Lindland out in the opening seconds of the bout and earned a middleweight title shot.

The show did a paid gate of just under $1.3 million. It’s the fourth show in a row with a gate in excess of $1 million for the UFC, which was still bleeding money but showing it was beginning to gain widespread acceptance at the box office.

RESULTS

Yves Edwards def. Josh Thomson, KO, 4:32 R1
Karo Parisyan def. Nick Diaz, split decision
Chris Lytle def. Ronnie Jhun, submission (guillotine choke), 1:17 R2
Justin Eilers def. Mike Kyle, KO, 1:14 R1
David Terrell def. Matt Lindland, KO, 0:24 R1
Chuck Liddell def. Vernon White, KO, 4:05 R1
Joe Riggs def. Joe Doerksen, submission (strikes), 3:39 R2

UFC light heavyweight championship: Randy Couture def. Vitor Belfort, TKO, 5:00 R3