UFC 86 Recap: Griffin Proves To Be Ultimate

Leading up to the main event, the main card had seen three decisions and one submission. None of the fights had been edge-of-your-seat, back and forth barn burners. In fact, the bouts were rather dull. Chris Lytle suffered an intense cut that was pouring blood and covered a good portion of the octagon floor. Joe Stevenson came back from being on the verge of defeat, to win via solid submission. Aside from those few highlights, however, the action and excitement was sparse. But, whatever the earlier fights lacked, the main event redeemed them all and reinvigorated the evening. Rampage versus Griffin has got to be an early favorite for fight of the year, living up to its billing.

The Best in the World

Not many people believed Forrest Griffin would survive five rounds with the now former champ, Rampage Jackson. Even fewer people gave Griffin a chance at winning (this writer believed it was possible though-?http://50.62.165.206/~cagetday/ufc-86-preview-and-predictions-part-2/#comments). But, once again, Griffin was able to prove the critics wrong in impressive fashion.

Griffin used constant movement, fired off non-stop jabs, and consistently hobbled Rampage with bad intentioned leg kicks. Instead of throwing one punch at a time, Griffin would often throw combinations. He was able to set the tempo of the fight and effectively control Rampage’s aggression. Griffin entered the fight with a clearly defined strategy; stay out of Rampage’s range, never stop being aggressive, and keep him off balance with a wide variety of strikes (he used knees, elbows, combinations, leg kicks, high kicks, etc).

At no point during the fight did Rampage look 100% comfortable. He rarely threw more than two punches at a time and simply tried to counter punch for most of the fight. Instead of setting up his power punches, Rampage was content to unload a few big shots at a time and then sit back. Unfortunately for Rampage, looking to end the fight with one big punch would prove a costly decision. It seemed from the outset that Rampage had no clear strategy or game plan.

There were times during the fight when Rampage displayed his freakish strength. After losing the majority of the first round, Rampage rocked Griffin with an uppercut that floored him. Later in the fight, Griffin attempted to lock on a triangle chock and Rampage displayed a modified version of the devastating slams that made him famous in PRIDE. Rampage has sick power, but relied on it too much and was unable to harness it effectively. Throughout the fight, it looked as though Rampage was waiting to see what Griffin was going to do next. It was as if Rampage knew he wanted to knock Griffin out, but couldn’t figure out the best way in which to do it. All the post-fight complaints about Griffin having to “beat the champ” never made sense to me. Griffin avoided a brawl, moved forward most of the time, landed more shots, was the aggressor, and never let Rampage get comfortable. If anything, it was Rampage who seemed overly tentative.

Losing to Keith Jardine has been the best thing to ever happen to Forrest Griffin, because he has looked like a completely different fighter ever since. Rarely will you see Griffin make a mistake these days. He strictly adheres to his game plan, forces his opponent to play into his hands, and does not get overzealous. In his last two fights Griffin has thoroughly beaten two of the pound for pound best fighters in the world.

Overall, Rampage landed the much bigger shots, but Griffin was far more active and landed frequently. The swings of this five round war were tremendous. When one fighter would seemingly gain confidence and the upper hand, the other would regain it with a drastic maneuver. Both fighters displayed a tremendous amount of heart, but the right decision was made, and a new world light heavyweight champion was crowned in Forrest Griffin.

Winner gets a title shot? No thanks

As far as title eliminators go, this one was incredibly unimpressive. If the UFC had hoped to see Patrick Cote or Ricardo Almeida rise to the occasion and look spectacular enough to warrant a shot against Anderson Silva, they were surely disappointed. Neither fighter looked remarkable and the fight itself was lack luster.

After a strong opening round, Almeida looked gassed and all but abandoned trying to work his ground game. Cote was careful and reserved, not wanting to get taken down. In the end, Cote eked out a split decision, but did nothing to improve his stock.

Who is the UFC trying to kid? Neither of these guys is qualified to challenge Silva. And, as little a chance as Cote would have against Silva, his odds of winning are better than the UFC’s chances of selling that as a main event. That match would be similar to the 90’s film Mars Attacks! The filmmakers had packed the movie with well-known actors and likeable entertainment personalities, pushed the movie hard through different forms of advertising, but, ultimately, it was only slightly successful because it just wasn’t a very good film. Cote doesn’t overly excite fans because he isn’t an exceptional fighter and has little chance of beating the best. The fight simply isn’t appealing.

What the UFC needs to do is start pitting their established fighters against one another and see who emerges as the best. While the division has few stars (besides Silva and Dan Henderson), they do have solid fighters who could provide some clarity for the division. Thales Leites, Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, Chris Leben, Patrick Cote, and Michael Bisping (not including Yushin Okami) round out a solid group of prospective title challengers. Building some of them up through a series of high profile wins would help increase their exposure and credibility. They have already begun to use this strategy by having the upcoming Leben/Bisping bout.

After Cote’s performance last night, the UFC is going to need to build more excitement before they can sell any of those fighters as a legit contender.

Solid but safe

I’ll give Josh Koscheck his due. En route to dominating Chris Lytle, Koscheck played it incredibly safe, used his wrestling skills, and kept Lytle controlled on the ground. Yes, Kos was smart. He avoided striking with Lytle at all costs. But, he did nothing to endear himself to fans.

