Barnett Crowned New Heavyweight Champ, While Hughes Retains His Belt
Barnett Crowned New Heavyweight Champ, while Hughes Retains his Belt
By Jim Genia
The Ultimate Fighting Championship 36 "Worlds Collide" show is now one for the books, and it was a resounding success.
To the tune of 8,327 fans in attendance, a brand new production team, and a stacked card that played out into a night of action-packed fights, UFC 36 was virtually flawless. Josh "the Baby-Faced Assassin" Barnett met Randy "the Natural" Couture head on and came away victorious, becoming the new UFC Heavyweight Champ. In the welterweight division, champ Matt Hughes punished Japanese superstar Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and retained his belt. Slams. Knockouts. Slick submissions and surprising escapes. "Worlds Collide" had it all.
The main card:
Matt Lindland vs. Pat Miletich, middleweight bout Lindland dominated, taking Miletich down and holding him tight against the fence. Passing the guard and securing the mount, the "Law" kept up the pressure and unleashed a fury of strikes. Though unhurt, Miletich failed to defend himself effectively — forcing the ref to stop the match. Lindland earned the win via ref stoppage due to strikes at 3:09 of the first round.
Pedro Rizzo vs. Andrei Arlovski, heavyweight bout Though they started off tentative, both fighters warmed up to exchange some crisp strikes on their feet. All three rounds were a kicking & punching chess match — Arlovski showing good hand combos and Rizzo landing hard round kicks. A right cross by Rizzo ended the standup war, knocking Arlovski out in the last round. Rizzo won via KO in the third round.
Josh Barnett vs. Randy Couture, heavyweight championship bout A strong Couture pushed Barnett against the fence and took the challenger down, then punished him with hard punches. A very game Barnett rallied back to his feet. The second round was a seesaw battle that saw Couture in the mount, and Barnett reversing. Barnett unloaded a storm of strikes from the top position — forcing referee Big John McCarthy to call a halt to the match. Barnett earned the win via ref stoppage due to strikes, and became the new UFC Heavyweight Champ.
Kelly Dullanty vs. Matt Serra, lightweight bout Serra exerted complete grappling dominance, securing a quick takedown, then mount. Giving his back to avoid the raining strikes, Dullanty escaped a tight rear-naked choke, then armbar — only to succumb to a triangle choke. Serra earned the win via submission in the first round at 2:58.
Pete Williams vs. Frank Mir, heavyweight bout Mir, strong and aggressive with kicks, was quickly taken down by Williams. Even faster, though, was Mir’s bent armlock from the guard, forcing Williams to tap out. Mir via submission in round one at :46. Mir earned the Tapout Submission of the Night Award for his performance.