UFC 102: Randy Couture Overshadows Disappointments by Demian Maia, Chris Leben

Bryan GoldbergSenior Writer IAugust 30, 2009

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 29:  UFC fighter Randy Couture (Bottom) battles UFC fighter Antonio Nogueira (Top) during their Heavyweight bout at UFC 102:  Couture vs. Nogueira at the Rose Garden Arena on August 29, 2009 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Demian Maia, I hope you're happy.

You made me and all of my beginning jiu jitsu classmates cry. 

Heading into the main event, UFC 102 was dangerously close to becoming the most underwhelming evening in the history of the octagon.

But those of us crass enough to doubt The Natural were quickly reminded why the Hall of Famer should never be second-guessed. 

He saved the night. Plain and simple.

UFC 102 was never intended to be a huge event. It was headlined by what was essentially an exhibition match, and there were no five-rounders or big names outside of the headliners.

And because it was so vividly defined by some very high high's, and some very low low's, let's break it down in that manner.


UFC 102 High Points


Randy Couture refuses to be submitted

Even though he was handily defeated by decision, one had to stand up and admire the resiliency of a man who's used to fighting for five rounds, and was certainly going no fewer than three.

Given the disappointing outcome of several undercard performances, the entire night's success rested on The Natural's time-tested shoulders.

And he gave everybody the show they wanted.


Todd Duffee wins in seven seconds

This was evidently the shortest fight in UFC history, so this was not a high point from an entertainment standpoint.

But one has to hand it to Duffee, who made mince meat pie out of a respectable opponent. Duffee gave his audience every reason to believe that he wanted to win this so badly that a victory was practically inevitable.

The "fight" itself was a mere formality. At only 23, he is one to watch. 


Ed Herman fights like a profrom his back

Just like in the main event, viewers of the Herman versus Simpson fight were treated to a great performance by the eventual loser.

Before casting away all regard for his health amid a grueling knee injury, Ed Herman fought so mightily from his back that Aaron Simpson never really initiated much of a grappling game.


UFC 102 Low Points


Demian Maia makes every Jiu Jitsu enthusiast cry

What else can one say?

This was the fight that many spectators were most looking forward to seeing. This is not to take away from Marquardt, who landed a nasty strike before Maia could even think about taking him to the ground.

But for this fight to end as soon as it did, without seeing either of the two BJJ black belts take to the groundit was pure MMA tragedy.


The Crippler takes a nap

Remember when GSP rode into his home town of Montreal and put on a show for the ages?

Yeah, this wasn't quite as memorable.

Chris Leben is a well-liked fighter who held his own on a night defined by quick endings. Jake Rosholt was the better fighter, and it was hard to imagine that the home crowd would offer enough to give The Crippler an edge.

But still, it's sad to see anyone get submitted in front of his friends and family. And double-jeers to the official who was way too slow in ending the fight. 


Nate Marquardt makes Anderson Silva laugh

Well, it wasn't quite a laughmore like a dismissive chuckle.

It seemed as if Nate himself didn't believe the lackluster trash talk coming out of his own mouth. He exhibited very little class, which is a shame, considering that he is a tremendous fighter who is, if anything, underrated.

If he does get the opportunity to fight Silva, then he will have earned it. But when Anderson clinches the life out of him, well, he will have earned that too.


A Polish Experiment in boring me

Please don't let this take away from Brandon Vera's fine performance. The Filipino-American executed well by leveraging a diverse set of skills. He truly embodied the spirit of MMA tonight.

But his opponent did little more than look the partand that he did. Soszynski was a fill-in who was not favored to win.

To his credit, he survived until the end. But that was only because he failed to put much gusto into what was certainly the opportunity of a lifetime. 

For those of us who were considering a trip to Portland, it was probably worth saving a few hundred bucks. Heck, there was a point in which I felt like holding a memorial service for the $44.99 that the undercard came nowhere close to justifying. 
But good old Randy Couture sent me to bed feeling good about the night. 


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