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Thursday, Jun 28, 2001

Ortiz Dominates Sinosic And Retains Title;highest Attendance In The History Ofamerican Mixed Martial Arts Shows

Ortiz Dominates Sinosic and Retains Title;
Highest Attendance in the History of
American Mixed Martial Arts Shows

By Josh Gross

      EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — In a two day span the UFC announced intentions to run a show in Las Vegas, announced a signed deal with iN DEMAND for its return to cable television, and, last but not least, held the largest mixed martial arts show — 11, 492 paid in the Continental Airlines Arena — in the history of the U.S. Hard to believe Zuffa’s only been in control for six months isn’t it?
Tito Ortiz with his championship belts
      Headlining the huge event was light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz against Australian challenger Elvis Sinosic. After a grand entrance, Ortiz made sure Sinosic had a rough departure. Following the initial exchange of punches and knees, Sinosic did as expected and pulled the fight into his guard. Unfortunately, that would mean Ortiz was on top, and these days it’s not wise to be in that position. Holding the Aussie against the fence, the champion rained down vicious elbows. "Big" John McCarthy stepped in a stopped the fight 3:32 of round one. The win gave Ortiz his third championship belt and, without a doubt, planted himself as the "man" in mixed martial arts.
      It looks like the hype is true. BJ Penn is "The Prodigy." He proved it tonight, as he took out the third ranked fighter in the 155-pound division, Din Thomas, in only his second UFC fight. Early on, after a Thomas takedown, Penn nearly nailed an omoplata (arm lock using the legs). Thomas defended by standing up, but that gave Penn the opportunity to blast his opponent with a perfectly timed knee. Stunned, Thomas hit the ground and Penn followed with three flush punches. The fight was stopped 2:42 of round one. With his performance, Penn has already placed himself in the middle of the mix for a title shot in the deepest division in the UFC. Talk from the UFC brass has a possible Penn-Rumina Sato match up in the near future.
      Following the small guys, two giants faced each other in the bloodiest contest on the card. Josh Barnett faced close to seven foot Semmy Schilt in a match that had the near capacity crowd roaring. Schilt opened with a kick, but Barnett caught it and quickly took the big man down. Quickly he secured side control and knee-in-belly. He took advantage of his position and mounted Schilt with plenty of time left in the round. From there Barnett rained down vicious elbows, which opened several cuts on Schilt’s face. Despite being on the bottom, Schilt delivered an elbow of his own that opened a gash on Barnett’s forehead. As the time ran down, Barnett attempted an armbar, but couldn’t finish it and ended up on his back. From the guard he went for another armbar and secured one. Schilt fought it off, but 4:21 of round one he had to tap as Barnett finally finished the submission hold.
Rumina Sato and Elis Sinosic
      Next was the highly anticipated rematch between ex-UFC welterweight champion Pat Miletich and Shonie Carter. Miletich, who had a difficult time making weight, and had to take fluids intravenously at the hospital just hours before the fight, came in off the heels of losing his title to Carlos Newton at UFC 31. Carter on the other hand was riding high after defeating Matt Serra with a spectacular spinning back fist at the last show.
      Miletich was angry, but calm as the fight started. Shonie looked slow and was unable to hurt Miletich with strikes. In fact, his defense was so good that the majority of Shonie’s punches and kicks were either blocked or just out right missed. The 33-year-old Miletich brought the match to the ground with a hip toss. Once there he mounted and delivered small punches. Carter was unable to escape as the first round ended there.
      As the second round started Miletich turned up the heat. From the clinch he delivered a nice elbow-knee combination and also delivered two and three punch combos. After breaking the clinch Miletich delivered a big right hand followed by a high roundhouse that caught Carter flush on the back of the head. He dropped and referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the contest 2:42 into the second round.
