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Friday, Apr 25, 2003

Hughes Dominates, Franca And Ludwig Surprise In Sunshine State

Miletich Team victors Rich Franklin (left) and Matt Hughes
Hughes Dominates, Franca and Ludwig Surprise In Sunshine State
By Loretta Hunt

UFC 42: Sudden Impact will certainly not go down as one of the more dramatic evenings of MMA action. Held in Miami, Florida at the American Airlines Arena, the event drew a respectable yet far from sell-out crowd (Zuffa estimates attendance at somewhere between 6,500 and 7,000 spectators). Although there were a couple of surprise upsets on the card, it was not enough to overcome a lacking energy in the arena — contributed to a stilted pace and atmosphere.

Here’s a rundown of the night’s action:

Sean Sherk

It was a clear-cut domination by welterweight champion Matt Hughes this evening, as he easily displayed his superior strength and skills to best fellow wrestler Sean Sherk. With a sense of urgency, Hughes shot in for the takedown off the bat, pushing Sherk to the fence and down to the ground. The champ went on to dominate Sherk for the first two rounds, positioning his challenger against the cage for some punishment that opened various wounds on Sherk’s face. The Minnesotan rallied in the third, shooting in for his first takedown which Hughes amply defended. Another double led attempt had Hughes against the fence and eventually down, but Sherk was far less effective in the top position. Hughes even capitalized from below, almost catching Sherk in a tight Kimura. Hughes was able to achieve full mount by round four, but Sherk held on, all the while taking more damage with little chance to mount a counter. By round five, Hughes’ ground tactics were just too overwhelming, but to Sherk’s credit, he was able to go the distance. Hughes was awarded the unanimous decision (48-45, 48-47, 49-46).

Pete Spratt

For the co-main event, "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler suffered the first loss of his career against Pete "The Secret Weapon" Spratt, a former Golden Gloves boxer and expert kickboxer. Getting Spratt to the ground first via a takedown and then by a Hughes-like slam, Lawler looked promising, but Spratt’s damaging leg kicks soon took their toll. Spratt was able to get a takedown himself late in the round and maneuvered to mount just as the bell was sounding. In round two, Lawler worked his knees in the clinch and the bout was stopped briefly when a deep cut opened up over Spratt’s right eye. The action was continued with Spratt landing one more right high kick before Lawler, grasping his side, abruptly (verbally) submitted at 3:25 in. At the time of this writing, it is still unclear exactly what kind of damage Lawler took and when and how it was inflicted.

In the "swing bout" for the night, former King of The Cage welterweight champion Romie Aram dropped opponent Dave Strasser out of the gate with a clean right. Aram went in for the kill, but an experienced Strasser recovered nicely, settling Aram into his guard. Aram inched Strasser to the fence, but the fight would soon be back up on its feet. Dodging a shot by Aram, Strasser twisted behind his opponent and followed him down to the ground into the mount, but was unable to finish the job from there. Much of round two and three had Aram on the defensive, with the action split between the ground and standing at a fairly even pace. However, neither fighter was able to make much of an impression on the by-then disinterested crowd. Strasser via unanimous decision (30-27 all).

Cabbage Correira and his two friends

Hawaiian heavyweight Wesley "Cabbage Correira delivered exactly the performance fans came out to see him for. After weathering a mostly uneventful first round in which Renzo Gracie pupil Sean Alvarez tried time after time to take him down, Correira unloaded on Alvarez three minutes into the second after recovering quickly from the sole takedown of the bout. With Alvarez visibly stunned, referee John McCarthy stepped in along the cage to end the fight at 1:47 in round two.

In the second televised bout of the night, Meattruck Inc.’s Rich Franklin was able to beat the sizable odds against him by avoiding opponent Evan Tanner’s wrath on the ground. Tanner never shot in for the takedown, while Franklin quickly overcame his lack of Octagon experience, warming up into some crisp punching combos and kicks. The Team Quest fighter defended well at first, but Franklin soon got inside, stumbling the vet and then following up quickly with more strikes. Referee Larry Landless stopped the bout when Tanner, from his angle, fell to his knees and hunched over. Although it appeared Tanner could continue after the men were separated, he handled the somewhat questionable referee stoppage like the true professional he is, congratulating Franklin immediately for his impressive debut. Franklin gets the TKO via ref stoppage at 2:20.

In a much anticipated match-up of showman versus no nonsense competitor, Japan’s Genki Sudo and opponent Duane "Bang" Ludwig started off the live pay-per-view with, well, a bang. Sudo had dominated in his UFC premiere, but with world-class kickboxer Ludwig standing across from him this time around, it would be America’s chance to see if "the Neo Warrior" was more than just a court jester. With striking mastermind John Hackleman in tow, Bang made his way to the ring and quickly settled into his corner, probably knowing that his opponent’s entrance would be no ordinary one. Sudo garbed in a long black wig, white kabuki mask and kimono, resembled a dainty female as he danced down the ramp to the audience’s approval. He started the bout with his back to Ludwig, trying to taunt his opponent out into some kind of attack. Ludwig wasn’t biting. Sudo posed and preened, and got little resistance from Ludwig as he took him down to the mat. It looked like Ludwig was in trouble for Sudo had half mount by 2:50, side mount by 2:45, and full mount by 2:30. Thwarting an armbar, Ludwig managed to get to his feet and reversed Sudo on the cage. Ludwig landed his first shots in the second, and as suspected, the K-1 vet was too fast and too hard, forcing Sudo to shoot in for the takedown. Stalled action had both men brought back to their feet, where Ludwig began to expose Sudo’s weaknesses on his feet, and before long, the showman was dropping his shtick and doing more to defend. Round three was Sudo’s to take. He easily got Ludwig to the ground and pinned him against the fence while reigning down punches to end the bout. Big John McCarthy’s decision to halt the fight was the best thing to happen to Bang. Bleeding profusely from his face it looked like the doctors would stop it, but fans were about to witness the biggest rally of the night. Bang came alive with less than two minutes to go, gaining the key top position and turning the tables with some ground and pound of his own to garner the unanimous decision (29-28 all).

In Preliminary Action:

Hermes Franca

Two of the fastest rising teams in the business put forth the best they have to offer in tonight’s first lightweight match-up of the evening. Fans were treated to it all from devastating strikes to hairsplitting submission escapes in an explosive first round. American Kickboxing Academy’s Rich Crunkilton came in with a powerful right hook that he dispatched quickly and effectively. American Top Team’s Hermes Franca was ready though–much to the surprise of those that considered the Brazilian jiu-jitsu untested on his feet–countering well and landing a few punches of his own which Crunkilton ate at first with little emotion. With a beautiful judo throw, Crunkilton navigated the action to the ground, and Franca dug in with a reversed heel hook that "Cleat" narrowly escaped in the first of many close calls for the night. The crowd was eating it up, cheering on local boy Franca and applauding Cleat for his uncanny counter grappling. By round two, Crunkilton began to show the wear and tear of round one’s frenetic pace, while Franca began to pick up some steam with decent jabs and aggressive groundwork. Round three saw Franca work from a triangle choke to an armbar to a Kimura attempt, which torqued Crunkilton’s elbow out of its socket and back in again. An exhausted Crunkilton had just enough to defend, but not enough to get back on the offensive. Franca was handed the unanimous decision (29-28 all).

David Loiseau

Those that were hoping for a stand-up war between England’s Mark Weir and Canada’s David "the Crow" Loiseau might have been surprised, but ultimately not disappointed, for their bout ended in dramatic fashion. After one weighing kick from Weir, middleweight Loiseau went in for the takedown, pushing the lanky against the cage. The action staled as both fighters tussled for position but finally Loiseau got Weir to the ground by switching to the single leg. In Weir’s guard, Loiseau played a patient game picking his shots when he could, as Weir threw some occasional leather up or maneuvered for a choke. At first glance, it seemed that Loiseau might be slowing, but with 1:10 left he unleashed an onslaught of shots that Weir could not defend. The Crow gets the win with a knockout 3:55 into the first round.

Pick up the April 2003 issue of FCF Today!

FCF New Issue
In this issue…

Pride 25: Body Blow crowns a new heavyweight champ; we report the action live from Yokohama.

Takanori Gomi is considered by many to be one of the world’s top lightweight fighters. Many also ask why he is not fighting in the Octagon. Gomi is among those wondering and he voices his concerns at length in this month’s issue. The UFC’s Joe Silva responds as well.

Sick of waiting for Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell? So is Chuck and he discusses the situation in The Iceman Speaks

The Beastman’s Tale: Meet WFA Heavyweight Champ Marvin Eastman.

Decisions, Decisions: A Comprehensive Guide to UFC Judging – Get to understand how the fights are scored, how the judging system evolved, who is judging the fights and much more.

Bitetti Combat 2 – The latest installment of Amaury Bitetti’s show is prime example of the evolution of Brazilian Northeastern fighters.

World Extreme Cagefighting 6Frank Shamrock‘s back and WEC’s got him.

HnS Absolute Fighting Championship 2 hits sunny Florida.

We return to the land of the rising sun for DEEP 8th Impact action at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

King Of The Cage 22: MMA action comes back once again to San Jacinto, California.

Our UFC 42 Preview provides background and insight on a card with lots of new blood.

HOOKnSHOOT Boot Camp 1.1 – Lytle Knocks Out Steel-Chinned Riley.

British MMA action at Combat Evolution 2 & Ultimate Combat 5.

This month’s SHOOTO Report brings you fight action from Korakuen Hall.

CBJJO:Nova Uniao Teams Win Brazilian Cup.

Q&A with bodyguard/model/actor/WFA Welterweight Champ Frank Trigg

Former AMC Pankration strength & conditioning coach Mark Ginther’s latest article on MMA Conditioning: Weight Training for Endurance.

Din Thomas BioFile.

Fight fans talk about their UFC 42 predictions.

In our monthly columns…
In Matt Hume‘s techniques, Josh Barnett & Wayne Diamond demonstrate a Nagata Lock 2; and in the Punchers Corner, champion kickboxer Derek Panza discusses Jab Drills for Building Defense – Part 1.

Every issue of Full Contact Fighter is jam-packed with fight news from the U.S. to Brazil to Japan. FCF travels the globe to bring the fights to you. Get yours today! Available at Tower Records stores around the world or by subscription…

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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