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UFC 92 Recap: Two new champs crowned

UFC 92 "The Ultimate 2008" on Saturday in Las Vegas got its name for seemingly two reasons. First, it was the final UFC event of 2008. Second, there were three fights on the card that could've quite easily been named main events on most MMA event cards.

We're talking about Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva 3, Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir.

Now, let's get things started.

In the first televised fight of the night, Mostapha Al Turk took on Cheick Kongo. "I'm a tough guy. What can I say, I'm no joke," said Turk beforehand. Of course, Kongo wasn't joking coming into this fight anyway.

Early on, Al Turk nailed Kongo with a low kick, but had his leg caught and got hit with a punch that, in conjunction with him being off balance, sent him to the ground. Al Turk then accepted several kicks to his leg while on his back in the bicycle before finding the room to get up.

Moments later, Al Turk shot in looking for the takedown, but his adversary defended it well for a significant period of time. While in the clinch, Kongo connected with some elbows and the two traded knees with Kongo getting the better of things until a low blow by Al Turk stopped the action for several moments.

When the action resumed, Al Turk shot in looking for a single leg again. Kongo defended it, turned him into the cage, and connected with a couple of knees, including a low blow that also served to stop the action.

When things resumed, Kongo landed a flurry that started with a hard right hand that eventually landed Al Turk on the canvas. From there, the France native connected with tons of punches, elbows (one which cut him), and hammerfists on the ground until the referee was forced to step in.

Cheick Kongo wins via TKO at 4:37 of round one.

"I think he is scared, scared because I beat him two times," said Wanderlei Silva coming into his about against Quinton Jackson. Of course, getting knocked out twice in rather devastating fashion at Silva's hands in the past would certainly have an impact on Jackson's psyche. The question was, what would that impact be?

Early on, Jackson took the center of the Octagon. After some tentative moments, Silva landed a low kick after the two traded some grazing strikes. Rampage came forward looking to perhaps take his opponent down and ate a knee for his efforts. From there, Silva connected with some nice low kicks in spots. Soon after, he landed a nice jab on Jackson.

But then Silva came forward and opened himself up. He got caught with a huge left that knocked him out cold. The punches Rampage followed things up with on the canvas weren't even needed.

That's that. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has exorcized his demons in dramatic fashion.

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson wins by way of knockout at 3:21 of round one.

In the next fight, Dan Evensen took on Pat Barry in Barry's first UFC fight. Did Barry get those first time UFC jitters?

Not really.

Barry started things off by connecting with a few hard body kicks. From there, he fended off Evensen in the clinch until the referee decided to separate them. Soon after, Barry landed two of the harder low kicks you'll ever see before ending up on top of Evensen on the canvas. Barry, wanting to keep things upright, stood back up.

From there he landed a hard left and then another terrific low kick. Then Evensen simply turned and shook his head. That's when the referee stepped in and stopped things.

You don't want Patrick Barry kicking at your legs. Dan Evensen may have trouble walking for awhile, as it looked like Barry blew his knee out.

Patrick Barry wins via TKO at 2:36 of round one.

Years ago, Mike Massenzio lost a wrestling match to C.B. Dollaway in college. Well, Massenzio wanted a chance at revenge. Earlier in the night, the whole revenge thing had worked for Quinton Jackson. Would it work out for him as well?

By the way, Massenzio came into the fight with a lot of tape on his left leg, leaving Joe Rogan wondering if he was injured.

Early on, Dollaway connected with a nice body kick and some serious knees when Massenzio came inside looking to clinch. From there, Dollaway looked good hitting with punches in spots. However, Massenzio then landed a huge left that hurt Dollaway and then followed him to the ground. Though Dollaway ended up on top on the canvas, he nearly got caught in a guillotine for his efforts. After getting out of it, he then almost found himself in a triangle.

Moments later, however, Dollaway mounted his opponent. Then he flattened him out and began pounding away, leaving he referee no choice but to step in.

C.B. Dollaway wins via TKO at 3:01 of round one.

The next fight was a battle between former wrestlers in Matt Hamill and Reese Andy. Early in the fight, Andy connected with tons of jabs and some solid low kicks, just looking busier than his adversary and tending to beat him to the punch. However, after sustaining a beating and a cut under his right eye early in the initial stanza, Hamill began to connect more than his opponent with punches.

It was a glimpse of things to come.

Give the round to Andy, but he's looking like he's beginning to fade.

