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UFC 90 Review: Anderson Silva retains title

UFC 90: Silva vs Cote came to us all live on October 25, 2008, from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. As usual, there were several big fights on the card, including the main event between Anderson "The Spider" Silva and Patrick "The Predator" Cote. Fact is, most weren't giving Cote a shot in hell of winning this one. Were they correct to do that with a man as tough and durable as Cote?

Perhaps the fight that people were even more stoked about coming in took place because of a Diego Sanchez injury. We're talking about Thiago Alves, fresh off of a huge victory over Matt Hughes, against Josh Koscheck. Can you imagine two better athletes in the Octagon? Neither can I. Time to get started now, folks.

Before taking on Tyson Griffin, former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk said, "this fight's got no choice but to be explosive." Two great wrestlers with great cardio and mental toughness? Can't beat that, now can you? On top of it all, we're talking about the first televised fight of the night here.

Sherk came in and pressed Griffin up against the cage, taking him down almost right off the bat. From there, Sherk took Griffin's back and sunk his hooks in. Griffin then stood up and walked with him on his back, eventually throwing him off.

On their feet, both fighters exchanged blows. Then they clinched against the wall, where Griffin landed some strong knees before he was taken down again. Then Griffin got up and landed some shots on Sherk while he held a leg and looked to take his adversary down. Upon separation, Griffin connected with a nice right, then later a leg kick. The two traded some hard kicks and punches, with Sherk getting the best of things. Still, it was close. Moments later, Griffin tried to take Sherk down but The Muscle Shark sprawled easily, and then took his opponent's back before sliding off.

Both fighters landed some hard shots from there, but two left hooks by Sherk seemed to leave Griffin dizzy. Then the bell.

What an awesome round!

Early in the second stanza, Sherk took Griffin down for a moment. Griffin got up quickly but ate some strikes for his efforts. Then they went to the middle of the ring, where Griffin began sticking and moving well. Then Sherk began to connect with some hard shots in bunches, especially that left hook of his. Then Griffin started connecting again with some nice left jabs and leg kicks. Sherk answered with some hard punches of his own. From there, Griffin sherked a Sherk takedown (no pun intended) and for the rest of the round it was pretty even and exciting with hard strikes being thrown by both fighters.

Give Sherk the first round and Griffin the second. The final round should decide things.

Griffin came out smoking, landing two huge right hands. From there, though, Sherk began connecting with multiple leg kicks. Later in the stanza, Sherk hit home with a nice combination. Though the two traded strikes for the majority of the rest of the stanza in dramatic fashion, Sherk seemed to connect with far more shots.

This was a great fight! The last round was just as awesome as the other two. I believe that Sherk should've tried for a takedown in the third. Perhaps he was tired. Regardless, I'm really not sure who won the final round.

In the end, Sean Sherk was handed a unanimous decision. The 30-27 score one judge gave it was a little bit ridiculous. Afterwards, the crowd booed while Sherk was talking. Let me tell you, no one that fought in this fight deserved to hear boos for even a moment.

Next up was a fight between Fabricio Werdum and Junior Dos Santos. "I'm very happy to be in the UFC," said Dos Santos before this bout. Of course, the question was?Would he be happy after taking on a guy as talented as Werdum?

Early on, Werdum landed some nice low kicks. But then he threw an overhand right that missed, leaving his head coming down and exposed. In that moment, Dos Santos caught him with a huge uppercut.

End of story.

Junior Dos Santos wins via knockout at 1:20 of round one. Talk about making a statement in your first UFC fight.

"Going up against Rich, I'm the underdog," said Gray Maynard before taking on Rich Clementi in the next fight of the night. That said, Maynard was undefeated coming in with a stellar wrestling background. Then there was the fact that he's a huge lightweight.

But Clementi was hot as a pistol, having won his last six, making this a fight to watch.

The first round started off slow with both fighters measuring one another up. Then Clementi connected with two nice kicks. Then back to some inactivity, with each competitor throwing stuff at one another but missing.

Maynard shot in but Clementi defended well. From there, Maynard connected with a few punches over time after the separation.

Later, Clementi threw a kick and got taken down for his troubles. For a period of time after, Maynard punched Clementi in the ribs while in his half guard. Then both fighters struck at one another when Clementi improved his position on his back.

Gray Maynard won the first round.

Maynard came out aggressively on his feet in the second, connecting with some punches. Then Clementi landed some kicks before Maynard shot in. Clementi defended the takedown and connected with a knee. But Maynard shot in later and took him down hard. However, Clementi flipped Maynard over and got to his feet. For a moment it looked like Maynard had a shot at a standing guillotine, but then he let it go and took Clementi down again. Clementi worked hard to improve his position but instead ended up with Maynard in his half guard, taking some sporadic shots to the body. Lots of jostling, but the end result before the bell was that Maynard took the second round.