      It was time for the little guys again as Fabiano Iha made is debut at 155 pounds against the second ranked lightweight in the world, Caol Uno. After a great deal of success, Uno fought Jens Pulver at UFC 30 and was defeated in a very close five round fight. Iha opened the fight with a high kick that just missed connecting flush — it was a sign of things to come. Uno took down Iha, and sat in the explosive Brazilian’s guard. Iha immediately started looking for submissions, but the slick ex-Shooto champion wasn’t having it. Back on the feet, Iha showed good striking skills and Uno once again took him down, this time with by a single leg. After an armbar attempt by Iha, Uno landed two huge bombs that severely stunned his opponent. The referee stopped the fight 1:49 into the fight and Uno evened his UFC record at 1-1.
      After a change in the line up, the much-anticipated fight between Vladimir Matyushenko and Yuki Kondo kicked off the main draw. The styles — Matyushenko a wrestler, Kondo a stand up fighter — caused many different predictions by fans and pundits alike. As it turned out, the wrestler came out on top. Matyushenko opened with a straight kick that surprised the former King of Pancrase. From there, much of the round was spent with Kondo on his back. Matyushenko controlled Kondo’s hips as he sat in the guard and passed to the side. Kondo tried to strike from within his guard, but the open palm strikes did little to fend of the wrestler.
      Round two proved to be boring. After a huge double leg takedown by Matyushenko, he sat in Kondo’s guard the majority of the round. After winning the first two rounds, Matyushenko opened with a huge straight kick to Kondo’s stomach that stunned the tough Japanese fighter. From there Matyushenko proceeded to sit in Kondo’s guard, doing little while there. After three full rounds Matyushenko earned a unanimous decision as judges Tony Mullinax and Eddie Andujar scored the fight 30-27 and judge Doug Crosby scored it 30-26.
      Hometown boy Ricco Rodriguez returned to the New York area as he faced Andrei Arlovski in the second prelim of the evening. Rodriguez – who had been stripped just a couple weeks earlier of his King of the Cage heavyweight title because he took this fight – came into the ring with enormous pressure. Arlovski, still a relative unknown despite a victory over Aaron Brink at UFC 28, came in looking for his second victory in UFC competition. Both men circled to open the fight, and after clinching against the fence Rodriguez slammed Arlovski with a huge double-leg takedown. Back on the feet Arlovski was effective with hand strikes as he made Rodriguez look off balance. After another solid shot by Arlovski, Rodriguez pulled him into his guard. Rodriguez quickly reversed position and punched from the half guard. Rodriguez then went for a kneebar and nearly got it. Orolvski defended well, but was mounted as round one ended.
      Opening with big punches, Arlovski hurt Rodriguez but couldn’t finish him. Rodriguez answered with a one-two combination that drove his opponent to the fence. After taking him down, Rodriguez mounted, controlled the back and remounted as round two ended.
      Arlovski was visibly tired as round three started and Rodriguez was replenished with his second wind. After two solid rights, Rodriguez took the fight to the mat, controlled the side, mounted and proceeded to rain down punches. Referee Mason White stopped the fight 1:23 of the third round. In the biggest fight of his life, Rodriguez came home and fought the best fight of his life.
      The first prelim fight kicked off as the crowd still filled in the arena. Tony DeSouza, unshaved and rugged, came in after defeating Steve Berger at UFC 31. His opponent, Paul Rodriguez, was making his Octagon debut, and unfortunately for him it was a short one. As the fight started, both men circled, they clinched and DeSouza pulled Rodriguez down into a front headlock. After controlling position DeSouza, slipped his arm underneath Rodriguez’s neck and secured a guillotine choke. Rodriguez tapped out 1:13 into the fight. With the win, DeSouza runs his record to 2-0 in the UFC and adds his name to the heavy pool of fighters vying for Carlos Newton’s welterweight title.

Ortiz, Sinosic Weigh-In;
Excitement Builds for UFC Tonight

By Josh Gross

Vladimir Matyushenko
      The time for talk is over. We’re less than 10 hours away from UFC 32: SHOWDOWN IN THE MEADOWLANDS officially becoming the largest mixed martial arts event in U.S. history. Official weigh-ins concluded this morning and things ran surprisingly fast. Tito Ortiz and Vladimir Matyushenko were the only two men that had to weigh-in a second time as each was over weight by merely three-quarters of a pound. Both UFC light heavyweight champion Ortiz and the challenger Elvis Sinosic look relaxed and confident. In the end, it looks like Ortiz will once again have a distinct weight advantage. All the talk of Sinosic bulking up proved to be a mute point as he weighed in at an even 200 pounds, however don’t expect that to stifle the Aussie’s fervor.
      Here are the official weigh-in tallies as taken by Larry Hazzard and the New Jersey Athletic Control Board:

Tito Ortiz
UFC World Light Heavyweight Championship — 5 Rounds
Tito "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz
6′ 2" 205lbs
UFC Record: 6-2
Born/Resides: Huntington Beach, California

Elvis "The King of Rock ‘n Rumble" Sinosic
6′ 3" 200lbs
UFC Record: 1-0
Born: Canberra, Australia
Resides: Sydney, Australia
Lightweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Din "The Dominator" Thomas
5′ 10" 155lbs
UFC Debut
Born: Wilmington, Delaware
Resides: Orlando, Florida

BJ "The Prodigy" Penn
5′ 9" 154lbs
UFC Record: 1-0
Born: Kailua, Hawaii
Resides: Wainaku, Hilo, Hawaii

Heavyweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Josh "The Baby Faced Assassin" Barnett
6′ 3" 257lbs
UFC Record: 1-1
Born/Resides: Seattle, Washington

Semmy Schilt
Semmy Schilt
6′ 10" 261lbs
UFC Record: 1-0
Born: Rotterdam, Holland
Resides: Zuidlaren, Holland

Welterweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Pat "The Croatian Sensation" Miletich
5′ 10" 170lbs
UFC Record: 7-1
Born: Davenport, Iowa
Resides: Bettendorf, Iowa

Shonie "Mr. International" Carter
6′ 169lbs
UFC Record: 3-1
Born/Resides: Chicago, Illinois

Lightweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Caol "Uno Shoten" Uno
5′ 7" 154lbs
UFC Record: 0-1
Born/Resides: Kanagawa, Japan

Fabiano Iha
5′ 8" 155lbs
UFC Record: 3-2
Born: Santa Catarina, Brazil
Resides: Huntington Beach, California

Yuki Kondo
Light Heavyweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Yuki Kondo
5′ 11" 201lbs
UFC Record: 1-1
Born: Niigata, Japan
Resides: Tokyo, Japan

Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko
6′ 205lbs
UFC Debut
Born: Belarus
Resides: Los Angeles, California

Ricco Rodriguez
Heavyweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Ricco "Pretty Boy" Rodriguez
6′ 3" 245lbs
UFC Debut
Born: Staten Island, New York
Resides: Phoenix, Arizona

Andrei Arlovski
6′ 3" 237lbs
UFC Record: 1-0
Born/Resides: Minsk, Belarus

Welterweight Bout — 3 Rounds
Tony Desouza
6′ 169lbs
UFC Record: 1-0
Born: Lima, Peru
Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada

Paul Rodriguez
5′ 7" 168lbs
UFC Debut
Born: San Antonio, Texas
Resides: Orlando, Florida

Interview with
Din "The Dominator" Thomas

By Josh Gross

Din Thomas
      Din Thomas makes his UFC debut Friday night. It’s been a long road traveled for the third ranked fighter in the lightweight division. Thomas has not been defeated since losing to Kaoru Uno in September of ’99 and hopes to continue his streak as he faces the incredibly skilled BJ Penn. Thomas, despite a better record against tougher competition, comes in a slight underdog. Full Contact Fighter caught up with Thomas as he kicked back after the press conference at the ESPN Sportszone on Thursday.