The second round saw Hamill land some very nice shots, causing Andy to try to take him down unsuccessfully. While inside, Hamill hit home with some awesome knees. When they separated, things got worse for Andy as he ate a terrific couple of body punches. Eventually, he went to a knee because of the pounding and Hamill began throwing down on him from several different top positions. Andy was seemingly too tired to do anything about it.

Then the referee stepped in. Impressive performance by Hamill coming back from some adversity early in the fight.

Matt Hamill wins via TKO at 2:19 of round two.

"He's like a zombie, like Frankenstein," said Frank Mir regarding opponent Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's ability to defeat opponents after taking an inhuman amount of punishment beforehand. Would Mir fall to his TUF 8 coaching counterpart in the same fashion that men like Tim Sylvia, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, and Heath Herring had before? Or would he come full circle from the motorcyle accident that seemingly took his belt and confidence for a period of time?

Early on, Mir connected with a nice inside leg kick and a jab. Then he connected with some excellent punches and tripped Nogueira to the ground. After some ground and pound, Mir walked away.

Wow! That was unexpected. Mir wants a stand up fight.

From there, Mir hit home with some nice combinations and leg kicks. Though he ate a jab, he once again started connecting with nice punches in bunches. Moving and hitting from all angles and with all his weapons, Mir was looking great. Then came a spot on left hand that dropped his adversary. Once again, Mir stepped back and let him up.

Mir is fighting smart. He looks better on his feet than ever before by far.

Mir once again dropped Nogueira with a left at the bell. Wow! Was not expecting this.

The second round started somewhat uneventfully. Then Nogueira ate another left hand from Mir that dropped him. This time, Mir followed him to the canvas where he continually punched away until the referee stepped in.

Frank Mir wins via TKO at 1:54 of round two.

"I didn't know a little piece of metal (the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship belt) was gonna get me in this much trouble," said fan favorite Forrest Griffin before taking on "Sugar" Rashad Evans. Still, it always seems like the more trouble Griffin gets himself into the better he fights.

Would that be the case on this night?

The first round saw both fighters forget that there was a such thing as a ground game. That said, Griffin connected with several solid low kicks. Given that the punching exchanges were about even, Griffin took the first round.

In the second, Griffin landed a huge right hand that seemed to hurt his opponent, at least a little. From there he came forward and connected with some very solid knees inside. Then came the kicks hitting from all angles.

Evans needs to start coming up with some offense.

Griffin continually pelted him with sharp punches and leg kicks. Though Evans connected with a nice hard right hand at around the one minute mark, the punch did little to change things.

At the bell, Griffin had clearly taken round two. That's 2-0.

The third round saw both fighters come out aggressively. Griffin landed some very nice shots that left him off balance and allowed Evans to take him down. From there, he unleashed an onslaught of hammerfists on his opponent. Still, Griffin weathered the storm, eventually moving to full guard. But then a hard right by Evans stunned him. While his opponent was trying to gather himself, Evans kept the unanswered punches coming

And that was that. Gametime! The referee had no choice but to step in.

Rashad Evans wins via TKO at 2:46 of round three.

In the end, UFC 92 was not a night of great fights, as many had expected it would be. However, it was a night of great excitement as the way in which each of the big three fights ended could be called an upset or at the very least surprising. Who would have thought that Frank Mir would strike his way to victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira? Who would have thought that Rashad Evans would stop the almost impossible to stop Forrest Griffin? Then there was the Rampage vs. The Axe Murderer fight.

In the past, Silva had come through with the highlight reel knockouts on his adversary. Not this time.

It was a night that will be remembered for some time. Happy Holidays!

UFC 92 Results:

1. Heavyweight Bout
Pat Barry def. Dan Evensen via TKO (low kicks) - R1 (2:36)

2. Middleweight Bout
Brad Blackburn def. Ryo Chonan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

3. Light Heavyweight Bout
Matt Hamill def. Reese Andy via TKO (punches) - R2 (2:19)

4. Heavyweight Bout
Antoni Hardonk def. Mike Wessel via TKO (punches) - R2 (2:09)

5. Middleweight Bout
Yushin Okami def. Dean Lister via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

6. Heavyweight Bout
Cheick Kongo def. Mustafa Al-Turk via TKO - R1 (4:37)

7. Light Heavyweight Bout
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson def. Wanderlei Silva via KO (left hook) - R1 (3:21)

8. Middleweight Bout
CB Dollaway def. Mike Massenzio via TKO (punches) - R1 (3:01)

9. UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship Bout
Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via TKO (strikes) - R2 (1:54)

10. UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout
Rashad Evans def. Forrest Griffin via TKO (punches) - R3 (2:46)

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