The two rivals locked horns Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 123, fighting for a third time in front of a raucous crowd at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.
In the pair’s first meeting, heavy underdog Penn (Pictured) shocked the world by choking out the dominant champion in the opening round at UFC 46 in 2004. The rematch nearly three years later belonged to Hughes, who outlasted Penn’s early offense to finish the fight in the third period by TKO. Tonight, the rubber match was over before it started, as the Hawaiian unleashed a dynamite counter right hand, flooring Hughes before following up with punches from top position to seal the deal.
At the post-fight press conference, the jiu-jitsu black belt was humble in victory.
“I felt fired up as soon as I got the phone call to fight Matt. Me and Matt put on great fights, and I’m just happy it went that way [tonight],” said Penn. “Matt Hughes is my idol, and he’ll always be my idol.”
When asked to describe how he set up the lighting-quick right hand that spelled the beginning of the end for his opponent, the former two-division UFC champion was frank in his reply.
“I don’t think that I really even set it up. I was just in there to fight. I wanted him to hit me, and I wanted to hit him,” he said. “I just wanted to go out there and fight like a kid.”
It’s been nearly seven years since Penn first clashed with Hughes. Over the course of that time, says Penn, a lot has changed for both men.
“I think we both evolved very much over the years,” he said. “When a fight goes the way it did tonight, it’s just one of those things. Who knows how it would have played out if it had gone longer. I’m sure Matt was in great shape.”
After the fight, Hughes was clearly upset by the outcome and the manner in which he was defeated. UFC president Dana White chimed in regarding Hughes’ commitment to the bout at the post-fight presser.
“I know Matt Hughes trained hard for this fight and he was motivated. It’s very rare for him to go train somewhere away from his family, and he trained for this fight in Utah with Jeremy Horn,” said White. “He took this fight very seriously. This is a big win for B.J.”
Regarding Hughes’ future, White would not comment other than to remind the press in attendance how important the hall of famer has been in developing White’s brand.
“Listen, there are guys I’ve talked about for years who helped build this company, and Matt is one of those guys,” said White. “We’ll talk and we’ll figure it out.”
Following the jaw-dropping knockout, Penn exited the cage almost immediately and began heading back toward the locker room, sparking the memory of his 11-second knockout over Caol Uno at UFC 34 in 2001.
“For the last 10 years, I was trying to recreate the Caol Uno fight,” said Penn. “But [after I ran out of the cage], I thought, ‘I can’t be disrespectful to Matt. I gotta go back in there and give Matt the honors.’”
In regards to the remainder of his UFC career, the Hawaiian is leaving the big decisions up to the powers that be.
“I want to get back in as soon as possible. I’m 31 and want to fight a lot more until I’m 35 and then maybe call it quits,” said Penn. “For the first time in my career, I’m going to let Dana make that call. Whatever Dana says, we’ll go with that.”
White looked on with approval, saying “it only took 10 years.”
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a serious problem before his fight.
“Man, I was horse as hell. I couldn’t even get my howl out the way I wanted to. It was rough.”
Jackson, who defeated Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 123 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, Mich., on Saturday night, caught an illness from his son prior to the bout. At the post-fight news conference, Jackson claimed he was thankful just to have fought that night.
“I’m just happy I made it to the fight. The fight was almost canceled a couple of days ago. I caught a fever from my son, and I was throwing up, and then I had to cut the weight,” said Jackson. “But I didn’t want to let my fans down. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but [UFC president Dana White] has always been there for me. I just couldn’t tell Dana that I was pulling out of this fight. He probably would have cussed me the f–k out.”
The former light heavyweight champion barely got by Machida, earning a razor-thin split decision. In fact, after the fight Jackson even raised his opponent’s hand, figuratively admitting defeat.
“To be honest, me and Rampage are getting along again, but he pissed me off tonight. I scored that fight for Rampage. He was acting like he lost and was slumping down,” said White. “Machida put on that burst and then took him down, but you don’t win a fight by landing four of five punches. Rampage was the aggressor the whole time.”
Jackson, who unified the UFC and Pride 205-pound titles in 2007, entered the arena backed by a soundtrack that hardcore fans know well. As the iconic drums and strings of the Pride Fighting Championships theme poured in over the loudspeaker, Jackson stalked toward the cage with an intense look in his eyes.
