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Articles of 2006

De La Hoya-Mayorga Fight Predictions

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After a long hiatus, Oscar De La Hoya returns to active duty Saturday night against Ricardo Mayorga at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for El Matador’s super welterweight title, in a bout televised on HBO PPV. All the bad blood and bad words and bad behavior that preceded the fight will hopefully boil down to two fighters with bad intentions who finally let their fists and not their mouths do the talking. Mayorga’s foolish, and perhaps desperate, last-ditch effort to hold the contest hostage for more money notwithstanding, this looks to be the big fight in a season of big fights everyone is looking forward to. This is how The Sweet Science writers see De La Hoya-Mayorga.

Boxing is not always the sweet science. When Ricardo Mayorga takes on Oscar De La Hoya, he will try to turn their encounter into a street fight. Mayorga is strong, aggressive and double-tough. His brutal knockout loss to Felix Trinidad has done nothing to reduce the size of his cojones. Mayorga will be dangerous early to a De La Hoya who has been out of the ring for more than a year and a half, the longest layoff of his career. But as the rust wears off, the Golden Boy will find his rhythm and his range. Following his last long layoff, Oscar overcame early danger, then dismantled steroid-strengthened Fernando Vargas. Against Mayorga, De La Hoya’s superior skills will lead him to a comfortable points victory.
David Berlin

I think this fight follows the same pattern as Mayorga-Trinidad. I think Mayorga has some success, I think he might even rattle Oscar, or drop him. But by the mid to late rounds, Oscar's speed and power will begin to take an incredible toll. Mayorga has no real defense, so by the 10th he'll be a sitting duck. He doesn't make it out of that round. Oscar by TKO in 10.
Robert Cassidy Jr.

We all love Oscar De La Hoya and hate Ricardo Mayorga. We're agreed on that. Good guy versus bad guy is the circumstance with which we're dealing. And yet somehow, I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don't want to discount the Golden Boy, but I can't go with my heart. Ricardo Mayorga is sloppy, no matter how many times he actually threw a jab instead of windmilling his way to the WBC crown last summer. My fear is he will land one of those wild nasties – call it a lucky shot – right to the Golden Boy's body and crumple him right there. Do I want this to happen? No, but it just might. Ah, but my heart does have one solid argument for Oscar: He's a smart fighter. He'll probably have the angles covered and the gloves prepared to knock down any of the garbage pitched his direction. The Golden Boy comes out of this one smelling like a rose after 12 rounds, and my heart wins out with a little help from Oscar’s mind.
Jesse K. Cox

If Oscar De La Hoya was in his prime, there wouldn’t be any need to predict the winner. De La Hoya is one of the most skilled boxers ever, he is fast and can punch. He would have been champion even in the 1950s when the talented fighters abounded. Ricardo Mayorga is just a brawler. He became welterweight and light middleweight champion only because there are too many sanctioning bodies in the business. His last performance against Michele Piccirillo was mediocre: Mayorga clowned, moved a lot and never looked on the verge of scoring a KO. Mayorga showed that he cannot even understand when his opponent is in trouble and go for the kill: Piccirillo threw a ridiculous number of punches indicating that he wasn’t at his best. Did Mayorga knock him out? No, he couldn’t get the job done. If Piccirillo was in perfect conditions, he would have beaten Mayorga just like he defeated Cory Spinks who outclassed Mayorga. Even if De La Hoya is not in his prime, he will find a way to beat Mayorga. The insults that Oscar was forced to hear from Mayorga will give the Golden Boy an extra motivation to give a serious lesson to El Matador.
Luca De Franco

Though he's had some poor showings in his last few fights and he's not the fighter he was, I don't think Oscar is burned out just yet. I think he still has a couple good fights in him, and I believe his disgust with Mayorga's little head games will put him in the right frame of mind. He wins when Mayorga decides to quit in the later rounds.
Rick Folstad

