© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges
This was going to be a big show for all fighters – particularly Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck. However the night’s overwhelming attention was focused on the main event between defending UFC World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture, and challenger, Gabriel Gonzaga, who was coming hot off a swashbuckling victory over MMA’s most feared striker, Mirko Cro Cop.
Despite Randy having made his Octagon debut at UFC 13, he wasn’t just competitive these days, but remained the reigning ultimate MMA master. And the night of August 25, 2007 surely belonged to ‘The Natural’.
In earlier matches:
Renato Babalu Sobral defeated David Heath by anaconda – 3.30, Round Two.
Frank Mir defeated Antoni Hardonk by kimura – 1.17, Round One.
Clay Guida defeated Marcus Aurelio by split decision.
Thales Leites (6’1” 186 lb) vs. Ryan Jensen (6’1” 185 lb)
Referee: Herb Dean
Ryan fired a high kick that didn’t reach its mark.
4.53: He fell short with a second attempt. Thales also missed with a superman punch, but connected with a leg kick.
4.42: Thales landed another kick
4.41: He had a third attempt and Ryan countered with a right cross.
4.36: Thales took Ryan’s high kick on the arms.
4.21: Jensen pursued Leites while pumping out jabs. Leites delivered a cracking leg kick, and sent out more strikes to Jensen’s legs as Jensen closed in with fists.
4.11: Leites took Jensen down, only to have him wrap on a guillotine before they stood – choke still in place.
3.52: Ryan kneed to the body and released the hold.
3.36: They exchanged some more strikes until Thales took Ryan down.
3.15: Thales captured his back as Ryan climbed to his feet.
3.12: Ryan swung with a left elbow, catching Thales flush in the face.
3.07: Thales took Ryan down. He was looking for a rear naked choke, however Ryan rolled and they climbed to their feet.
1.52: Leites took Jensen to the mat, with Jensen falling into guard. He stood to drop fists on Leites.
1.14: Both men were again on the canvas when Leites rolled and set Jensen up for an arm bar. Jensen tapped.
Result: Thales Leites by arm bar – 3.47, Round One.
Patrick Cote (5’11” 184.5 lb) vs. Kendall Grove (6’6” 184 lb)
Referee: Herb Dean
Patrick hurled a right bomb.
4.49: He leg-kicked before throwing a combo, and the pair clinched. Kendall foot-stomped, kneed and punched to the body.
3.24: Herb Dean parted them.
3.17: Patrick leg-kicked.
3.12: And again.
3.06: Cote high-kicked and they traded mitts.
3.00: Grove fired off a high kick.
2.55: He leg-kicked twice and they exchanged fists before clinching.
1.49: Cote picked up Grove for a takedown, but with Grove’s seven-inch height advantage, he just landed on his feet after being lifted off the ground.
1.37: They broke free with Kendall landing an elbow and Patrick dispatching a right glove.
1.19: They traded some more and Kendall succeeded with a high kick and a further kick to the body.
1.08: Kendall shot in and Patrick sprawled, leading to a standing clinch.
0.53: Grove brought up a knee. Cote answered with a ripping right hook. Grove hit the deck and Cote rushed in, took side control, then the mount. He g’n’ped Kendall and tried for a choke, before pounding him with unrelenting right fists.
Result: Patrick Cote by KO – 4.45, Round One.
Joe Stevenson (5’7” 155 lb) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (5’8” 155 lb)
Referee: Big John McCarthy
Jabbing was the order of the day again to open this bout. Kurt appeared to have quicker hands as well as the reach advantage.
4.13: He went for a clinch after throwing a combo. Joe brought a right knee up into the midsection and shrugged Kurt off.
4.05: Kurt fired a left and a snapping right, then seized Joe’s leg for the takedown. Joe fitted him with a guillotine that Kurt slipped out of to fight from the guard.
3.17: Stevenson toppled Pellegrino and took his back. They stood and Stevenson put Pellegrino down with a suplex, but looked to bang his own head in the process.
2.56: They stood; only to have Pellegrino take Stevenson back down. Joe wrapped the guillotine on again.
2.31: Kurt’s head was out of the choke as Joe worked from his back. Little was achieved on the floor by either player, until the last seconds of this round, when Kurt dominated with elbow strikes.
The jabbing standoff was favoring Pellegrino.
