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20 NOVEMBER 2018

 

Champion Couture pounded at UFC 36


The UFC Heavyweight Championships changed hands at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas as Josh Barnett recovered from a difficult start to hammer two-time king Randy Couture to his first ever UFC defeat.

In an explosive and memorable match inside the Octagon, Couture established control early on using his trademarked ‘ground and pound’ technique. ‘The Natural’ used his grappling skills to great effect in the earlier going, but still suffered a small cut over his brow.

However, while Barnett only entered this bout with a 3-1 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the younger man had much more experience in overall MMA matches. And, when he saw his opening, he reversed the champion’s mount superbly and unloaded with a venomous flurry and punches and elbows until the bout was stopped.

After the fight a magnanimous Couture put the UFC Championship belt around his conqueror’s waist. It was ex-champion’s first lost in the UFC and only his third in any form of mixed martial art competition.
In the co-main event, UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes successfully repelled the challenge of Hayato Sakurai after four rounds.

The first round was quiet as Hughes mounted his challenger but was unable to force his advantage beyond scoring with a handful of punches to body and head. The highly touted challenger from Ibaraki, Japan, making his UFC debut, did better in the second – knocking the champion down with a punch - but was dominated in the third. Sakurai seemed to want to fight standing up but Hughes was imposing his will and breaking Sakurai's spirits by taking his man down almost at will.

In the fourth the match had ceased to be a contest and Hughes, looking extremely impressive, began to hit home with some very hurtful looking shot while in on the ground. Legendary UFC referee Big John McCarthy waved it off.

Also at the 36th Ultimate Fighting Championship:

Light-heavyweight: Evan Tanner scored an unsatisfactory win over Elvis Sinosic in the opening contest when a cut above the Australian’s eyes caught the Octagon-side doctor to call the bout to a halt. The gash was caused by an elbow strike.

Middleweight: In an emphatic victory, Matt Lindland grounded and pounded Pat Miletich. The undefeated 6fter from Eagle Creek took the ‘Croatian Sensation’ down and blasted him with a total of 32 unanswered punches, some of which were block, really the referee had no option but to rule a TKO.

Heavyweight: In perhaps the fight of the night, Pedro ‘the Rock Rizzo knocked Andrei Arlovski cold with a sledgehammer left cross in the third round of a terrific fight.

Rizzo again proved that there is more to Brazilian fighting than purse grappling by delivering some sickening kicks to the Pitbull’s legs in the opener and - despite giving up a lot of reach and two inches in height to the 6ft 3ins Arlovski native – landed a wicked kick to the ear.
Arlovski fought back gamely despite an ugly bruise forming on his legs from the kicks. However, he was never going to recover from that devastating punch in the third. Heavyweight: Frank Mir used a very intelligent elbow lock on Pete Williams to take the victory in the opening 60seconds of their bout. The Las Vegas native goes to 4-0 in MMA and could be one to watch.



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