The prevailing feeling among boxing enthusiasts is that De La Hoya is way too smart for Mayorga. That being said, Mayorga always brings the x-factor into the ring. The x-factor being Mayorga's paralyzing punches that have knocked many of his opponents into dreamland. Yes, Tito handled him easily but Mayorga was fighting at a much higher weight with questionable training and serious legal obligations outside the ring that must've been distracting. I will make the safe prediction and go with De La Hoya but I believe that Mayorga is a live underdog. Don't be surprised if De La Hoya ends up tasting the canvas at least once.
Ralph Gonzalez

Unless Oscar de la Hoya has fallen completely apart, I just can't see him losing to the rough-but-oh-so-hittable Ricardo Mayorga.  Forget de la Hoya's layoff…neither guy has been active. I have the feeling Oscar will look as sharp as ever. It's Oscar by TKO in 9.
Randy Gordon

I'm going with Oscar. Mayorga will implode from all his pre-fight hate and malcontent against a better prepared and confident De la Hoya. Mayorga will be worn out from insulting Mrs. Oscar, fighting with Don King for more money and from being, in general, a nasty person. His fight is over before he even gets to the ring.
Amy Green

This is the walkout fight. My main interest on Saturday is in Louisville where I think I have a live longshot (no, I'm not telling you, dear readers, thank me later for protecting your pockets). Ricardo Mayorga is a chin, a punch and a big mouth. Who knows what Oscar is at this stage? Therefore, a reasoned, logical prediction seems impossible. Long odds are tempting to take on Mayorga – Oscar has not been a banger at 154 (Fernando Vargas aside, and who knows what effect the juice had on his stamina?). He has faded in many fights (Trinidad, Molina, Miguel Angel Gonzalez). If he doesn't take out Mayorga early, or at least cut him up, he could be in trouble late. But this is a fight where I shall let my emotions take over and pick Oscar because I want to see him win (and set up a Mayweather biggie) and I want to see Mayorga's mouth shut. So, it's Oscar by TKO9.
Michael Katz

I can't say I have been on a roll of late having picked Raheem over Freitas; however, I have to go with De La Hoya over Mayorga. Fighting at 154 should give Oscar enough hand speed and movement for him to avoid Mayorga's gorilla tactics early on in the fight. Having smoked three packs a day since he was a kid has got to have taken some of the high end cardio capacity from Ricardo the Ruthless. Working to the body has been a tactic missing from the De La Hoya playbook for some years. Look for De La Hoya to go to the body of Mayorga and use his sound fundamentals to win over the distance.
Patrick Kehoe

Skills get the job done and Oscar is light years ahead of the free-swinging Mayorga in class here. If a boxer beats a puncher, as they have been known to do, De La Hoya wins easily. I expect a few anxious moments as Mayorga tries to take advantage of the Golden Boy's ring rust early in the bout. After that it should be a precision attack upstairs and down behind a piercing jab and laser left hook that puts De La Hoya on the winning track again and champion once more.
Joey Knish

Oscar was embarrassed by his weak showing against Felix Sturm. Getting KO'd by Hopkins with that body shot made him feel worse. He may not follow through on everything he says (he claimed he'd fight four times this year!), but I do believe he's in great shape and highly motivated. We don't know what he's got left in his legs…but I'm guessing it's enough to outbox the wild Nicaraguan. De La Hoya by decision.
Zachary Levin

Not many will dispute Ricardo Mayorga has a big mouth with a tendency towards smack-talking. He's the bad guy of the pair and De La Hoya the good guy, the “Golden Boy,” this contrast of personalities makes for an interesting backdrop to the fight. I stopped being a fan of De Le Hoya once he decided to become a promoter, singer, fighter and personality extraordinaire. Call me picky but I like it when a fighter focuses only on being a fighter and doesn't think he's above the harsh demands of the sport. Once a fighter starts off in other directions, it doesn't matter who he is and how skilled he is, he's not giving 100% towards the sport. After all, who does he think he is, Roy Jones (snicker, snicker)? De La Hoya has arguably lost his last three fights in a row including the Sturm fight yet he somehow has the audacity to think after nearly 20 months of inactivity he'll jump into the ring, beat up on Mayorga and then close out his career winning a superfight against Winky Wright, Floyd Mayweather or Felix Trinidad. Mayorga has a big mouth, De La Hoya a big head.  This is one of those times when the dastardly villain may prove the “good guy” doesn't always win but I wouldn't count on it. Big head or not, De La Hoya is too skilled a fighter for Mayorga and thus, like him or not, De La Hoya via 12 round decision. That said, I wouldn't be at all surprised, or disappointed if De La Hoya ends up on his back in the later rounds of the fight.
Scott Mallon

