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Length: 285 mins
- Light Heavyweight Championship Match
Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin
- Patrick Côté vs. Ricardo Almeida
- Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau
- Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle
- Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio
- Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Justin McCully
- Jorge Gurgel vs. Cole Miller
- Melvin Guillard vs. Dennis Siver
- Corey Hill vs. Justin Buchholz
• Countdown to UFC 86
• UFC 86 Weigh Ins
• UFC 86 Behind the scenes
• Fighter Interviews
You’ve come a long way baby.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship loves a milestone; the first Ultimate Fighter Finale, the UFC/Pride Unification bout and of course UFC 86: Jackson vs Griffin – where a winner of The Ultimate Fighter reality show reaches the pinnacle of the sport and attempts to become a UFC Champion.
Of course the memory of Matt Serra’s milestone, the Ultimate Fighter alumnus who toppled Georges St Pierre (considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world) to win a UFC title after winning the reality show, is quickly forgotten so as not to diminish the organisation’s latest landmark.
Griffin fans will no doubt argue, and perhaps rightly so, that Serra won the ‘Comeback’ series and had fought in the UFC prior to the talent show – ergo, we can forget he ever existed.
Regardless, the hit reality series The Ultimate Fighter has produced some truly astounding mixed martial arts fighters, many of whom have risen to the upper echelons of the UFC. And as the winner of the inaugural series of The Ultimate Fighter, Griffin – to be fair – has probably exemplified this better than anyone.
Now, after spending 13 weeks with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as a coach on the hit reality show that launched him and the UFC into American mainstream, Forrest Griffin personifies the meteoric rise of both fighter and sport.
The double-disc DVD packs in almost five hours of fight footage culminating in the landmark title fight with customary special features including behind the scenes featurette, weigh-in and pre and post-fight press conferences. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever watched special features from previous UFC cards then these add-ons won’t really show you anything you haven’t seen before.
But we buy these DVDs for the fights – right?
And so the main card had milestone written all over it, but it was more of a milestone in the career of the light heavyweight challenger than the UFC, as Griffin was almost unrecognisable as the goofy wanna-be who walked into The Ultimate Fighter house.
His ‘stick and move’ tactics while throwing brutal leg kicks essentially immobilised one of the most destructive fighters in the sport leaving ‘Rampage’ looking more hopeful to Griffin’s purposeful performance.
Held at the Mandalay Bay Centre Las Vegas over the 4th of July weekend, UFC 86 delivered added fireworks with an action-packed fight card including knockout artist Patrick Cote who was looking to continue his winning streak against jiu-jitsu ace Ricardo Almeida.
‘Big Dog’ Almeida was enjoying a successful comeback to MMA after a lengthy hiatus, where he put in some quality time with the missus and kids, but soon realised the demands of the sport had moved on significantly in his absence. The Brazilian American looked calm, relaxed and very much in control of this fight but his apparently inferior conditioning signalled a long night for man it seemed was being lined-up as a possible threat to middleweight king-pin Anderson Silva.
But this fight card was always going to feature a host of The Ultimate Fighter alumni as the UFC looked to further advertise the success of the popular reality show.
Josh Koscheck and Chris Lytle (who have come a long way themselves) treated the crowd to a brutal ground and pound war that resulted in one of, if not the, bloodiest fights of 2008.
Elsewhere Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson entered the Octagon to face Gleison Tibau to further bolster his growing reputation within the sport and the 155lb division.
Further down the card, less familiar (or perhaps less popular TUF veterans) filled out the pre-lim fights and much to their credit showed excellent development in their own game. Cole Miller showed jiu-jitsu stud Jorge Gurgel that his ground game is coming along nicely.
So milestones all round then – for fighters, UFC and indeed the sport of MMA. God I love milestones and just think, it won’t be long until Penn vs GSP 2, UFC 100 and no doubt a UFC in Madison Square Gardens.
Points: 6 / 10