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Blast From The Past: Flashback To UFC 88

Revisit The UFC's First Trip To Atlanta

On April 13, the Octagon returns to Atlanta for the fourth time with a UFC 236 card that features a championship doubleheader and a stacked slate of intriguing bouts. That’s no surprise, as the promotion has always brought the big guns to the Georgia capital.

This week, we take a look back at the UFC’s previous trips to Atlanta, beginning with 2008’s premiere in the city - UFC 88.

WATCH UFC 88 on UFC FIGHT PASS: https://www.ufc.tv/video/breakthrough

Entitled “Breakthrough,” UFC 88 certainly was a breakthrough for Rashad Evans. Unbeaten in the UFC at 6-0-1, the Ultimate Fighter 2 winner was clearly on the right path to a shot at the light heavyweight title, but a draw with Tito Ortiz and a decision win over Michael Bisping didn’t exactly get the fans on Evans’ side.

An impressive win over former world champion Chuck Liddell would change that situation, though, especially since “The Iceman” was coming off a big win over Wanderlei Silva.

So did “Suga” deliver? Read on to find out.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Rashad Evans (black shorts) def. Chuck Liddell (blue shorts) - KO - 1:51 round 2 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Rashad Evans (black shorts) def. Chuck Liddell (blue shorts) - KO - 1:51 round 2 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC 88: Breakthrough

September 6, 2008

Philips Arena

Atlanta, GA

 

Rashad Evans KO2 Chuck Liddell

Rich Franklin TKO3 (:39) Matt Hamill

Dan Henderson WUD3 Rousimar Palhares

Nate Marquardt TKO1 (1:22) Martin Kampmann

Dong Hyun Kim WSD3 Matt Brown

Kurt Pellegrino WUD3 Thiago Tavares

Ryo Chonan WSD3 Roan Carneiro

Tim Boetsch TKO1 (2:03) Mike Patt

Jason MacDonald Wsub2 (1:21 – rear naked choke) Jason Lambert

Rashad Evans fought the perfect fight in the UFC 88 main event against former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, and at 1:51 of the second round, he finished the perfect fight with the perfect punch, stunning a packed house at Philips Arena with a one punch knockout of ‘The Iceman’.

“You’ve got to go straight for the horns,” said Evans. “You can’t fight him going for takedowns all night. That’s the way you get knocked out. I wanted to beat him at his own game.”

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Rashad Evans (black shorts) def. Chuck Liddell (blue shorts) - KO - 1:51 round 2 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Rashad Evans (black shorts) def. Chuck Liddell (blue shorts) - KO - 1:51 round 2 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Evans appeared loose before the opening bell, undaunted by the task ahead of him, and once the fight began, he used movement and angles to make Liddell use his legs. ‘The Iceman’ simply stalked, waiting for the opportunity to unleash his right hand. With a little over three minutes left, he grazed Evans, knocking him off balance briefly. The crowd roared and Evans danced away, showing that he was unhurt. What really proved his readiness though was a hard kick to Liddell’s leg. As the round entered its final two minutes, the crowd started to get restless at the lack of sustained action, and Liddell seemed to be getting impatient as well as he picked up his forward march in pursuit of his elusive foe. Evans stayed out of trouble though, and it was Liddell walking back to his corner at the end of the round with a cut under his right eye.

Liddell continued to stalk as round two began, but this time, when he closed in, Evans would fire back in flurries that weren’t doing damage but were keeping the his foe honest. But moments later, Liddell, with his fist cocked and looking to be unworried by incoming fire, shot off a right uppercut from long range at the same time Evans blasted a right hand. Evans landed first, and Liddell, knocked unconscious instantly, fell hard to the canvas, where he remained for a few tense moments until he was able to make it up and out of the Octagon under his own power.
 

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin made a seamless return to the light heavyweight division, stopping a game but outgunned Matt Hamill with a steady striking attack in the UFC 88 co-main event.

It was Franklin’s first fight at 205 pounds since his first round TKO of Ken Shamrock in April of 2005.
 

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Rich Franklin (pink/brown shorts) def. Matt Hamill (black shorts) - TKO - :39 round 3 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Rich Franklin (pink/brown shorts) def. Matt Hamill (black shorts) - TKO - :39 round 3 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Middleweight contender and former 205 and 183 pound PRIDE champion Dan Henderson got back in the win column, breaking a two-fight losing streak by defeating Rousimar Palhares via a three round unanimous decision that gave Henderson his first UFC win since 1998.

Perennial middleweight contender Nate Marquardt made an impressive statement in his bout with Martin Kampmann, stopping ‘The Hitman’ via strikes in just 88 seconds, handing the Denmark native his first UFC loss.

Ultimate Fighter alumnus Matt Brown may have made more fans in defeat than victory, as his gutsy effort against Dong Hyun Kim won over the Atlanta fans that booed his three round split decision loss to the still unbeaten South Korea native.

If the early moments of the lightweight battle between Kurt Pellegrino and Thiago Tavares were any indication, Tavares had no right getting out of the opening round. But the game Brazilian hung on, survived, and became one half of one of the most entertaining 155-pound battles of the year, with Pellegrino impressively pounding out a three round unanimous decision in UFC 88 preliminary action.

Light heavyweight Tim Boetsch got back in the win column after his April loss to Matt Hamill, blasting out newcomer Michael Patt in the first round.
 

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Tim Boetsch (black/white shorts) def. Michael Patt (red/black shorts) - TKO - 2:03 round 1 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 6: Tim Boetsch (black/white shorts) def. Michael Patt (red/black shorts) - TKO - 2:03 round 1 during UFC 88 at Philips Arena on September 6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jason MacDonald gave Jason Lambert a rude welcome to the middleweight division, surviving some dicey moments before submitting the former light heavyweight in the second round.

Ryo Chonan made it two in a row over Roan Carneiro in the opener, grabbing a close split decision victory over the local product in a welterweight bout.

Scores were 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29 for Chonan, who had defeated Carneiro via cuts in a 2005 bout in Japan.

WATCH UFC 88 on UFC FIGHT PASS: https://www.ufc.tv/video/breakthrough