Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture UFC 57 – Liddell vs. Couture 3 Feb / 04 / 2006
The final fight in their epic trilogy saw two of the sport’s greats facing off. As The Iceman Chuck Liddell met Randy Couture, seeking to defend his light heavyweight title. With both fighters having scored a victory in their previous two bouts. This UFC super fight was seen as the rubber match to determine the who would be the world’s number one 205’er.
Chuck landed a solid trademark right hand in the first round which cut Couture. With Randy retaliating by getting Chuck to the ground, from which he quickly popped back up. The fight continued in much the same way as the previous bout. With Randy pushing forward and landing some decent shots.
But Liddell had learned from the loss in their first fight, adjusting in the second to get the win. And now in the third, it was looking as though his preparation and game planning were paying off.
As we moved close toward the end of the second, Couture attempted to throw and left hand. But on the way in he slipped and gave Chuck an additional fraction of a second to see the incoming punch.
Chuck quickly capitalised on the telegraphed punch and threw a right hand of his own. Catching The Natural flush and sending him to the canvas.
Where Liddell in much the same way as the first fight landed additional punches to the downed Couture. Signalling the end of the fight and the epic MMA trilogy and a true UFC super fight in terms of the sport’s history.
Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock – UFC 40 – Vendetta Nov / 22 / 2002
Without doubt one of the most heated rivalries in the history of MMA. Former heavyweight champion Ken Shamrock took exception to the Tito Ortiz post-fight celebrations after he had beaten Lion’s Den fighter Guy Mezger.
Ken was the leader of the gym and his fighters were like his family. So from that moment forward, there was a deep-seated hatred between the two.
And at UFC 40 Shamrock finally got his opportunity to shut Tito up, while at the same time claim the UFC light heavyweight championship. Ortiz was the reigning champ and Ken the former heavyweight champion. So for many Shamrock stood a good chance, even with an eleven years age difference.
And from the beginning, we caught a glimpse of how this UFC super fight would play out. As Tito unloaded on Ken, putting him up against the cage. Tito managed to get Ken down consistently and looked the physically stronger of the two.
Landing knees and hard elbows, along with his trademark ground and pound, Ortiz began to dominate the fading Shamrock.
And as the fight progressed the contrast in damage between the two was evident for all to see. As Tito Ortiz barely had a scratch, while Ken Shamrock looked like he had been attacked with a baseball bat.
And going into the third the writing appeared to be on the wall. As Shamrock all but staggered back to his corner the decision was made to throw in the towel.
The first of their three fights and the most competitive. Fighting again at UFC 61 – Bitter Rivals in July 2006 and again in October 2006. But Ken was never in either of those fights. And while the build-up was arguably even more intense. Neither could ever quite eclipse the first fight when Ken realistically stood a chance.
Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz 2 – UFC 66 – Liddell vs. Ortiz 2 Dec / 30 / 2006
The second time Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz would meet and this time Chuck was the defending light heavyweight champion. Entering the fight it was seen very much as a striker vs wrestler matchup.
And with a tentative start, Tito’s failed takedown attempts forced him to stand and trade with Chuck and his superior standup. Which for the most part kept Ortiz backing up as he struggled to contain The Ice Man’s onslaught.
And getting rattled in the first round but still surviving. The fight was very much one-way traffic from the beginning. Going into the second the fight continued very much like the first. As a bloodied Ortiz struggled to land his strikes but did get a takedown near the end of the round.
Round three and Chuck continued to stalk Tito, who continued with his strike and shoot gameplan. But after several failed attempts Liddell again landed some solid shots, putting Tito on the back foot. Then when Ortiz hit the ground, Chuck once again capitalised, finishing Tito with a barrage of punches.
Tito Ortiz was once again found lacking against one of the greatest light heavyweights the sport has known. The second time of asking in yet another UFC super fight between the two icons of mixed martial arts.
Matt Hughes vs Georges St Pierre – UFC 65 – Bad Intentions Nov / 18 / 2006
In their first meeting at UFC 50 – The War of ’04. Challenger Georges St Pierre had lost in his bid to dethrone the welterweight champion, Matt Hughes. Now after getting down on his knees and begging the UFC, St Pierre was back for a second bite of the cherry.
And unlike the first fight where GSP could not even look his idol in the eye. This time around a more seasoned and well-rounded fighter now stood across the octagon.
And from the first bell, it was the jab of GSP which began to take control. Keeping the champion back, setting a very different tempo from their first encounter.
Landing two low kicks which unintentionally caught Hughes in the groin. St Pierre began to go for some high kicks, perhaps in a move to minimise the chances of yet another foul.
Still in the first and GSP managed to get the champion down and landed some good shots. Matt fired back with his own takedown attempt but it was stuffed. As St Pierre landed a Superman punch and a huge left hand that dropped Hughes just as the buzzer sounded to end the round.
The second round saw St Pierre once again using his jab the force Matt back. With his array of tools, it seems the champion had no answer. And it quickly went downhill when GSP landed a hard head kick that buckled Hughes.
Putting him on his back where Georges followed up with devastating elbows to end the classic welterweight matchup. As a future legend was born in the new French Canadian UFC welterweight champion of the world. Signalling the changing of the guard in the division.
Tim Sylvia vs Randy Couture – UFC 68 – Uprising Mar / 03 / 2007
Setting an attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in North America. The defending UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia faced the former heavyweight and light heavyweight legend Randy Couture.
Coming in at six feet eight inches and 265 lbs, Sylvia was a giant of a man. And also with a thirteen year age difference in his favour. Many believed it was just a step too far for The Natural who was coming out of retirement to take the fight.
Could the smaller, older, some would say ring rusty Couture do the unthinkable and win? Well, with the very first punch thrown Couture sent the champion to the canvas. Following it up as the crowd went ballistic, with punches against the cage before taking his back. All in the opening seconds for one of the craziest beginnings to any UFC title fight.
The Greco Roman Wrestling Of Couture
Randy continued to use his Greco Roman wrestling to take the champion down. As again throughout the second Tim was unable to get back to his feet. Until referee John McCarthy stepped in and got the pair back to standing.
Sylvia avoided using kicks so he wasn’t taken down, as they continued to fight it out on their feet. And Randy here also seemed to be doing so well, using great head movement. While avoiding the big punches and landing his own.
Couture was now winning the fight in all departments, as Tim Sylvia appeared increasingly frustrated. And going into the fourth, both he and his corner knew they had to do something to change the direction of the fight.
But taking the champion down again and keeping him down for almost half the round. It looked like there was nothing Sylvia could do!
The story of the fight throughout the fifth and final round. As Randy Couture took Tim Sylvia down yet again and continued to dominate from the top through the remaining minutes.
As the returning former champion shocked the world to win a unanimous decision victory. In a fight, almost no one thought he could win. With one of the biggest upsets and super fights in the history of the UFC.