Liddell has last fight in octagon

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 10:54 PM ET

Going into UFC 97: Redemption, UFC president Dana White told Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell, impress me or hang them up.

The former UFC light-heavyweight champion had gone 1-3 in his last four fights and not only needed to win against Mauricio (Shogun) Rua, but do it in impressive fashion.

Late in the first round, the 2005 PRIDE grand prix champion dropped The Iceman with a huge left hook. Rua followed it up with hammer-fists on the ground until referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight.

Liddell has fought his last match in the UFC.

"It’s the end of an era tonight," White said. “You are never going to see Chuck Liddell on the canvas again.

“One of the greatest guys in the sport fought his last fight tonight.”

Liddell was more tight-lipped about his retirement, saying he would make the decision after returning home in a couple days. As for his performance, Liddell offered no excuses.

"I'm disappointed,” Liddell said. “I had a great camp, I was in great shape. I don't know what to say right now.”

For Rua, this was the closest he’s looked to his former self since entering the UFC. Though it was anyone’s fight up until the knockout, Rua was winning the stand-up battle.

“I’m very happy with my performance tonight,” Rua said through his translator. “I did everything that I could do right. I showcased myself at my best and I hope to stay like this.

“My strategy was to fight three rounds standing up with him because he is a very good wrestler and I could get very tired trying to take him down. I knew I had to train stand up and exchange blows with him. It was the only way to fight.”

In the main event of the evening, Anderson (The Spider) Silva put on yet another puzzling performance as he earned a unanimous decision victory over Thales Leites.

Silva had his hands down for most of the fight and looked to be waiting for Leites to attack him. He threw little in the way of strikes and made no attempt to finish his opponent, opting instead to toy with the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. As the fight progressed, Silva began to shimmy his shoulders and stretch his arms outward.

Out of desperation, Leites threw himself to the ground numerous times to try and take the fight there, but Silva simply walked away each time.

The fans began booing the two fighters and alternating between “GSP” and “bulls--t” chants.

A visibly frustrated White admitted that he hated the match.

“I’m unhappy with the whole fight; period,” White said. “I did not like the fight at all.”

When asked if he was embarrassed, White responded, “A little.”

This is Silva’s second lackluster performance in a row. At UFC 90, he failed to push the fight against Patrick Cote. The bout only ended after Cote injured his knee.

Silva apologized for his performance and promised a better outing next time. However, he seemed to stand by his effort

“I don’t know if it’s people not understanding my style of fighting, but I train to have a perfect fight,” Silva said through his translator. “Not every fight is going to be a knockout or have some kind of spectacular finish. But what I trained to do, I felt I executed.”

CANADIAN FIGHTERS

Canadian fighters had a good showing at UFC 97, going five for seven.

Winnipeg’s Krzysztof Soszynski earned the biggest win of his career against former WEC light-heavyweight champion Brian Stann. Soszynski took the fight to the ground and submitted Stann with a kimura shoulder-lock in the first round.

“The ending, I always try to get side mount and go for the kimura,” Soszynski said. “Not too many people can get out of my kimura.”

Denis Kang made up for his loss to Alan Belcher with a solid, if unspectacular, unanimous decision victory over Xavier Foupa-Pokam. Kang tired Foupa-Pokam out with numerous takedowns and short elbows on the ground.

“It feels good to get that win,” Kang said. “I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I don’t want to say this match was do or die, but I said to myself that it was.”

Other wins included Mark Bocek submitting David Bielkheden in the first round, TJ Grant earning a split decision victory over Ryo Chonan, and Sam Stout getting the judges nod against Matt Wiman.

On the losing side, David (The Crow) Loiseau put on a disappointing return performance in the octagon.

Loiseau seemed determined to provide a highlight reel knockout against Ed Herman, but his timing and execution isn’t what it used to be. As a result, Herman continually took the fight to the ground and punished Loiseau with knees to the body.

When asked about Loiseau's performace, White didn’t hold back,

“Listen, I love David Loiseau. You don’t meet nicer guys than that kid,” White said. “But, you know, he looked old tonight. He couldn’t get off, his timing wasn’t there. He got down on the ground and Herman was all over him.”

Edmonton’s Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald also had a rough night, losing by TKO in the first round to Nate (Rock) Quarry after a series of vicious elbows.

“I knew I hit him with a good elbow and cut him,” Quarry said. “From where the cut was I knew the blood would get in his eyes and mess with his mind.”


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