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UFC 53: Andrei Arlovski vs. Justin Eilers and Evan Tanner vs. Rich Franklin

By Cliff Montgomery,
As the glittering neon crept up the walls of Atlantic City's historic Boardwalk Hall, the powerful punchers of the Ultimate Fighting Championship electrified everyone at UFC 53: Heavy Hitters.

In the main bouts of the evening, Rich Franklin dethroned reigning Middleweight champion Evan Tanner, and Interim UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski showcased his abilities in a quick win against Justin Eilers.

Here are details of the evening:

Evan Tanner vs. Rich Franklin (UFC MW Title)

Franklin began the match by throwing hard lefts and rights straight into Tanner's face. Tanner recovered well, landing a clean counter right hand that put Franklin on his knees. The crowd roared.

But from there, it was Franklin crushing Tanner's face for four straight rounds. The match was stopped due to a large cut above Tanner's left eye in the fourth. Rich Franklin was awarded the victory by TKO in round 4, and the UFC Middleweight championship belt.

"The Pitbull" Andrei Arlovski vs. Justin Eilers

The supportive crowd that filled Boardwalk Hall buzzed with excitement. When the bell sounded, Justin Eilers quickly pushed the pace by throwing hard lunging left hooks.

Charging forward right away is often a rookie's greatest mistake. Eilers, brave as he clearly is, quickly proved the truth of this rule.

Arlovski began using his superior height and reach advantage to slam the face of his opponent with stiff jabs, which bloodied Eilers almost immediately. Eilers loaded his right hand for an explosive return blow, but his right knee buckled as he lowered his body to attain momentum, sending him to the floor deeply in pain. Arlovski pounced on the fallen challenger, forcing a stoppage by the referee. The winner by TKO, in Round 1 due to injury stoppage--and still interim UFC Heavyweight Champion--was "The Pitbull" Andrei Arlovski.

Undercard Results

Nick Diaz vs. Koji Oishi

Koji Oishi came in with an utterly bizarre standing style. His hands were far down, not covering his head, which allowed Diaz with his overwhelming reach advantage and improved striking to take out Oishi, the #3 rated Welterweight Pancrase fighter, with a knockdown from a brutal left followed by some ground and pound to a referee stoppage, a little over a minute into round one. Complete mismatch.

David Loiseau vs. Charles McCarthy

First round was about even. McCarthy was able to take the fight to the ground where he wanted, and even managed to get Loiseau's back. He tried a rear naked choke, but Loiseau guarded well and was able to reverse McCarthy to secure the top position.

Then wonderful finish in round two. Loiseau landed a spinning back-kick square into the liver area of McCarthy. McCarthy backed straight up clearly in pain, which allowed Loiseau to come in with a flying knee that brought McCarthy down. Loiseau then continued in, landing a couple of punches until the referee stopped the fight, giving "The Crow" the win via TKO in round 2.

Nate Quarry vs. Shonie Carter

The first round saw Quarry come out strong, but he soon got whacked with a hard shot from Carter. From then on it was all Quarry, finishing poor Carter by knocking him down twice with a devastating right hand. The referee stopped the fight, giving Quarry the win via TKO in round 1.

"The Head Hunter" Paul Buentello vs. Kevin Jordan

Great fight from the first moment, with Buentello getting rocked bad early, apparently on the point of defeat. But he managed to a wonderful comeback, nearly knocking out Jordan several times. Buentello also got caught with some big strikes during the struggle. The match ended when it went to the floor, with Buentello managing to achieve a single-arm guillotine for the tapout. Buentello obtained a clean submission victory in round 1.

Forrest Griffin vs. Bill Mahood

Forrest Griffin, the winner in the 205 lb. division of "The Ultimate Fighter" hit reality show on SpikeTV, made his PPV debut against tough Canadian fighter Bill Mahood. Both guys came out swinging just a little early, with the fight soon going to the floor. Griffin got Mahood's back and eventually attained a rear naked choke, getting the tapout and submission victory in round 1.

Karo Parisyan vs. Matt Serra

Serra slammed Parisyan in the first round with a great punch--but the rest was all Parisyan Serra managed to escape Parisyan's tight armbar and a rear naked choke. Parisyan then dominated with strikes and takedowns whenever he wanted, soon brutalizing Serra with elbows on the ground, nearly ending the 3-round contest.

Parisyan however won a clear unanimous decision, with two judges scoring him the match 3 rounds to 0, 30-27, and the final judge scoring it 2 rounds to 1, 29-28, all in favor of Karo "The Heat" Parisyan.

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