Frank Mir knocked out Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic on Saturday in the main event of UFC 119 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, a knee to the chin in the final minute putting an end to what up until that point had been one of the worst main events in modern Ultimate Fighting Championship history.
Mir and Filipovic did next to nothing for 14 minutes, drawing the ire of the large crowd, which booed lustily from the middle of the bout on. As the men grappled with their backs to the cage, Mir pulled Filipovic's head down and kneed him on the chin. Filipovic went down hard and Mir finished him with a couple of hard shots from the top before referee Herb Dean stopped it with 58 seconds left.
That was about the only action in an otherwise awful main event. Mir said his plan was to get the fight to the ground to use his jiu-jitsu, but they stayed standing almost the entire way to the finish.
"It looked kind of ugly, but I'd rather pull off an ugly win rather than get an ugly loss," said Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champion who improved to 14-5.
Filipovic didn't know what had happened at the finish and came over and asked Mir what went on at the end.
Filipovic dropped to 27-8-2.
Ryan Bader, the winner of Season 8 of "The Ultimate Fighter," moved toward a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. All three judges had it 30-27 for Bader, who is 12-0. Yahoo! Sports scored it 29-28 for Nogueira.
The win likely will lead to a match between two of the UFC's top prospects, pitting Bader against highly touted Jon "Bones" Jones.
Bader's wrestling was the difference in the fight, as he took down Nogueira several times and kept the Brazilian off-balance with the threat of the shot. In the first, Bader took down Nogueira and landed two huge rights from the top that had Nogueira in trouble.
"The good thing about being a wrestler is having him guess and being able to dictate where the fight goes," Bader said.
Chris Lytle and Matt Serra each have black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but they stood and traded punches for the entire fight in an entertaining three-round welterweight battle. That style of fight, though, benefited Lytle, a former professional boxer, who pulled out a unanimous decision over the ex-champion.
All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Lytle. Yahoo! Sports had Lytle, 30-26.
"What kind of idiot wants to box with the Indiana state boxing champion?" Serra asked following the fight, joking.
Lytle's right hand consistently found a home. But in the second, he began mixing in hooks and uppercuts and tore apart Serra in a rematch of the finale from "The Ultimate Fighter 4," which Serra won.
"I give Matt Serra all the credit in the world, because he could have come in here and tried to make it boring, but he was moving forward the whole time," said Lytle, an Indianapolis fireman who was fighting in front of his hometown crowd.
Sean Sherk and Evan Dunham put on a mixed martial arts clinic in their lightweight fight, as Sherk survived several deep chokes to pull out a split decision victory. All three judges scored the bout 29-28, with Glenn Trowbridge and Cecil Peoples scoring it for Sherk and Kevin Caldwell seeing it for Dunham. Yahoo! Sports had it 29-28 for Dunham, giving Dunham the final two rounds.
UFC president Dana White clearly thought Dunham won. On his Twitter account, he wrote, "Robbed! Judging (expletive) sucks." The crowd concurred, booing Sherk during his post-fight interview.
Dunham caught Sherk, a former UFC lightweight champion, with two very deep chokes in the first round, but Sherk managed to slip his neck out on each occasion. Sherk wound up in Dunham's guard after escaping one and drilled Dunham with a big elbow that opened a nasty gash over Dunham's right eye.
"I was breathing, but all the chokes were tight," said Sherk, who fought for the first time since losing to Frankie Edgar 16 months ago. "You can ask any of my training partners; I'm hard to choke."
The crowd booed lustily when the decision was announced, but Dunham accepted the first defeat of his career graciously.
"You can never tell what the judges are thinking," said Dunham, now 11-1. "I was excited and having fun being in there and having the crowd join me in my fun."
In the first bout of the pay-per-view portion of the card, Melvin Guillard outlasted bitter rival Jeremy Stephens, winning a split decision. Judges saw it 29-28 and 30-27 for Guillard and 29-28 for Stephens. Yahoo! Sports had Guillard 29-28.
The fight wasn't nearly as heated as had been expected. Guillard circled most of the night and the men rarely traded, as they had promised to do.