Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Fighting for the second time in just 46 days, Josh Koscheck (12-3) proved why he is one of the best welterweights in the world. He rebounded from his loss to Thiago Alves with a vicious KO of Yoshiyuki Yoshida (10-3) at just 2:15 of the first round.
The fight started with the fighters feeling each other out for a good minute before the fireworks started. Yoshida clearly was looking to avoid Koscheck’s right hand, but was caught with one on the ear, and the end soon followed.
Koscheck connected with a straight right that sent Yoshida into the cage. Acting like a trampoline, Yoshida was propelled back up, only to meet Koscheck’s fist again, and Yoshida was out cold.
This was one of Koscheck’s best performances of his career, yet one wonders what will happen to him next. There have been rumors circulating that this could be his last fight in the UFC due to tension between his camp, American Kickboxing Academy, and Dana White. After this performance though it is hard to believe Koscheck will be handed a pink slip.
The win should put Koscheck back into the title picture, although he will have to wait until after Alves gets his shot at the champ, whether that is current champion George St. Pierre or BJ Penn. Both men will square off for the welterweight title on January 31st. In the mean time fighting the winner of the Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono match could be intriguing match up for Koscheck, who wants nothing more than another shot at the title.
Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet
Mike Swick (13-2) lived up to his nickname making “Quick” work of Jonathan Goulet (22-10), registering a KO just 0:33 into the very first round. These two were supposed to square off back in September of 2007, but Swick was forced to pull out with a rib injury.
The actually match up never turned into much of a fight. Just seconds in Swick connected with a short right to Goulet’s chin. Goulet was dropped to the canvas and attempted to grab a hold of Swick’s leg. After a barrage of hammer fists from Swick, referee Dan Miragliotta was forced to call a stop to the fight. This might have been the KO of the night until Koscheck stole the show in the main event.
The win marks Swick’s third straight inside the octagon. He has looked very impressive since his loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 69. Despite the win this by no means is going to propel Swick into title contention, but it will make other fighters in the middleweight division take notice.
Razak Al-Hassan vs. Steve Cantwell
The last fighter to hold the WEC’s Light Heavyweight Championship, Steve Cantwell (7-1) impressed in his UFC debut. He was able to pick apart Razak Al-Hassan (6-1) throughout the start of the first round with punches and kicks, but the fireworks were reserved for the end.
Cantwell sunk in an arm-bar from the mount position, which Al-Hassan attempted to roll through, and nearly did. Cantwell was able to keep grasp of the hold and continued to torque Al-Hassan’s arm back. At 4:04 of the first round, Cantwell snapped his opponents forearm, bending it 45 degrees in the wrong direction.
It was a very impressive win for Cantwell, who will have a bright future in the UFC. As for Al-Hassan, he showed several weaknesses in his game. Not once in the fight did he tuck his chin when punching and often dropped his hands. If he is going to succeed in the octagon he will need to revamp his game going forward.
Jim Miller vs. Matt Wiman
There is such thing as taking a fight on short notice, and there is taking a fight on just eight days notice. That is what Jim Miller (13-1) did following his honeymoon, and won a unanimous decision vs. Matt Wiman (10-4).
Miller had control of the fight from start to finish. It looked like the fight would end in the first round when he locked in a deep guillotine choke, but Wiman was able perceiver and fight his way out of the hold. The rest of the fight was a battle of will as Miller continually attempted to pass Wiman’s guard, but was shot down on nearly every attempt till the third round.
The judges scored the bout 30-27 (twice) and 30-26.
Following this bout look for Jim Miller to garner some more attention from the fans and UFC match maker Joe Silva.
Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur
The first round was dominated by Tim Credeur (11-2) who landed shots throughout the round on Nate Loughran (9-1). Loughran never seemed to get his feet under him at the start of the fight and as the fight went on it was apparent he never would.
After a battle on the ground to start the second, referee Dan Miragliotta was forced to stand the two up. From this point on Loughran seemed gassed. He was breathing heavy, his hands were down, and during the last 20 seconds of the round ate several punches from Credeur. Following the second round the fight was stopped due to a rib injury to Loughran giving Credeur the TKO victory.