MMA Review: #26: UFC 32: Showdown In The Meadowlands Aug13


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MMA Review: #26: UFC 32: Showdown In The Meadowlands


After two awesome shows in the form of UFCs 30 and 31 to kick off 2001, expectation was running high for the next show, UFC 32 – expectation that was evident with the UFC attendance record being broken for this show. The show was headlined by Zuffa poster-boy Tito Ortiz, making his third defense of the UFC Light-Heavyweight Title, this time against Australian underdog Elvis Sinosic. Would Tito be able to hold onto his title? And would the show match up to the high quality of the two preceding it? Let’s find out.

UFC 32: Showdown In The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, New Jersey


-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg, Jeff Blatnick, and Frank Shamrock. They discuss the card, and Goldberg tells us that the gate for the show has broken the UFC’s current record gate from UFC 9. As with UFC 30 and 31, you get the feeling that there was a huge wave of optimism surrounding Zuffa at this point.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Vladimir Matyushenko vs Yuki Kondo

Japanese Pancrase star Kondo’s in action this weekend at Pride’s Final Conflict, taking on Wanderlei Silva, incredibly enough. He’s a LOT smaller than Matyushenko for this one, and this was also Vladdy’s Octagon debut. The crowd are uber-hot for the entrances, boding well for the rest of the show.

They get underway, and Vladdy comes out with a kick to the midsection, and grabs a front facelock, before hammering the body. They come up into the clinch, and Matyushenko traps his arms, and muscles him towards the fence, before getting a takedown to guard. Vladdy works the guard, and gets some good shots in, then passes to the side mount. He starts working the shots, so Kondo turns, and Vladdy gets a front facelock. Back up, and Matyushenko holds a guillotine, and then gets another takedown to the guard. Kondo stars slapping his ears from the bottom, trying to distract him, but Matyushenko moves him toward the fence, and closes the round out with some nice shots.

Kondo comes out for the second attempting a flying knee, but Vladdy catches him, and hits a HUGE SLAM down into the guard. Matyushenko moves him to the fence right away, but Kondo keeps busy from the bottom, so Vladdy has to hold him down rather than get really busy with the ground and pound. Vladdy traps Kondo’s right arm, and moves to the side mount, but Kondo turns over into a front facelock. Vladdy lands some knees to the body, and then nails him with a big right as Kondo pops his head out of the facelock. Vladdy holds him down in the guard again, and pounds away inside the guard to end the round, as Kondo keeps slapping him.

Third and final round, and Kondo charges across the Octagon, only for Matyushenko to NAIL HIM IN THE STOMACH WITH A SIDEKICK, putting him on the mat! Vladdy quickly gets the side mount and moves him into the fence, but Kondo manages to get it back to full guard. Matyushenko keeps working, and controls Kondo nicely as he tries to get busy from the bottom. Kondo gets his legs up looking for an armbar, but Vladdy avoids it nicely and gets a front facelock, then takes his back and grabs a waistlock. Kondo manages to get back to guard, but the fight ends shortly after. We go to the judges, and unsurprisingly, Matyushenko gets the decision. This wasn’t a hugely exciting fight, but it wasn’t bad or anything. Vladdy basically used his wrestling skill to keep Kondo down, and controlled him from the top throughout, not allowing the smaller man to do a thing.

-James Werme interviews Fred Durst, who’s in the crowd. Durst claims to have been a fan from day one of the UFC, and picks Tito Ortiz to win in the main event.

Lightweight Fight: Caol Uno vs Fabiano Iha

Uno was coming off his title fight loss to Jens Pulver here. Iha was a part of Team Punishment when it existed here as a legitimate ‘team’ (rather than being fragmented with Team Oyama as it is today) and he’s wearing the same black/flames shorts as Tito does.

Both guys come out quickly and exchange, with Uno avoiding a guillotine choke. Iha presses, and rocks Uno with a high kick, but Uno comes back with a single leg takedown into the guard. Iha immediately looks for his armbar, but Uno avoids, and they come back up to standing. Iha gets a good combo, but Uno once again works the single leg into the guard. Uno starts to strike from the guard, and suddenly NAILS HIM with a few huge punches to the chin, and Iha is OUT. Damn, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone actually get knocked out from inside the guard before…that’s just crazy. Pretty exciting fight as Iha was looking good standing, but ended up being owned by Uno on the ground.

-We get the highlights of the preliminary fights, as Tony DeSouza chokes out Paul Rodriguez, and Ricco Rodriguez finishes a younger Andrei Arlovski with some nice ground and pound.

