UFC 68: The Uprising
photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
event was a crucial outing for Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin, but
particularly for Randy Couture who was coming out of UFC retirement and
needed to re-establish himself as a current force.
at Nationwide Arena, in Columbus, Ohio, before the largest North
American crowd in MMA history (19,000 plus), and beamed over the world
on p-p-v, this was a groundbreaking event that featured Randy Couture
and Tim Sylvia in the main event.
Randy was out to prove he could make the comeback at top level, Tim
seemed to have something to prove to his critics, despite winning back
the heavyweight title and defending it against Andrei Arlovski – a man
many regarded as being unbeatable.
lack of respect Sylvia has endured is something Rich Franklin
experienced while carrying the middleweight belt. Coming back after
losing the title to Anderson Silva, having entered their bout injured,
Rich had the opportunity to rebuild his career and reputation against
Jason MacDonald. And former welterweight champion Matt Hughes knew a win
tonight against the respected Chris Lytle would put him in good standing
with the public for a rematch with Georges St. Pierre.
Lambert (5’10” 204 lb) vs Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral (6’1” 204
Big John McCarthy
a cracker of a bout this one was to get the p-p-v coverage rolling.
Thank God it didn’t fall into the ‘preliminaries’ category that
four other bouts on the bill fell into, with p-p-viewers not even
getting to see the usual highlights of these matches.
“I think that Babalu has a great heart: He’s not going to give up. And I know I’m not going to give up. So I think we’re going to have some fireworks in this fight,” said Jason ‘The Punisher’ Lambert before their battle. It proved to be a very accurate prediction.
touched gloves and squared off. Babalu whipped out a distracting leg
kick and moved in with a series of fists that had little on them, but
enabled him to set up a takedown at 4.37 into the fight. Renato was in
half guard and Jason tried to latch on a kimura that was unsuccessful.
Renato worked to g’n’p
but Jason tied him up and had Renato in full guard. Babalu maneuvered
Jason over to the fence and was catching him with some fists and elbows.
Lambert surrendered his back in an attempt to escape being pinned
against the fence.
Big John warned Babalu not to strike the back of Jason’s head as
Renato looked to fit Jason with a rear naked choke.
Renato had the hooks in, but Justin was still throwing punches back into
Babalu’s face and avoiding the choke. Lambert turned a negative into a
positive and used being up against the fence to protect his back from
Renato’s submission attempts.
It looked like Babalu’s work was going to pay off when he rolled
Justin over with his right forearm around Justin’s neck, but Lambert
seized Babalu’s left wrist and levered it away, stopping Renato from
completing the choke.
They were back standing with Lambert delivering uppercuts from the
They separated. Renato
looked gassed from his unsuccessful submission attempts and Justin was
now out of hibernation and ready to rock on.
They exchanged front kicks. With 10 seconds remaining in round one,
Lambert moved in with a rattling right hook and two uppercuts that put
Babalu on his butt. The Punisher g’n’p-ed Babalu up to the bell.
scored with a left knee to Justin’s body. They clinched. Renato
followed with more knees to the body and Justin tried to counter with
fists to the body. He forced Babalu back into the fence and took him
After scuffling against the
cage, they stood up in a clinch, then fell back down with Lambert
pounding from half guard. Babalu attempted to cover up as Justin
dispatched elbows, fists and forearms.
Lambert was in full guard -
unloading everything he had while Renato worked to tie up Justin’s
arms. Lambert used his palms to cover Babalu’s mouth and disrupt his
Justin employed short elbow shots to work Babalu’s now-cut face.
Big John stood them up.
Renato attempted another left knee, but this time Justin was prepared
and countered with a huge left hook that unplugged Babalu.
Result: Justin Lambert by KO – 3.36, Round Two.
Matt Hughes (5’9” 171 lb) vs. Chris Lytle (5’11” 169 lb)
Referee: Mark Matheny
men came out totally cool. Chris opened the show with swinging fists
that Matt ducked from.
Chris moved in again and Matt took him straight down. Lytle slapped on a
guillotine which included Matt’s left arm in the package. With the
size of Hughes’s neck, it was surprising Lytle’s arm didn’t just
slide up and off Matt’s head. Being an MMA veteran, Chris didn’t
overcommit his energy to the hold and just lay back, levering with his
Lytle released Hughes’s head.
