From the obvious brutality of the Shamrock and Mir fights to the tactical match of Hughes vs. Verissimo, or the inspiring efforts put forth during the Evan Tanner/Phil Baroni match, there was a fight for every type of fan at UFC 48: Payback.
Main Event: Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo Leopoldo
Ken Shamrock showed he still has it when it counts, defeating fellow legend Kimo with a huge knee to the head, ending the main event at 1:26 into the first round. The two began the match by trading evenly, until Shamrock connected with the fight-ending blow.
Ken Shamrock won convincingly against Leopoldo, and many in the know say that in so doing the UFC let out a big sigh of relief. They say those running the UFC hoped their biggest attraction would win impressively, and he came through.
Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia
Las Vegas native Frank Mir shocked former champion Tim Sylvia and the world by employing an arm-breaking armbar at 50 seconds into the very first round to win the UFC's most coveted prize, its Heavyweight Championship.
Mir moved to the armbar quickly after being taken to the floor by the advancing Sylvia. Only the grisly slow-mo in the highlight reel could properly explain what happened next.
While Sylvia was attempting to lift up in an effort to break Mir's hold, something visibly cracked in his forearm. Despite Sylvia's heated protests, Frank Mir was proclaimed the new UFC Heavyweight Champion. After the fights, the results from Sylvia's X-rays revealed beyond doubt that his right arm had been broken in two places. The breaks required surgery; Sylvia would not return to UFC right away.
Mir later admitted he was intentionally trying to break Sylvia's arm, but stated this was only because he knew Sylvia would never tap out.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jay Hieron
In the opener Montreal, Canada's Georges St. Pierre showed his great promise, dispatching newcomer Jay Hieron, from Long Island, NY via TKO, 1:45 into the first round and remaining undefeated in the UFC.
Frank Trigg vs. Dennis Hallman
After some preliminaries, Trigg scored with a solid right hand and then displayed superb ground-and-pound skills from the top position, raining down punches onto the hapless Hallman until the referee finally called a halt to the carnage. Knockout artist Frank Trigg wins in impressive fashion, taking out Dennis Hallman at 4:15 of the very first round.
Evan Tanner vs. Phil Baroni
After a sluggish Round 1, Tanner came out roaring in the second, somehow out-boxing the boxer Baroni, pulverizing his ribs and mounting him with about a minute left in Round 2. Baroni responded well in the third and seemed to have badly shaken his man; but Tanner's wrestling gifts saved him, helping him to score a takedown and finish with some very good ground-and-pound against the 'New York Bad Ass'.
Greater wrestling skills--and a much-improved performance in the standing position--gave Evan Tanner a mesmerizing second victory over the fierce Phil "New York Bad Ass" Baroni.
Matt Hughes vs. Renato Verissimo
Verissimo was immensely effective in Round 1, nearly finishing the fight several times with his repertoire of submissions from his back. But it was not to be; Hughes' top-notch conditioning would prove overwhelming. Once in charge Hughes would slam Verissimo with his trademark 'power bomb', slowly increasing his aggression as the fight progressed, which wore down the game Verissimo.
Inexplicably, two of the judges awarded Hughes every round; but in the end the former UFC Welterweight Champion did prove better than James Bond at UFC 48, escaping several apparently hopeless submissions to squeak out a unanimous decision against an artful Renato "Charuto" Verissimo.
Matt Serra vs. Ivan Menjivar
It was clear to all who knew the situation that Long Island, NY resident Matt Serra (13-4-0) had his work cut out for him against Ivan Menjivar (13-3-0), from Montreal, Canada, who was making his UFC debut at UFC 48. Menjivar almost submitted to Serra at the end of the first and second rounds; but both times he was saved by the bell. Be that as it may, it was Serra who took control early and remained in charge during most of the fight, thereby winning in a unanimous decision.
Treveor Prengley vs. Curtis Stout
In Middleweight preliminary action, UFC newcomer Treveor Prengley (8-1-0), from Cape Town, South Africa, made himself heard by dominating Curtis Stout (7-4-1), from Kansas City, KA, from the first punch to the final submission--which occurred when Stout tapped out from a neck crank 1:09 into the second round.
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