-Back to the announcers, as it’s confirmed that Dennis ‘Superman’ Hallman has signed on to fight Jens Pulver for the Lightweight Title at UFC 33. Incredibly, Hallman and Pulver’s rivalry goes back to high school! Shill time…review coming soon.

Welterweight Fight: Shonie Carter vs Pat Miletich

Pretty diverse paths for these two coming in, as Carter was coming off a hugely entertaining knockout of Matt Serra, while Miletich had suffered his first loss in UFC at the hands of Carlos Newton, losing his Welterweight Title in the process. Miletich says he’s ‘on a mission’ here.

Carter comes out pressing with some kicks and left hands, as Miletich looks to counterpunch. They exchange some low kicks, and go into the clinch where Miletich gets a tripping takedown to the half-guard. Miletich works to pass the guard and gets a full mount, but Carter grips on and prevents Miletich from doing any major damage. Carter keeps hold of him, and every time Miletich tries something, Carter attempts to bridge up to prevent it. Very slow round ends up finishing in the same position, as Miletich basically couldn’t do a thing with the position he got.

Round 2, and Carter comes out with some high kicks that Miletich avoids. Pat grabs a guillotine, and they go into the clinch and exchange body shots. Miletich lands a hard elbow to the head to break, and follows with a hard combo. Pat starts to press the action, but Carter comes back with a body kick and a combo before they clinch again. They exchange some knees in the clinch, before Miletich comes out again with another elbow to the head. Miletich keeps pressing and goes into a clinch again, before they break and Pat lands a nice right counterpunch. Carter comes forward, and Miletich fakes a left, before nailing Carter with a HUGE HIGH KICK TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD for the KO! Lord, that was one SICK knockout, like one of Mirko Cro Cop’s high kick KOs. Miletich looked great here, obviously desperate to get back into title contention. He never did, as his student Matt Hughes ended up toppling Newton, but this is still one of the best KOs you’ll see in UFC. Poor first round, awesome second.

-We get the ‘Up Close’ feature with Elvis Sinosic, showing him training in Sydney. Interestingly enough, Sinosic explains that his involvement in MMA actually began with him being an internet fan!

-Zuffa president Dana White introduces Carmen Electra as the UFC’s official spokesperson. Not sure what happened to that, as I can’t remember seeing her at any of the more recent shows. He also announces that UFC 33 marks the return of UFC to mainstream PPV.

Heavyweight Fight: Josh Barnett vs Semmy Schilt

Barnett was looking to get back to his winning ways after suffering his first loss at the hands of Pedro Rizzo at UFC 30, while Schilt, coming off a win over Pete Williams, was looking to push himself into the Heavyweight Title picture. Size difference as always is crazy, but at least Barnett nearly weighs the same amount as Semmy in this one.

They start, and Barnett counters an early kick attempt with a takedown into the guard. He quickly passes to the side mount, and begins to shove his forearm down into Schilt’s face. Barnett gets his knee on Semmy’s stomach, and lands some strikes, then looks for an armbar, but Schilt manages to avoid. Barnett moves into the full mount, and lands some heavy shots, bloodying Schilt up pretty badly and doing far better than Pete Williams did in the same position. Schilt lands some strikes from the bottom, as Barnett’s now bleeding heavily too, with the blood staining the mat making this the most bloody MMA fight I’ve seen that’s not been stopped on a cut. Barnett drops some hard elbows, and then looks for an armbar, but Schilt uses his leverage and reverses into Barnett’s guard. Barnett gets his hips up and gets an armbar from the bottom, but he can’t get the leverage, and Schilt manages to avoid momentarily, but Barnett perseveres, and tips Schilt over, extending the arm for the tapout!

The visual of Barnett celebrating, doing the throat-slash gesture with blood running down his face is one of the coolest I’ve seen in MMA. Really good performance from him as he pretty much dominated Schilt, and was able to work the position he got to his full advantage. I really wish Josh hadn’t been done for steroids, as seeing him against today’s crop of Heavyweights (Sylvia, Mir, Arlovski, Ricco) would’ve been really interesting.

Lightweight Fight: BJ Penn vs Din Thomas

Jens Pulver, UFC Lightweight Champion, joins us for commentary on this one as it’s being treated as a #1 Contender’s match, with the winner to fight the winner of Pulver/Hallman. Incredibly, this was only Penn’s second MMA fight, his first being his dominant UFC debut against Joey Gilbert. Thomas was rated as one of the best Lightweights in the world at this point, being unbeaten for two years, with his biggest claim to fame being a tapout victory over Pulver in the World Extreme Fighting organization.

