UFC: Best Moments from UFC 50-60
We continue our "best of" series, as we now look at the best moments from UFC 50-to-60.
It was a time when the UFC was expanding and utilizing its new partner, Spike TV, to attempt a run at mainstream success. It was the beginning of UFC Fight Nights and The Ultimate Fighter, which would eventually help the sport explode.
Following are the best moments during this period.
Here are the previous installments of the series, with the first 10 being written by Dwight Wakabayashi.
Arlovski Shocks Sylvia with Quick Submission to Claim Title at UFC 51
UFC 51 played home to a big heavyweight title fight, as champion Tim Sylvia met challenger Andrei Arlovski for the belt.
The main event was a quick one, as 47 seconds in, Arlovksi earned a tap via Achilles lock to win the title off Sylvia. It was a shocking ending that started one of the best heavyweight rivalries in UFC history.
It's hard to believe that they recently fought for a fourth time recently, even though it ended in a no-contest.
Leben Mercifully Knocks out "Stangebrew" to End Strange Feud at TUF 1 Finale
In a rivalry that started from bullying in the first TUF house, Chris Leben met Jason Thacker on the undercard of the first ever TUF finale.
In a quick, almost obvious outcome, Leben knocked out "Strangebrew" in 95 seconds to earn his contract with the UFC and basically squash the beef between the two.
It is a moment fans of TUF will remember.
Bonnar and Griffin Go to War, Gain Thousands of Fans in Process at TUF 1 Finale
It is regarded as the best and most important fight in the history of the UFC. It literally had people changing their channels to watch the fight.
Many people say Royce Gracie's introduction of Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the most important event in UFC history, but I believe the marketing that Bonnar and Griffin's fists did were even bigger.
Franklin Knocks out Shamrock to Earn Biggest Career Win at TUF 1 Finale
Rich Franklin was on the ascent in his career, and he was given the opportunity to fight the legendary Ken Shamrock in the headliner of the TUF finale.
Franklin didn't need much time to put away Shamrock, leveling him with punches to earn the referee stoppage in the first round. It was the biggest win of his career and had him on a path to the middleweight title.
Dan Severn Earns Hall of Fame Nod at UFC 52
It was an honor and the right choice when the UFC decided to honor Dan Severn with a Hall of Fame nod before UFC 52.
Though he was never the most exciting fighter, his contributions to the sport were essential. He showed that American wrestling was an incredible tool when fighting in an MMA bout.
Now a veteran of 127 fights, the 54-year-old Severn has and had nothing left to prove. He is a legend of the sport that we all must respect.
Hughes Survives Blatant Low Blow to RNC Trigg Again at UFC 52
You know nothing about adversity until you fight a top welterweight, receive a blatant low blow, get caught in a rear-naked choke and still find a way to finish the fight.
Matt Hughes did exactly that at UFC 52 when fighting Frank Trigg.
Trigg blatantly and knowingly kneed Hughes in the groin and continued to fight anyway. He almost finished Hughes with a rear-naked choke, but Hughes survived and turned the tables.
In the end, Hughes won with a rear-naked choke of his own to retain the welterweight title. That is why he is a legend, folks.
"Iceman" Gains Revenge on Couture with KO, Wins Title at UFC 52
In a rematch of what was a shocker in the first fight, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell met for the light heavyweight title that "The Natural" was the owner of.
In just over two minutes into the first round, Couture and Liddell were throwing leather on the feet. Liddell ducked Couture, got the perfect angle and swung his fist with violence. Couture went down, was out and Liddell was the new champion.
The dream was realized for "The Iceman."
David Loiseau Destroys Charles McCarthy with Spinning Back Kick at UFC 53
The preliminary card saw a spectacular knockout, when Canadian striker David Loiseau destroyed Charles McCarthy with a wicked spinning back kick.
It clearly knocked the wind out of McCarthy and had him in serious pain. It is one of the most deadly body shot knockouts in UFC history.
Tim Sylvia Hits Head Kick at the Buzzer at UFC 54
While Tim Sylvia was in-between title holder and challenger, he was part of a spectacular knockout at UFC 54.
Facing Tra Telligman and with the first round winding down, Tim Sylvia landed a ferocious head kick with one second left in the round that had Telligman in another realm.
It was a huge knockout that would lead to Sylvia back to the title hunt down the road.
Jeremy Horn Shows Toughness in One-Sided Beating at UFC 54
I am not sure what was more impressive. The performance that Chuck Liddell had at UFC 54 or the toughness Jeremy Horn showed in the process of losing.