Full Contact Fighter:   Din, tell us a little about how you became involved in fighting.
Din Thomas:   Well, I always considered myself a pretty good athlete. I saw the UFC on TV, so that was just something I wanted to get into at the time and I did.

FCF:   Were you involved in any others sports before you became involved in fighting?
DT:     No, not really I was a late bloomer I guess. I didn’t really fit in with team sports, and I wouldn’t wrestle because of the singlet, but now that the UFC came around I’m wearing these little tight shorts.

FCF:   What about wearing shorts like Tito does?
DT:     I don’t care now; I’ll wear whatever. I just had a complex growing up because I was really skinny. I’m still skinny, but it doesn’t matter now.

FCF:   When did you stop being so skinny that you didn’t mind it anymore?
DT:     I was about the same size since high school. Well, I might have gained 20 pounds since then. I think I started growing maybe about four-years-ago. I’m a natural 155er, and my strength has just increased every year. I kept the same weight, so I’ve been able to take advantage on most 155 pounders out there because of that.

FCF:   Do you find it a problem to fight guys that cut weight and then put it back on before the fight?
DT:     No, I’m used to sparring with a lot heavier guys. When I box I go against mostly heavyweights. When I wrestle most of the guys are bigger than me anyway, so I’m used to it.

FCF:   Tell me about BJ Penn as an opponent and what problems you think he could present for you.
DT:     I don’t know. To me there’s nothing to know about him. I mean, he’s a good jiu-jitsu guy, but he hasn’t really been tested. He’s got a lot of hype so that may be the only problem. Besides that it’s hard to say because he hasn’t really been tested in a fight yet.

FCF:   How much do his jiu-jitsu skills concern you?
DT:     I’m definitely aware of his strong jiu-jitsu background. He folded up one of my partners. I’m a little bit stronger than the guy he folded up. So, I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to roll over for him like my boy did. I’m going to go out and go at him.

FCF:   What can the fans expect from you Friday night?
DT:     It will be the Din Thomas show, that’s all I can say. I’m going out to bang and that’s all I can do.

Pre-fight with
Elvis Sinosic

By Josh Gross

Elvis Sinosic
      Elvis Sinosic returns to the UFC for the first time since defeating former number one contender Jeremy Horn last February by submission. The win gave him the opportunity to be matched against UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz for a chance at the belt. The Australian native has trained full-time for the first time in his career, and will need every thing to go his way if he is to defeat Ortiz. Well spoken and easy going, Sinosic doesn’t seem like much of a threat outside the ring, but as Horn and Frank Shamrock found out first hand, looks can be deceiving. Sinosic and Ortiz face each other in the main event Friday night in the Continental Airlines Arena.

Full Contact Fighter:   Elvis, first off tell me your feelings on the huge announcement made today about the UFC returning to cable television.
Elvis Sinosic:   Oh, It’s absolutely fantastic. I’ve always said that since Zuffa took over it’s not a matter of if, it was a matter of when. They go the New Jersey athletic commission to sanction it and you knew in the back of your mind that these guys were serious. Nevada was next, and you knew when they were done chasing Nevada the other commissions would be next. You also knew that in time it was going to be back in cable. The thing is they’re hitting the cable here in the US but a lot of people don’t realize that they’re talking to cable overseas. They’re talking to cable Australia and I believe the next show will be live there. I believe they’re talking to the UK and Europe. This is an international event that deserves to be shown throughout the world and since they’ve come in that’s been their goal since the first day they walked in. They’re getting the best fighters in the world, so if you’re bringing the best guys here then it should be showing everyone in the world these fights.

FCF:   You’ve come from smaller shows and are now fighting in the largest show ever in the US. What are you thoughts on that?
ES:     It’s a matter of progress, that’s what it’s about. That’s how the sport should be run. You work your way up in the smaller shows and get into the bigger shows. The fighters no longer jump straight into the UFC for a first-time experience. The people here are fighting their debut in the UFC, but they have so many accolades behind them and fights under their belt. That’s the way it should be. The UFC is the premiere mixed martial arts event in the world, and to have the premiere fighters they have to have the experience.