They get underway, and Penn avoids a right and grabs double underhooks. Thomas blocks the takedown, so Penn pulls guard and Din works the body. Penn gets his legs up, looking for an armlock of some kind, and Thomas actually stands up with Penn hanging off the arm by his leg! Thomas manages to escape, and gets a shot down. Back up, and Thomas comes forward, swinging wildly, but Penn swiftly avoids, and lands a HUGE KNEE TO THE CHIN to put Thomas on his back, before pouncing with some quick punches to finish! This show is AWESOME for the cool knockouts and finishes. Penn’s quick rise up the ranks is something that’s been hugely interesting to watch in these earlier UFCs, as I always knew he was good, but I didn’t realize that he was dispatching top guys in the first round in brutal fashion. Makes Pulver’s eventual victory over him even more special, I guess.

Oh, and line of the night from Jens here…he’s just watched BJ Penn knock one of the top fighters in the world out in under five minutes, a guy who’s beaten him in the past nonetheless, and when the announcers ask him about Penn? “He’s bad…but he ain’t evil”. I’ve said it before, but Pulver rules.

-We get the ‘Up Close’ feature with Tito Ortiz next. It mainly concentrates on how he’s been doing a ton of boxing training leading into the fight with Sinosic.

UFC Light-Heavyweight Title: Tito Ortiz vs Elvis Sinosic

In a pretty cool moment, Frank Shamrock picks Sinosic as his winner, probably the only guy to have done so on the show. His reasoning? “I finished Tito, but I only beat Elvis via decision”! Just goes to show how amazing a fighter Frank was. This was of course planned to be Jeremy Horn’s shot at Tito, but he ended up being tapped out by Sinosic at UFC 30 and Elvis took the spot instead. His entrance is just phenomenally goofy, featuring dodgy music and Sinosic entering on a throne, playing up his ‘King Of Rock And Rumble’ nickname. Tito’s entrance on the other hand is the debut of the awesome Limp Bizkit ‘Break Stuff’ intro, which needs to be seen to understand just how cool it is. Tito is just UBER-OVER with the crowd.

They begin, and Elvis tries a kick, which Tito counters with a flurry of punches, and a pair of knees in the Muay Thai clinch. Back out, and they exchange from distance before Elvis lands a nice high kick. Tito grabs double underhooks and gets the takedown to the guard, where he immediately muscles Sinosic towards the fence. Ortiz works for position, and starts to land some shots in the guard, hammering away with punches before slowing up for a second. He then comes in with some BRUTAL FOREARMS, bloodying up Sinosic badly from a cut on the forehead. Tito keeps pounding away with the elbows and forearms, really doing some damage as Sinosic has no answer, and the official comes in for the quick stoppage.

My God, was that brutal. Tito was basically on a roll at this point, and judging on the momentum he had going here, I’d guess that the same thing would’ve happened to 90% of fighters, rather than it being a case of Sinosic being a weak opponent. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ground and pound as vicious as this, and that’s including guys like Matt Hughes and Randy Couture. Post-fight Tito busts out his grave-digging celebration, and wears a t-shirt reading ‘That’s American for Whoop-Ass’.Mate’. Elvis, the class act, holds Tito’s arm up and parades him around the Octagon, before he celebrates with Team Punishment (Tiki Ghosn, Ricco Rodriguez, Chuck Liddell) and the celebrity trio of Carmen Electra, Fred Durst, and Dennis Rodman. Ever the goof, Rodman gets on the mic talking about how Tito’s one of “his fighters” like he controls a stable of MMA badasses or something. Scene ends with Tito and his wife celebrating in the Octagon.

-We close off with a highlight reel of the night’s action.

Final Thoughts…

They should really look at giving DVD releases to the early Zuffa shows, as UFC 32 is ANOTHER awesome one, featuring some of the best finishes you’ll see in MMA. Uno/Iha, Miletich/Carter, and Thomas/Penn all end abruptly and violently in cool knockouts, and Schilt/Barnett is just a bloody fight that’s hugely entertaining to watch. Despite the main event being pretty short, it’s completely adequate as Ortiz at the time was THE MAN in UFC, and I think I’d argue that this performance was his most dominant one during his title run. Like UFC 31, this is another show that you can watch all the way through, without being bored once. UFC was on a roll at this point, and this show gets a high recommendation from me.


Scott Newman: