SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Fighting in the swing bout – a match that may or may not take place depending on how long the matches run during a television broadcast – can be a nerve-wracking affair.
Boston-area lightweight Ken Florian found himself in such a position for his UFC 73 match Saturday night against Alvin Robinson. But not for the reasons you might think.
"It was going to be great," said Florian, who TKOd Robinson at 4:50 of the first round. "I had the best entrance, the best song, and I was going to come out and represent Bruce Lee. It was going to be a tribute to Bruce, the fans would have loved it. I had a costume and everything."
The elaborate entrance was scrapped and the combatants rushed to the octagon in order to get the match in during the allotted satellite time. But the night-long wait was still a nuisance.
"We weren't sure," said Florian, who won for the fifth time in his past six fights. "I had been warming up since 6 o'clock. Here we are, it was 10:30, or something like that. It was tough for all of us, I wasn't sure what position I was going on, but you have to just go with the flow. I'm sure it was tougher on Alvin. He was making his UFC debut so I'm sure he was nervous."
Either way, Florian was ready to go when the octagon gate shut. He took some damage in a fast-paced match but kept his composure, finishing the fight with a flurry of punches from the mount.
"I took what he gave me. I didn't force anything," Florian said. "He caught me with a knee. He caught me right in the chin. It woke me up. Once I saw my opening, I made sure I finished it right then and there."
KenFlo caused a stir in the octagon after the match by making a not-so-subtle reference to champion Sean Sherk's finishing abilities. Florian lost by decision to Sherk at UFC 64 last October, and Sherk retained his title by decision Saturday night against Hermes Franca.
Florian reiterated his point back in the locker room. "I thought he was going to finish Franca in the third or fourth," Florian said of Sherk. "But he didn't put him away."
Sherk was asked about Florian's comments at the postfight press conference and was visibly annoyed. "Whatever," Sherk said. "I'll fight him again."
• Sherk's win over Franca was the first successful title defense by a UFC champion in 2007. The last successful title defense was Chuck Liddell's light heavyweight win over Tito Ortiz on Dec. 30 at UFC 66. In the interim, Randy Couture beat Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight title, Matt Serra defeated Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight belt and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson knocked out Chuck Liddell for the light heavyweight title.
• Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's win over Heath Herring marked the third time Big Nog beat the Texas Crazy Horse. Nogueira won a decision over Herring in 2001 and won via submission in 2004, both on Pride shows.
• Anderson Silva apparently had no concerns with making weight for his title defense with Nate Marquardt. While everyone else was sweating out the pounds in the days before the fight, Silva made a public display out of munching on chocolate chip cookies at a Thursday press luncheon.
• Lightweight Jorge Gurgel suffered a broken jaw in his unanimous decision win over Diego Saraiva.
• Quoteworthy: "People who were booing during that fight were out of their minds. What did they want, a trap door to open and wildcats and tigers to come out? That fight was awesome. It was one of the best technical fights I've ever seen." – UFC president Dana White on fans who booed the Sean Sherk-Hermes Franca fight.
Dave Doyle is the mixed martial arts and boxing editor for Yahoo! Sports.
- Sean Sherk