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UFC 52: Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell

By Cliff Montgomery, ExtremeProSports.com
In UFC 52 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Randy "The Natural" Couture defended his title against "The Iceman" Chuck Liddell in one of the most highly-anticipated rematches in UFC history.

The co-main event had Matt Hughes defending his Welterweight Championship against the tough-as-nails Frank Trigg.

Main Event One: Randy "The Natural" Couture vs. Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell (UFC Light Heavyweight Title)

Liddell started by counter-punching wonderfully, landing several short punches to the head of Couture. When Couture pressed the action, Liddell answered with an unnaturally sharp left hook that utterly dazed 'The Natural'.

About two minutes in, Couture complained of a thumb strike to the eye; the ringside physician gave the "All Clear", and the fight commenced.

Couture, perhaps feeling the momentum had shifted to Liddell, began throwing some wild punches--Liddell countered with a crashing straight right hand that dropped Couture to the canvas cold. It was the first time 'The Natural' had ever been knocked out.

Referee "Big" Jon McCarthy stopped the match at 2:57 of Round 1. The victory--and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship--went to Chuck 'The Iceman' Liddell in a well-deserved win.

Main Event Two: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg (UFC Welterweight Title)

Trigg came out on fire, landing a sizzling combo which hurt Hughes badly, dropping him to the mat. Trigg then tried a rear choke on his opponent, but Hughes saw a chance to create an opening, and made good use of it. Hughes suddenly reversed his opponent and scooped him into the air for a trademark slam that turned the tide of the fight.

Hughes eventually employed the same choke on Trigg that he used to defeat the challenger two years earlier.

Hughes successfully retained his UFC Welterweight Championship title, putting challenger Trigg into submission at just 4:05 seconds into the very first round.

Undercard Results

Matt "The Law" Lindland vs. Travis Lutter

USA 2000 Olympian silver medalist Matt "The Law" Lindland controlled the match against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Travis Lutter from the beginning with a canny combination of takedowns and short, inside punches landed during a series of smart clinches. In round one Lindland primarily held Lutter against the Octagon fence, which seemingly drained much of his energy.

Lindland surprised everyone toward the end of the second round when he trapped Lutter in an airtight guillotine choke. Lindland defeated Lutter via submission at 3:13 of the second round.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Jason "Mayhem" Miller

Jason "Mayhem" Miller, making his UFC debut, came out with a rarely seen wild punching style that gained many gasps from the crowd, but Miller's exciting technique was quickly silenced by Canadian welterweight Georges St. Pierre, who pounded the cunning Miller for three full rounds to earn a unanimous decision win.

Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs. Travis Wiuff

Making his successful return to the UFC, Renato "Babalu" Sobral gave an impressive performance which silenced his critics. Wiuff, making his debut as a light heavyweight, proved that size and strength was not enough to match skill and experience. Sobral scored several apparently easy takedowns during the fight. Sobral finally utilized a smooth, taut armbar to force the much larger and stronger Travis Wiuff to submit at 1:55 of round two.

Ivan Salaverry vs. Joe "Diesel" Riggs

Contender Ivan Salaverry continued to stake his right for a shot at the UFC Middleweight title, forcing the able Joe "Diesel" Riggs to tapout in the first round. Salaverry threw smooth high kicks and knees to induce his much younger opponent into an exchange in the early minutes. Salaverry then took the fight to the ground, and landed a perfectly timed kick to the face that stunned Riggs and allowed Salaverry to sink in a tight triangle choke for the win at 2:42 of the opening round.

Joe Doerksen vs. Patrick Cote

In the first all-Canadian battle in UFC history, Doerksen executed a wonderful hip throw in Round 1 that threw Cote to the mat. But Doerksen could not finish a submission hold before the bell.

In the second round, Cote threw a mean, high kick and a spectacular flying knee. This time Cote dominated on the floor with a series of hard rights.

The third and final round saw Cote land a stunning right hand to Doerksen's face, allowing him to score a difficult takedown. But Doerksen's experience pulled him through; he reversed his position, and scored a fight-ending rear naked choke over Cote. Doerksen won by TKO at 2:26 of the final round.

Mike Van Arsdale vs. John Marsh

In the lone heavyweight fight of the night, veteran Mike Van Arsdale made his return to the UFC by scoring a unanimous decision win over a very game John Marsh. It was clear Marsh fought with great heart, but on that night it was Arsdale all the way.

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