by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
Randy Couture once again showed why he is one of the greatest champions the world will ever see as he dominated Gabriel Gonzaga on his way to a 3rd round referee’s stoppage at UFC 74, retaining his UFC heavyweight title.
Entering his 15th championship fight in the UFC, Randy Couture really had nothing left to prove except that he can still be a dominant champion after moving back up to the heavyweight division in March and taking out then champion Tim Sylvia.
As Couture entered the Octagon to a packed house at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, he was applauded by fans that were again in awe of the seemingly ageless wonder.
His opponent, Gabriel Gonzaga, was a much bigger fighter coming into the bout, having almost a 25lb weight advantage but it looked like the old saying is true that size doesn’t matter.
Early in the first round, Couture caught Gonzaga with a punch that staggered the Brazilian and it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the fight.
Couture engaged Gonzaga again and again, pressing the action and working a classic clinch game mixed with dirty boxing that have made the former Olympic hopeful one of the best tacticians in the game.
After slamming his opponent to the mat, Couture stood back up only to see Gonzaga’s nose dripping blood down his body, showing that he had a severely broken nose.
Throughout the remaining two rounds, Gonzaga struggled with the broken nose having blood go into his eyes and fans saw him spit up blood multiple times trying to keep his airways clear.
In the 3rd round, Couture secured another takedown and with Gonzaga obviously hurt, he closed in for the kill and reigned down punches causing referee Herb Dean to step in and stop the fight.
Randy Couture retained his title stopping Gabriel Gonzaga and placing himself again in a class all by himself.
Georges St. Pierre got back to his winning ways with a three round unanimous decision win over Josh Koscheck in a masterful fight that saw the former champ looking like the same fighter who won the welterweight title.
To just about everyone’s surprise, especially Josh Koscheck, it was St. Pierre who secured a takedown early in the first round putting the former NCAA wrestling All-American on his back and working from the ground.
St. Pierre stayed active moving in and out of Koscheck’s guard while landing strikes and looking for submissions.
In the 2nd round, St. Pierre almost secured a kimura many times throughout the 5 minutes but Koshceck avoided getting caught in the full submission.
The Canadian took his opponent down multiple times in the fight, while also looking crisper and quicker on his feet during the entire bout.
When it was all said and done, Georges St. Pierre earned another shot at the title he once held and he now awaits the fight between Matt Serra and Matt Hughes in December.
Joe Stevenson may have earned a lightweight title fight with his victory over Kurt Pellegrino on Saturday night after pulling off a unanimous decision win.
Fans were treated to a back and forth battle that showed Pellegrino belongs in the top of the lightweight division and he was able to secure a few takedowns on the former Ultimate Fighter season 2 winner.
Stevenson almost locked on his infamous guillotine choke a few times in the fight but in the end it was his superior cardio and conditioning that locked up the victory.
As the 2nd round came towards the end and the 3rd round began it was Stevenson who continued to push the pace and bring the fight to Pellegrino over and over again.
It looked as if the fight was going to get stopped a couple of times as Stevenson unloaded shots on Pellegrino who wasn’t moving much, mostly from exhaustion.
With the win, Stevenson looks to have a championship bout right in his sights.
Roger Huerta may have put on one of the most interesting fights of the night as he brought the fight to Alberto Crane in their lightweight match-up.
While most thought Huerta would be crazy to go to the ground with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, it was the Texan who went there repeatedly and while avoiding submissions, landed devastating strikes to Crane in each round.
The pivotal point for fans watching the fight was the moment when Crane took control of Huerta’s back and the fighter who was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated used the big screens in the arena to see where his opponent was on his back and unloaded precision elbow strikes.
Huerta looked like a machine, going after Crane non-stop in each round, and the former King of the Cage champion had no answer as exhaustion set in.
Late in the fight, Huerta again gained control and Crane stayed turtled up and the referee stepped in to stop the bout giving the Dave Menne trained student another win in the UFC and one step closer to the top of the lightweight division.
Patrick Cote finally showed what he was capable of in his 6th fight in the UFC by stopping former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove by strikes in the first round.
Cote landed a huge right hand that put Grove on the floor and the Canadian striker followed up with bombs on the ground, stopping the Hawaiian and securing a victory.
After a tough run in his first few bouts, Cote showed the heavy hands and great skill everyone knew he had all along.
UFC 74 was full of great fights but Randy Couture’s performance will go down as another great fight in the life of a legend.
Fighter of the Night of course goes to Captain America himself, Randy Couture, who continues to defy the odds and at 44 years young, he’s still not finished yet.
Fight of the Night goes to a very interesting bout between Roger Huerta and Alberto Crane that saw some phenomenal ground work from both fighters and showcased just how good Roger Huerta is getting to be.