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Friday, Nov 21, 2003

Happy Bizarre Birthday:referee Assault And Near-riot Black Eye Ufc 45 Tenth Anniversary Show

Happy Bizarre Birthday:
Referee Assault And Near-Riot Black Eye UFC 45 Tenth Anniversary Show

By Loretta Hunt

      With the introduction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, November 12, 1993 marked the beginning of what would become a passion for countless martial arts enthusiasts in America and around the world. Over the course of ten years, the sport has struggled to find first itself, and then an audience large enough to ensure its continued growth and ultimate survival. Due to the UFC’s efforts, especially in the last three years, MMA has made incredible strides in all avenues of professional sports. On the eve of its anniversary, though, some may wryly remark that UFC 45 set the promotion back by ten years.
      It started out as a rather tame evening with three uninspired preliminary bouts, but once the main card began to unfold, one unnerving sequence after another seemed to pull what was meant to be a momentous occasion down into the gutter. Even a touching tribute honoring UFC greats like Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock could not offset a near riot that almost broke out inside the Octagon following the Abbott-Corriera fight. And middleweight Phil Baroni’s despicable display towards the hierarchy created to validate MMA was a direct hit to the fledging sport still looking for credibility from numerous constituents. It was probably not what the UFC had in mind in the way of tapping into its rich nostalgia, as moments of tonight’s event hopelessly mirrored the early, unstructured days of the sport. Ironically, though, the buzz and drama of UFC 45 will probably be a key selling point in attracting future fans.

MMA legends Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock are inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame by Dana White
White inducts Shamrock & Gracie into Hall of Fame

      Luckily for the diehard MMA supporters, welterweight champion Matt Hughes was there to bring some semblance of class to what was turning into an embarrassing evening for America’s number one MMA promotion.

Matt Hughes picks up Frank Trigg for his signature high-amplitude slam
Hughes: wrestling class

His versatile first round win over fellow wrestler Frank Trigg reminded spectators that they had paid to watch a legitimate sporting event. In the opening seconds, Trigg was able to easily take Hughes down, but the powerhouse champion recovered and lifted Trigg over his shoulders on route to his patented high-amplitude slam. Trigg worked two Kimura attempts from the ground scramble that ensued, but it was the champ that pulled out the standing read naked choke win 3:54 in. Both Trigg and now five-time defending champion Hughes should be commended for their professional, competitive, and entertaining performances.
      As for the other bouts on the card:
      Middleweight Matt Lindland turned in a pivotal career performance tonight with his rematch victory over Hawaiian import Faliniko Vitale. An Olympic silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Lindland opted to stand with Vitale for a time before going in for the takedown when Vitale slipped with an early kick attempt. Sporadically landing some kicks and punches in the first two rounds, Lindland demonstrated that he’s been working his game outside his wrestling. To Vitale’s credit, even a wrestler of Lindland’s caliber was unable to take him down past that first round opening. Only after Lindland, himself, slipped with his own kick attempt in the third, did Vitale opt to jump into Lindland’s guard to work his ground game. Lindland eventually reversed though, and punished Vitale with elbows and head strikes till Vitale tapped out at 4:20.
      In a fight that was much welcomed by the blood thirsty East Coast fans, David "Tank" Abbott finally came out swinging against fellow brawler Wesley "Cabbage" Correira. Both men slugged at full force and tagged each other well, but Cabbage had the advantage with his knees from the clinch, which Abbott welcomed each time he would dive in to seek refuge with a takedown. With one such knee, Cabbage opened a large gash over Abbott’s right eye that would eventually stop the bout. But here is where the real "fun" began … A near riot between numerous members of both Abbott’s and Correira’s entourages ensued after Cabbage did his victory dance. Officials rushed the cage to extinguish a number of melees. A Cabbage supporter even managed to slip past security and scale the Octagon walls to challenge Abbott before UFC vet Chuck Liddell jumped between the two men. It was a mess, as well as an absolute travesty for the often misunderstood sport and its community.


