Before Barao was serving as a dominant interim champion he was a buzz-saw with plenty of buzz based on his impressive winning streak and performances under WEC’s banner. Pickett was one of his first real tests and also came with the added pressure of having his hometown fans’ support. Still, it did little to slow Barao who out-classed the always-tough Pickett en route to an opening round submission win. The brilliant Brazilian went on to find success in his next fight, then earn the gold he’s since defended twice by beating Urijah Faber. A minor rivalry developed between Hardy and Condit entering their throwdown in terms of the better striker. Ultimately, it turned out to be “The Natural Born Killer” but only by a fraction of a second (and inch). During the first frame, the talented welterweights each threw a similar shot from opposite sides. Condit’s was more powerful and precise, flattening Hardy in front of his fellow Brits to earn a knockout win. Gonzaga’s knockout of Filipovic will forever be known as one of the best in UFC history both in its viciousness and meaning. The match-up was meant to serve as a stepping stone for Filipovic to earn a title-shot. The PRIDE star was on a five-fight winning streak with first round finishes in each and seen as being extremely dangerous due to his history of destroying opponents with high kicks. However, it was Gonzaga who ultimately landed the technique flush, crumpling “Cro Cop” in an awkward fashion and shocking the world with less than ten seconds to go in the scrap’s initial stanza. There are lots of beautiful fountains to see in Europe. One, however, is not that emanating from Stevenson’s forehead after being sliced open with Penn’s strikes. The ensuing gore in Penn’s title-win against Stevenson would have made Jason Vorhees blush but those with strong stomachs certainly appreciated the beautiful brutality. Though Jackson may be in the headlines this week due to Tito Ortiz’s withdrawal from a Bellator bout, six years ago he was on top of the world after unifying the PRIDE/UFC belts by beating Dan Henderson. The duo kept things competitive despite being friends and showed off some solid technique. Surprisingly, Jackson’s stand-up was a bit better and he never found himself in any significant trouble, ultimately earning a Unanimous Decision nod. Also notable, the event was shown on tape delay by way of Spike TV, essentially giving patient fans an opportunity to see the groundbreaking tilt take place for free (to smash ratings no less).
For an evening, fans in Manchester, England are trading in their fish and chips for fists and chins thanks to the lineup for
. The card features a main event between middleweights UFC Fight Night 30 Lyoto Machida-Mark Munoz with Melvin Guillard-Ross Pearson colliding in the co-headliner. Both bouts have the potential to produce highly memorable results, following suit with numerous past showdowns unfolding in the area. In general, England is often associated with good fights thanks to a few truly serving as royalty amongst UFC rumbles in the nation. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)