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Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002

The Miracle Of Ufc 39



Cabbage faces off against Tim Sylvia
The Miracle of UFC 39
By Jim Genia

The weigh-in for the Ultimate Fighting Championship 39 "The Warriors Return" show was held today at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, and it marked a momentous occasion in UFC history. "Momentous?" you may wonder? "Did someone fall off the scale and hurt himself?" No, no one got hurt, and that’s what was so special. The card for this show has remained virtually intact, free of injuries and fighter withdrawals, since it was conceived. More than any other, this card can truly be called "solid" — and that is the miracle of UFC 39.

On to the weights. Stepping up for the vacant heavyweight title, two-time UFC champ Randy Couture was 227 pounds, while rising star Ricco Rodriguez tipped the scales at 243 pounds. Couture has been training with Miletich-fighter Tim Sylvia for this match. Will it be enough to keep the Team Punishment upstart from wearing the crown?

For the much-anticipated first stage of the lightweight tournament, Hawaiian stud BJ Penn and jiu-jitsu demon Matt Serra were both 154 pounds — and both looked to be in incredible shape. Penn himself was a changed man because of a new diet, having cut out junk food and gaining washboard abs in the process. Japanese superstar Caol Uno and Florida’s tough guy Din Thomas were 154 and 152.5 pounds respectively. Will this rematch play out differently than their first bout years ago? Or has Thomas’ string of victories since then (including a submission win over top dog Jens Pulver) made him into something more than Uno can handle?

In the heavyweight division, Brazilian slugger Pedro Rizzo and SLO Kickboxing’s giant Gan McGee were 246.5 and 264 pounds, while Sylvia and Hawaiian monster Wesley "Cabbage" Coreirra were 259.5 and 263 pounds [Cabbage & Sylvia are shown facing off above]. With all the heavy leather that will surely be thrown tomorrow night, these big boys were surprisingly amicable and friendly with each other. Equally as friendly were welterweights Sean Sherk and Benji Radach, who, at 167 pounds and 170 pounds, will be showing fans the latest edition of the classic "wrestler" versus "striker" match-up. Middleweights Ivan Salaverry and Matt Lindland were 184 and 183.5 pounds, and completely respectful.
Dave Menne and Phil Baroni
But taking the prize for fighter interaction: former middleweight champ Dave Menne (182 pounds) and New York BadAss Phil Baroni (182.5 pounds). Usually intense and focused, Baroni stepped up to the scale with a sexy woman on each arm, and at the photo op, jokingly grabbed Menne’s throat and made as if he were punching him [This photo was snapped just after Baroni's "playful" antics]. The two fighters with aspirations for the belt then skipped the standard fighters’ pose and stood with the women — both warriors sharing a smile.

So far so good for "The Warriors Return". A roster full of talent on a card more solid than any other — will the miracle of UFC 39 pan out into a good show? Tune in tomorrow.



TrimSpa Girls with Phil Baroni
Connecticut Sound Bites
By Loretta Hunt

With the official weigh-ins for UFC 39 "The Warriors Return" completed — fans, fighters, their families and friends enter the home stretch countdown for the "big show." Here are a few thoughts from some of tomorrow night’s competitors, with their inevitable trip to the Octagon not far from their minds…



Pedro Rizzo
Pedro Rizzo, eleven-time returning UFC heavyweight veteran, on opponent Gan McGee’s heftier size:

I’m fine. Over 200 pounds, everybody for me has same power. It makes not so much difference for me. I will do my game. If he takes me down, I will fight on the ground. If he try to stay stand, I will fight standing up. For me, no problem.



Dave Menne
Dave Menne, former UFC middleweight champion, on opponent Phil Baroni’s rambunctious antics at the weigh-ins:

I don’t really get into the fight until I get into the ring, so whatever he’s doing is basically lost energy on his part. Half an hour before the fight, that’s my time to turn it on.



Tim Sylvia
Tim Sylvia, first-time UFC heavyweight competitor and Miletich Martial Arts representative, on his and opponent Wes "Cabbage" Corriera’s slimmed-down physiques:

I’ve been dieting and trying to keep up with the little guys. Jens[Pulver] and Tony [Fryklund] have been running me around. He [Cabbage] looks real soft. "Jelly-belly" it looked like to me.



Gan McGee
Gan McGee, Chuck Liddell prot

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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