Rich Clementi probably needs a stoppage in the third to come out with a victory.

The final round started off with Maynard taking Clementi down hard with another slam. After a lot of movement, Maynard achieved side control before his adversary got back to half guard. Eventually, Clementi got up and was deposited on his back again. Finally, Clementi turned his opponent over and got to his feet, but Maynard once again took him down. While on the ground, there wasn't a whole lot in terms of ground and pound, leaving some of the crowd booing again.

At the bell, this was obviously Maynard's fight based on ground control. Lots of booing. Both guys tried to the bell, though. There just wasn't a lot that Clementi could do to gain control of the fight.

Gray Maynard wins via unanimous decision.

"I stepped up on two weeks notice to fight this fight. I have nothing to lose. I'm going to let it all hang out," said Josh Koscheck before taking on Thiago Alves in a huge fight. Alves was coming off dominant wins over Karo Parisyan and Matt Hughes. Josh Koscheck had pretty much looked great against everyone except UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre since TUF 1 (and a brief moment on his feet against Drew Fickett). Would Alves, a man with a great striking background, be able to catch the better wrestler with a big strike like Fickett did?

This fight started off with Alves connecting with a big left that dropped Koscheck. Though the former TUF 1 contestant seemed to recover quickly after getting hit with a few more strikes on the ground, Alves defended two different takedown attempts.

Alves is looking good.

Later, Alves connected with a nice kick after Koscheck hit home with some punches. Then Koscheck connected with a nice punch. Later, he landed a big right and then some strikes to the body that sent Alves backwards. Then Alves landed a nice leg kick. Then another nice leg kick by Alves.

But those were answered by several punches in succession by Koscheck and then a takedown attempt. However, Alves once again defended well and then blocked a big time head kick for his efforts. Koscheck also took a couple of tough leg kicks afterwards. This round went to Alves because of the knockdown. That said, for the rest of the round it was a close battle.

"What did he hit me with?" Koscheck asked his trainers between rounds.

Koscheck connected with several hard punches to start the second, though he did eat a leg kick or two for his troubles afterwards. Then Koscheck followed with a few punches and a nice head kick attempt that hit home a little bit. Koscheck then connected with a knee and pressed Alves up against the cage. But Alves turned things around and came to the center of the ring, connecting with a nice leg kick again.

A couple of jabs were traded, then kicks to the body. Alves then started to come forward with kicks and punches, really beginning to punish Koscheck's legs. But then Koscheck landed a big body punch and followed things up later by pressing Alves against the cage looking for a takedown. Couldn't get the takedown, and that's how the round ended.

This round could've gone to either fighter. The third one is big for Koscheck.

The third started off with Alves hurting Koscheck with a knee and leg kicks, followed by punches. Koscheck recovered very quickly. For the rest of the round, Alves controlled things on his feet, and even connected with a devastating leg kick or two on his opponent. When it was all said and done, the third round clearly went to Thiago Alves.

Give Koscheck credit for toughing this one out. But the bottom lines is that Thiago Alves is for real. And with the kind of takedown defense he showed in this bout, he's a tough fight for anyone.

Even Georges St. Pierre.

Thiago Alves wins via unanimous decision. By the way, he looked huge compared to Koscheck.

"I hope Patrick Cote is coming well prepared. . . If he makes a mistake, I'm going to end this fight early," said Anderson Silva before taking on Patrick Cote in the main event of the evening.

Thing started off slow in this one, with Silva measuring Cote, who threw some sporadic leg kicks along the way. Further, Silva threw very little in the first stanza. That said, Silva connected with a very hard knee and kick during the round, and what he did throw connected much more nicely than Cote's efforts.

Give Silva the edge in a somewhat uneventful round.

Starting things off in the second, Silva connected with a big left hand and followed things up with a kick. Cote then landed a spinning backfist. Silva pressed him up against the cage for a moment. A couple of nice strikes were landed by Silva before he turned a Cote takedown attempt around on him and ended up on top on the ground. From there, Cote landed a solid elbow from the bottom. Eventually, Silva let Cote up. For the rest of the stanza, there was very little action until the tail end when the two clinched and Silva connected with some knees inside.

Right now Silva is winning the fight by two rounds. It isn't the most exciting fight.

Then the third stanza started. Early in the round, Cote looked to kick his opponent. But somehow, his base leg seemed to pop out, leaving him in pain on the canvas. The referee had no choice but to stop the fight. Again, boos after the fight.

Anderson Silva wins via TKO in the third round.

In the end, UFC 90 was an overall fun night of fights before the main event ended strangely. Thiago Alves proved to the world that his takedown defense and striking is absolutely top notch. Gray Maynard proved that he's ready to fight the best in the lightweight division. And the Sean Sherk- Tyson Griffin fight was one of the better ones of the year.

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