Friday, Sep 27, 2002
Rodriguez Crowned New Heavyweight Champ;penn & Uno Advance To Next Round
Rodriguez Crowned New Heavyweight Champ;
Penn & Uno Advance to Next Round
By Jim Genia
(Uncasville, Connecticut, September 27th) Not a single submission all night, but more leather thrown than ever before. A newly crowned young heavyweight champ, two lightweight chess matches, a heavyweight slugfest and a middleweight devestation. That was UFC 39 "The Warriors Return" in a nutshell, and judging by the packed house at the Mohegan Sun Arena — on their feet cheering — the show was a good one.
Ricco Rodriguez and Randy Couture met in the Octagon to determine who should fill the heavyweight championship vacancy, and after five rounds of back-and-forth pounding on the ground, Couture was forced to verbally submit. Dishing out the pain in the first two rounds, Couture found himself on the receiving end for the latter rounds as Rodriguez maintained the top position and rained down strikes. It was too much for the two-time champ, and at 3:04 of the Round Five, it was all over. Ricco "Sauve" Rodriguez is the new UFC Heavyweight Champ.
In the first round of the tournament leading to the UFC’s lightweight belt, four of the best 155-pound fighters in the world showed why they’re the best. Going the full three-round distance, Japanese superstar Caol Uno weathered an early submission storm from Florida’s Din Thomas and kept the pressure up with strikes from the top to earn the unanimous decision. Also going the distance were Hawaiian stud BJ Penn and Long Island’s Matt "the Terror" Serra — two of the best jiu-jitsu fighters in the world — who fought this battle completely on their feet. Showing vastly improved stand-up, the Terror was forced to trade with Penn, who himself did everything in his power to not go to the ground. Though he failed to knock the Terror out as many had predicted, Penn remained in control, earning the unanimous decision. The stage is now set for a rematch between Uno and Penn — with the vacant UFC lightweight title on the line.
Rarely does the loser get a thunderous standing ovation from the audience, but Wesley "Cabbage" Coreirra deserved it. He and Miletich-fighter Tim Sylvia battled it out in what could only be described as a heavyweight "slugfest", and while he ate countless punches to the face and knees to the body, Cabbage refused to go down. Sylvia looked impressive as he stalked his opponent, and garnered the win after Cabbage’s corner threw in the towel at 1:43 of the second round. But Cabbage was the man who would not go down — making this bout the undisputed crowd favorite of the night.
In other action, "New York Badass" once again proved why he’s a badass, steamrolling through former middleweight champ Dave Menne with a devastating right cross and subsequent flurry that left Menne unconscious after just 18 seconds in the first round. In the heavyweight division, the giant Gan McGee pulled an upset when he broke Pedro Rizzo’s nose in the first round, prompting Rizzo’s corner to throw in the towel at the start of the second round. In the preliminaries, middleweights Matt Lindland and Ivan Salaverry had a war, with Lindland getting the unanimous decision after three rounds, while welterweight Sean Sherk opened up a nasty cut above Benji Radach’s eye, getting the win via doctor stoppage at 4:16 of the first round.
The Warriors returned to the Mohegan Sun for UFC 39 — and it was a night of crowd pleasing heavy leather.
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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