      Newly-inducted middleweight Evan Tanner was in serious trouble shortly after the bell sounded for his bout against Phil Baroni this evening. The New York BadAss swooped in quickly with his powerful punches and had Tanner dazed and on his knees almost immediately. A wobbly Tanner barely stayed afloat in those crucial first seconds where the fight legitimately could have been stopped, and a profusely-bleeding cut that stopped the play momentarily for a doctor-check proved his salvation from Baroni’s onslaught. [When Landless interrupted the bout, the cutman came in to work on the wound before the Commission doctor was able to take a look at it, which is in violation of Commission rules.] Given that time to recover, Tanner came back with his patented knees from the clinch to wind Baroni, and managed to get the feisty fighter down along the fence. Working to full mount, Tanner threw down approximately eight elbow strikes (some that did not land) that Baroni did not overtly defend and with some verbal miscommunication between himself and referee Larry Landless [after the match Landless admitted there was miscommunication], the fight was prematurely stopped with only eighteen seconds remaining in the first round. (More details of this to come in the next issue of Full Contact Fighter.) Furious over the stoppage, Baroni distastefully grabbed Landless’s lapel and threw off a punch that sent the arena into a tizzy. UFC president Dana White flew into the cage and publicly lambasted Baroni on-camera for his heinous lack of self control. Baroni was escorted from the arena by state officers and could face suspension repurcusions from the Mohegan Sun Tribal Athletic Board in the near future. Tanner walked away with the TKO win.
      After his entertaining and often witty display tonight, fans are going to expect even more from Robbie Lawler in the future. Lawler returned to action after a UFC 42 loss to kickboxer Pete Spratt put him on the injured list for seven months. He was happy to be back in the cage and it showed in every facet of his game. At the sound of the bell, Lawler immediately got the takedown and began to work on the equally tough Chris Lytle, peppering him with both body and head shots that looked full of power. Lytle kept his cool and went for numerous leg lock attempts, but paid the price in spades each time for his efforts. What was so fascinating to watch though, was Lawler’s reaction to the strikes that Lytle landed on him. Lawler openly laughed at Lytle’s hits and egged him for on future attacks. Despite a few electric flurries by Lawler, round two paled in comparison to the first with far less action, but after teasing the crowd with some furious but brief trades in the first ten minutes, both athletes finally went toe-to-toe in the third. The two men took and landed impressive punches, but Lawler solidified the win with a crisp right hook that sent Lytle to the mat halfway through the third. After three drab preliminary bouts, this fight was the first one of the night to have any sense of urgency. Kudos to both Lawler and Lytle for their efforts.

Pedro Rizzo kicking down at Ricco Rodriguez
Rizzo kicking down at Rodriguez

      In a disappointing preliminary card action, both Ricco Rodriguez and Pedro Rizzo successively punctuated what will most likely be their exits from the UFC (at least for now) with lackluster performances. After numerous failed attempts to shoot in and take down Rizzo throughout all three rounds, Rodriguez finally gathered the courage to close the space between himself and his opponent, but was unintentionally eye gouged for his efforts halfway through round three. On Rizzo’s end, he threw off too few of his punishing kicks or punches, even though he caused damage each and every time he struck. Rizzo did do enough though to pull out the decision, and took the crowd’s brutal verbal berating like a man. Rodriguez though, left the Octagon early, but then returned to acknowledge Rizzo’s hand being raised in victory.
      After succumbing to a guillotine choke to Eugene Jackson back at UFC 35, Massachusetts-local Keith Rockel returned to pass on the favor to Pitts Penn newcomer Chris Liguori. Plucked from the tree a little bit too early for UFC standards, Liguori was easily taken down in the opening seconds and from there, Rockel worked methodically to end the bout. It came 3:29 into round one with the submission.

Yves Edwards working to finish off Nick Agallar
Edwards working to finish Agallar

      Following a mostly uneventful first round, a very pensive Yves Edwards eventually caught his equally edgy opponent Nick Agallar with a clean left that sent the Freestyle Academy rep down to the mat halfway through the second. Edwards immediately went in for the kill with a barrage of unanswered strikes too quick for Agallar to answer. Edwards gets the referee stoppage 2:14 into round two.

UFC 45 Results:

Yves Edwards def. Nick Agallar – 2:14 Rd 2 TKO Referee stoppage due to strikes

Keith Rockel def. Chris Liguori – 3:29 Rd 1 Guillotine choke

Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo def. Ricco Rodriguez – Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler def. Chris "Lights Out" Lytle – Unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Evan Tanner def. "The NY Bad Ass" Phil Baroni – 4:42 Rd 1 TKO Referee stoppage due to strikes

Wesley "Cabbage" Correira def. David "Tank" Abbott – 2:14 Rd 1 Doctor’s stoppage due to cut

Matt Lindland def. Faliniko Vitale – 4:20 Rd 3 Tapout to strikes

Welterweight Title Fight
Matt Hughes def. Frank Trigg – 3:54 Rd 1 Rear-naked choke

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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