UFC 102 Post-Mortem: ‘Natural’ Outcome, New Challenges for Headliners and More

By Jake Rossen Aug 30, 2009

With an economy still submerged in bad dollars and unemployment rates equivalent to John Goodman’s body-fat percentage, you could consider the UFC’s generous nine-fight television card to be a welcome gesture. By any standards, that’s not such a bad deal.

But with no title fights on deck, the surplus of action came at cost: most fans were disappointed that the wildly entertaining main event fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Randy Couture didn’t have an extra 10 minutes tacked on. Nogueira dominated much of the fight with combinations and a tarp of a ground game, but Couture never appeared outclassed -- just outhustled. He connected with power shots and displayed real grit in escaping multiple strangulation attempts by Nogueira.

It’s unusual that a loss could only add to a fighter’s legacy, but Couture is that unusual a fighter.

Next for Couture: Whatever he wants, though it’s not likely to be a hoped-for rematch with Brock Lesnar. He’s used up all of his credits with other marquee heavyweights: a “Superfight” with Anderson Silva might amuse a few people.

Next for Nogueira: On ice until Lesnar deals -- or doesn’t deal -- with Shane Carwin in a few months. He could probably squeeze in a fight in the interim: a rematch with Mirko Filipovic (if Mirko can decapitate Junior dos Santos in a few weeks) would be welcome.

Next for Nate Marquardt: Let Anderson Silva take a one-off fight in the fall and then return to middleweight to meet the winner of Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson.

Next for Thiago Silva: Getting picked up for suspicion of a felony. (Just look at him.) And maybe a meeting with Brandon Vera.
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