FCF:   This is the first time you’ve really had the opportunity to train full-time for a fight. As we sit here on the eve of the fight, do you notice a difference now than how you normally feel?
ES:     Physically I’m a lot fitter. I’ve always believed a lot in myself. My biggest strength has always been mental preparation, but with the extra time I’m even more mentally prepared. I’ve had more time to research my opponent, more time to train. When you feel stronger physically you feel stronger mentally. So, yeah, I can feel the difference.

FCF:   This is the first time Tito doesn’t really have a noticeable size advantage. He’s taken advantage of that in the past, how do you think it will play out this time?
ES:     I’m a little taller, Tito’s still a bit bigger. He’s still going to have a five- to 10-pound weight advantage. But, as I said before, I used to fight in the open class so for me to complain about a 10 pound disadvantage is a not an issue. The reason I did drop down to this weight class is because 60 pounds is just getting ridiculous. If right now I’m worried about 10 or 15 pounds, then I’ve already set myself back for the fight. All I’m thinking about is going out and doing my best.

FCF:   You are an underdog in this fight, yet a lot of the fans seem to think you have a really good shot at winning. What do you think they see, that the odds makers don’t?
ES:     Realistically, Tito should have the odds on him. He’s the champion and does hold that belt. When you hold the belt there is usually a good reason for it. I think the fans support me because they’ve seen what I can do on short notice, and they believe the training will make a difference. I believe their desire to support me is because I’m one of the fans. They can really relate to me and that inspires them I think. It shows the normal guy can go out there and fight the best in the world, and it gives them hope. They can achieve their goals and that’s what I tell people out there. You believe in yourself, make an effort and you can do anything.

Pre-fight with
Josh Barnett

By Josh Gross

Josh Barnett
      Returning to UFC action since his brutal KO loss to Pedro Rizzo, Josh Barnett faces mammoth Dutch fighter Semmy Schilt. No stranger to nearly seven-foot fighters — Barnett defeated 6’11" Gan McGee at UFC 28 — he needs a win over Schilt in order to be considered among the top heavyweights in line for a title shot in the UFC. At only 24 years of age, Barnett has faced and beaten some of the top fighters in the division. He appears to have taken the fight seriously, as evident by his new streamlined body. Full Contact Fighter caught up with him after the rules meeting on Thursday night.

Full Contact Fighter:   Talk a little about your training. You appear to be in the best shape of your career
Josh Barnett:   It was the same training as always, and I kept the same diet. I lost six-and-a-half-percent body fat when I fought Pedro (Rizzo.) I just kept on with the same routine and the same regimen. I’m still lifting four days a week and that has turned everything around.

FCF:   What do you account for the change in your body appearance?
JB:     I’m sure people would like to think it’s the constant badgering and belittling, but in all honesty it was my own thing. I’ve always been working to get lighter and look better. As far as I’m concerned it’s about image too. It’s a personal choice, I always wanted to look better anyways.

FCF:   Your opponent, Semmy Schilt, is extremely unorthodox because he’s nearly seven-feet tall. How will his size impact your fight?
JB:     Well, if he throws a front kick and misses he could still knock out my corner man. You just have to work with what’s given to you. I know he’s really tall, but it’s not the first time someone’s fought a guy with a reach advantage.

FCF:   In your last appearance in the UFC you fought and lost to Pedro Rizzo. You made an effort to stand with him, do you think you’ll do the same this time around with another kickboxer, Schilt?
JB:     With Pedro the opportunities were there, and if the opportunities are there again I’m going to unload on him. He’s not going to like it. Overall though, I just expect to go out there, win the fight and impose my will.

FCF:   What do you think about the possibility if you taking him down and submitting him?
JB:     I think his ground skill are fairly good. They have to be in order to be the King of Pancrase. I believe that, like I said, whatever he gives me or doesn’t give me I’m going to take from him.

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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