It was a rough night for two mixed-martial-arts icons at "UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008," as Wanderlei Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira were both stopped dead in their tracks.
For Nogueira, this marks the first stoppage loss in his nearly decade-long MMA career. After being dropped twice by Frank Mir in the first round, the former PRIDE heavyweight champion met his end shortly into the second frame.
Nogueira has always been known as a fighter who can take inhuman amounts of punishment, yet still turn it around at the very end. It seems all those wars have finally caught up with him.
Last night, he looked slow on his feet and was never able to mount any serious offense.
To Mir's credit, this was his best performance in years. He picked apart the UFC interim heavyweight champion on the feet and avoided the submission game before putting him away some ground-and-pound.
With the interim title around his waist, Mir has earned a rematch with Brock Lesnar. Needless to say, this will be nothing like their first encounter and is destined to do strong PPV numbers.
As for Nogueira, it's hard to say what's next for him. The UFC should focus on booking some of the PRIDE vs. UFC dream matches fans have been waiting for since they bought the now-defunct MMA organization in 2007. They can get the good times rolling by arranging a fight with Randy Couture.
THE AXE MURDERER GETS EXECUTED
Wanderlei Silva's KO loss to long-time nemesis Quinton Jackson comes as less of a shock, as the former PRIDE middleweight champion was 1-3 in his last four bouts going into UFC 92.
For anyone who has seen their two previous tussles, last night's encounter was a complete disappointment. Both fighters looked tentative and there was a lack of fireworks before Jackson connected with a left-hook that would have dropped a bull elephant.
For Jackson, last night was the sweet revenge he has been dreaming about for years. And considering that he lost his title due to a controversial decision, he should be first in line for a shot at the new light-heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans. However, the winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva may have something to say about that.
EVANS HAS BECOME A SERIOUS FINISHER
If Rashad Evans has proven one thing in his last two fights, it's that he can turn the tide in a matter of seconds.
Much like his match with Chuck Liddell, 'Sugar' found himself on the losing end of the scorecards against Forrest Griffin. For a mixed martial artist who has earned most of his wins by decision, this should be the last thing he wants in the back of his mind as he enters into a new round.
However, Evans is not only showing one hell of a killer instinct lately, he's also creating the opportunities necessary to put his opponents away.
At UFC 88 he forced the 'The Iceman' to get overanxious, leaving himself open for a devastating overhand right. Last night, he perfectly timed one of Griffin's leg kicks, using it to take the light-heavyweight champion to the ground. From there, he opened Griffin up and unloaded with strikes until he tapped out.
Evans has all the tools necessary to be a great champion, but with such a stacked light-heavyweight division, it's not going to be easy.