In a battle of the heavy-hitters Sokoudjou claimed first blood with a huge right hook that rocked Houston Alexander, and with ‘The African Assassin’ pouring on the punishment with a barrage of blows to the head it looked as if the end was going to come quickly.
Alexander showed incredible heart though to hang on to his opponent for dear life and get back to his feet more than once after being knocked down during the prolonged assault.
He somehow survived the onslaught, albeit on wobbly legs, and even more remarkably finished the round on top after sweeping Sokoudjou following a takedown.
How much would he have left in the tank for the second round though?
It quickly became evident that the question should have been directed at his opponent as, not for the first time in his career Sokoudjou appeared to have gassed himself out and was running on empty early in the round.
Before long Alexander was taking advantage of that fact, landing some stiff jabs to his head. Digging into his remaining energy reserves Alexander then poured it on with an uppercut and a knee which hurt Sokoudjou, followed up with heavy right hands up against the cage which crumpled him to the canvas.
He then continued to fire jackhammer lefts and rights with Sokoudjou turtling up until the referee finally stepped in to call an end to the fight.
It was an amazing comeback, and one that will help erase the painful memories of Alexander’s last high profile fight in the UFC against Kimbo Slice in which he fought uncharacteristically conservatively and received widespread criticism and ridicule as a result.
On this occasion though he was the star of the show and had both the fans and the Shark Fights commentary team singing his praises. That will be music to Alexander’s ears, with the fighter having said earlier that he was fighting for respect at this stage in his career.