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Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002

Ortiz Injured; Couture To Meet Barnett For Heavyweight Title At Ufc: Worlds Collide, March 22, At Mgm Grand

From Josh Hedges of Zuffa/UFC:

UFC 36
Belfort Fight Off; Light Heavyweight Champ Suffers Torn Knee Ligament in Training

      LAS VEGAS, February 6, 2002…Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz of Huntington Beach, Calif., suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last week in training and will not defend his title March 22 against top contender Vitor Belfort of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at
UFC: Worlds Collide at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Ortiz will undergo surgery in Los Angeles to repair the ligament damage and is expected to make a full recovery. Belfort will not be fighting on the card. He was given the option to fight another opponent, but allowed the deadline to expire before making a decision. The Ortiz-Belfort fight will be re-scheduled.
      The UFC today announced that Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture of Gresham, Ore., who is undefeated in the Octagon, will meet top contender Josh Barnett (25-1-0) of Seattle, Wash., for the heavyweight crown as the new main event of the March 22 fight card. In the co-feature, Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes (25-3-0) of Hillsboro, Ill., will defend his belt for the first time against top-ranked Japanese legend Hayato "Mach" Sakurai (15-1-2) of Ibaraki, Japan.
      Tickets, $300, $200, $100, $60 and $30, are available at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office, at all Ticket Master outlets, by calling 702-474-4000, or at www.Ticketmaster.com. UFC: Worlds Collide also will be available at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Bell EspressVu and Viewers Choice Canada pay-per-view. The suggested retail price is $29.95.
      "Tito was practicing takedown moves when he felt a pop and a sharp pain in his knee. He went to his doctor immediately and the ligament damage was diagnosed. He is expected to fully recover after surgery and rest. We are very excited about the Couture-Barnett fight. Josh has definitely earned this opportunity," said UFC President Dana White.
      The Couture-Barnett title fight has been much anticipated by UFC fans. It will be the "Battle of Seattle" in Las Vegas because Couture is a native of Everett, Wash. and Barnett is a native of Seattle, Wash. Couture, "The Natural," has held the heavyweight title longer than any of the other former champs. He has defended his belt twice against Pedro Rizzo of Rio de Janeiro, most recently Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand. Barnett, the "Baby Faced Assassin," is the heir apparent coming off of two straight submission victories in the Octagon. In his last fight, Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand, he defeated Bobby Hoffman by submission with a flurry of punches.
      Hughes won the welterweight title Nov. 2 with a stunning knockout of champion Carlos Newton, who attempted to end the fight with a triangle choke. Hughes scooped him off the ground and slammed him to the mat. Sakurai is recognized as one of the greatest fighters ever. He has defeated UFC veterans Caol Uno, Jutaro Nakao and Marcelo Aguiar as well as wrestling standout Frank Trigg and jiu-jitsu world champion Haroldo Bunn. Fans have long-awaited his appearance in the Octagon.
      Fighters from Japan, Belarus, Australia, Brazil and the U.S. will collide in the eight-fight card. Other fights include: two heavyweight bouts featuring Rizzo (10-3-0) against Andrei Arlovski (5-2-0) of Minsk, Belarus, and UFC veteran Pete Williams (8-4-0) of San Diego, Calif. taking on new UFC fan favorite Frank Mir (3-0-0) of Las Vegas. In light heavyweight action, Evan Tanner (6-1-0) of Gresham, Ore., will meet Elvis Sinosic (4-4-1) of Sydney, Australia; in a middleweight bout, former UFC champ Pat Miletich (26-4-2) of Bettendorf, Iowa, will tangle with U.S. Olympic silver medal wrestling champ Matt Lindland (6-0-0) of Eagle Creek, Ore.; in the welterweight division, Sean Sherk (19-0-1) of Brooklyn Park, Minn., will fight Nakao (12-7-2) from Tokyo, Japan, and in lightweight action, Din Thomas (16-2-0) of Orlando, Fla., will meet Matt Serra (9-1-0) of Long Island, N.Y.

  From the event’s promoter:

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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