UFC 69: Mallory Looks at the Night Hell Froze Over
By Mallory Mahling
It seems fitting that a snowstorm hit Texas last weekend. Texas was the site of Saturday night's UFC 69, and by the end of that pay-per-view, I could have sworn that hell had frozen over.
Not only did Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Matt Serra capture the Welterweight Championship, but the seemingly unbeatable Diego Sanchez found himself on the losing end of a match for the first time ever. Emotions ran from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.
I'm thrilled that Serra won the championship. He was always my favorite on TUF4. I do feel bad, however, that I picked Georges St. Pierre to win the match. The folks at UFC, whose preview for the pay-per-view seemed to favor GSP, apparently expected him to retain his title, too. In his post-match interview, Serra, the new champ, teased Joe Rogan about that very thing, asking if there was any humble pie left.
And then there was Josh Koscheck's victory over Diego Sanchez, both alums of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.
One nice thing about TUF is that you get to know the fighters up close and personal. Sometimes we learn more about them than we really want to know. And sometimes they make an impression. Koscheck and Sanchez both made indelible impressions. Koscheck and his buddy (whose name escapes me--guess he didn't make much of an impression) spent much of their time in the TUF house bedeviling Chris Leben (another memorable character). Nonetheless, Koscheck did have an underlying likeability. Conversely, Sanchez spent most of his time on TUF being full of himself. I took a dislike to his pomposity then, and my opinion has not changed. The Nightmare--Diego's nickname--probably wished the outcome of his match had really been a nightmare and he would wake up Sunday morning with his perfect MMA record intact. Do you suppose the supremely confident Sanchez has added crow to his health food diet yet.
It would be unfair to say the these victories hinged on a puncher's chance. All four of them trained intensely leading up to these big matches. Sanchez even trained with Oscar de la Hoya. But at the end of the day, Serra and Koscheck were the better men. That's just the nature of the beast.
I'm sure there will be rematches down the road. A rematch between St. Pierre and Serra, both class acts, would surely be conducted in a gentlemanly and sportsmanlike manner.
However, it is very likely that a rematch between Koscheck and Sanchez, who truly seem to hate each other, would rival the animosity leading up to the last Ortiz/Shamrock fight.
And I can't wait!
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Thanks for reading and see ya next week.
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