Too Liddell, too late

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Canada's second UFC card was a night of disappointments.

From the main event that saw middleweight champ Anderson Silva and challenger Thales Leites draw boos from the crowd to the almost certain retirement of the legendary Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell following a KO loss.

In the title fight, Silva and fellow Brazilian Leites seemed to dance around one another for the much of the first three rounds, with Leites dropping to his back to defend from the ground - a move that drew both boos from the sold-out Bell Centre and frustration from Silva.

The fact the two fighters touched gloves at the start of every round - and even after half-spirited skirmishes - also drew the ire of the Canadian fans.

Silva won by unanimous decision, but with back-to-back underwhelming victories, a superfight with Georges St. Pierre is even more likely.

"It's unfortunate that sometimes things don't turn out the way the public wants it to but they are not in here," said Silva through an interpreter.

In the co-main event, former light heavyweight champ Liddell, who UFC president Dana White said needed to "impress" in this fight, suffered a KO loss to Mauricio (Shogun) Rua.

It is the fourth loss in five fights for the California-born 205-pounder who turns 40 this year. In the post fight interview, Liddell said he was upset by the loss but didn't disclose his plans for the future.

The other big disappointment of the night came from David (The Crow) Loiseau, who made his return to the UFC before a jacked up hometown crowd at UFC 97 here last night.

But it was a shortlived welcome party for the former middleweight contender, who seemed content to ride out the fight covering up as his opponent Ed (Short Fuse) Herman looked for openings and submissions.

Outside of a pair of spinning back kicks to start off the first round, Loiseau was controlled handily and looked unwilling to engage except in bursts that were too few and too futile. As the fight wore on, a frustrated Bell Centre crowd grew increasingly impatient with the fighters.

In the third round, Loiseau looked gassed and ended up losing a unanimous decision.

It was Loiseau's first fight back in the UFC since September 2006 when he was punted following two straight losses, including a middleweight title scrap against then- champ Rich Franklin.

In other action, Frenchman Cheick Kongo beat Antoni Hardonk with a flurry of punches halfway through Round 2 of their heavyweight tilt, while sluggers Luiz Cane and Steve Cantwell stood for three rounds and exchanged punches and kicks with Cane getting the better of Cantwell by unanimous decision.

Vancouver's Denis Kang won a unanimous nod over Xavier Foupa Pokam and bloodied Edmonton scrapper Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald lost to Nate (Rock) Quarry, who opened up the former jail guard with razor sharp elbows before the ref stepped in to call the fight in the first round.

Krzysztof Soszynski controlled Brian Stann with a strong ground fight ending it with a kimura in Round 1.

UFC 97 was the second time the world's largest MMA league has been to Montreal. UFC 83, last April, featured Georges St. Pierre victorious over Matt (The Terror) Serra to reclaim the welterweight belt.

The undercards offered one of the best submissions of the night when Toronto's Mark Bocek ground Brazil's David Bielkheden into a first round bare naked choke.

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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