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Nogueira Defeats Couture, Silva Knocks Out Jardine at UFC 102

PORTLAND, Ore. - In a fight eight years in the making, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira beat fellow former champion Randy Couture via unanimous decision to win the main event of UFC 102 on Saturday at the Rose Garden.

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Instant Classic Ends UFC 102
PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 29: UFC fighter Antonio Nogueira (L) battles UFC fighter Randy Couture (R) during their Heavyweight bout at UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira at the Rose Garden Arena on August 29, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Antonio Nogueira;Randy Couture
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Scrutinized for a subpar and weary performance in his December loss to Frank Mir, Nogueira answered definitively, flooring Couture twice and outgrappling the UFC Hall of Famer for final scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Couture had been winning on the feet in the first round until he was caught with a right hand and dropped. From there, Nogueira placed Couture in a Brabo choke, but Couture remained calm and escaped to battle Nogueira standing for the rest of the opening frame.

In the second, Couture avoided a guillotine choke attempt and scored with elbows in Nogueira's guard, but Nogueira, known for his comebacks, swept Couture and advanced to attempt an arm-triangle choke.

Nogueira sealed the victory in the third, dropping Couture once more with a right, and followed by controlling Couture for the majority of the remaining round.

When the scores were announced, there was no question who the winner was.

"I didn't think I won the decision," Couture said. "I'm pretty rational. I think Nogueira clearly won all three rounds. He knocked me on my keister at least two of the rounds. He definitely won the fight."

Nogueira spoke about the much-needed win after a tough loss December where he was plagued by effects from a staph infection and a knee injury that required surgery following the fight.

"For most of the people that say you are done and you can prove that you can come back and you're still in the game, and make a good fight," Nogueira said. "That's what I did."

In the co-headliner of the evening, Thiago Silva rebounded from his first career blemish in January by planting Keith Jardine with a heavy left hook and finished with punches for the TKO at 1:35 of the opening frame, handing Jardine the first back-to-back loss of his career.

"I'm back!" Silva barked at Jardine after the fight, according to his translator.

Nate Marquardt remained a strong candidate to challenge Anderson Silva for his middleweight title, strengthening his campaign with a 21-second victory over the formerly undefeated Demian Maia.

Marquardt caught a leg kick and landed a straight right to put Maia away, a counter Marquardt had prepared from studying tapes of Maia.

"I want that belt and I don't know who's going to get the next shot, but if you want someone who's going to kick Anderson Silva's butt," Marquardt told the crowd. "You're going to give that shot to me."

Three-time NCAA wrestling champion Jake Rosholt wrapped an arm-triangle choke around Chris Leben's neck and armpit to render the Oregon native unconscious at 1:30 of the third round.

"He's a tough SOB," Rosholt said. "I knew I was going to have to put him out. I wanted to stand up, frustrate him and make him respect me on the feet."

In light heavyweight action to open the main card, Brandon Vera outpointed Krzysztof Soszynski through three rounds for the unanimous decision victory.

"It was a good fight," Vera said. "Krzysztof's a tough dude. I wished I could have knocked him out." .fanhouseButton {margin:2em 0;} .fanhouseButton a:link, .fanhouseButton a:visited, .fanhouseButton a:hover, .fanhouseButton a:active {background-color:#dd2829;color:#FFFFFF;font-size:18px;padding:0.3em 0.6em;text-decoration:none;} .fanhouseButton a:hover {background-color:#000000;}

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