The fight was for the first of -- currently -- two UFC heavyweight interim championships, with the winner promised a unification bout against champion Randy Couture once he recovered from injury.
The fight was for the interim UFC heavyweight championship. The first round began. The fighters came out without touching gloves. Nogueira threw a leg kick early. Sylvia landed a good shot. Nogueira tried for the takedown and brought Sylvia down on top. Nogueira locked half-guard. Sylvia stood up and backed off. Sylvia landed a big right hand and then another. Nogueira landed a big strike. Nogueira clinched. Sylvia landed an uppercut. Sylvia knocked Nogueira down with a left hook and began pounding Nogueira with strikes from the top. Nogueira was trying to control Sylvia's posture but he was hurt badly. Sylvia tried to get out of Nogueira's grasp yet continue to land shots at the same time. Sylvia stood and Herb Dean stood Nogueira up as well. Nogueira looked rocked. He ate a few more strikes and weakly went for another takedown with Sylvia once again on top in half-guard. Nogueira was bleeding under his left eye now. Sylvia threw nice elbows from the top. Sylvia stood up. They clinched. Nogueira looked gassed at this point. Nogueira landed a good jab. Nogueira went for another takedown, defended by Sylvia into a clinch. They backed away. Nogueira looked like he was gaining his composure back now. Nogueira landed a good strike. Sylvia landed a big shot. Nogueira responded with a combination of his own. Sylvia caught Nogueira again with a left, and then again. Sylvia seemed to be utilizing his three-inch reach disadvantage. Nogueira went for yet another takedown. He got the takedown and went for side control but the first round ended. Sylvia looked calm and Nogueira looked flustered.
The second round began. The fighters came back out and exchanged jabs. Nogueira went for a takedown. Sylvia landed a few jabs after he stopped the takedown. Sylvia landed another hard strike. Nogueira seemed to be having a hard time offensively with Tim Sylvia's reach advantage. Nogueira went for another takedown, stuffed once more by Sylvia. Sylvia landed an uppercut.Sylvia landed another uppercut and then a jab. Nogueira went for another takedown, stuffed by Sylvia. Nogueira landed a leg kick. Sylvia landed a shot to the side of Nogueira's head. Body shot landed by Sylvia. Sylvia seemed to be gaining confidence. They clinched, but Sylvia broke it. Nogueira went for another takedown, grabbing a single and shoving Sylvia into the cage. Sylvia grabbed the fence a few times. Nogueira kept coming with the takedown until Sylvia escaped and they circled once more. Nogueira landed a body shot. One minute remained in the second round. Sylvia landed a hard uppercut again. Nogueira landed a hard left hook to the side of Sylvia's head. Ten seconds remained. Sylvia pushed forward. They exchanged jabs and the second round ended.
The third round began. Nogueira landed a leg kick. Sylvia countered with a big right hand. Nogueira went for a takedown, Sylvia brought it to a clinch, Nogueira landed a knee. Nogueira went for the takedown and got it, bringing it to closed guard. Nogueira flipped it around and got on top in side control. Nogueira transitioned to a guillotine and Tim was forced to tap with three minutes and thirty-four seconds remaining in the third round.