EMF had a one-hit wonder way back in the day with the catchy
You're Unbelievable. I'm starting to think that EMF were
actually thinking of Randy
Couture(Pictures) when they wrote that song, even
though Couture had yet to actually have a professional bout under
his bout at the time.
(Hell, I think Couture was still having plans of being a
professional skier at that juncture in his life when that hit
single was released, but that's neither here nor there.)
Unbelievable, in a word, is how I describe Couture, a man I will
never — mark my words — ever pick against again for as long as I'm
Well, to be honest, I am finished doubting that man as he
continuously makes me look like a buffoon. I might be a buffoon
regardless, but Couture just has a knack for proving all of us
so-called "experts" wrong and he loves it.
Not many people, myself included, gave the UFC Hall of Fame fighter
much of a chance to last the distance against Sylvia, let alone
actually win. Sylvia's always been difficult to take down, and his
striking ability is among the best in regards to the heavyweight
division. I figured with how badly Couture was twice knocked out
against Liddell coupled with his age, the much larger and more
powerful Sylvia would use Randy's head for batting practice.
Well, "The Maine-iac" didn't turn into Albert Pujols. In fact, he
looked more like a little leaguer trying to hit against Sandy
Koufax. I scoffed when Couture said he'd try to bang with his
opponent, but 20 seconds into the fight, I snickered in disbelief
when a felled Sylvia quickly found himself caught in a rear-naked
choke attempt. From that moment, I knew undoubtedly that not only
was Sylvia not going to win, but also my impressive six fight Great
Sherdog Debate winning streak was going to end.
Couture could do no wrong on Saturday. He out-struck the
self-proclaimed master striker and took down the lurching Sylvia at
will. Couture expertly defended every submission attempt and busted
up Sylvia's face, leaving him with a swollen, purple left eye.
Couture, for the record, didn't have a scratch on him and if he
did, I didn't notice it.
Watching Sylvia plod around the Octagon in hopes of figuring out a
way to solve the riddle was amusing to me. No, it wasn't amusing
because I dislike Sylvia (I don't dislike him); it was amusing
because watching Randy have his way with the enormous and dangerous
Sylvia was astonishing.
It's one thing to batter light heavyweights around the cage; it's
another to replicate that wizardry against a Top 5 (some even said
Top 3) heavyweight, a massive man in a weight class Couture wound
up leaving because he couldn't hang with the big boys anymore.
Like I said at the top, Couture's feat in Columbus was
unbelievable. I can usually pick the winners of fights and I had a
Sylvia early KO signed, sealed and delivered once the fight became
official. I honestly felt bad for Couture and was worried about his
health and safety. He is ancient in "fighter years" and was knocked
cold in two out of his last three bouts. Randy also hadn't fought
in over a year and was going to fight a top-level heavyweight
champion. I actually was scared that he might not make it out of
the Octagon on his own two feet.
What was I thinking?
People can gripe all they want about Sylvia not being a world-class
fighter, but the fact of the matter is that he is. He's lost only
twice going in and aside from "Cro Cop" and the two studs in PRIDE
(Fedor and Nog), Sylvia was clearly the best heavyweight in the
world. Now Couture is in Sylvia's pre-UFC 68 spot and after
watching that performance, he's got a great chance to beat anybody
in the world, even Fedor.
That's the last time I ever bet against Couture and make ridiculous
statements about one of his fights being a farce. Never in my life
have I been so wrong but then again I should have known better. We
all should have known better: this is Randy Couture(Pictures) we're talking about, a man who
has made us all eat crow time and time again.
But then again, eating crow isn't too bad when we are given the
pleasure of watching a miracle in front of our eyes.
A perfect comeback for Franklin?
I'm not sure if I'd call it a perfect comeback, but Rich Franklin(Pictures)'s win over the ultra hot Jason MacDonald(Pictures) was important. Though Franklin
looked a bit tentative at times while on his feet, he did what he
had to in order to secure the victory.
You could see the relief on his face once the bout ended after the
second round, and to be honest, I'm glad those demons were
Questions about Franklin's future ran rampant in the days leading
up to UFC 68. Would he bounce back from defeat? Would he look as
good as he usually does? Would MacDonald pull off the upset? Well,
all those questions were answered with exclamation points and it's
safe to say that "Ace" is back.
Granted, I'm not going on record to say that he'll bounce back and
snatch the title back from Anderson Silva, but it's clear
that Franklin's focus has returned. He took his time against
MacDonald and fought intelligently. He also turned up the heat when
he needed to and forced a corner stoppage. In the end, Franklin
administered an old-fashioned beatdown to the durable MacDonald, a
fighter who finally earned enough respect with wins over Ed Herman(Pictures) and Chris Leben(Pictures).
While it'll take MacDonald a few wins to get back to where he was
on Saturday, it's safe to say that he has absolutely nothing to be
ashamed of. He's a good fighter and a good guy and a loss to a
former middleweight champion shouldn't dampen his spirits too
As for Franklin, he will be fighting for the title, barring any
injuries, by year's end.
Hughes did what was expected, props to
Not many insiders picked Chris
Lytle(Pictures) to upend Matt Hughes(Pictures) but he did do better than how
most predicted. Even though Hughes won every round and clearly
dominated Lytle, the Indianapolis fighter gave it his all every
second of the contest. He escaped expert submissions and made
Hughes earn the win.
But in the end, it was clear that no matter how good of a fighter
Lytle is, he wasn't good enough. Hughes is an all-time great. He
did what he was supposed to do and Lytle should be proud of his
While Lytle dropped a unanimous decision, my guess is that UFC
president Dana White will welcome him back with open arms because
he hung tough with Hughes. I can understand not bringing Lytle back
if he got subbed in 10 seconds, but he forced the former
welterweight monarch into a grueling battle. Kudos to Lytle.
Hughes' win over Lytle was proof enough that the Illinois farm boy
is not shot and that'll he'll find himself immersed in a
five-rounder in a year's time.