4.28: He scored with an uppercut and they briefly clinched before resuming the toe-to-toe.
4.14: Pellegrino attacked the body with a left and right.
3.55: Stevenson launched a combo.
3.40: Kurt missed with a takedown and fell to the canvas, so Joe dropped fists on him.
3.32: Kurt climbed to his feet.
3.20: He landed some leather, which included a tasty right uppercut.
2.47: Kurt missed a takedown attempt and fell to the floor, looking a little gassed. Joe dropped into guard.
2.33: He took Kurt’s right ankle and briefly appeared to consider an ankle lock, before dispensing the thought and proceeded with elbows. Kurt was bleeding near his left eye, and coincidentally, that was the area Joe targeted for his punches and elbow strikes.
2.03: Stevenson took Pellegrino’s back and began pounding.
1.23: Pellegrino turned over and Stevenson slipped into his guard.
1.10: He had another attempt at guillotine before Pellegrino broke the hold and fought from guard.
0.50: He stood and dumped a big right fist on Stevenson’s dial, then fell back into guard. Stevenson looked to the clock and his corner called “Thirty seconds, Joe.” The pair cruised up to the hooter.
4.44: Kurt struck with a right uppercut and a left hook.
4.23: They clinched.
4.10: Little happened and they broke free.
3.46: Kurt took Joe down after Joe landed some nice jabs. Kurt had Joe pinned to the floor whilst fighting from guard.
2.46: Big John stood them.
2.28: Stevenson took Pellegrino down and Pellegrino wrapped on the guillotine.
2.01: Stevenson escaped the choke and fought from guard. He pounded Pellegrino against the fence.
0.50: Joe punished Kurt as he climbed to his feet. He then ducked under Kurt’s high kick and took him to the ground. Joe had more fuel in his tank and brought it home.
Result: Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision.
Roger Huerta (5’9” 155 lb) vs. Alberto Crane (5’9” 155 lb)
Referee: Steve Mazzagatti
Fists and feet flew as soon as these two spirited fighters left the blocks.
4.31: Alberto shot at Roger’s right leg for a takedown and foot lock. But Roger rolled and captured Alberto’s back.
3.56: Alberto persisted with Roger’s foot, then Roger took possession of Alberto’s left arm for a kimura.
3.40: Crane was free and standing. He quickly grabbed Huerta’s back, and they began rollin’ and tumblin’ for prime position. Huerta came up trumps and began thumping.
2.17: Crane looked for an arm bar that failed, but had Huerta fighting from his back.
1.50: Crane was in Huerta’s guard.
1.35: He had side control.
1.31: Roger turned and Alberto took his back.
0.56: They rolled like tumble driers until Roger got half guard and pounded his opponent.
0.28: Alberto fitted Roger with a guillotine.
0.24: Roger popped his head out and fought from guard.
Huerta reopened the bout with a high kick that Crane took on the mitts prior to shooting for Huerta’s right leg. He was tying up Huerta’s right ankle for a submission as Huerta punched at his face, which was already suffering a partially closed left eye. Alberto aborted the foot lock, but Roger just kept hammering his head like a blacksmith on nitro.
3.35: Crane halted Huerta’s onslaught by attempting an uma-plata submission. His effort failed, but gained him side control.
3.02: Alberto took Roger’s back. By now, both men had expended a lot of gas.
2.41: Roger stood and walked away. Alberto climbed to his feet and shot at Roger’s right ankle. The attempt failed and Roger punished him with kicks to the body that put Alberto down.
2.10: Roger was in guard, g’n’p-ing. Alberto’s left eye was like a bruised buttonhole.
1.39: Crane took Huerta’s right arm for an arm bar, but he didn’t have a secure lock and Huerta chopped at his ribs with the right heel.
1.09: Huerta had his arm back, and after some scrambling, moved into half guard, then mount. He closed the round thumping.
Roger was looking to close up shop. Alberto went for Roger’s right ankle. They stood and Alberto caught Roger’s kick to the body after it impacted. Alberto was running on empty but still attempted submissions.
4.01: From behind, he took Roger around the waist. To the amusement of Joe Rogan, Mike Goldberg and the packed arena, Huerta looked up at the big screen for a rear view of Crane’s head, before delivering elbows and fists into Crane’s face.
