After an exciting mid-week Ultimate Fight Night card the UFC 103 card had a lot to live up to and certainly delivered an entertaining night of fights for the fans that was often surprising not so much for who won, but rather by the way they won. Read on as we describe the action from the main card and give the results for the full card and the bonus awards.
Tyson Griffin Vs Hermes Franca
Hermes Franca was 4 pounds over the 155 weight limit coming into this fight and certainly didn’t look in the best physical condition of his career as he entered the ring on Saturday night. As expected it was Griffin who pushed the pace in the opening round and his striking again looked to have improved from his previous fights, and he displayed some heavy stepping leg kicks to Franca who, as he often does, looked somewhat tentative as he slowly felt his way into the match.
In the second round Griffin showed no signs of looking to take the fight to the ground as he continued to look solid with some good striking. Franca meanwhile is starting to make his presence felt, at one stage catching one of Griffin’s kicks and throwing some of his very untechnical but still dangerous winging punches. Just as I wonder what sort of impact the decision prone Griffin could make in the division if he had knock-out power he surprises everyone by unloading a straight right that sends Franca to the floor with Griffin following him to apply some precise strikes to the head of his grounded opponent who, despite trying in vain to grab hold of a limb in order to apply a submission is taking some severe punishment and the referee has no choice but to call an end to the fight. And so Griffin’s run of 7 straight decisions in a row comes to an end in impressive fashion and puts him firmly in the picture in the lightweight division.
Result: Tyson Griffin Defeats Hermes Franca By TKO in the 2nd round.
Josh Koscheck Vs Frank Trigg
The initial feeling out process on the feet looks fairly even in the match-up before Koscheck misses with a looping punch but catches Trigg with his arm, seemingly dazing him. Taking full advantage Koscheck lands a solid punch to Trigg’s jaw which drops him and then continues to land four unanswered strikes to Trigg’s head as he lays up against the cage forcing the ref to stop the match. Trigg is quickly up and complains that the fight has been stopped too early but it’s unlikely the outcome would be any different had the match been allowed to go on any longer.
Result: Josh Koscheck defeats Frank Trigg by TKO in the first round.
Martin Kampmann Vs Paul Daley
The pre-fight script was that Kampmann would expose Daley’s suspect ground game but as the first starts Kampmann looks happy to exchange in a stand-up battle with the dangerous striker. It is clear early on that Daley has the advantage here, catching Kampmann on several occasions with a powerful left hook. Whether he can’t here his corners shouts to take him to the ground or is simply ignoring them Kampmann perseveres and pays the price as Daley again lands with the left hook, rocking Kampmann. Daley looks to press home the advantage with a flurry of punches that seem to have Kampmann out on his feet and the referee quickly jumps in to call an end to the bout. As with the last fight there is some debate over whether it is an early stoppage but the referee has rightly prevented Kampmann from taking further punishment. This is a great showcase for Daley in his first fight for the UFC, particularly since he was originally scheduled to be on the undercard. It’s also a major upset for Kampmann who was heading to a title shot before tonights loss, leaving question marks about what happens next in the title contention picture at 170 pounds.
Result: Paul Daley wins by TKO in the 1st round.
Mirko Cro Cop Vs Junior Dos Santos
Cro Cop looks very wary as this match starts and is quickly reversing back in a straight line with his hands outstretchd as Dos Santos unleashes his first attack. Dos Santos clearly dictating the early pace whilst steering clear of a couple of kicks from Cro Cop’s infamous left leg. Dos Santos starts to land more effectivel in the middle of the round with Cro Cop being forced to cover up and circle out. By the end of the round the Croatian is starting to land with some punches and it is clear that they have been somewhat successful as Dos Santos is cut under both eyes.
Having never been past the first round in his nine fight career Dos Santos is stepping into unchartered territory as he begins the second round but he is still dictating the pace and looking the more dangerous of the two fighters, mixing up his strikes with some big uppercuts and effective body strikes, but so far Cro Cop has seemingly dealt well with the heavy handed Brazilians power. He hasn’t had Dos Santos in any particular trouble himself though, expect towards the end of the round when a mis-placed kick to the family jewels causes the referee to call a time-out. After recovering Dos Santos finishes the end strongly, cutting Cro Cop’s forehead with a right hook.
Dos Santos is again the aggressor in round three and begins to dominate, landing some big knees that seem to wear down his opponent. One of them, utlizing the Muay Thai clinch to connect with head of the tired looking Croatian visibly rocks him and shows no mercy as he continues to attack. A short uppercut from Dos Santos crashes into Cro Cop’s left eye and he immediately winces, and, unable to see the referee steps in to stop the fight. It’s a good win for Dos Santos who has now shown he can last the distance, and has a big name win that will propel him up the heavyweight ladder. Cro Cop on the other hand continues to look a shadow of his former self and with this loss hopes of a return to his former glories have all but faded away.
Result: Junior Dos Santos Wins By TKO in the third round.
Rich Franklin Vs Vitor Belfort:
There is an uneventful start to the main event as Belfort seems like he wants to counter strike whilst Franklin looks like he wants to press the action but is wary of Belfort’s hands. The crowd gets restless and it seems to effect Franklin more as he starts to take more risks in order to engage his opponent and Belfort capatilizes, springing forward and seeming to daze Franklin though even several replays later on don’t give a clear indication of what did the damage with nothing more than a right hook that seemed to graze him landing. Whatever the cause, the effect is Franklin falling to the mat and Belfort capatilizes with another right hook landing as his opponent lies hunched over on the floor that seems to take the fight out of him and the short flurry of punches that follow seal the deal as the referee calls a stop to the fight.
Result: Vitor Belfort wins by KO in the first round.
Efrain Escudero Defeats Cole Miller by TKO in round one
Tomasz Drwal defeats Drew Mcfeddries by submission (choke) in round two
Jim Miller defeats Steve Lopez by TKO in round two
Nik Lentz defeats Rafaelo Oliveira by unanimous decision
Rick Story defeats Brian Foster by submission (choke) in round 2
Elliot Marshall defeats Jason Brilz by split decision
Vladimir Matyushenko defeats Igor Pokrajac by unanimous decision
Rafael Dos Anjos defeats Rob Emerson by unanimous decision
Fight Of The Night Award: Rick Story Vs Brian Foster was a largely overlooked match-up in the lead up to this event but deservedly got the Fight Of The Night honors as their action packed two round battle seemed to take it’s cue from the entertaining fights seen in the UFN 19 event only days earlier. Rick Story looked impressive and also picked up Submission of The Night whilst Knockout Of The Night perhaps somewhat surprisingly went to Vitor Belfort.
Final Thoughts: Another good night of fights for the UFC. The main thing that struck me was not so much the fighters who won, but rather the way they won. Tyson Griffin finally got the KO he’s clearly been looking for after a succession of decisions, Junior Dos Santos got to test his cardio beyond the first round for the very first time in his professional career and Josh Koscheck claimed an early TKO victory over Frank Trigg when many were predicting a decision. In the undercard Efrain Escudero also surprised and impressed with a TKO victory over Cole Miller, the first of his undefeated 12-0 career which had up until this point been dominated by submissions. It was also widely expected that the Drew Mcfeddries – Tomasz Drwal match-up wouldn’t make it out of the first round due to both fighters deadly hands but in the end it took until the second round when Drwal secured the win by way of submission.
On the other hand some other routes to victory weren’t so surprising. If Paul Daley was too win his match with Martin Kampmann it was always going to be thanks to his heavy hands early in the bout. Likewise many had predicted that Vitor Belfort’s fast hands and KO power would be too much for Rich Franklin, and that proved to the case.