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Randy Couture: A champ for the ages

August 26, 2007


Someday, Randy Couture will wake up and feel his age. The legs will be stiff, the back will ache and those broad shoulders will sag under the weight of one too many poundings.

Today, is not that day.

The 44-year-old Couture didn’t so much as turn back the clock Saturday night as he smashed it into a bloody mess. His pummeling of Gabriel Gonzaga was a work of art. His game plan perfect.

Couture dominated from the opening bell to the moment Herb Dean stepped in and stopped it at 1:37 in the third round. But the UFC heavyweight title bout was over long before that.

It was over in the first round when Couture picked Gonzaga up and smashed him to the canvas, while inadvertently head butting Gonzaga’s face.

Gonzaga’s broken nose left him gasping for air and visibly deflated, as blood streamed onto Couture’s back. Dean even stopped the fight briefly in the second round when Gonzaga complained he couldn’t see.

Though wounded, Gonzaga was still dangerous, throwing a head kick in the third that, for a split second, sent a chill of déjà vu through the audience. But Couture absorbed the blow and quickly moved in for the clinch.

To say Couture was effective in close quarters is like saying a Ferrari takes curves well.

He landed upper cuts, threw knees, set up his throws and effectively neutralized Gonzaga’s two most dangerous weapons – his Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the leg kick that he used to knock out Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in his last bout.

With his victory, Couture served notice to rest of a reinvigorated heavyweight division. So listen up Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cro Cop and, you too, Brandon Vera and Frank Mir: You may be younger, you may be bigger, you might even be favored, but you’ve still got to come through the champ.

In the other big fight on the card, Georges St.-Pierre overwhelmed Josh Koscheck, taking down the All-America wrestler with ease. St.-Pierre won a unanimous decision and shut up the critics who had jumped off his bandwagon after he lost the welterweight title to Matt Serra.

This fight put St.-Pierre back in line for a title shot and it also quieted the hype that Koscheck had some sort of super-human wrestling prowess. After dominating a lineup of decorated grapplers that include Koscheck, Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk and Frank Trigg, maybe it’s time to start talking about St.-Pierre’s wrestling skills?

Roger Huerta and Joe Stevenson both looked tough in their lightweight victories. So, can we please see these two guys fight next???

Stevenson is a beast and would give Huerta his first real challenge in the Octagon.

Huerta certainly didn’t have a challenge against Alberto Crane, who showed heart and beautiful jiu-jitsu skills but who also had absolutely no stand-up or ground and pound. Crane was completely gassed before the end of the 2nd round and was little more than a punching bag for Huerta by the end.

That wouldn’t be the case against Stevenson, who dominated Kurt Pellegrino with superior striking and a picture-perfect supplex.

Kendall Grove was the only big favorite who lost. Grove, who had a 7-inch height advantage over Patrick Cote, got rocked with a right, survived a rear-naked choke attempt and then took a mad flurry of strikes on the ground before the fight was stopped with only 15 seconds left in the first round.

Here’s what the bloggers are saying:

Kid Nate at Bloody Elbow: “Gonzo landed some shots standing, kept throwing vicious high kicks into the final round even, but Randy just decided where the fight would take place. Standing. In the clinch. Where greco-roman Randy lives.”

Sam Caplan at Five Ounces of Pain: “I also think the broken nose issue is overrated. Yes, it hurt Gonzaga’s chances to win but a broken nose in a fight isn’t necessarily the death penalty. There have been fighters who have won fights with broken noses before. This loss is more than just the nose — he simply wasn’t ready!”

D-Man at UFC Fights: “The old man vs the Cro Cop killer. After a decent back and forth first round that opened a massive cut on the bridge of Gonzaga’s nose, Couture simply dominated the next three rounds.”

Larry C. at “Randy Couture is a freak of nature, plain and simple. At 44 Couture shows no signs of slowing down.”







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