This Saturday, the state of Washington will get its first taste of live UFC action as UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis comes to Seattle’s Key Arena. Headlined by grizzled PRIDE veteran “Lil’ Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (18-4) and the dangerous undefeated blue chipper “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (7-0), the card promises to offer the northwestern fans an entertaining evening with fighters like Amir Sadollah (4-2), “Darkness” Damarques Johnson (15-8), “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (15-6-1), and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-3) on the slate. Perhaps the most sure-fired barn burner on the card though happens in the welterweight co-main event. On one side of the cage is super-sized wrecking machine “Rumble” Anthony Johnson (8-3), fresh off a humiliating loss to “Kos” Josh Koscheck (15-5) – eager to pay it forward to his next opponent. Across the Octagon from him stands British KO sensation and one time title contender “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-8) who claims to be fighting for his job after suffering two straight losses of his own. Both fighters are finishers, with 22 of their combined 31 wins never seeing the judges’ score cards, and both men like to handle their business on their feet. The end result should be a fire fight with one man desperate for redemption and the other, a cornered wolf fighting for survival.
Last night’s UFC123 event was a night of surprises and excitement with an anti-climactic ending. Former champions “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2) and “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (29-8) and “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) and Matt Hughes (43-7) squared off to put their careers back on the path to glory. TUF big shots George Sotiropoulos (14-2) and “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (19-6) faced off for a crack at lightweight contendership consideration, and UFC newcomer “Big Rig” Maiquel Jose Falcao (8-1) came in to strut his stuff against “Hurricane” Gerald Harris (6-1). Like every card, there were fighters who made the most of their opportunity and there are those who would have done better having not fought at all. MMA Gospel explores these consequences with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
UFC 123 is in the books. The evening of stellar matches answered a lot of questions, but also rendered some less-than-clear implications. Former top lightweight contender Tyson Griffin (14-5) fell to Nik Lentz (17-3-2) via Split Decision, extending his record to include a consecutive trio of defeats. Armenian Judoka “The Heat” Karo Parisyan (18-6) was TKO’d by “Superman” Dennis Hallman (45-13-2) less than halfway through the first round. “A-Train” Aaron Simpson (6-2) was derailed by “The Phillipine Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (7-2) via Unanimous Decision after a hard-fought battle from both men. TUF Season 7 alum “The Immortal” Matt Brown’s (11-10) record drops down to just over .500 after being submitted via Guillotine Choke by his opponent Brian Foster (15-5) in the second round, leaving his future with the UFC in question. Australia’s George Sotiropoulos (14-2) won Fight of the Night honors by tapping out submission specialist “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (19-6) via Kimura in the second stanza. Submission of the Night winner “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (7-0) remained undefeated and submitted “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (12-4) with a hybrid Hammer Lock/Kimura halfway through Round 2. The common misconception that “unknown” fighters aren’t UFC-worthy was disproved when UFC newcomer and Chute Box aficionado “Big Rig” Maiquel Falcao (8-1) dismantled “Hurricane” Gerald Harris (17-3) for nearly three whole rounds, earning the Unanimous Decision nod from the judges. Former two-division champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) shocked the MMA world when he knocked out UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (43-8) only 21 seconds after the first bell. Penn very deservedly was awarded the Knockout of the Night bonus for his spectacular KO. In his post-fight interview Hughes said he “isn’t sure” about the next step in his MMA career, leaving onlookers to question whether or not the welterweight is considering retirement. In the main event, PRIDE veteran and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Rampage” Quinton Jackson won a surprising and already highly contested Split Decision victory over fellow former champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida. There, folks, is the evening in a nutshell. Below are some images of the night’s highlights.