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Length: 205 mins
Another UFC in a new territory, this time the group’s debut in Dallas, was a good show that featured some memorable finishes, bad nights for two stars and the emergence of fresh contenders at both Light-heavyweight and Heavyweight. The full stop of the night was punctuated by Vitor Belfort, who triumphantly returned to the Octagon after years of inconsistency.
- Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
- Mirko Filipović vs. Junior dos Santos
- Martin Kampmann vs. Paul Daley
- Josh Koscheck vs. Frank Trigg
- Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca
- Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
- Drew McFedries vs. Tomasz Drwal
- Jim Miller vs. Steve Lopez
- Rafaello Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz
- Rick Story vs. Brian Foster
- Eliot Marshall vs. Jason Brilz
- Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Igor Pokrajac
- Rob Emerson vs. Rafael dos Anjos
- UFC 103 Countdown
- UFC 103 Behind The Scenes
- UFC 103 Weigh In
The live show opened with Tyson Griffin and Hermes Franca which would prove to be Franca’s penultimate fight in the sport before announcing his retirement. He came into the fight overweight, subsequently agreeing to pay his opponent 15% of his purse for the inconvenience of Griffin having to fight a guy who appeared to be at least 180lbs in a 155 contest. He also had a crap haircut. Alas looking like the Jokers podgy uncle did not save Franca from a devastating knockout loss as he was dropped in the second round and then pounded out by the ferociously fast hands of Griffin.
Vitor Belfort wasn’t the only notable name from the past returning for this show as Frank Trigg attempted to give his career a shot in the arm with a return to the big league. However perennial heel Josh Koscheck had every intention of spoiling the homecoming party (if you could call it that since Trigg was more disliked by the live crowd than Koscheck, which is quite an achievement.) Josh connected with a big right and it was all over quickly. In typical Trigg fashion he complained of a premature stoppage but he was well out of it as Koscheck was raining unanswered punches down when it was stopped.
Rising British star Paul Daley made a big splash with his UFC debut as he tore through the well-regarded Martin Kampmann in less than 3 minutes. Daley’s punching power could be something to be revered in the Welterweight division.
When you spoke of revered strikers in years gone by more often than not Mirko Cro Cop would be a name near the top of the list. However, over the course of his UFC run it has become painfully obvious that the former Pride GP winner is no longer the fighter he once was. While Mirko was competitive on this night it was clear that his opponent, the up and coming Junior Dos Santos, was every bit as good standing with the former K1 star. As the fight wore on it would be Dos Santos who began to dominate the striking exchanges until Cro Cop verbally submitted in the third round. His reasoning was a punch that had damaged his eye and affected his vision; however Mirko was well on his way to losing a decision anyway.
After 2 minutes of inactivity, all it took was a grazing punch and a couple of quick follow-ups and Vitor Belfort was hurtled back into title contention. This occurred at the expense of Rich Franklin, who was the most popular guy on the show but unfortunately showed nothing in this fight other than his future as a well-liked gatekeeper who’ll probably never climb back to the top but can usually be counted on to be competitive with the top contenders.
Most memorable prelim fights belonged to Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Efrain Escudero who dispatched Cole Miller in impressive fashion. Also notable was the clash between unknowns Rick Story and Brian Foster who helped their cause with fight of the night and best submission bonuses.
UFC 103 was another solid, if not spectacular, night of fights and for the die-hard fan is certainly a worthwhile purchase not least for the grand return of a legend of the sport.
Points: 7 / 10