Silva, Sherk “Unstoppable” at UFC!
Story by Brady Crytzer
Photos by Chris Cozzone
In the main event of UFC 64: Unstoppable Rich Franklin’s undefeated streak in the Octagon, as well as his middleweight title reign came to a crashing halt as Brazilian Anderson “Spider” Silva scored an impressive first round technical knockout at 3:59.
The arena was gracious as the challenger Anderson Silva walked to the Octagon, followed by a very intense and focused champion Rich Franklin. The men showed a mutual show of respect, bowing to each other in the prefight instructions, and the battle for the world middleweight title was underway.
Franklin appeared cautious of his opponent’s world class striking skills and he kept a good distance from Silva, throwing a number of leg kicks that were mostly off target. Silva answered with a snapping leg kick of his own, but was caught with a looping left hook that sent him back.
Known for being one of the best muay thai practioners in the sport, Silva used the close range to initiate a head clinch that would ultimately win him the fight.
Moving Franklin at will, Silva blasted the champion with a number of piercing knees to the body. The effect of the blows was clearly visible in Franklin’s expression as he grimaced in pain. Throwing a number of knees to the body, Franklin was forced to drop his arms, allowing for Silva to blast a picture perfect knee to the champion’s chin.
Out on his feet, Franklin crashed to the mat where the fight was stopped immediately, making Anderson “The Spider” Silva the new UFC middleweight champion.
Sherk decisions Florian in bloody war!
In the co-main event: For the first time since 2002, the Ultimate Fighting Championship crowned its lightweight champion as Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk dominated The Ultimate Fighter 1 star Kenny “Kenflo” Florian for all five rounds of bloody action winning a unanimous decision.
The fight began with the shorter but much more powerful Sherk throwing a sharp left hook, followed by an explosive takedown. Showing a clear strength advantage, Sherk spent much of the round in Florian’s half-guard, landing hard shots in an attempt to advance his position. Showing his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu abilites, Florian attempted a guillotine choke that Sherk struggled to defend. Not shy about his own submission skills, Sherk went for an armbar of his own, which was easily defended by Florian. The opening round ended with another guillotine choke attempt by “Kenflo.”
The second round began with Florian getting the better of the stand up, landing two sharp body kicks, only to be taken down again. Known for his elbows, Florian used a well placed shot to open a nasty cut on the forehead of his opponent. Now bleeding profusely, Sherk defended an armbar attempt by his opponent and was swept, putting him on his back. As the round came to a close, both men looked as though they were prepared for a five round war.
The third round was much like the first two as the men tangled in a bloody embrace on the mat with Sherk dominating from the top position. As the round came to a close Florian willingly gave up his back, giving Sherk the edge in the round.
The final two round was all Sherk as the bloody former welterweight title challenger had his way with his opponent from the top position for most of round four. The final round proved to be one of the most exciting of the night as a very tired Sherk was blasted with three high kicks from a visable weak Florian. Scoring a huge takedown, Sherk lifted Florian to the sky, only to have his opponent illegally grab the fence. Once the fence was released, Sherk drove Florian to the mat with incredible force. The round ended with Sherk in the top position.
After five rounds of intense action, Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk was crowned the UFC lightweight champion with scores reading 49-46 twice and 50-48.
After winning three straight bouts off off-TV bouts in previous UFC cards, American Kickboxing Academy welterweight Jon Fitch won a three round unanimous decision victory over Japanese newcomer Kiyoshi Hironaka.
Early on in the fight, both men attempted to establish their ground superiority as Fitch executed a slick tripping takedown only to be caught in a surprise triangle choke. Defending nicely, Fitch worked against the choke and ultimately drove his opponent into the cage. Once there, Fitch used his position to land hard shots from the top position. As the round came to a close, Fitch took his opponent’s back.
As the second round began, Fitch excited the crowd by landing a hard one-two combination followed by a hard, high kick sending Hironaka into the fence. Now dazed, Hironaka could do little to defend against the big slam that brought him down to the canvas. After another unsuccessful triangle choke, Hironaka scored with a beautiful sweep, giving him the top position, though only briefly. After a referee stand up, the fighters ended the round exchanging.
The third and final round was the most exciting of the night as both men were trading punches and kicks for the first minute. After a big combination landed for Fitch, Hironaka’s highlight was a slick spinning back kick to his opponent’s body and a right hand that opened a cut on Fitch’s nose.
The fight ended with Fitch in the top position following a spearing takedown and all three judges scored the fight in his favor 30-27, 30-27 and 30-25.
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In the main heavyweight bout of the evening, world class striker Cheick Kongo had his ground defense exploited by veteran wrestler Carmelo Marrero in his Octagon debut.
As Kongo seemed to be honed in on the legs of his much shorter opponent, looking to crash whipping leg kicks, Marrero wasted no time taking the Frenchman to the mat. Immediately taking the side mount position, Marrero used his incredible control to pin Kongo to the floor and land a myriad of hard knees to the body and solid elbows to the head. After multiple attempts to escape the position by the clearly uncomfortable Kongo, Marrero placed his opponent into the fence to take away his range of motion. As the buzzer sounded, it was clear the Marrero had the skills to be a major player in the heavyweight division.
The second round began with Marrero closing the distance early and executing a picture perfect tripping takedown. Successfully working from the half guard position, Marrero pounded his opponent with more effective ground n’ pound. Not willing to go quietly, Kongo attempted a guillotine choke that appeared to be dangerous, but was ineffective. After a brief period of inactivity, the two fighters were stood up where Kongo began to initiate the exchange with a sharp right-left combination. With a clear advantage in the striking department, Kongo was quickly taken down yet again by Marrero. The second round ended as the first, with Marrero having a clear advantage with wrestling dominance.
Knowing he was down on points Kongo displayed his kickboxing skills, clinching with his stouter opponent and landing short yet effective knees. In impressive fashion, Marrero rolled to guard allowing for Kongo to be in top position for the first time in the fight. Edging out his opponent in the third round, Kongo’s momentum shift was too little, too late as Marrero won a three round split decision, improving to a perfect 6-0 in his UFC debut.
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The lightweight division saw glimmers of hope as fan favorite Spencer “The King” Fischer scored an exciting first round TKO over 18-year-old Dan “The Upgrade” Lauzon at 4:38.
Though only 18, Lauzon wasted little time getting his much more experienced opponent to the mat, to everyone’s surprise. With Fischer on his back, Lauzon opened the eyes and minds of many as he rained down a myriad of jaw-rocking shots and assumed the mount position,though only briefly.
After using slick wrestling to regain his footing, Fischer unleashed a trademark flying knee that halted any momentum Lauzon had accumulated. With a stunned young man in front of him, Fischer unleashed a hard knee in the clinch followed by a southpaw left hand directly on the jaw that dropped Lauzon and ended the fight at 4:38 of the opening round.
With this win, Fischer improves to 20-2 while the Lauzon falls to 4-1.