Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Conventional wisdom before the UFC 95 bout between welterweights Dan Hardy and Rory Markham dictated that when it came to punching power, Markham was the man to watch out for. Nottingham’s Hardy took issue with such talk, and he responded with his fists as he knocked Markham out in 69 seconds at the O2 Arena.
By Thomas Gerbasi
LONDON, February 21 –Conventional wisdom before the UFC 95 bout between welterweights Dan Hardy and Rory Markham dictated that when it came to punching power, Markham was the man to watch out for. Nottingham’s Hardy took issue with such talk, and he responded with his fists as he knocked Markham out in 69 seconds at the O2 Arena.
“No punching power,” said Hardy to the ecstatic crowd. “What do you have to say about that?”
There’s not much to say, considering that Hardy’s handiwork spoke volumes.
Markham stalked to open the fight, with Hardy choosing to counter from a distance while using lateral movement around the Octagon. But when Hardy decided to attack, he left nothing up to chance, responding to a missed right hand by drilling Markham with a flush left hook to the head that crumbled the Chicago native. A follow-up shot on the mat brought in Kevin Mulhall to stop the fight.
With the win, Hardy improves to 21-6 with 1 NC; Markham falls to 16-5.
Middleweight contender Nate Marquardt continued to state his case for a rematch with 185-pound champion Anderson Silva as he impressively halted Wilson Gouveia in the third round.
“The Nate you saw tonight was not the one you saw the last time,” said Marquardt, who was stopped in the first round by Silva at UFC 73 in July of 2007.
The two middleweight contenders pecked at each other conservatively in the early going, both looking for the opening to finish the fight. Gouveia (12-6) landed the first telling blows of the fight with 2:45 left, getting Marquardt’s attention with a couple of punches to the head. Marquardt (31-8-2) cleared his head quickly and used movement around the Octagon real estate to keep his foe from getting set. With just over a minute left, Marquardt shot in for the takedown, and Gouveia sunk in a guillotine that Marquardt was able to break free of before finishing the round with some ground strikes.
Marquardt began to land his strikes with more accuracy in the second round, and he was controlling the pace of the fight. Gouveia appeared to rock his foe with a counter at one point in the first half, but as he rushed in, Marquardt responded with a counter of his own followed by a visit to the canvas. Marquardt again worked his ground and pound effectively on the mat, and Gouveia looked winded as the two stood with a little over a minute to go in the round. Now Marquardt started to unload on his fatigued foe, jarring him with hard shots before the bell sounded.
Looking to turn things around, Gouveia took back the role of aggressor to begin the final round, and though he landed a couple of good punches, Marquardt was unaffected by the blows, and after a brief spell locked up against the fence, he went on the attack full-blast again. This time, there would be no respite for Gouveia, and after a series of strikes with the fists and feet from all angles, Gouveia fell to the mat, where referee Leon Roberts rescued him at 3:10 of the round.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu phenom Demian Maia upped his unbeaten record to 11-0 and further moved up the middleweight ladder with a first round submission win over Chael Sonnen, his fifth tap out victory in five tries in the UFC.
The fight began with some crisp standup, as Maia led and Sonnen (23-10, 1 NC) countered effectively. 45 seconds into the bout, the two hit the mat, with Sonnen using a disciplined strategy as to not get caught by one of Maia’s submissions. In the third minute, the two stood, and after some exchanges, Maia got the takedown and went to work, sinking in a beautiful triangle choke that produced a tap out at the 2:37 mark.
“I’m very well prepared,” said Maia. “I have the title on my mind and now I think I deserve a title shot.”
UFC debutant Paulo Thiago scored the first major upset of 2009, knocking out welterweight contender Josh Koscheck in the first round of their main card opener.
There was little action in the first minute and a half of the bout, with Koscheck (14-4) getting things going with his trademark right hand 90 seconds in. Less than a minute later, Koscheck rocked Thiago a second time with the right, but the Brazilian was able to shake the cobwebs loose pretty quickly, and he responded with a vicious right uppercut followed by a clean-up left hand that dropped Koscheck and left him defenseless on the canvas. Thiago hesitated to move in, but referee Marc Goddard didn’t, halting the fight at the 3:29 mark. Once the bout was stopped, Koscheck appeared to have gotten his bearings back, but despite his protests, the victory belonged to Thiago, who upped his unbeaten record to 11-0.