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UFC 88 Results

Rashad-ko-chuck_medium MAIN CARD:

Rashad Evans def. Chuck Liddell via KO - 1:51 of round 2

Rich Franklin def. Matt Hamill via TKO - 0:39 of round 3

Dan Henderson def. Rousimar Palhares via unanimous decision

Nate Marquardt def. Martin Kampmann via TKO - 1:21 of round 1

Dong Hyun Kim def. Matt Brown via split decision


Kurt Pellegrino def. Thiago Tavares via unanimous decision.

Tim Boetsch def. Mike Patt via TKO - 2:03 of round 1.

Jason MacDonald def. Jason Lambert via submission - 1:20 of round 2.

Ryo Chonan def. Roan Carneiro via split decision.

Notes about the event:

It's all about Evans - I think people are missing a crucial factor of Evans' striking development. The notion that you're either born with KO power or you're not is grossly overstated. The truth is - and I've seen it in other fighters with my own eyes - is that often through hard work and repetition fighters learn to develop their power. The initial stages of learning involve the fundamentals like footwork, combinations, balance and more. But once fighters round the corner on those stumbling blocks, you'll see them cultivate their power. Evans is a clear example of that.

Beyond that, though, Evans' gameplan and quickness played a factor. But the speed of Evans isn't just his handspeed; it was also his ability to move and find the perfect range very quickly. He was mobile enough to put himself in range or readjust when he wasn't without sustaining damage. And when in range, he simply drew quicker than Liddell to flatten the Iceman. I don't think Liddell realized just how perfectly distanced Evans was when he threw the overhand right.

And Liddell's age is partly an issue. I don't think getting KO'd by that punch is evidence that he's too old to compete. But the truth is his body and chin don't have the powers of absorption that it used to. As Josh Barnett is keen on reminding us, fighters who live on their chin eventually suffer when others learn their game, they age or become too comfortable. Chuck is a clear example of that. He's too old to go back to the well of his existing talents without expecting others to eventually catch up. He paid the price for that dearly last night.

Other notes:

 - Franklin is reborn...sort of - beating Hamill is not small feat and to finish him with a well placed liver kick - a kick that itself was part of a fantastic gameplan given the intracacies of Hamill's stand up skills - is a true feat. The road ahead for Franklin is long and perilious, but he continues to press on. One cannot help but admire such fortitude and willingness to improve amidst the shark-infested waters of the UFC light heavyweight division.

- Marquardt vs. Henderson NOW - with Franklin out of the middleweight picture for now, this is a contender fight that needs to happen. True, Henderson's win over Palhares is his first in his last three, but insofar as forcing contenders (and former opponents of Silva who have lost) to settle the question of who gets the rematch, this fight is a no-brainer. If either of these fighters want to face Silva again and challenge for the strap, then they must face each other. If not now, very very soon.

- The UFC wins again - can you imagine what it would mean for the EliteXC is Shamrock were to KO Slice as Evans did Liddell? It would spell the instantaneous death of the already crumbling promotion. The UFC, on the other hand, has considerable upside to this. Yes, they lose a major PPV draw in Liddell vs. Griffin for the strap, but they gain more credibility for their reality show. Two winners of the reality show - after collectively defeating Rampage, Shogun and Liddell - will challenge for the marquee title in the entire sport of MMA. Aside from Evans' brutal punch, who saw that coming?

Beyond that, though, allowing the truly best fighters to ascend through the ranks even when they aren't the most marketable is a long term principle that will pay dividends in the end. This is how you not only ensure your product is viable, but this is how you ensure - over the long run - which fighters deserve promotion and marketing. It's dangerous to put efforts behind a facade or false notion of what's actually there. This is MMA and eventually you will be exposed. It's better to know who can carry water in the cage and who can't. And while Liddell's stock took a hit, the truth is he has delivered an enormous amount for the UFC. And he's 38. He can't be expected to be the face of the UFC forever. They need to develop and groom the next generation of talent even if that causes short term hick ups.

- Atlanta's fans are disgusting - I grew up in Atlanta and have not returned for obvious reasons. In fact, last night was my 10 year high school reunion in Atlanta and I still didn't want to attend. Jingoistic fans who caterwaul buffoonish "USA" yelps need to be executed on site. A love of nation and support for the home team is never wrong. But that is expressed through support of Brown, not support of some phony notion of nationalistic obligation.

And by the way, there's nothing controversial about Kim's win. NOTHING. Take that to the bank and cash it because it will be true forever.

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