I think De La Hoya is in for a rougher night than he might think. While the smart money says he should win, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Mayorga stops him. In the end greats like De La Hoya often lose to someone they would have handled easily a few years prior. With no real enthusiasm, I pick him to squeak through this one to set up a sensational career finale with Floyd Mayweather Jr.  De La Hoya W 12
Robert Mladinich

Only Vargas has come close to Mayorga's verbal assault of the Golden Boy. If history holds true then Oscar should punish Mayorga worse than any fighter he's ever fought. De La Hoya comes into this fight well-rested and anxious to show us that he's still got his stuff. Mayorga's words were stuffed in his face against the hard-hitting Trinidad, but I suspect he'll give Oscar a more difficult fight considering how motivated and prepared he seems to be. Still, the difference in talent should be evident and I expect Oscar to survive an early onslaught and then outclass Mayorga, beating him up late in the fight and taking a clear-cut decision.
Benn Schulberg

When last seen in the ring, Oscar De La Hoya was gasping for air after being dispatched by Bernard Hopkins. Now on Saturday night, about 20 months later, the Golden Boy will collect several millions of dollars more to challenge Ricardo Mayorga, the loose horse who won the vacant WBC super welterweight title about nine months ago. De La Hoya goes into the fight with a 2-2-0 record in three years, while Mayorga also is 2-2-0 in the last 29 months. That the fight is on pay-per-view is an indication of the lack of pay-per-view fighters, and whether the Golden Boy wins or loses, this should be the fight that cooks HBO's pay-per-view golden goose. De La Hoya, the up-and-coming promoter, obviously feels that Mayorga is the right opponent to send De La Hoya, the faded fighter, out a winner. I agree, but I would not bet the ranch on it, especially if Mayorga is still around late.
Ed Schuyler

Ricardo Mayorga is crazy, wild, and stupid. However he has one show-stopping trait which cannot be taught or acquired over time… raw power. If De La Hoya shows all guts and no brains he will get caught, and he will go down in Vernon Forrest fashion. However, I don't see that happening. De La Hoya is too smart and ring savvy. Mayorga has already completed an arduous task in getting under the Golden Boy's skin, but this only seems to bring out the best in De La Hoya, as we saw in the Vargas fight. Look for Mayorga to come out fast and try to end it the same way. De La Hoya will escape the first two rounds with seasoned wisdom and begin to use his 4-inch reach advantage to put on a very smart, artistic boxing lesson for the next seven or eight rounds. After the systematic breakdown of Mayorga I believe De Le Hoya will settle his personal vendetta in the most brutal of ways. The Golden Boy TKO in 11.
Alex Stone

There was a time when I thought Ricardo Mayorga had the potential to be a boxing superstar, but that moment has since passed. “El Matador’s” straight ahead charges have proven to be no match for a composed fighter with a moderate power and superior quickness, i.e. Oscar De La Hoya. Mayorga’s relentlessness will produce an exciting first three rounds, but De La Hoya’s attack will eventually pick him apart. De La Hoya by late round TKO.
Aaron Tallent

My pred: you will get your money's worth on this one. Mayorga is always ready to rumble and Oscar has aged enough so that he's incapable of being too cute. He'll have to trade and I don't think he hurts Ricardo enough to keep the madman off him. Potential for upset here is great. What the hey – here goes…..Mayorga KO 7.
Michael Woods

The closer it gets to fight time the more it looks like Mayorga is Oscar's most well chosen opponent since Arturo Gatti. De La Hoya in 8.
Phil Woolever

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

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Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to allAfrica.com, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia

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There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9

Featherweight

Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10

Flyweight

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak

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LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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