Liddell battered Horn for four rounds, with strikes that would normally finish Liddell's opponents. In the fourth round, Horn informed the ref he could not see properly anymore and Liddell was announced as the winner.
Even in loss, Horn showed his warrior spirit.
Burkman Slams Morgan out Cold at TUF 2 Finale
The second TUF finale was just as exciting as the first, with great finishes and fights taking place on the card.
On the undercard, Josh Burkman and Sammy Morgan squared off to see who would earn a contract with the UFC. Twenty-one seconds into the first round, Burkman slammed Morgan so hard that Morgan was unconscious on impact.
Burkman earned his UFC contract in spectacular fashion.
Evans Overcomes Size Difference to Win TUF Heavyweight Tournament
The heavyweight finals of TUF saw 6'8" monster Brad Imes take light heavyweight and vastly undersized Rashad Evans for the tournament title.
In a close, intriguing fight, Evans won a split decision to end the Cinderella story on a positive note for the undersized fighter.
Nick Diaz and Diego Sanchez Throw Down in Main Event at TUF 2 Finale
The main event had all the potential to be great at the second TUF finale. It had two crazy personalities with exciting fight styles step into the cage to fight one another.
Both men came out and did not disappoint. Sanchez won a unanimous decision in a fight with fun moments and crazy antics.
Rich Franklin Demolishes Nate Quarry's Face at UFC 56
Nate Quarry was the first TUF veteran to earn a title shot in the UFC, which came at UFC 56 against middleweight champion Rich Franklin.
Midway through the first round, Franklin nailed Quarry with a huge punch that stunned Quarry. When I say stunned, I mean it knocked Quarry out before he even hit the ground.
It was a spectacular knockout that will be on highlight reels for years to come.
Duane Ludwig Earns "Fastest Knockout" in UFC History at UFC Fight Night 3
Though it is officially listed at 11 seconds for the knockout, everyone, including Dana White, knows that Duane Ludwig owns the fastest knockout in UFC history, when he blasted Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 3.
Three seconds in, Ludwig leveled Goulet with a punch that had him dazed and on the ground. A couple punches later, Ludwig walked away from Goulet's unconscious body and won the fight.
It should have been a six-second knockout, but it was listed as an 11-second knockout. It was, all-in-all, an amazing knockout.
Riggs Beats Diaz in the Octagon, Fight Continues at Hospital at UFC 57
Joe Riggs and Nick Diaz fought in the Octagon, but the brawl did not end there.
After Riggs won a unanimous decision over Diaz, the two fought round four at the hospital. It is the craziest MMA related story I've heard short of Lee Murray knocking out Tito Ortiz in a street fight.
Liddell Takes Rubber Match Against Couture at UFC 57
One of the greatest competitive rivalries came full circle at UFC 57, when Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture fought their rubber match for the light heavyweight title.
The fight went two rounds and was extremely competitive throughout. In the second round, Liddell knocked out Couture for the second time in their series to retain the belt.
Couture announced one of his many retirements after the fight, but it showed that Liddell was the best light heavyweight in the world.
The Rivalry of GSP and "The Prodigy" Starts at UFC 58
The rivalry between Georges St. Pierre and BJ Penn started at UFC 58, which was promoted as a USA vs. Canada fight card.
Penn broke St. Pierre's nose in the first round, but that did not stop St. Pierre from coming back and winning a close split decision in the end.
It would not be the last time these two met, but it was an interesting rivalry to say the least.
Matt Wiman Eats a Flying Knee from Spencer Fisher at UFC 60
Matt Wiman was young in his MMA career when he met Spencer Fisher, but he learned a valuable lesson in that fight.
Fisher rocked Wiman, for which Wiman played it off and showboated that he was okay. In response to that, Fisher landed a massive flying knee that put Wiman out cold for good.
Since then, Wiman has not made the same mistake. It was a valuable loss for the young mixed martial artist.
Matt Hughes Decimates the Legendary Royce Gracie at UFC 60
The legend himself Royce Gracie returned at UFC 60 to face welterweight ace Matt Hughes in a fight which drew much attention.
Many expected Gracie to give Hughes a run for his money, but it was quite the opposite. Hughes dominated the fight which only lasted less than a round.
Hughes almost snapped Gracie's arm with a straight armbar, before getting the Brazilian's back. From there, he smashed Gracie with heavy ground and pound to earn the referee stoppage.
Stay tuned next week for the next installment of the series.
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