The Weekly Wrap: Dec. 6 - Dec. 12

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By Jack Encarnacao Dec 13, 2008
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.

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If there was ever a way to restore your luster after a tough loss, this was it. Josh Koscheck, just 46 days after losing a bruising battle to Thiago Alves, crushed judo ace Yoshiyuki Yoshida with a pair of two of the hardest punches the elite wrestler has ever thrown on Dec. 10 to cap the UFC’s "Fight For The Troops" on Spike TV.

Koscheck landed a straight right that kept the Japanese fighter upright just long enough for an harder looping right hook to connect. Yoshida was working leg kicks, and Koscheck faking takedown attempts, before the bombs dropped. Yoshida was badly hurt by the punches, one of several stark injuries on the night, and was stretchered out of the cage after several minutes on the mat.

According to UFC.com, Yoshida suffered a concussion and was treated and released from a local hospital. The win sent Koscheck home with an extra $30,000 knockout bonus.

Taking the fight was a big gamble for the American Kickboxing Academy fighter, who risked slipping out of the upper-tier welterweight picture if he suffered two losses in less than two months. Just two weeks ago, Koscheck was briefly on the chopping block as UFC President Dana White vowed to cut all AKA fighters after their next losses due to a long-simmering dispute with the camp's managers over video game licensing deals.

Koscheck, who reportedly still has not signed the video game deal and deferred all questions about it until after the Yoshida fight, replaced an injured Diego Sanchez to face Thiago Alves at UFC 90 on Oct. 25. As a result of the win, Alves will face the winner of the Georges St. Pierre v. B.J. Penn welterweight title bout on Jan. 31, White confirmed this week. Sanchez is set to drop to lightweight, where he may face Sean Sherk, who called "The Nightmare" out in an interview this week with MMA Weekly.

"Fight For The Troops" featured several brutal finishes before a lively crowd of some 10,000 mostly U.S. servicemen and women at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., just outside Fort Bragg. The fights were wrapped around touching vignettes about soldiers who suffered brain injuries in combat. The event was a fundraiser for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes fund and The Fisher House, whose vice chairman is a friend of UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta. The television presentation did not feature any ads for the upcoming UFC 92 pay-per-view. Every winning fighter urged donations to the fund in their post-fight interviews, and some $4 million was raised for the cause. In addition, an official from the North Carolina Boxing authority told MMAWeekly.com that the state did not collect any taxes on the event. Iraq war veteran Steve Bruno thanked soldiers for saving his life after a 2002 helicopter crash following his rear-naked choke victory over Johnny Rees, who was cut after the loss, according to CBSSports.com.

The event did a 1.43 television rating on Spike TV, which translates to about a 2 million viewer average, according to MMATorch.com. The show did particularly well in Males 18-49, doing about 70,000 more viewers in that demographic than an NBA game on ESPN. That's a slight rise from the 1.36 that the last UFC Fight Night did in September, which was headlined by Mac Danzig vs. Clay Guida. The number was lower than the 1.73 for UFC 89 "Bisping vs. Leben,” the highest-rated Spike TV event of 2008.

Photo by Sherdog.com

Mike Swick was a big
winner at UFC Fight Night.
Koscheck wasn't the only AKA fighter to rise to the occasion on Dec. 10. Mike Swick did exactly what he needed to do coming off two sluggish wins at welterweight, dropping Jonathan Goulet with a right hand moments into the first round and then wailing on the French Canadian with 20 punches before the referee stepped in. Swick looked the leanest he has looked in the Octagon.

On paper, the Koscheck and Swick finishes would seem to be a lock for the most violent of the night, but were far from it. Ben Saunders' knees from the Thai clinch to Brandon Wolff left a bulging hemotoma that spanned Wolff’s forehead. The final WEC light heavyweight champion, Steve Cantwell, destroyed the arm of Razak Al-Hassan, bending the limb at a 90-degree angle in the wrong direction and earning a $30K submission of the night bonus. The sickest visual, however, came in the first preliminary fight of the night between Dale Hartt and Corey Hill, which was posted to UFC.com. and picked up by celebrity news site TMZ.com. Hartt checked a Hill leg kick in the second, and the impact destroyed Hill's leg, leaving it dangling below the knee in stomach-churning fashion. He suffered a leg fracture and underwent surgery on Thursday and could be out of action for more than a year.

Also on the card, lightweight Jim Miller looked dynamic against a game Matt Wiman, hitting crisp strikes and hitting takedowns at will for a unanimous decision nod that earned both fighters $30K Fight of the Night bonuses. The win came on a week's notice after Wiman's original opponent, Frankie Edgar, pulled out due to injury. Tim Credeur also picked up a win, handing Nate Loughran his first loss via TKO when Loughran cold not come out foe the third round bell.

This article was revised Dec. 13 to correct the amount on Koscheck's knockout bonus; it was a $30,000 knockout bonus, not $16,000.
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