3.26: Huerta rolled into half guard, then mount. Crane turned and Huerta punched from his back. Steve Mazzagatti waved the red flag.
Result: Roger Huerta by TKO – 1.50, Round Three.
Georges St. Pierre (5’10” 170 lb) vs. Josh Koscheck (5’10” 170 lb)
Referee: Big John McCarthy
Josh threw a looping right that Georges took on the left arm.
4.40: Josh landed another one there and missed with the following attempt. GSP failed with a low kick.
4.34: Koscheck replied with a leg kick and St. Pierre shot in, taking Josh down. Georges was in guard, looking to pass. Josh elbowed from his back.
4.07: GSP got half guard. They shared elbows and gloves, with Georges dominating the feud.
2.54: St. Pierre returned to guard.
2.45: He had Koscheck against the cage.
2.07: Josh was out from the fence, but GSP was in half guard and g’n’p-ing.
1.37: They were standing – Georges clamped over Josh, Josh tugging on Georges’s left leg.
1.27: Koscheck took GSP down with his back to the wires. They traded blows.
4.49: GSP kicked Josh’s inner leg and followed with a left hand and kick to the outer left thigh.
4.43: Georges shot in and got the takedown, before fighting from half guard.
4.06: He maneuvered his upper body from Josh’s left side to right, in order to set up a kimura on Josh’s right arm. But Koscheck prevented Georges from getting sufficient leverage by keeping him in half guard. St. Pierre continued to reef at the arm, however it was to no avail.
2.40: GSP got side control.
2.09: Josh saw red and elected to roll.
1.52: Georges was back in half guard.
1.32: He was kimura bound, but Koscheck remained calm and kept his right arm tucked into his midsection. Georges began a softening-up process with elbows and fists. He dominated the play, but Josh resisted the submission attempt.
Koscheck was jabbing and St. Pierre kicked to the inner leg. He kept varying his attack strategy with fists and feet strikes. Through the use of his wide range of weapons, Georges was outgunning Josh in the stand-up.
2.12: Josh snapped up GSP’s left leg. He eventually succeeded in taking him to the canvas, but again, Georges was in guard, with Josh fighting from his back.
1.27: St. Pierre rained down knuckles and elbows. Seconds before the bell, he went for a leg lock, however it was too late.
This had been a convincing victory for Georges and a great lesson for Josh.
Result: Georges St. Pierre by unanimous decision.
Randy Couture (6’2” 228.5 lb) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (6’2” 252 lb)
– Heavyweight Title
Referee: Herb Dean
Previously on Knucklepit.com (Randy Couture Part 11) it was mentioned that The Natural entered the arena looking like a legendary ball player from Field of Dreams. At this stage Gabriel Gonzaga was already waiting in the Octagon and looked a lot like Detective Goren from Law and Order – Criminal Intent, only Gonzaga was stacked with muscle.
They touch gloves and Gabriel breaks the ice with a jab and right cross.
4.51: Randy counters the jab with his own jab. He throws an uppercut and Gabriel comes in swinging. Randy shoots under the leather before the pair drop to their knees and scramble back up.
4.43: As Gonzaga charges in, Couture bops him with a left hook and takes his back. Randy puts him down on his left side. Gabriel climbs to his feet with Randy still clutching his back.
4.19: Gonzaga seizes Couture’s right wrist and arm as Randy drives knees into Gabriel’s thighs.
4.09: Gabriel knees Randy in the body. Randy frees his right arm and whacks Gabriel in the face with a right hook.
3.58: They clinch face to face with Gabriel against the cage.
3.43: Couture knees Gonzaga’s right inner thigh.
3.42: Gonzaga looks down at Couture’s left leg for something to target, so Randy brings his knee up towards Gabriel’s face.
3.33: Gonzaga twists and collapses to the floor and pulls Couture with him, but Couture stands and knees Gonzaga in the body. He lands a right fist and Gonzaga throws one back. Gabriel catches Randy with a kick to the right side of the head and follows with a fist combo, before Randy seizes Gabriel’s waist and bulldozes him into the fence. Things go quiet.
3.07: Suddenly, Randy hoists Gabriel into the air and pile-drives his head and upper back into the canvas – the classic Couture takedown.
3.03: Gonzaga jumps straight up as Couture fits him with a Thai clinch.