Matt took Chris’s head in a lock from on top and Chris maneuvered Matt
into the butterfly guard and briefly went for another guillotine. The
scenario seemed to be a case of Hughes going for positioning and Lytle
being always on the lookout for guillotine opportunities.
Matt got his way – achieving side control.
Hughes opted to deliver
elbows to Chris’s head whilst in side control, but Chris had hold of
Matt’s bicep and took the sting out of the strikes.
Lytle lifted his hips and caught Hughes’s head with leg scissors. The
vu: Chris went to strike and Matt took him down, with Chris seizing
Matt’s neck in a guillotine. Lytle was on his back – Hughes in half
guard. Matt then got side control, forcing Chris up against the fence.
Matt dropped short elbows from there, and then fists that opened a cut
beside Chris’s right eye.
Hughes switched to the mount.
Lytle used his feet to push
himself off the fence and climbed on top of Hughes.
Matt went for a kimura on Chris’s left arm. Chris rolled and Matt
regained side control. They faded out to the bell.
moved in with a token fist and kick. He closed in again and Matt took
him back down and gained side control. The fight stalemated up to the
bell. Matt won the battle he needed to win and Chris defended well.
Although Matt will need to do more than this to win back the title,
coming off a loss, he used this fight as a qualifier and he wasn’t
about to risk doing anything flash tonight.
Result: Matt Hughes by unanimous decision.
Rich Franklin (6’1” 185 lb) vs Jason MacDonald (6’3” 183.5 lb)
Referee: Herb Dean
came out to Acca-Dacca’s For Those About to Rock, and from the
opening seconds of the first round, the ‘Ace’ showed he was
definitely about to rock. Jason quickly assumed position at center ring,
and southpaw Franklin danced around him. MacDonald dispatched a leg
kick, Franklin countered with flying fists and Jason snatched Rich’s
right leg for the takedown. Jason persisted and Rich resisted.
They broke free. When Jason moved in again, Rich picked him off with a
knee and blazing fists.
MacDonald latched onto Franklin and tried for the takedown. Rich was
against the fence and spun Jason’s back into the cage. They exchanged
knees from the clinch.
Franklin broke free and caught Jason with some sharp gloves. Jason
landed a leg kick, but paid for it when Rich countered with a big left
They clinched. Franklin
loosely threw MacDonald to the floor, then stood over him and rained
Rich invited Jason to stand
MacDonald took Franklin down. He had Rich on his back, but Rich rolled
Jason over and started some g’n’p-ing before the first round
leg kicked and Rich counterpunched. Jason grabbed hold of Rich’s right
leg, causing Rich to hop around on his left leg before breaking free at
4.18 – only to have Jason seize his left leg.
MacDonald got his wish and took Franklin down. He snared Franklin’s
left arm, attempting to line it up for an arm bar, but Franklin grabbed
MacDonald’s right ankle, preventing the arm bar from happening.
Jason aborted the attempt. Rich got side control before maneuvering his
way to mount position at 2.00
and commenced some big-time g’n’p-ing.
Franklin was hammering from MacDonald’s back. Like Chris Lytle in the
previous bout, Jason was a tough opponent but couldn’t come back out
for the final round.
Result: Rich Franklin by TKO – 5.00, Round Two.
Referee: Herb Dean
Drew closed in with a left jab and Martin responded with a fist and
kicks. He appeared to be outgunning Drew until Drew put Martin on his
butt with a sharp right bunch of fives. Drew pounded Martin from his
They were back standing. Kampmann now had less sting on his kicks and
punches, while McFedries upped his strike power, catching Kampmann with
another right and left shaker.
Drew didn’t quite connect
with a superman punch.
Martin started to turn the
tide back with a left fist and a series of rights. Drew continued his
slow pursuit in Terminator fashion, showing little respect for the
Danish kickboxer’s power.
Kampmann clinched and hip-threw McFedries to the floor, taking side
control. He delivered short left elbows to McFedries’ face and right
knees to his body before sliding around McFedries’ head and assuming
control on Drew’s left side.
Martin briefly got the
mount, but then gave it up to again take side control on Drew’s right.
Kampmann then put McFedries out with an arm triangle. Herb Dean looked
annoyed when Martin didn’t release the choke immediately.
