Heavyweight Title Match: Randy Couture (222.5 lbs) vs. champion Tim Sylvia (263 lbs)
Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name is one of the tunes playing before this match.
Randy Couture receives a standing ovation as he enters the Octagon. Tim Sylvia enters the arena to the music of Jesus Walks by Kanye West and to the boos of the crowd. The atmosphere is electric in the way only a title match can be. Potentially five rounds of war coming up.
Flash bulbs pop and the crowd chants "Randy" as Couture stuns Sylvia with a solid right that sends the champ reeling early in the first round. However, on the ground, Sylvia is able to stabilize even with Couture on his back. The crowd boos as the action on the ground grinds to a halt. Sylvia somehow survives the entire first round fending off Couture's attempts at a rear naked choke. The round goes to Couture but I believe the psychological edge goes to Sylvia for surviving the stunner.
The crowd chants "Randy" early in the second round but Sylvia appears to be back to his gameplan of keeping the fight standing up. The fight ends up on the ground with Couture on top but Sylvia keeps him in full guard, weathering punches from Couture. The crowd boos as McCarthy stands the fighters up but Couture gets one more takedown just as the round ends. Couture appears to have a good gameplan and I give him round two as well.
Couture appears very comfortable standing up with Sylvia in the third round. Couture ducks and dodges Sylvia's punches and lands his own, picking his spots as the entire third round is fought standing up. I give Couture the third round as well. It would appear Sylvia can no longer win by decision.
Couture starts round four with a takedown. After inactivity, the fighters are stood up. Couture lands some more punches before taking Sylvia back down and gaining side control. Couture gains full mount but Sylvia gains control as the round ends. Couture wins the fourth round as well. Time is running out for Sylvia to hold on to his crown.
Couture starts the fifth round with -- guess what? -- a takedown. He controls from half-guard and the crowd senses what is happening and repeatedly chants "Randy" in unison. Couture moves to side control and time ticks away as Sylvia can do nothing to reverse his position. The two fighters briefly stand up before Couture converts another successful takedown. With under 30 seconds left in the match the crowd know what is about to take place. Round five and the belt go to Randy Couture.
The pro-Couture crowd is jubilant. The official announcement is a formality to them. Once again Sylvia does nothing notable in the match but this time he pays for it.
I have it 50-45 Couture.
In his post-fight interview, Couture says "Not bad for an old man" (he's 43.)
Sylvia is booed by the crowd during his post-fight interview, especially when he mentions that he came into the fight with an injury.
Official Result: Randy Couture is the new heavyweight champion by unanimous decision (50-45 on all three judges' scorecards.)
Referee: Big John McCarthy
Ringside tidbit: When Bruce Buffer says "sold out" Nationwide Arena, I think he's easily right.