UFC 63: Instant classic
Matt Hughes was supposed to defend his welterweight title against Georges St. Pierre in the main event of the card at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2006, but St. Pierre withdrew several weeks before the fight because of a groin injury.
The UFC signed B.J. Penn, who had upset Hughes to win the welterweight belt at UFC 46 in 2004, to rematch with Hughes. Penn originally thought he had squandered his chance to regain the title when he lost a split decision to St. Pierre at UFC 58.
Hughes retained the belt by pummeling Penn in the third round, forcing referee John McCarthy to stop it at 3:53. Hughes had pinned Penn’s left arm and pounded the defenseless Hawaiian from side control until McCarthy stopped it.
Penn wasn’t in the condition he needed to be in and it cost him a significant victory. He performed well in the first round and nearly submitted Hughes in the second, cinching a triangle late. As the clock counted down, Penn transitioned to an arm bar, but time ran out.
Penn, though, was very weary as he walked back to his corner and was noticeably tired when Round 3 began. Hughes took advantage and kept his belt.
After leaving the UFC years earlier in a contract dispute, popular lightweight Jens Pulver made his return amid much fanfare on this card. But it was a disastrous and disappointing return, as UFC newcomer Joe Lauzon caught him on the chin with a left hook and knocked him out only 48 seconds into the fight.
One-punch body shot knockouts are rare in the UFC, but Melvin Guillard scored one on Gabe Ruediger. A second round straight right just below the rib cage sent Ruediger down to the mat in a heap in agony. Guillard landed a kick before referee Herb Dean could step in to halt it, but the body shot is what ended the fight.
Former UFC employee Loren Mack had no reason to think that public relations work would be physically hazardous, but he found out otherwise . Mack was escorting a reporter to Hughes’ locker room for a postfight interview. A member of the California State Athletic Commission saw Mack entering the room and didn’t know who he was. He slammed an unsuspecting Mack from the side into a wall, sending him hurtling to the floor. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Tyson Griffin def. David Lee, submission (rear naked choke), 1:50 R1
Jorge Gurgel def. Danny Abbadi, split decision
Eddie Sanchez def. Mario Neto, KO, 0:17 R2
Roger Huerta def. Jason Dent, unanimous decision
Joe Lauzon def. Jens Pulver, KO, 0:48 R1
Rashad Evans def. Jason Lambert, KO, 2:22 R2
Melvin Guillard def. Gabe Ruediger, KO, 1:01 R2
Mike Swick def. David Loiseau, unanimous decision
UFC welterweight championship: Matt Hughes def. B.J. Penn, TKO, 3:53 R3 (Hughes retains title)
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