Result: Martin Kampmann by arm-triangle submission – 4.06, Round One.
– Heavyweight Title
Referee: Big John McCarthy
challenger, Randy came out first to the tune of Aerosmith’s Back in
the Saddle Again, which proved to be another musical prophecy. The
trademark red shorts and cool smile made it look like Randy had never
been out of the saddle or Octagon. And then the champion, Tim Sylvia,
entered the arena. Despite being one of MMA’s true battlers, having
previously bounced back from vicious arm bar injuries with a shrug, and
having regrouped to take the heavyweight title after losing the first of
three battles to Andrei Arlovski, Tim still managed to attract some boos
from the crowd.
At one of the early UFCs, Tank Abbott remarked that you have to have ‘big balls’ to climb into the Octagon. And when Tim received more boos while ring announcer Bruce Buffer welcomed him, Tim appropriately shrugged them off his broad shoulders in true warrior fashion, knowing it’s a lot easier to sit on your butt and boo with the mob, than it is to stand up and put your butt on the line.
touch gloves. Randy slips in a distracting leg kick and overrides it
with a right fist that puts Tim down. Randy rushes in and unloads left
fists to the stunned Sylvia who is against the cage. Couture seizes
Sylvia’s back and flings the 263-pound champion to the canvas with the
hooks in, and tries to fit Sylvia out with a rear naked choke. But Tim
grabs Randy’s right wrist and negates the attempt. The 6’2” Randy
appears little as he hugs onto Tim’s back and kicks him in the face
with his toes – an amazing sight!
Sylvia looks up and Big John tells him he’s not going to stand them
back up, which results in the fight being stalemated for the remaining
four-and-a-half minutes of round one.
Couture reenacts his front
leg kick-right fist combo of the first round. They clinch and test the
cage’s durability with their combined weight of 475lbs. Randy wants
the takedown and Tim is resisting.
Randy succeeds. Tim has Randy in his guard but Randy has Tim up against
the fence. They are both sharing elbows.
Couture stands and throws
down punches, but Sylvia, with his long reach, is still able to catch
Couture with counterpunches from his back.
Randy drops back into Tim’s guard. He is dictating the action although
he can’t dominate the fight in the way he did against Tito, or against
Chuck in their first bout.
Big John stands them. Tim
delivers a knee that Randy grabs, and they fall to the canvas on the
Couture tries the front kick-punch combination again, but Sylvia is
ready this time. Couture bobs and weaves to dodge Sylvia’s jabs and is
outgunning Sylvia in the stand-up. Tim seems to be too concerned about
potential takedowns to unload his bigger strikes.
Randy seizes Tim’s neck and pays for it when Tim delivers a big knee
to Randy’s body. The round ends with Tim being beaten in the strike
game because he is not putting his hips and back behind his punches,
resulting in his strikes becoming too telegraphic and carrying less
impact. Randy is committing to his punches – Tim is not.
moves in with guns flying and attempts the takedown. Tim sprawls and
they stand back up.
Couture succeeds with the takedown this time and is fighting from
Sylvia’s guard. Tim uses his powerful thighs and hips to control
Randy’s positioning in the guard, and strikes up with punches.
Big John stands them. Randy does not have the same control on the ground
he’s used to having against fighters more his size, yet Tim remains
too defensive against the threat of takedowns despite defending well on
Randy has Tim back down and adopts side control. He seems to be looking
to fit Tim with an arm triangle before taking the mount. Sylvia
effortlessly bridges and holds Couture’s neck in the six-o’clock
position. They stand and the round ends.
Bravo has the fight going10-9 to Randy in each round thus far. Pat
Miletich tells Tim to ‘quit hesitating’. Randy comes out and gets
the takedown. This final round follows suit with the previous four.
Randy Couture would have come away knowing he’d added yet another page
to his amazing career. And Tim Sylvia would have been disappointed with
his performance, but reassured that this wasn’t his best display, and
knowing that he can bounce back as he has done in the past. It will be
interesting to see if Randy and Chuck Liddell will be planning to put
their belts on the line for a winner-take-all title bout. The
19,000-crowd record would certainly be shattered that night.
Result: Randy Couture by unanimous decision.
Knucklepit’s Fighter of the Night: Jason Lambert