They had two former champions who'd just lost their titles (Matt Hughes, a welterweight and Rich Franklin, a middleweight) who were both in their first fight since losing, and a retired 4x champ (Randy Couture) who came out of retirement to fight reigning heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia.
All the "good guys" won. And in the title bought, the 43 year old Couture completely dominated the 30 year-old, six-inch taller, 40-pound heavier Sylvia. He manhandled him on the ground (not surprising - Couture's a top wrestler), but he even beat Sylvia at his own game (on his feet). They don't call him "Captain America" for nothing.
Not surprisingly, the Unknown Wife opted out and went to bed early (it started at 9:30 and didn't end until about 1 a.m. She asked why I enjoy this so much. Well...
- I played competitive Judo in college and took a couple of years of taekwondo in high school. So, I know just enough to appreciate just how technically good they are (it's not just a bunch of guys slugging away at weach other. They're amazingly skilled.
- Having competed in a number of sports, I appreciate the whole competitive thing. The pre-competition "whoop whoops" in the stomach before a competition are something that's hard to describe if you haven't experienced them. But of everything I've done, there was nothing like the feeling of anxiety before a Judo match. There's just something about facing someone one-on-one -- it's probably the purest (and potentially most daunting) form of competition out there.
- Finally, the fighters are almost without exception stand-up guys. Very few of the top guys talk much smack (in fact, Hughes is a churchgoing Illinois farm boy and Couture said he'd dedicated his fight to "Jesus Christ who stood up and died for our sins and the American Soldier who stands up and fights for our freedoms." ). And it's pretty cool to see two guys try to beat the hell out of each other and then hug and laugh with each other once the fight's over.
But I made a tactical error - we were out of chips and salsa, so I had to snack on edamame during the show. That's just a bit too froo-froo for fight night.....