Fight Facts Flashback: UFC 83

Fight Facts Flashback is a branch of the Fight Facts series that takes a look back at historic events and noteworthy moments in the sport of MMA. These jaunts down memory lane serve as snapshot reviews of what the landscape looked like when they occurred, while also analyzing what happened after for those involved.

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship staged its first event in Canada 12 years ago. UFC 83 introduced the Great White North to live events and did so in spectacular fashion. On the anniversary of this groundbreaking card, we celebrate a thrilling event and all that went down on that wild April night.

THEIR HOME AND NATIVE LAND: UFC 83 marked the first time the promotion had ever held an event in Canada. While planting a new flag, the card brought about the quickest sellout and the highest attendance in UFC history (21,390) at the time. The latter record was eclipsed by UFC 97—also in Canada—one year later.

A PROCLIVITY FOR VIOLENCE: Nine of the 11 fights on the card ended inside the distance. This was one shy of the modern record for the most stoppages at a single event, trailing only UFC Fight Night 13 in 2008 (10).

NO RESPECT TO THE CHAMP: The headliner featured a rematch between Matt Serra and Georges St. Pierre, running it back from their shocking UFC 69 encounter that saw Serra spring one of the biggest betting upsets in UFC history. Despite the fact that Serra won the first meeting by knockout, St. Pierre still closed as a -495 favorite in the second match.

99 OUT OF 100 TIMES: Serra as the +445 underdog is the lowest betting line for any defending champ in UFC history. No other champion even comes close.

JUDGES LOVE HIM: The final time St. Pierre lost was at UFC 69 against Serra. Following that defeat and including his victory in the rematch, St. Pierre won 13 consecutive bouts.

OWNS MORE BELTS THAN PANTS: After winning his belt back against Serra to unify his interim title with the undisputed welterweight throne, St. Pierre never lost it again in the cage. He vacated his 170-pound championship when he retired in 2013. He came back in 2017, won the middleweight strap and once again retired.

SWEET REVENGE: “GSP” knocked out Serra with knees to the body. It remains the last time that St. Pierre finished a fight via strikes, with his subsequent TKO win over B.J. Penn coming via corner stoppage.

HE SAVORED EVERY MOMENT: The stoppage against Serra came in the second round. Every subsequent fight for St. Pierre at least reached the third.

GSP VERSUS THE MATTS: Serra’s first title defense came against the man he took it from, but it was not the first fight back for St. Pierre. Serra was initially scheduled to face Matt Hughes at UFC 79, but he injured his back. Hughes instead faced St. Pierre for the interim strap.

NOW DEPARTING FOR FRANKLINWEIGHT: In returning from an unsuccessful title outing against Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin dispatched the Travis Lutter—the “Michael Jordan of BJJ,” according to play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg—in the second frame. It was the last time Franklin competed at middleweight until his retirement match with Cung Le over four years later.

AND HE WENT BACK TO TEACH ON MONDAY (NO HE DIDN’T): Franklin picked up his 25th victory by finishing Lutter. Across those wins, 23 came by stoppage.

BOR-ING, BOR-ING!: Nate Quarry and Kalib Starnes squared off in an unusual bout where the latter was deemed “The Running Man.” Starnes refused to engage for much of the bout and was saddled with a rare 24-30 scorecard due to his performance. He never competed for the organization again.

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NOT AS BAD AS SYLVIA-MIR: Unable to reach his corner after the first round due to a forearm injury sustained on one of Michael Bisping’s knee strikes, Charles McCarthy lost by technical knockout. It was the first injury TKO in UFC history to stem from an arm issue and the first injury stoppage between rounds.

NO MATCH FOR DOOMS-DAY: In taking out Alan Belcher with strikes in the opening frame, Jason Day earned his only UFC win at this event. Throughout Day’s 18 career victories at the time, only two came on the scorecards. With his win, “Dooms” had posted exactly eight wins by knockout and another eight by tapout.

THE WORST WAY TO GO OUT: Demian Maia put Ed Herman to sleep with a mounted triangle choke, improving his unbeaten record to 8-0 with seven finishes.

VA DORMIR: After earning his first technical submission by rendering Herman unconscious, Maia put out Ben Askren out with a rear-naked choke 11 years later. Maia is one of 10 fighters in UFC history to perform multiple technical submissions on opponents.

AGELESS WONDER: Of the 22 fighters to compete at UFC 83, Maia is the only one still on the active roster as of 2020. In fact, Maia remains ranked among the top welterweights in the world.

ENTER CAIN: Future UFC heavyweight king Cain Velasquez made his promotional debut at this event, battering Brad Morris in just over two minutes to stay undefeated. The American Kickboxing Academy standout signed with the UFC with a record of 2-0.

A LOFTY BAR TO SET: Kicking off the event with a two-round battle, Jonathan Goulet and Kuniyoshi Hironaka each earned $75,000 for their “Fight of the Night.” It was the second card opener to ever be awarded FOTN, with the first coming at UFC 77, where Matt Grice scored a split verdict over Jason Black. That bout was initially scored a draw before it was announced shortly thereafter that Grice had won.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into UFC 83, Lutter had never lost consecutive bouts (13 fights), Starnes had never lost by decision (11 fights) and Mark Bocek had never been submitted (six fights).

HE STARTED IT: While it eventually became one of the most popular walkout songs in UFC history, the first recorded fighter to use “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti was Serra. Initially using a mashup of that song, along with “Like That” by Memphis Bleek, Serra went solely with the “Rocky” track in his rematch with St. Pierre.

BITTER SWEET CAGE APPEARANCE: Starnes made his walk to the cage accompanied by “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve. He is the only recorded fighter in UFC history to ever use this song.

WHAT, NO WOO-HOO?: Known throughout his career for his walkout track of “Song 2” by Blur, Bisping actually used “London Calling” by the Clash for multiple walkouts until settling on “Song 2.” UFC 83 was the last time Bisping chose a non-Blur song.

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