“I just recently went to Japan on the ‘The A-Team‘ tour. One of the people interviewing me remembered me from Pride. Back in Pride I used to fight a different style, and he asked me why I didn’t fight like that anymore,” said Jackson. “When I first came to the UFC, I felt like an outsider. In Pride, everybody knew me and loved me. Honestly, I make more money now than I did in Pride. I think I kind of got greedy, so I wanted to come out with that old spirit. I almost slammed Machida, so I think it kind of worked.”
Once both men were in the cage, it was a game of cat and mouse. Machida, ever circling, generally avoided the powerful Tennessean, all the while landing kicks to Jackson’s legs and ribcage as “Rampage” moved forward unfazed. In round two, Jackson was even more aggressive and connected with a hard uppercut to Machida’s jaw. In the final frame, the Brazilian found a home for a hard counter-straight, followed by an ambush of punches before finally ending the sequence with a takedown. After talking a considerable amount of trash regarding his opponent’s fighting style, Jackson readily acknowledged Machida’s skill following the contest.
“I just had a one track mind trying to knock him out. It was really tough to stay on my game plan. I was focusing on cutting off the cage and staying close to him, but he’s really elusive and very tricky,” said Jackson. “It’s different fighting Machida than [it is to watch him fight]. I remember trying to punch him, and he was already over on my other side. I got more respect for his style, because I wish I could move a little better like that. I wouldn’t want to watch it, but I have more respect for it.”
Great Dubstep … Great Highlight
UFC 125 “Resolution”
Saturday, Jan. 1
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Antonio McKee vs. Jacob Volkmann
* Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares
Current Maximum Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Antonio McKee will make his promotional debut in a preliminary matchup against Jacob Volkmann at UFC 125 “Resolution” on Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Seven fights are now official for the event, which will air live on pay-per-view.
McKee will carry an 11-fight winning streak into the match. An International Fight League veteran, he stopped Luciano Azevedo — the only man to defeat current World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Jose Aldo — on first-round strikes at MFC 26 in September. McKee has not lost a fight in nearly eight years and owns other notable victories against former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Delson Heleno, UFC veteran Marcus Aurelio and two-time Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight tournament finalist Toby Imada.
Spawned by the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, Volkmann last appeared at UFC Live 2 in August, when he defeated Paul Kelly by unanimous decision at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego. A decorated amateur wrestler, the 30-year-old was a Big Ten conference champion and three-time Div. I All-American at the University of Minnesota. Volkmann, who once held the Victory Fighting Championship welterweight crown, has secured more than half (six) of his 11 career wins by submission. He has been finished only once — by the world-ranked Martin Kampmann — in 13 professional appearances.
A lightweight title bout pairing champion Frankie Edgar with undefeated challenger Gray Maynard will headline UFC 125, along with a pivotal heavyweight tilt between the once-beaten Shane Carwin and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 winner Roy Nelson. In addition, the oft-injured Thiago Silva will toe the line against Brandon Vera in a featured duel at 205 pounds. A lightweight duel pitting former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi against Clay Guida and a middleweight battle pairing former WEC champion Brian Stann with Chris Leben will round out the main card.
Episode six of “The Ultimate Fighter 12” netted 1.7 million viewers this week, a decline from last week’s 1.9 million who tuned in to watch the show. The episode earned a 1.3 household rating, also a modest decline from the previous episode’s rating on 1.34.
The show also captured a 1.71 rating in the male 18-49 demographic and a 1.94 in males aged 18-34. Both numbers are down from last week.
Episode six followed a similar trend to this season’s past installments, starting slow with a 1.14 in the first fifteen minutes and finishing strong in the last quarter hour with a 1.42.
Two fights were featured this week, as Team GSP swept both bouts and improved to 5-1 on the season. In the first contest, Cody McKenzie caught Marc Stevens in his trademark guillotine, causing Team Koscheck’s number one pick to lose consciousness early in round one. In fight two, Jonathan Brookins submitted Sevak Magakian by rear naked choke in equally impressive fashion.
Additionally, the final installment of the UFC’s three-part series hyping the UFC 121 main event between Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez earned an average of 1.2 million viewers, an improvement over the previous episode’s 1.1 million and the debut’s 974,000 viewers.
Eddie Alvarez is an American mixed martial artist, and current Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight champion. Sherdog.com ranks Alvarez as the #5 lightweight in the world. Alvarez also competes for the Japanese DREAM promotion, and used to fight for ProElite‘s EliteXC promotion.
