MMA legends Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira square off in the UFC 102 main event that has more implications on their respective retirements than the heavyweight title picture.
Also, Keith Jardine faces Thiago Silva and Nate Marquardt takes on Demian Maia.
BLOW BY BLOW
Brandon (The Truth) Vera vs. Krzysztof (The Polish Experiment) Soszynski
Soszynski lands a nice uppercut, but Vera responds with a stiff body kick. That had to hurt. Vera with a hard knee to the midsection.
Soszynski clinches and press him against the cage. Smart move because he wasn't winning the stand-up exchanges. Vera tries for a Thai clinch, but Soszynski steps out. Vera lands a stiff leg kick.
Soszynski tries a body kick, but eats a straight-right and he's bleeding a bit now. Vera delivers a solid leg kick and now he clinches Soszynski on the fence. Vera pushes separates and goes back to the leg kicks.
Soszynski is swinging wild and looks a bit flustered. Soszynski tries a takedown, but it's stuffed. Good round for Vera.
Vera goes back to the leg kicks. He tries to work his hands, but Soszynski steps out each time. Soszynski goes back to the clinch and knees Vera's legs.
Vera reverses it and they separate. Vera lands a right-hook and follows with an uppercut. Soszynski tries another takedown, but can't get Vera down. Vera works in more leg kicks before trying a high kick.
Soszynski presses him against the cage, but Vera steps out. Vera with a stiff straight-left, but Soszynski goes back to the clinch. This is almost turning into B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian -- with Vera winning the striking exchanges and Soszynski constantly pressing him against the cage.
Soszynski finally gets him down, but Vera is right back up. Closer round this time, but you can give it to Vera based on striking.
Soszynski needs to come alive now. Vera tries a spinning back-elbow and follows it with a high roundhouse kick -- nice.
Soszynski again tries for a takedown, but can't get it. Soszynski clinches again, but Vera switches it round. He works in some knees to the body and takes Soszynski down!
Vera lands a couple elbows and punches. Soszynski gets back to his feet, but eats a knee to the head in the process. Vera lands an accidental low blow.
Soszynski clinches again, but Vera lands a hard elbow from the position. Vera is opening up with his hands more, landing some nice combos. Soszynski looks really tired now. There's no snap to his punches.
Vera delivers a couple nasty leg kicks as the round ends.
Winner: Brandon Vera by unanimous decision.
Nate (The Great) Marquardt vs. Demian Maia
Maia tries a head kick, but it's blocked. Marquardt lands a huge straight-right and Maia is out cold! Maia literally flew off the ground, going airborne before landing face first on the mat.
Winner: Nate Marquardt by first round knockout.
Chris (The Crippler) Leben vs. Jake Rosholt
Leben looks a lot bigger than Rosholt. He tries a head kick, but Rosholt avoids. Leben lands a stiff inside leg kick. Rosholt with a nice straight-left, but Leben takes him down.
Leben is in Rosholt's guard, against the cage. Rosholt kicks him off and Leben's nose is bleeding a bit. Rosholt also has a small cut under his eye.
Rosholt with another stiff left. He takes Leben down and secures the mount. Leben sits up and Rosholt presses him on the cage. Leben is up and they separate.
Leben swings for the fences, but can't land anything. Tough round to score.
Rosholt tags Leben with a straight-left. He tries a head kick, but slips. Leben tries to pounce, but Rosholt pulls him into half-guard. Leben mixes up punches to the body and head, but Rosholt get full-guard.
Leben lands a solid elbow, but not much is happening. Rosholt is controlling his posture and the ref stands them up.
Leben tries a big overhand left, but can't connect. He follows it with another inside leg kick. Leben counters a head-kick attempt with a nice straight-left. Leben presses him against the fence and tries some foot stomps.
Rosholt takes him down and passes to half-guard. Rosholt stands up, but Leben lands a good upkick. Rosholt goes back to half-guard and delivers a couple more shots. Leben stands up and ends with another wild flurry.
Rosholt immediately gets a takedown and lands into half-guard. He takes full-mount and delivers some hard elbows. Rosholt takes Leben's back and switches it back to mount. Rosholt secures an arm-triangle choke! Leben decides not to tap in time, so he passes out completely.
Winner: Jake Rosholt by third-round submission.
Keith (The Dean of Mean) Jardine vs. Thiago Silva
Jardine immediately lands a hard leg kick. Silva delivers a hard jab. Jardine slips and Silva enters his guard. Jardine is back up, but Silva drops him with a huge left-hook and finishes Jardine with a flurry of strikes on the ground!
Winner: Thiago Silva by first-round knockout.
Randy (The Natural) Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira
They exchange combos to start and Nogueira backs him up with a stiff jab. Nogueira connects with a nice right-hook. Nogueira attempts to drag him to the mat, but Couture steps out.
They clinch and Nogueira works in some knees and dirty boxing. Nogueira drops Couture with a huge right hand! Nogueira almost gets a d'arce choke, but Couture gets out! Nogueira lands a nice leg kick. Couture with a nice right-hand and then tees off with a huge two-punch combo.
Nogueira is bleeding now. They are just swinging for the fences and Couture presses him against the fence. The round ends and it's a close one, but you have to give it to Nogueira for the knock down and submission attempt.
Couture lands an uppercut, but Nogueira delivers a hard left-hook. Couture takes him down, but is in Nogueira's guard. Couture delivers some nice elbows. Nogueira sweeps him and has full-mount! Nogueira works in a little ground-and-pound as Couture brings him to half-guard.
Nogueira is trying for an arm-triangle choke. Couture is blocking the submission, but eating punches in the process. Couture gets out, but Nogueira is still on top.
Couture gets back up! They start swinging again, but Nogueira is landing the better punches. Couture connects with a hard right. Nogueira with a stiff knee and follows with a leg kick. Another good round, but Nogueira has the edge.
Couture needs something big here.
Couture comes forward and delivers a hard uppercut. Nogueira is now coming forward and he drops Couture! Nogueira unloads with punches, but Couture survives!
Couture is bleeding above his right eye now. Nogueira is punishing him on the ground and has him pressed against the fence. Couture is trying to get back up, but is giving his back up.
Couture dumps him over and is out! Now he's on top, in Nogueira's guard! Couture needs to come alive now. Couture with a good elbow, and another. Nogueira sweeps as the round ends!
What a fight. Nogueira definitively won, but you've got to respect Couture.
Winner: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by unanimous decision.