By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, February 6 – It was a bout nearly 12 years in the making, and for Randy Couture, it was certainly worth the wait, as he was on point in his UFC 109 main event Saturday night against Mark Coleman from the opening bell until he submitted his fellow Hall of Famer in the second round at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
“I’m having a blast,” said Couture, who was scheduled to face Coleman in 1998 before an injury scrapped their UFC 17 bout. “I feel like I’m improving each time. It’s my third fight in seven months and it feels great to be so active.”
Both fighters landed their jabs effectively in the opening stages of the bout, with Couture adding a right hand to the mix for good measure. Coleman wasn’t shying away from exchanges though, and he was able to land some hard shots on the inside. With a little over three minutes left though, Couture rocked Coleman with punches upstairs and his follow-up knees were just as effective before he bulled ‘The Hammer into the fence. Proceeding to battle it out on the inside, Couture was in control, but Coleman was not going away, as he would come back with a shot just when it seemed that Couture was going to pull away. But by the time the bell rang, it was clear that Couture had jumped into the lead.
Couture’s more accurate strikes again paid off early in the second, as he rocked Coleman and then took him down to the mat. Couture proceeded to deliver some ground and pound to the master of the technique before sinking in a rear naked choke. Coleman attempted to hang on, but to no avail, as he went to sleep, forcing referee Steve Mazzagatti to halt the bout at 1:09 of the round.
With the win, the 46-year old Couture ups his record to 18-10. He is 2-0 in his current stint at light heavyweight. The 45-year old Coleman falls to 16-10.
“The guy’s really tough,” said Coleman. “I don’t know what happened. I’m disappointed, but I won’t quit, I’ll be back.”