The card was called "Stacked" in homage to three major bouts headlining the show on July 7, 2007, at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. But the unquestioned star of the show at UFC 73 turned out to be middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Silva had been devastating in each of his UFC appearances leading up to UFC 73, having knocked out Chris Leben in less than a minute, destroying Rich Franklin to win the title and then submitting Travis Lutter in a non-title fight.
But there were many who believed Silva would have difficulty retaining his title at UFC 73 because he was facing the well-rounded Nate Marquardt.
Marquardt was a former King of Pancrase who had a wrestling background, a black belt in jiu-jitsu and was a noted striker. He seemed to match well with the champion, but Silva seemed to take that thought personally.
Silva battered Marquardt and knocked him to the mat, dazed, late in the first round. Silva then pounced and proceeded to pound out Marquardt, ending any debate about the identity of the world's top middleweight.
Sean Sherk grounded out a five-round decision over Hermes Franca to retain the lightweight title, but things didn't turn out well for either man. Both tested positive in postfight urinalyses for anabolic steroids and were suspended, though Sherk vehemently denied the allegation. Sherk was stripped of the title as a result.
Tito Ortiz lost a potential win over Rashad Evans when he was docked a point in the second round by referee John McCarthy for grabbing the cage. Without the deduction, Ortiz would have won the decision, but the fight instead ended in a draw.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira nearly suffered a stunning loss in his UFC debut. He was kicked in the head by Heath Herring in the first round and knocked down, badly hurt. Herring hesitated and wound up paying for it when Nogueira displayed his legendary recovery powers and came back to win.
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 fan response to Sherk-Franca. RESULTS
Frank Edgar def. Mark Bocek, TKO, 4:55 R1
Chris Lytle def. Jason Gilliam, submission (combined inverted triangle choke and keylock), 2:15 R1
Jorge Gurgel def. Diego Saraiva, unanimous decision
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Heath Herring, unanimous decision
UFC lightweight championship: Sean Sherk def. Hermes Franca, unanimous decision (Sherk retains title)
Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans, unanimous draw
UFC middleweight championship: Anderson Silva def. Nate Marquardt, TKO, 4:54 R1 (Silva retains ttle)
Kenny Florian def. Alvin Robinson, TKO, 4:30 R1