File Photo: Sherdog.com
The shockwaves from Mike Russow’s improbable third-round knockout against Todd Duffee reached all the way to the top at UFC 114 “Rampage vs. Evans” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Hailed as one of the sport’s top heavyweight prospects, Duffee entered the bout unbeaten and hammered Russow for the better part of three rounds. A ringing right hand from Russow erased all that had come before it, as the Pride Fighting Championships veteran leveled Duffee 2:32 into round three.
Even UFC President Dana White took notice.
“That was about as one-sided a fight as I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “Imagine if somebody came up and said, ‘I’ll bet you a thousand dollars Russow knocks him out in this round.’ You’d have taken it. That probably was one of the biggest comebacks ever.”
In an instant, the punch wiped out an entire night’s work for Duffee, who had Russow reeling from a number of ringing uppercuts. One of them dropped the Chicago police officer to a knee in the first round, but his granite chin kept the 33-year-old in the fight and gave him the chance to spring the upset.
“The fans were looking at this … ’cause you’ve seen so many boxing events where you see this young, ripped-up guy who’s the next up-and-coming guy fighting some big flabby dude, and they’re like, ‘This is a setup. This guy’s supposed to win,’” White said. “But you can’t do that with MMA.”
Up until the knockout, Duffee had all but shut out Russow, a decorated amateur wrestler who entered the cage with eight submissions among his 12 victories.
“Duffee looked great,” White said. “He didn’t want to get close to that cage. He didn’t want to give that guy any opportunity to try and take him down, but even when the guy grabbed onto him, he was just flicking him off and throwing him off like nothing.”
A victim, to some extent, of his own success, Duffee won his promotional debut in record-setting time against Tim Hague at UFC 102 in August. Despite the embarrassing defeat to Russow, the 24-year-old remains a significant piece of the heavyweight puzzle.
“Duffee’s last fight was seven seconds,” White said. “I was thinking, ‘This is a good fight for Duffee. He’s getting the work. He’s getting the time in. It’s a relatively easy fight for him. He’s defending the takedown.’ And then, boom, he got clipped.”