UFC 88 was a well run and exciting ppv event for the Atlanta crowd. I wasn't a fan of the USA chants during Dong Hyun Kim's fight with Matt Brown, unfortunately that type of behavior is common place at UFC events.
Rashad Evans def. Chuck Liddell via KO (punch) R2, 1:51- The first round saw mainly circling and positioning. Evans didn't go for the takedown and didn't go in for a big strike. Liddell probably won on most scorecards in the first for landing a few punches.
In the second round Liddell backed Rashad near the fence. Rashad threw a jab and then a massive overhand right. Liddell threw an uppercut. Unfortunately for Liddell, Rashad's right hand landed flush, and Liddell hit the canvas like a sack of bricks. Liddell was a split second to late and he paid the price.
According to UFC president Dana White, Rashad earned an immediate title shot with the victory. Apparently, if Chuck Liddell would have won he would have gotten the shot. Lyoto Machida is another guy in line for a title shot who currently doesn't have an opponent in UFC 89 just yet. Thiago Silva had to withdraw with a back injury.
*KO of the night for Rashad Evans - 60K bonus
*MMA Blaster readers picked incorrectly 9-2
Rich Franklin def. Matt Hamill via TKO (kick to the body) R3, :39- Hamill sustained numerous leg kicks throughout the first two rounds of the fight. Hamill, an elite wrestler, was only able to manage one takedown near the end of the first round. While landing far fewer strikes, Hamill was able to open a cut on Franklin.
Franklin meanwhile looked precise in his striking. He threw kicks to the legs, body and face throughout the fight. His punches landed more clean and effectively. In the third round, Franklin threw a precise body kick, crumpling Hamill.
Franklin will face a step up in competition in his next fight. I would like to see him fight Lyoto Machida again, however Machida is fighting in a couple weeks. A fight with Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, or Wanderlei Silva would garner excellent ratings and publicity. Hamill meanwhile needs to go back to the drawing board to work on his stand-up.
Dan Henderson def. Rousimar Palhares via Dec. (Unanimous)- Not exactly the most exciting fight on the card but Henderson grinded out the decision. Palhares will be back with his dazzling submission game. However, Henderson was better on his feet in this match-up and did not engage Palhares on the ground instead letting him up.
Nathan Marquardt def. Martin Kampmann via TKO (Punches) R1, 1:22- Marquardt came in and bullied the smaller Kampmann, landing multiple punches before Kampmann couldn't defend himself. I wouldn't be surprised by a Marquardt v. Henderson match for the number one contender spot at 185. I also wouldn't be surprised if Kampmann moved down to 170.
Dong Hyun Kim def. Matt Brown via Dec. (Split)- The first round saw Dong get extremely close with rear naked choke attempts and a kimura. The second round was all Matt Brown as he was able to land effective strikes and ground and pound after a failed submission attempt by Dong. The third round belonged to Dong as he was able to land some nasty elbows opening up a huge cut on Brown. A very hard fought match by two excellent competitors.
Kurt Pellegrino def. Thiago Tavares via Dec. (Unanimous)- Tavares showed alot of heart in this fight after he was nearly knocked out by Pellegrino in the first round. Kurt also had a pretty secure armbar that it looked like Tavares may have tapped. Tavares built some momentum in the second round, but ultimately Pellegrino got the unanimous decision.
*Both fighters earned the 60K Fight of the Night Bonus.
Tim Boetsch def. Michael Patt via TKO (Punches) R1, 2:03- Boetsch the Barbarian came out with a fury and Patt couldn't withstand it. A low kick by Patt was met with a vicious hard right counter by Boetsch. Patt ate a couple more before the fight was called.
Jason MacDonald def. Jason Lambert via Sub (Rear Naked Choke) R2, 1:20- MacDonald won submission of the night with his rear naked choke over Jason Lambert. Lambert hadn't been submitted since a 2001 fight against Marco Ruas.
*MacDonald wins 60K submission of the night bonus
Ryo Chonan def. Roan Carneiro via Dec.(Split)