Kos was perfectly content to coast to an easy win. He took zero risks and except for a brief flurry at the end of round three, it almost looked like he was running away from Lytle on his feet. Not exactly an awe inspiring display of heart or tenacity. He didn’t need to engage in a war, but he could have been more aggressive overall.

Lytle was overwhelmed and the fight played out as expected. It’s time for Kos to once again fight the division’s best. He has put himself right in the thick of the title picture and he needs to be pushed and tested, so his place in the hierarchy of the stacked welterweight division can be decided.

Quick Shots

  • Joe Stevenson was being outworked and looked out classed by Gleison Tibau. But, Big Daddy is resourceful and has guts. While being taken down, Daddy secured his trademark guillotine, which he has done beautifully in the past. The maneuver bailed him out of deep trouble.
  • The problem for Stevenson is, he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. His striking is average, his wrestling is ok, and he has some submission skills. It’s his experience, composure and toughness that wins him fights. But, if he ever wants to get to that next level, he will need to become a more complete fighter.
  • Tyson Griffin once again won in dominating fashion. And yet, once again, Griffin could not finish the fight. Two things are becoming very clear about Griffin:

    The first is his enormous amount of skills. He is well rounded, good at just about everything. And best of all, he continues to improve regularly.

    Secondly, though, it’s apparent he has zero knockout power. If he doesn’t submit his opponents, it is difficult for him to knock people out. He reminds me a lot of Forrest Griffin. Tyson makes few mistakes, but he must learn how to finish an opponent off. Nonetheless, he has put himself in the title picture, and established himself as a rising star.

Strangest quote of the night

  • Joe Rogan once again outdid himself. When offering his astute observation regarding Chris Lytle’s heinous cut, he compared it to, “a goat’s vagina!” It was a stunning display of failed comedic one-liners.
  • On a more positive note, it appears Rogan has expanded his selection of clothing and bought himself a new shirt.

UFC 86 Results Live

forrest griffin ufc 86

UFC 86 “Jackson vs. Griffin” takes place July 5 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event are The Ultimate Fighter 7 coaches Quinton “Rampage” Jackson taking on Forrest Griffin for the UFC light heavyweight belt.

The undercards start at 8:30 pm EST with the Pay-Per-View main card to follow at around 10 pm EST.

Main Card

  • Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin (T)
    CT R1: 10-9 Jackson, Rampage drops Griffin towards the end of the round.
    CT R2: 10-9 Griffin buckles Rampages leg early in the round, Griffin controls the ground.
    CT R3: 10-9 Jackson, Flurries of Punches by Rampage, Griffin Playing it Safe, very close.
    CT R4: 10-9 Griffin, very close
    CT R5: 10-9 Griffin, Griffin lands more, Rampage did damage. Hard to call.
    Result: Forrest Griffin defeats Quinton Jackson by Unanimous Decision
  • Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida
    CT R1: 10-9 Almeida
    CT R2: 10-9 Cote, dominated stand up, escaped when taken to the ground.
    CT R3: 10-9 Cote, very close, lackluster round. It could go either way.
    Result:
  • Gleison Tibau vs. Joe Stevenson
    CT R1: 10-9 Tibau, close – Tibau held Stevenson in an omaplata ending the first round.
    Result: Joe Stevenson defeats Gleison Tibau by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:57 of R2.
  • Chris Lytle vs. Josh Koscheck
    CT R1: 10-9 Koscheck, all lay and pray
    CT R2: 10-9 Koscheck, Kos’s elbows from top cut open Lytle.
    CT R3: 10-9 Koscheck
    Result: Josh Koscheck defeats Chris Lytle by Unanimous Decision.
  • Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio
    CT R1: 10-9 Griffin
    CT R2: 10-9 Griffin
    CT R3: 10-9 Griffin
    Result: Tyson Griffin defeats Marcus Aurelio by Unanimous Decision. (30-27 x3)

Preliminary Card

UFC 86 Links

UFC 86 News
UFC 86 Weigh-In Results
UFC 86 Preview Part 1.
UFC 86 Preview Part 2.

UFC 86 Videos

UFC 86 Preview Trailer
Rampage Talks UFC 86
Forrest Griffin on ESPN Sportscenter
UFC 86 Weigh-In Video
Press Conference Video: Rampage and Forrest
Rampage Outside The Cage

UFC 86 Weigh-In Results

rampage vs. Forrest ufc 86 results

UFC 86 Official Results

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (205) vs. Forrest Griffin (205)
Patrick Cote (185) vs. Ricardo Almeida (185)
Joe Stevenson (155) vs. Gleison Tibau (156)
Josh Koscheck (170) vs. Chris Lytle (170)
Tyson Griffin (155) vs. Marcus Aurelio (155)
Gabriel Gonzaga (249) vs. Justin McCully (236)
Cole Miller (155) vs. Jorge Gurgel (155)
Melvin Guillard (155) vs. Dennis Siver (155)
Corey Hill (155) vs. Justin Buchholz (155)

Stay tune to CageToday.com for UFC 86 results live starting at 8:30 pm EST.