Known in MMA for his boxing prowess, Alvarez was a wrestler at Northeast Catholic High School. After high school, Alvarez immediately pursued a professional career in MMA with his first fight coming after only eight months of formal training.
Alvarez utilized the financial success to move his family out of Kensington and into Northeast Philadelphia following the birth of his first son, Eddie Jr.
Mixed martial arts career
Alvarez won the MFC welterweight title in his seventh pro fight in June 2006 when he KO‘d Derrick Noble just 1:01 into round 1. The MFC welterweight title would later be re-branded the BodogFIGHT welterweight title.
In spite of the fact that many insiders didn’t view 170 pounds to be Alvarez’s best competitive fighting weight, he continued to fight larger opponents because he relished the challenge of testing his mettle against bigger fighters. At Bodog Fight‘s “Clash of the Nations” pay per view in Russia on April 14, 2007, Alvarez’s size disadvantage would be exposed, as he suffered his first career loss when he was TKO‘d against UFC veteran Nick Thompson at 4:32 into round 2.
After deciding to leave Bodog, Alvarez quickly found a new home in EliteXC where he competed in their 160 pound division against Ross Ebanez, winning by TKO.
A few weeks prior to the first event, it was announced that the upstart Japanese promotion DREAM, started by the minds behind PRIDE FC and K-1 had signed Alvarez to compete in their 154 pound grand prix.
His initial fight was against Andre Amade, another potent striker, hailing from the notorious Chute Boxe Academy. During the fight, Alvarez was dropped by a strong right hand, but was able to recover and use his superior wrestling skills to score a TKO due to strikes from mount late in the first round.
Alvarez advanced to the second round of the tournament where he defeated top ranked lightweight fighter Joachim Hansen on May 11, 2008 by unanimous decision in an exciting fight. Hansen, who was known for his ability to take a punch, was dropped twice in the fight and dazed numerous other times by Alvarez’s strikes.
In his fight at DREAM.5, Alvarez knocked out top ranked lightweight fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri in the tournament’s semi-finals. The fight was awarded Fight of the Year by Sherdog for 2008. However, he was unable to advance in the tournament due to a cut and severe swelling under his right eye. Alvarez’s replacement was none other than the man he defeated two months earlier, Joachim Hansen. Hansen went on to win the tournament and capture the DREAM lightweight title.
Alvarez was scheduled to face UFC and PRIDE veteran Nick Diaz for the EliteXC 160 pound title on November 8, 2008. but that fight was scrapped when EliteXC‘s parent ProElite closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. On New Year’s Eve 2008 Alvarez fought against Shinya Aoki at K-1 Dynamite!! 2008 , losing by submission in the first round. He has since been signed to an exclusive contract with Bellator Fighting Championships.
 Bellator Fighting Championships
Alvarez entered Bellator‘s lightweight tournament at Bellator’s inaugural event on April 3, 2009. He fought against Greg Loughran, who landed a left hook which caused Alvarez to buckle his legs. Alvarez survived, however, and submitted Loughran with a guillotine choke. His next fight at the tournament’s semi-finals took place four weeks later at Bellator V, against Eric Reynolds. After controlling the bout for two rounds, Alvarez used a rear naked choke to submit Reynolds in the third.
Alvarez advanced to the lightweight tournament’s finals, which took place at Bellator XII on June 19, 2009. He fought and defeated Toby Imada, via a rear naked choke submission early in the second round, to become Bellator’s first ever lightweight champion.
Alvarez most recently faced Josh Neer in a non-title “Super fight” on May 6, 2010 at Bellator 17 in which he showed great wrestling and standup to go on to defeat Neer by way of rear-naked choke at 2:08 of round 2 as the choke was so well sunk in Neer would pass out from hypoxemia.
Alvarez was supposed to fight the Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Winner Pat Curran in a defense of his title, but his opponent was pulled from the card due to an injury in his right shoulder. He will now face Roger Huerta at Bellator 33 which could be held in Pennsylvania or New Jersey on account of Alvarez’s popularity in those states
- Current Bellator Lightweight Champion and Bellator’s season one lightweight tournament winner.
- Former BodogFIGHT welterweight champion. The title was originally known as the Mixed Fighting Championship welterweight title.
- Two time National Prep All-American as Northeast Catholic High School wrestler.
- Extensive street fighting background. Claims to be undefeated in unsanctioned fights.
- Was a part of the Sherdog Fight of the Year in 2008 with Tatsuya Kawajiri