Couture calls it quits

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

LAS VEGAS -- It was double defeat for Ultimate Fighting Champions legend Randy Couture.

He lost his rubber match with light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell in a second round knockout and minutes later announced the sport he helped legitimize was losing its elder statesman.

"This is the last time you'll see these gloves and these trunks in the Octagon," said Couture.

"I'm going to retire them tonight."

There was heavy speculation Couture, 42, might retire if he lost last night.

The UFC favourite was the only fighter to hold the world championship belts in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.

After a hesitant start last night, the heavy hands of Liddell cut Couture and ultimately knocked him to the mat at 1:28 of the second round.

"The fight went just the way we planned it. I knew he'd try and stand up and I just needed the one shot," said Liddell, who called Couture the toughest fighter he's ever faced.

Nearly 12,000 fans at the sold-out Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas took in the third scrap between the two men last night.

In their first meeting in 2003, world-class grappler Couture dominated Liddell until the fight was stopped in the third round.

In the rematch last year, lethal striker Liddell pummeled Couture in the first round, the first time up to that point Couture had ever been knocked out.

There was no shortage of hype for last night's bout.

It was the biggest event in the sport's history, raking in $3.8 million US at the gate.

Scalped tickets for the event, which had been sold out since December, were selling for as much $3,600 US per seat and pay-per-view sales were expected to top 300,000.

In the undercards, Keith Jardine, Renato Babalu Sobral and solid Italian striker Alessio Sakara all won their matches.


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