Nearly 19,000 fight fanatics packed the arena for a full day of mixed martial arts. And left wanting they were not. The action packed event climaxed with championship clash between Brazilian Anderson Silva and Californian Dan "Hollywood" Henderson.
Fight One: Chris Wilson Vs. Jon Fitch
Earlier in the evening it was Fort Wayne, Indiana native, Jon "Two Face" Fitch taking on the "Human Machine" Chris Wilson. Round one began as Fitch and Wilson traded several strong right hands with an uppercut by Wilson that momentarily staggered Fitch.
Fitch was able to deflect a jumping knee and score a take down. After a referee stand up the pace slowed considerably until the end of the round.
Round two began with Fitch on top after Wilson's low kick attempt. Fitch continued his assault with a barrage of elbows to Wilson's head and a smashing underhook. Incredibly Wilson got back to half guard and held his own until the end of round two.
In the beginning of round three Fitch took a hard kick to the body and a punishing left hook. Seemingly unfazed, the Human Machine toughed out a triple combination from Fitch and countered with a spinning back kick.
Moments later Fitch took Wilson down and pounded several elbows to the side of Wilson's head. Wilson was able to work his way out of trouble before the ten-seconds was sounded.
Outcome: Fitch wins by unanimous decision at 5:00 in the 3rd round.
Fight Two: Yushin Okami Vs. Evan Tanner
Three minutes into the second round lighting struck hard in the form of Japan's Yushin "Thunder" Okami's knee to the head of Texan Evan Tanner.
In the first round the fighters mixed it up evenly as they both got a feel for each other's style. At the end of the round there was a brief flurry of excitement when Okami fought off Tanner's takedown attempt by holding Tanner at bay against the fencing.
In round two the Japanese left-hander delivered several hard body blows and finally ended the melee with a brutal left knee to the point of Tanner's chin that dropped him like a sack of potatoes.
Outcome: Okami Wins by knockout at 3:00 in the 2nd round.
Fight Three: Alessio Sakara Vs. Chris Leben
The first round between Chris Leben and Alessio Sakara began with a frenzy of kicks and punches that both fighters were able to elude. It was only a matter of time before Leben dazed the Italian with a knee followed by a left hook that dropped Sakara to the canvas. Leben commenced to pummel the dazed Sakara until Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Outcome: Leben wins by technical knockout at 3:16 in the 1st round.
Fight Four: Heath Herring Vs. Cheick Kongo
Next up was the highly anticipated battle between the Texas Crazy Horse, Heath Herring and the French Sensation, Cheick Kongo. This fight definitely lived up to its hype.
Herring began his assault only moments after the opening bell. A nearly lethal right hand caught Kongo by surprise and dropped him to one knee. After shaking off the initial jolt Kongo scored a single-leg take down but Herring was able to muscle his way standing, only to be taken down again with a low kick from the Frenchman.
Once again using brute force Herring took the top position only to have Kongo quickly reverse it and establish dominance until the end of the round.
The second round began with a scramble until a kick from Herring knocked Kongo backward. Herring failed to capitalize on his momentary edge and Kongo took down the Texan with a double leg.
Herring battled to his knees but paid a high price with a half dozen punches from Kongo. Not to be out done Herring gained control and pounded Kongo with some hard knees to the body.
In round three it appeared that the upper hand was going to Heath Herring. After several low kicks both fighters were once again on the ground. The French Sensation got first advantage but lost the initiative to Herring.
Once back in control Herring methodically worked over Kongo's body with left hands and powerful knees. One could only admire Cheick Kongo as he uncomplainingly took the shots until the final bell. The judges gave Herring the split decision.
Outcome: Herring wins by split decision at 5:00 in the 3rd round.
Fight Five: Anderson Silva Vs. Dan Henderson
The final event of the evening was between Brazilian Anderson Silva and crowd favorite Dan Henderson. Henderson who goes by the moniker "Hollywood" hails originally from Downey, California.
Silva, who is also known as "The Spider", is the current UFC middleweight champion and is arguably the No. 1 pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter in the world.
But this past Saturday night in Columbus talk was cheap and titles meaningless as both opponents stood face to face inside the octagon.
Round one began with the fighters moving slowly and deliberately as they assessed each other. It was Hollywood Henderson that made the first overt move and scored a takedown and captured Silva in a full-guard.
With The Spider unable to break free, Henderson executed several hard elbows that took their toll on Silva. The round ended relatively uneventful with Dan Henderson winning.
In the second round both fighters threw caution to the wind and began a slugfest with several strong haymakers connecting to Henderson.
After the initial frenzy of fists, cooler heads prevailed and both men settled back into their strategies. Suddenly in quick succession the Brazilian hammered Henderson with several combinations that staggered him. Silva saw what everyone else in the packed house saw: Henderson standing flatfooted with a dazed look on his face.
That was all Silva needed and in the next 60 seconds The Spider took charge of the match. The end came quickly for Henderson. Silva rolled Henderson on his back and finished him of with a rear-naked choke.
Pandemonium broke loose in the Nationwide Arena as Anderson Silva once again proved himself not only as a top fighter but a great overall athlete.
Outcome: Silva wins by submission at 4:52 in the 2nd round by rear naked choke.
A big thank you to Diann Brizzolara from the UFC for inviting Bodybuilding.com to cover the event.
I was impressed not only by the first class production of the extravaganza but also by the sincerity of which it was presented. This was a prime example of fighting enthusiasts promoting a show that delivered what was promised and more.
The Nationwide Arena proved to be the perfect setting for UFC 82 and the big winners of the evening were the fans. When all 19,000 came together the roar was so intense the excitement literally threatened the venue to its foundation.
At one point during Herring/Kongo fight a 4-foot piece of Plexiglas dropped from the second tier and knocked an unsuspecting fan unconscious. Not one to be deterred the fan was revived with quick blast of smelling salts, the bump on his head covered with a couple of Band-Aids and he was back in his seat in time for the main event.
Marika Gethin From Bodybuilding.com Talks To A Few UFC Fighters At The 2008 Arnold Classic Expo.
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