UFC 86 Recap: Forrest Griffin Wins Light Heavyweight Title, Ummm I Guess!

Bryan TraffordSenior Analyst IJuly 6, 2008


In a night that was mostly uninspiring, thank god the the main event didn't let us down.

In a nip and tuck battle that lasted five full rounds, Forrest Griffin took the light heavyweight title by ridiculous scores of 48-46,48-46, and 49-46?

In the first round Griffin shows his strategy early as he double jabs and moves away, also mixing in leg kicks. Rampage looks to land uppercuts as Forrest leans in and connects with some big punches that wobble Forrest. Both fighters trade as the round comes to a close.

The second round starts and Forrest realizes the leg kicks are working and gives Rampage the business. Rampage is hurt by a leg kick, Griffin rushes in, fight hits the mat. Forrest rides Rampage for the rest of the round, peppering him with shots and looking for submission openings.

The third round sees a full round of standup action, with Rampage landing the harder shots, and Griffin sticking, moving, and landing leg kicks. Very close round.

Round four opens with some more standup. Rampage gets Griffin down, and almost gets caught in a triangle, which leads to his signature slam attempt. Forrest wisely lets the choke go to protect himself, scrambles to his feet, and Rampage lands a big left hand. Forrest abandons the leg kicks that worked so well earlier.

Round five is mostly uneventful, as Rampage stalks and Forrest counters and moves. Neither fighter lands anything big, but Griffin lands some kicks. Both fighters seem to be fine with standing the entire round. Fight closes with an exchange.

Forrest Griffin is the new light heavyweight champion.

Other Results

Patrick Cote def. Ricardo Almeida via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Early on it looked as Almeida might outclass Cote with his ground game and submit him, but as the fight wore on Almeida found it difficult to get the fight to the ground. Almeida looks significantly gassed late in the fight. Cote lands some shots as he stalked Almeida. Very close fight that could have gone either way.

 Joe Stevenson def. Gleison Tibau via submission (guillotine choke)
Some standup early on, Tibau slips and Stevenson tries a guillotine. Tibau gets out but late in second round shoots and gets caught in a tighter one and is forced to tap.

Josh Koscheck def. Chris Lytle via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 30-28).
In what is one of the bloodiest battles I've ever seen, Chris Lytle manages to make it to the final bell despite wearing a crimson mask from several cuts.

 Lytle's standup bothers Koscheck early on, but Koscheck's ground n pound is in full effect later on. Lytle gets an ovation from the crowd for taking a pounding, and Koscheck gets booed for giving one to him.

Tyson Griffin def. Marcus Aurelio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Tyson Griffin wins another decision. Aurelio can't get the fight to the ground often enough and gets worn down in the standup. On the ground Griffin works ground n pound, and avoids several armbar, triangle, and omoplata attempts. Griffin works Aurelio with combos in the third, and  the fight closes with Aurelio trying to secure a submission.

Random Thoughts

Rampage looks light he lost a lot of weight for this fight. He looked slow, and kinda rusty early on.

Could just be me, but it looked like Rampage asked Dana White if the judges were giving the decision to Forrest and Dana reassured him of something. Maybe a rematch?

Although Rampage was very gracious in defeat, he appeared disgusted with the decision. Its a tribute to him he did not steal Forrest's moment with an "I was robbed!" tirade. Instead he gave Forrest credit, even saying Forrest "whipped his ass", but didn't sound very sincere, in my opinion.

 Koscheck/Lytle was brutal to watch. I can't believe Lytle's people let him continue fighting after losing that much blood.

This fight shows the extreme difference in refereeing we are seeing nowadays. Seems like with the recent trend in stopping fights prematurely they let this one go on way too long.

Why does everyone hate Josh Koscheck? Is it because he's good? Or does he have Tito Ortiz in his top friends on his Myspace page?

Why can't Tyson Griffin finish a fight? He's been winning but I think the reason he hasn't received a title shot yet is the brass are waiting for him to do something better than grind out decisions.

After watching the main event several times, I still think Rampage won. I just don't see how you edge out a title fight if your the challenger. To me the fight was a close decision for Rampage or at worst a draw.

Those  scores for Griffin were pretty ludicrous. Not saying that its a bad decision, but those scores were certainly not representative of the action that took place. I can't understand how not one of the judges scored the fight for Rampage. That 49-46 score was pretty head scratching as well.

Congratulations to Forrest Griffin, and I can't wait for a rematch of this fight.