The heavily hyped trilogy between Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture ended when Liddell knocked Couture out in the second round, the second time in 10 months he'd done so.
Even more significant, it seemed, was that Couture's career appeared to be over. He announced his retirement at age 42 after losing to Liddell at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Feb. 4, 2006.
Couture was knocked out by Liddell at UFC 52 and then lost the rematch in much the same fashion at UFC 57.
He announced his retirement following the fight, and no one expected he'd ever be back. They were, however, wrong.
Another one-time UFC heavyweight champion, Frank Mir, made his return to competition about 19 months after suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, but it wasn't a good one.
Mir was badly beaten up by Marcio Cruz and stopped in the first round.
The finale in the Couture-Liddell trilogy was a hit with the sport's fans and proved the power of "The Ultimate Fighter" series. Couture and Liddell were coaches on the first season of TUF. Their first match, at UFC 43, did approximately 50,000 buys. Their UFC 52 rematch did a record 280,000 buys. But post-TUF 1, the final match in the trilogy did a company record 400,000 buys and the live gate of $3.3 million also set a then-UFC record.
Joe Riggs won a unanimous three-round decision over Nick Diaz, but 15 minutes of fighting was not enough for those two. They both went to a local hospital for treatment and wound up brawling in the waiting area of the emergency room.
Keith Jardine made his UFC debut as a light heavyweight. He fought as a heavyweight on "The Ultimate Fighter 2" but decided he'd be more effective competing at 205 pounds. He defeated Mike Whitehead via unanimous decision.
Keith Jardine def. Mike Whitehead, unanimous decision
Jeff Monson def. Branden Lee Hinkle, technical submission (North/South choke), 4:35 R1
Paul Buentello def. Gilbert Aldana, KOAlessio Sakara def. Elvis Sinosic, unanimous decision
Joe Riggs def. Nick Diaz, unanimous decision
Renato Sobral def. Mike Van Arsdale, submission (rear naked choke), 2:21 R1
Marcio Cruz def. Frank Mir, TKO, 4:10 R1
Brandon Vera def. Justin Eilers, KO, 1:25 R1
UFC light heavyweight championship: Chuck Liddell def. Randy Couture, KO, 1:28 R2
- Chuck Liddell
- Randy Couture