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UFC 76 Recap: Jardine, Griffin Upset Opponents at “Knockout”

At an event where there were doubts any fight might make it to the judges scorecards a surprising six bouts went to decision. A very strong crowd was on hand for a fight card filled with technical duels and bouts that had major implications in their respective divisions.

In the nights main event Chuck Liddell was handed his second straight loss by a unorthodox Keith Jardine. Jardine’s game plan included a slew of leg of body kicks that left Liddell raw. Though the moves seemed to have little effect on the former UFC champion they racked up points for the veteran of The Ultimate Fighter 2 in a bout few predicted would go the distance. The bout was not without scares for both fighters but neither opponent could fully connect to put the other away for the knockout win. The judges awarded Jardine a split decision win with two 29-28 cards in his favor and a 29-28 scorecard for Liddell.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua walked away battered from his UFC debut after Forrest Griffin upset the standout light heavyweight. Round one was essentially too close to call with the judges likely able to award winning scores for either fighter. The pair traded takedowns and ground and pound but neither was able to dominate the round for a clearcut win. The second round began with Rua controlling the pace but at the midway point appeared completely exhausted and was unable to connect with much for the rest of the fight. Griffin took advantage with ground and pound in round two to earn points. The final frame saw The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Griffin look to finish the fight with a variety of submissions and ground and pound but as time wound down it appeared the fight may go to the judges but a smooth transition by Griffin allowed him to sink in a rear naked choke forcing Rua to tap with 15-seconds remaining in the bout.In a showdown of viable welterweights Jon Fitch was able to hand Diego Sanchez his second consecutive loss in the UFC. Sanchez came out strong at the opening bell charging at Fitch defended most of the attempts all together or used them to move into Diego’s guard.  Sanchez tried for countless submissions throughout the bout including a very deep guillotine that Fitch was just able to escape. None of the attempts were able to finish Fitch, who used effective ground and pound and ground control throughout the bout to earn points. After three rounds the fight went to the judges and Fitch walked away victorious with a split decision win.

In other main card action Lyoto Machida walked away victorious for the third time in the UFC by defeating Kazuhiro Nakamura by unanimous decision. In the nights first broadcast fight Tyson Griffin defeated Thiago Tavares by unanimous decision in the most technical bout of the night. The pair of fighters went back and forth on the ground and on their feet but neither was able to put the other away. Griffin walked away with the close win by mixing effective striking and takedown defense to survive the fight and defeat Tavares.

Anthony Johnson, who was looking to follow up on his 13-second KO of Chad Reiner earlier this year, walked away defeated as Rich Clementi was able secure a fight ending rear naked choke. Johnson dominated the fight knocking Clementi down several times but Rich was able to reverse positions in the second round and unleash ground and pound of his own before taking Johnson’s back and applying the fight ending choke.

Jeremy Stephens posted a unanimous decision win over Diego Saraiva. All three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Stepehens who displayed good ground and pound skills to pick up the victory.

UFC newcomer Scott Junk looked to have an upper hand early in his bout against Christian Wellisch but Wellisch secured a takdown then secured a heel hook that forced Junk to tap just over 3-minutes into the fight.

In the opening fight of the night Matt Wiman started slow and cranked it up late to earn a unanimous decision win over Michihiro Omigawa. Wiman attempted several rear naked chokes in the fight and utilized very effective striking to earn the victory, his second since appearing on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter.


  • Keith Jardine def. Chuck Liddell via split decision
  • Forrest Griffin def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via submission – Round 3, 4:45
  • Jon Fitch def. Diego Sanchez via split decision
  • Lyoto Machida def. Kazuhiro Nakamura via unanimous decision
  • Tyson Griffin def. Thiago Tavares via unanimous decision
  • Rich Clementi def. Anthony Johnson via submission – Round 2, 3:05
  • Jeremy Stephens def. Diego Saraiva via unanimous decision
  • Christian Wellisch def. Scott Junk via submission – Round 1, 3:19
  • Matt Wiman def. Michihiro Omigawa via unanimous decision


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