Business picked up with the next match, though, so long as that business wasn't my sideline: collecting Demian Maia rookie cards. Maia remains one of the best BJJ practitioners in the sport. Sadly for him, this is mixed martial arts, and Nate Marquardt mixed his brainpan with a beautifully-timed one punch KO after Maia was silly enough to try to come in for a big shot. I don't want to see a Silva/Marquardt rematch, but it's hard to say Nate shouldn't get some sort of reward for that gorgeous stoppage of a guy who some supporters (okay, me again) said should be next in line at middleweight. Sigh. On the plus side, my Shane Shrine ("Shrine Carwin?") stays intact until at least UFC 106.
Jake Rosholt took three rounds to realize that trading strikes with Chris Leben wasn't a bright idea. That's the thing about superior wrestling, though: so long as you realize you have it, you can control the fight venue. Rosholt hung in there through two with good takedowns and great ground defense but missed at least two great opportunities for a choke finish. The third was a charm, however, and it's probably about time for UFC to do a cost-benefit analysis for keeping the volatile Leben on board.
In the night's penultimate match, it was Thiago Silva finally convincing the people around me that I'm brighter than I look. I had a feeling his beating at Machida's hands was just a blip against an incredible fighter, and he proved it against Jardine with a great KO that should assuage doubters. Jardine's best when he's able to work the angles against a fighter and trip him up with his weird spider-goat movements, but Silva simply came at him and finished with a strike that put him down and a finishing blow to send the Dean to dream street.
Frankly, the card could have stopped there and I'd have been okay with the money's worth, but the main event produced a showstopper.
The two gladiators were winners before the fight even started. Nogueira, for picking "Gimme Shelter" as his walk song. A man with capital-T Taste, right there. And Couture wins at life for being that ripped in his mid forties! Seriously, the dude was cut like an emo kid's wrists while my lazy ass, twenty years younger, was shoveling guacamole into my face.