Griffin vs. Stephan
TUF 1 Finale
Zuffa found its lifeline on April 9, 2005 inside the archaic Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, the small arena at which the University of Nevada-Las Vegas women’s basketball team plays its home games. The Ultimate Fighting Championship was closing out the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” a reality television show that placed young unknown fighters in a house for several weeks, forcing them to live together and fight one another for the right to earn a six-figure contract with the UFC.
The real story, however, would wind up being the unbelievable war that took place between Griffin and Bonnar in the 205-pound final. The two light heavyweights tore into each other across three grueling, bloody rounds, as they kicked, kneed, elbowed and punched with reckless abandon. What it lacked in technique, it made up for with human drama and competitive spirit. Griffin emerged with the decision, and a legion of new UFC fans was birthed, giving rise to an MMA boom that had never before been seen.
Though it wasn’t the greatest fight ever, it remains arguably the most important event that the UFC ever enjoyed. The company was on the brink of closing its doors but when the two popular brawlers were ripping each other apart, word spread like wildfire and the grueling battle inevitably changed the future of the UFC forever.
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