UFC 109: Relentless is in the books and aside from a couple of outstanding performances by Chael Sonnen and Melvin Guillard, was about as unremarkable an event from the UFC in recent memory.
Guillard and Sonnen were the night’s biggest winners. The biggest loser? That would have to be Mark Coleman who looked every day of 45 against a 46 year old opponent in Randy Couture.
And while Nate Marquardt was dominated by Sonnen for approximately 13 minutes of their 15 minute war sacrificing any hope of a rematch with Anderson Silva, it was Coleman who looked like he fought his last fight on Saturday night.
To put it succinctly, he looked ridiculously slow against a 46-year-old who isn’t the fastest fighter these days either.
After outstriking Coleman for a good round and a half while controlling his fellow Hall-of-Famer against the cage, Couture took Coleman to the ground and earned just his third submission victory in his career via rear-naked choke.
What the win does for Couture remains to be seen as, let’s face it, beating a 45-year-old Coleman isn’t exactly noteworthy. Then again, Couture has now won his first two fights since returning to the 205 lb division and at his age you would think that the UFC will try to take advantage of his good run sooner rather than later. I personally still think he’s a top-5 win away from a title fight.
The big story of the night, however, has to be Sonnen’s demolition of Marquardt. Sonnen utilized his overpowering wrestling to continually put Marquardt on his back. There he controlled Marquardt while administering some pretty solid ground and pound which earned him the points that eventually led him to the victory.
He wasn’t easy. Marquardt wasn’t going to go into the night quietly. A vicious elbow from the bottom opened a pretty nasty gash over the eye of Sonnen which caused Sonnen problems for the rest of the fight. A late guillotine choke also caused a scare for the Sonnen camp but their fighter pulled out and was able to prevail.
After outwrestling two very good middleweights in Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt, Chael Sonnen has skyrocketed up the middleweight division, positioning himself in line for a title shot against the April 10th winner of Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.
Self confidence surely won’t be a problem for Sonnen going into that fight.
The other big winner of the night has to be Guillard who utilized his quick, powerful striking as well as some great wrestling while showcasing a new ability to get back to his feet despite having a great jiu-jitsu artist in Ronys Torres on top of him.
Guillard looks to have finally put all of that great talent together with a level head and perhaps nobody other than Greg Jackson and his camp can be held responsible for that.
Guillard said his goal is to earn a title fight in 2011 and with the impressive win over Torres, looks to be well on his way to that goal.
Also impressive on this night was welterweight Paulo Thiago who improved to 13-1 with a very impressive win over Mike Swick via D’Arce choke in the second round.
Thiago is certainly on the rise among the 170 lb division while Swick will have to go back to the drawing board after dropping his past two fights to fighters younger than he.
Knockout of the Night: Matt Serra
Submission of the Night: Paulo Thiago
Fight of the Night: Nate Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen
Randy Coture defeats Mark Coleman via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2
Chael Sonnen defeats Nate Marquardt via Unanimous Decision
Paulo Thiago defeats Mike Swick via Submission (Darsce Choke) Round 2
Demian Maia defeats Dan Miller via Unanimous Decision
Matt Serra defeats Frank Trigg via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
Mac Danzig defeats Justin Buchholz via unanimous decision
Melvin Guillard defeats Ronnys Torres via unanimous decision
Rob Emerson defeats Phillipe Nover via unanimous decision
Phil Davis defeats Brian Stann via unanimous decision
Chris Tuchscherer defeats Tim Hague via majority decision
Joey Beltran defeats Rolles Gracie via technical knockout (strikes) in round two