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Friday, Mar 22, 2002

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.
Josh Barnett
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:
Evan Tanner vs. Elvis Sinosic, light-heavyweight bout Tanner pushed Sinosic against the fence and got the takedown. From within Sinosic’s guard, Tanner rained down elbows, opening a cut on the Aussie’s forehead that ended the bout. Tanner won via ref stoppage due to cut in the first round at 2:06.

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.

Matt Hughes
Hayato Sakurai vs. Matt Hughes, welterweight championship bout Both fighters started out strong — Hughes with jabs and takedowns, Sakurai with a spinning back-kick and good defense. But as the bout progressed, the champ turned up the intensity. Scoring with his trademark high-amplitude slams, Hughes grounded & pounded, and in the fourth round attained the full mount. From there, the flurry of punches prompted the ref to stop the match. Hughes retained his belt via ref stoppage in round four at 3:01.

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.

The preliminaries:
Sean Sherk vs. Jutaro Nakao, welterweight bout Sherk came out aggressive, going for the takedown on a defensive Nakao. All three rounds were similar, with Sherk’s takedowns and ground & pound onslaught getting more and more effective. Sherk earned the unanimous decision.

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.

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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