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UFC 60: Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes - Hughes Defeats Gracie

UFC FIGHTERS: Melvin Guillard vs Rick Davis, Gabriel Gonzaga vs Fabiano Scherner, Spencer Fisher vs Matt Wiman, Jeremy Horn vs. Chael Sonnen, Mike Swick vs Joe Riggs, Brandon Vera vs. Assuerio Silva, Diego Sanchez vs John Alessio, Dean Lister vs Alessio Sakara, Royce Gracie vs Matt Hughes

By Cliff Montgomery,
On May 27, 2006, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held an event at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California which was broadcast live on pay-per-view in the United States and Canada.

UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie was a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament headlined by the much-hyped, non-title matchup between Matt Hughes--current UFC Welterweight Champion--and Royce Gracie, the legendary champion of UFC 1, UFC 2 and UFC 4.

The official UFC line was that the event was a "sold-out" success; but several careful viewers of the pay-per-view broadcast have noted that the mid-level tiers of the arena were clearly empty. Apparently, either a huge number of people who spent a tremendous amount of money for very expensive tickets couldn't make it that night, or the UFC was 'stretching the truth' to save face...I'll let you decide.

My view on the matter? The UFC spent a great of money and effort to drum up interest in the main event, and thought they had a winner by pitting two well-known fighting masters against one another. But no belt was up for grabs, even though a current UFC champion was involved--to many, this said the fight was more of an interesting exercise than anything else.

Also, Gracie is not like, say, Randy Couture--a man who has only recently stepped from the UFC ring, and who is still obviously familiar with the current fight game. Hey, taken together Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock are practically the 'Elvis' of the UFC world; they are the prototypes for every UFC fighter who's come after them, whether those later fighters know it or not.

But Gracie hasn't fought in any UFC event since April 1995--more than a decade ago--when one pure martial arts form was simply pitted against another. It's a different game now, with kickboxers who are also masters of the Gracie wrestling forms, and wrestlers who can also pack a heavy punch and a mean kick. It's a truth which Gracie soon discovered.

Let's review the evening's results:

Main event catchweight bout: Royce Gracie vs Matt Hughes

It was both amazing and heartbreaking. Hughes quickly defeated Gracie by a ground-and-pound TKO at 4:39 of round one. Though the match was held at a catchweight of 175 lb., and was scheduled for three rounds, it was never a close fight.

Could Gracie be back? Perhaps. But he must realize that in the UFC, the era of the pure martial arts fighting style is over.

Preliminary card

Lightweight bout: Melvin Guillard vs Rick Davis

Guillard quickly took care of Davis by KO (right overhead punch to the face) at 1:37 of round one. After winning decisively, Guillard announced his intention to remain a Lightweight. Guillard had previously fought as a UFC Welterweight.

Heavyweight bout: Gabriel Gonzaga vs Fabiano Scherner

Gonzaga defeated Scherner by TKO at :24 of round two. Scherner had complained of eye problems during the break between rounds; but after a doctor's examination, he was cleared for the 2nd round.

Lightweight bout: Spencer Fisher vs Matt Wiman

Fisher defeated Wiman by a flying knee kick, for a KO at 1:43 of round two. This was Wiman's debut in the UFC. Though to be fair, Wiman was a "last-minute" replacement for Leonard Garcia, who reportedly broke his leg while training for this match.

Middleweight bout: Jeremy Horn vs. Chael Sonnen

Jeremy Horn defeated Chael Sonnen by armbar submission at 1:17 of round two. This was the third meeting between the two; all of them were accepted by Sonnen with short notice, and all have been won by Horn.

Clear lesson of UFC 60? Don't take a fight on short notice.

Sonnen was a late replacement for Evan Tanner, who reportedly withdrew due to "personal issues". All right...

This was the only match which did not make it onto the pay-per-view broadcast.

Main card

Middleweight bout: Mike Swick vs Joe Riggs

Swick defeated Riggs by a vicious guillotine choke submission at 2:19 of round one. For Riggs, the middleweight fight was a step up from his usual fighting weight of 170 lb.

Heavyweight bout: Brandon Vera vs. Assuerio Silva

Vera defeated Silva by a quick guillotine choke submission at 2:39 in round one. It may be important to add that Silva had apparently suffered an accidental eye-poke at 1:33 in the 1st round; doctors however allowed him to continue after a referee's time-out.

Welterweight bout: Diego Sanchez vs John Alessio

An interesting, well-matched fight which went the distance. Sanchez defeated Alessio by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

Light heavyweight bout: Dean Lister vs Alessio Sakara

Lister defeated Sakara by triangle choke submission at 2:20 of round one. This was an impressive UFC debut by Lister, who after the win announced his intentions to fight at 185 lb. in future bouts.

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