UFC 68 blow by blow

NEIL SPRINGER – SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 6:06 PM ET

Randy (The Natural) Couture returns to the octagon with only one goal in mind: winning the heavyweight championship at “UFC 68: The Uprising.” There’s only one problem: in his way stands current-champion Tim (The Maine-iac) Sylvia. Will it be the feel good story of the year, or will Sylvia send Couture to the retirement home in a wheelchair?
 
Also, Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin return to the octagon after losing their respective championships.
 
Below is the pay-per-view event card with my predictions. Feel free to play at home, but remember, you only get the point if you pick the winner, round and method (KO/TKO, submission, decision or DQ). Get any of the three wrong and you get jack.
 
Event card and predictions:
 
Jason Lambert (22-6-0) vs. Renato Sobral (27-6-0)
 
Prediction: If Jason Lambert was related to Christopher Lambert, I would have chosen him to win by quickening. Since he’s not, I’ll go with a decision win for Lambert.
 
Rich Franklin (22-2-0) vs. Jason MacDonald (19-7-0)
 
Prediction: Rich Franklin by second round KO/TKO
 
Drew McFedries (5-1-0) vs. Martin Kampmann (11-1-0)
 
Prediction: Martin Kampmann by second round KO/TKO
 
Chris Lytle (32-13-4) vs. Matt Hughes (42-5-0)
 
Prediction: Matt Hughes by first round KO/TKO
 
Tim Sylvia (champion) (25-2-0) vs. Randy Couture (14-8-0)
 
Prediction: Randy Couture by third round KO/TKO
 
Live coverage of UFC 68 starts here Sat., March 3 at 10 p.m. EST.
 
Blow by Blow
 
Welcome everyone to the UFC 68 Blow by Blow; as always I’m your host Neil Springer. To claim that I am pumped for this event would be a huge understatement. I would have to say I’m super-pumped … and a half.

Jason (The Punisher) Lambert vs. Renato (Babalu) Sobral
 
“Babalu” has to be the least-threatening nickname in MMA history, but I give Sobral credit for having the guts to name himself after bubblegum. Now, “The Punisher,” there’s a handle that grabs you.

Round one

Sobral starts out swinging and gets Lambert down. Babalu almost gets a rear-naked choke, but Lambert manages to get back to his feet. Lambert rocks Babalu with punches and almost knocks him out. They go to the guard, but the round expires.

Round two

Lambert rams Babalu into the fence and takes him down, but they end in the guard. Lambert just keeps rocking him with punches and elbows. McCarthy stands them up and Lambert knocks Babalu out with a devastating left.

Well, I picked the winner, but not the round and method. That makes me 0 for 1.

Chris (Lights Out) Lytle vs. Matt Hughes
 
Chris Lytle has lost his last three fights. He needs to win here or he’ll most likely be cut from the roster. Luckily the UFC has decided to make it easy for him; he only has to beat this Hughes guy no one’s heard of.
 
I would like to personally wish Chris Lytle the best in all his future endeavors.

Round one

Hughes gets an incredible reaction from the fans. Lytle almost has a guillotine choke, but Hughes has the arm in to block. Crowd is booing, but they explode when Hughes gets his head out. They stay in the guard for a while and Lytle tries another guillotine. Hughes get side control and delivers some elbows. Lytle wraps his legs around Hughes' head, but Hughes almost gets an armbar before the round expires.

Round two

They start out in the guard. Lytle tries the guillotine again, but Hughes escapes and gets side control. Hughes delivers punches and elbows and then takes the mount. Lytle is bleeding quite a bit here. Lytle counters and gets side control, but Hughes counters and takes side control.

Round three

Hughes gets side control again and fights for the arm. There's really nothing happening here. Crowd is really pissed; this is not the return I had envisioned for Hughes. Hughes wins by decision, but that was one boring fight.

Rich (Ace) Franklin vs. Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald
 
Speaking of unthreatening monikers; what kind of nickname is “The Athlete” anyways? When there are UFC fighters known as “The Serial Killer,” “The Iceman” and “The Pit Bull;” do you really want to just boast your athletic ability?
 
I guess it could carry a kind of sarcastic tone to it. If that’s the case, MacDonald should probably wear a tight pink T-shirt down to the octagon that cuts off above his bellybutton and reads, “I’m an athlete!” Only then will he truly anger all those around him.
 
MacDonald did look impressive in his last two UFC matches, though. So I expect this to be a good fight. Apparently the winner gets a shot at Anderson Silva.

Round one

Franklin gets a great response; even Anderson Silva is on his feet! MacDonald tries to take him down, but Franklin gives him a knee for his trouble. MacDonald tries again, but they stay locked to the fence. MacDonald is holding onto Franklin, keeping him close. They step back and Franklin nails some punches. Franklin knocks MacDonald down and almost TKOs him, but they get back to their feet. MacDonald takes hims down, but Franklin counters and the round expires.

Round two

MacDonald grabs the leg, but fails to take Franklin down. He tries it again and fails. MacDonald tries a triangle choke, but Franklin counters and gets side control. Franklin gets the mount and starts raining down on MacDonald and Franklin gets the TKO win! All right, I'm one for three!

Drew McFedries vs. Martin (The Hitman) Kampmann

Round one

McFedries connects right off the bat; those sound stiff. McFedries knock Kampmann down and almost gets the TKO, but they stand up. They exchange some shots, but Kampmann is getting ruined here. Kampmann gets a nice takedown and takes the side mount. Kampmann delivers some elbows to the head and knees to the body. Kampmann gets the arm-triangle and it's over!

UFC Heavyweight title
Tim (The Maine-iac) Sylvia vs. Randy (The Natural) Couture
 
You know, you go through life making fun of those sappy love songs you hear on the radio, never really caring about the messages contained within. So imagine my shock when, in the weeks leading up to Couture’s title shot, I found myself listening to nothing but Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
 
Those songs finally make sense!

Round one

Couture rocks Sylvia with a right and sends him to the mat! Holy crap! Couture fights for a rear-naked choke, but that's easier said than done. Did Joe Rogan just say, "tough balls?" I believe he did. Nothing else really happens and the round expires. First round goes to Couture.

Round two

They stand up for a bit, but wind up on the fence. Couture grabs the leg, takes Sylvia down, but ends up in the guard. Couture stands up and tries to deliver shots, but gets stuck in the guard again. McCarthy stands them up and the crowd boos. Couture takes him down as the round expires. Another round for Couture.

Round three

They box for a little bit; Sylvia is having trouble landing his shots. Couture is landing some nice punches and the crowd chants "Randy." Couture just keeps nailing Sylvia and the round expires. That's three rounds for Couture, but he's looking tired.

Round four

Couture takes Sylvia down, but gets stuck in the guard. Couture keeps nailing good shots from the guard; Sylvia's reach advantage has meant nothing here. They stand up; Couture takes him down and gets side control. Couture takes the full mount, but Sylvia counters and gets control of Couture's head. We have another round for Couture; this is incredible.

Round five

Sylvia needs something big here to retain his title. Couture takes him down and they're in the half-guard. Sylvia tries a leglock, but Couture counters and gets side control. Couture keeps delivering knees and elbows and then takes the mount. Sylvia tries to stand up, but Couture takes him down again! Sylvia's eye is completely swollen! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1; NEW CHAMPION! COUTURE WINS!

Couture: "Not bad for an old man." I end the night at one for five, but I don't care; that was incredible.

That's it for "UFC 68: The Uprising;" join me April 7 for "UFC 69: Shootout."


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