Couture, Rodriguez To Clash For Vacant Ufc Heavyweight Title When The Warriors Return, Sept. 27, On Pay-per-view
COUTURE, RODRIGUEZ TO CLASH FOR VACANT UFC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE WHEN THE WARRIORS RETURN, SEPT. 27, ON PAY-PER-VIEW
2 Lightweight Fights at Mohegan Sun Arena
LAS VEGAS, August 5, 2002…Two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture (7-3-0 in Mixed Martial Arts) of Gresham, Ore., will clash with top contender Ricco Rodriguez (9-1-0) of Las Vegas, Nev., for the vacant heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 39: The Warriors Return, Friday, September 27, on pay-per-view television from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The UFC is returning to the Mohegan Sun, the site of its January 11 sell-out of UFC 35: Throw Down, its first show this year. (The Mohegan Sun is located off Interstate 395 at exit 79A. It is approximately 21/2 hours driving time from New York; 11/2 hours from Boston and 45 minutes from Hartford and Providence.)
UFC officials withdrew the heavyweight title from Josh Barnett July 29 following his six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The NSAC concluded he violated Nevada’s unarmed combat laws by having three, separate anabolic agents in his body when he won the crown from Couture March 22 in Las Vegas.
Two lightweight bouts, between top contenders B.J. Penn (5-1-0) of Hilo, Hawaii, and Matt Serra (11-1-0) of Long Island, N.Y., and Din Thomas (16-2-0) of Orlando, Fla.,versus Caol Uno (12-4-2) of Kanagawa, Japan, will set the stage for the two winners to meet for the vacant lightweight title at a future date.
Tickets, $200, $100, $60 and $30, will go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, at tickets.com or by calling tickets.com at 1-800-477-6849. The Mohegan Sun box office is located at the Spring Gateway that connects the Casino of the Earth and The Shops.
UFC 39: The Warriors Return will be available on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, Dish Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu and Viewers Choice Canada pay-per-view television. The suggested retail price is $29.95.
Other bouts on the eight-fight card will include two heavyweight matches, two middleweight bouts and a welterweight showdown. One heavyweight fight will pit veteran Pedro Rizzo (11-3-0) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, against Gan McGee (10-1-0) of San Luis Obispo, Calif., the other will feature UFC newcomers Tim Sylvia (15-0-0) of Davenport, Iowa, and Wes Correira (7-2-0) of Hilo, Hawaii. Both middleweight bouts promise to be wars. Former champion Dave Menne (35-4-1) of Forest Lake, Minn., returns to Mohegan to face Phil Baroni (5-1-0) of Long Island, N.Y., and Matt Lindland (7-1-0) of Eagle Creek, Ore., will meet Ivan Salaverry (9-1-0) of Seattle Wash. The welterweight fight will match exciting newcomer Benji Radach (11-0-0) of Olympia, Wash., with veteran Sean Sherk (20-0-1) of Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Couture, a former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, suffered his only defeat in the Octagon to Barnett in the March 22 title fight. Couture dominated the first round and half the second before Barnett negotiated a reversal on the ground and rained punches on Couture that he couldn’t defend. Referee John McCarthy stopped the fight at 4:35 of the second round.
Rodriguez has won four straight fights by technical knockout in a meteoric rise to the top of the heavyweight division. He defeated Tsuyoshi Kosaka at UFC 37: High Impact, May 10 in Bossier City, La.; Jeff Monson, January 11 at UFC 35: Throw Down; Pete Williams at UFC 34: High Voltage, November 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Andre Arlovski, June 29, 2001, at UFC 32: Showdown In The Meadowlands.
Penn returns to the site of his only loss, his January 11 title fight with former lightweight champ Jens Pulver that went to a decision after five rounds. Penn won a TKO over previously undefeated Paul Creighton May 10 in Bossier City. In Serra’s last fight, he defeated Kelly Dullanty by triangle choke tap out in the first round March 22 in Las Vegas.
In their last fights, Thomas won a unanimous decision over Fabiano Iha Sept. 28 at UFC 33: Victory in Vegas and Uno defeated Yves Edwards by unanimous decision May 10 in Bossier City.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the world’s leading mixed martial arts sports event. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, the UFC programs six live pay-per-view events yearly through cable and satellite providers. In addition, to its US distribution on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, TVN and Dish Network, UFC events are distributed internationally through British Sky Broadcasting, WOWOW, Inc. in Japan, Globosat in Brazil and Modern Sports and Entertainment in Scandinavia. UFC licenses video games for all major playing platforms through Crave Entertainment.
With its state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, Mohegan Sun Arena is the premier entertainment venue in Connecticut. Pollstar Magazine, a major concert industry publication, nominated the Mohegan Sun Arena for the 2001 Concert Industry Award for Best New Concert Venue. Mohegan Sun Arena was among five nominees for this prestigious award. Major sporting events, including the UFC, championship boxing, college and professional basketball, tennis and bowling, along with world-renowned entertainers such as Tim McGraw, Gloria Estefan, Janet Jackson, Cher, Aerosmith, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty and Alicia Keys have performed in this 10,000-seat arena.
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