UFC 53: Heavy Hitters saw two belt battles on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. First UFC middleweight champ Evan Tanner faced Rich Franklin. And, in the main event, UFC interim-heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski met Justin Eilers.
A series of odd events led to this unexpected title shot as Miletich Fighting System’s Justin Eilers, who was coming off a KO loss in his 2nd Octagon appearance, squared off with UFC interim-heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski in his first title defense.
Seconds into this UFC® 53 bout Serra sent Parisyan face-first to the canvas with a stiff right hand to the head. Parisyan gamely held on as Serra opened up with both hands, and once his head cleared he started throwing back as Serra continued to land with his underrated strikes. The second and third rounds couldn’t possibly match the pace of the opening five minutes, and at this tempo Parisyan excelled, using judo throws and fierce elbows at close range to punish his foe.
In his first bout since winning The Ultimate Fighter, fan-favorite Forrest Griffin entered the Octagon as a 10-2 member of the UFC roster against a debuting stand-up fighter with a blackbelt in taekwondo - Bill “The Butcher” Mahood.
Following his KO winning debut, the highly-experienced heavyweight Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello was set to make his second Octagon appearance against UFC newcomer Kevin “The Shaman” Jordan who was enjoying a 7 fight win streak.
After his injured stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Muay Thai striker Nate Quarry would, finally, get the opportunity to show UFC fans what he does best as “The Rock” made his Octagon debut against the 34–12–7, 1NC MMA veteran Shonie Carter.
It was pretty obvious where each of these middleweights wanted the melee to go as David “The Crow” Loiseau with 7 of his 12 wins via KO/TKO took on the debuting Charles “Chainsaw” McCarthy with all 8 of his wins coming by way of submission.
Getting back on the winning track with a TKO, Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s Nick Diaz with his submission skills and surprising amount of knockout power aimed to improve his 10-3 record against debuting, power-punching Pancrase veteran - Koji Oishi.