3.00: They trade knees to the body.
2.48: Gonzaga also has Couture’s neck in a Thai clinch. He tags Randy with a solid right elbow and knuckles. Randy clinches and the bridge of Gabriel’s nose can be seen trickling blood, and is no longer bridged.
2.31: They’re clinched with Gabriel’s back to the wire. He is breathing through his mouth. Randy is looking to take him down and Gabriel is resisting. Gonzaga has his face beside Couture’s, with blood dripping down Randy’s back.
1.28: Couture hurls a big right elbow at Gonzaga’s head.
1.19: He knees Gonzaga’s inner leg and follows with another right elbow to the skull.
1.16: Gabriel moves his face from Randy’s left shoulder to his right, so Randy commences with right shoulder-shrugs.
1.09: Gonzaga turns his face back to Couture’s left side and Randy brings up a left hook.
0.40: Couture throws another left to Gonzaga’s bloody face.
0.33: He follows with left elbows.
0.07: Gabriel fires a left elbow and fists. Randy tackles him around the waist and Gabriel looks for a guillotine. But the first round is over. Couture walks back to his corner, wiping Gonzaga’s blood from his eye.
4.51: Gabriel throws a right and Randy counters with a right uppercut.
4.49: Gabriel fires a ballistic kick at Randy’s head, which Randy ducks under. He briefly grabs the leg to turn Gabriel around before snapping onto his waist from behind. Gonzaga is forced into the fence and twists in Couture’s grasp before turning to stand face to face.
4.14: Randy misses with a hook and the pair separate. They stand and trade, with Randy finishing the exchange delivering uppercuts before seizing Gabriel’s waist again from behind.
3.56: Gonzaga wipes his right eye and tells Herb Dean that he can’t see. Herb calls time out and asks Gonzaga if he wants to continue. Gabriel says he does. Meanwhile, a ring physician wipes Gabriel’s eyes and Herb recommences play with the fighters in the same position.
3.46: Randy goes for the takedown from behind, but Gabriel is holding onto the fence. Herb deducts a point from him.
3.34: Randy drives a knee into the back of Gabriel’s left thigh, and catches his face from behind with left uppercuts.
3.21: Gabriel turns in the clinch to face Randy.
2.46: Couture steps back to unload a volley of fists.
2.36: They clinch.
2.20: Couture steps back again and fires off more sledgehammers. But whenever Gabriel looks to return a shot, Randy suffocates his attempts by clinching.
1.09: Gonzaga twists and puts Couture’s back to the cage, only to have Couture reverse the positioning.
0.41: Randy dispatches yet another uppercut and Gabriel knees his body. He tries to sweep Randy, however it doesn’t happen. Gonzaga holds his hand in the air as they walk to their corners – probably to say, “I’m still here.”
4.54: Gabriel’s right kick soars at Randy’s head, though the strike is intercepted by Randy’s forearm.
4.44: They exchange and Randy parks a big right mitt on Gabriel’s head. Couture is bobbing and weaving well, until…
4.23: when Gonzaga connects with a blasting right kick to Couture’s noggin, a la Gonzaga vs. Mirko. But Couture cops it in his stride. They clinch with Gonzaga pressed into the cage.
3.43: Randy has Gabriel on his back. He’s in half guard, g’n’p-ing the game challenger. Herb says enough is enough. The Natural has shut down Gonzaga like an EMP attack on Robo Cop.
Result: Randy Couture by – 1.37, Round Three.
During the battle, Randy sustained a fractured forearm whilst blocking one of Gabriel’s high kicks. For an insight into Randy’s break, Knucklepit.com caught up with ring physician, Dr Gary Furness, about the severity of such an injury. Here’s what Dr Gary had to say:
“The fracture of Randy’s is a non-displaced ulna bone fracture. It is also called a ‘pool cue’ or ‘night-stick’ fracture (the latter from folks defending themselves from a police blow). The fracture is clean, not displaced, and will heal correctly – one hundred percent of the time. Usually thought to take six full weeks to heal, it will do well in a small cast or strong splint. If it were to get damaged during healing, that is more of an issue, and often requires surgery.”
For more on Dr Gary Furness, please check his articles at www.knucklepit.com.
For more on Randy’s bout at UFC 74, please check out Randy Couture Part 11 at www.knucklepit.com.