*originally published in the Nov ’01 issue of Full Contact Fighter*
With the preliminaries out of the way, the show was already a vast improvement over the last one. If the rest of the matches proved to be as thrilling, Zuffa could finally have the coming out party they deserved. Thanks to Zuffa, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, sanctioned in
As pyrotechnic explosions flared and burst, the crowd, now nearly filling the arena, went wild. Heavyweights Bobby “Bad Seed” Hoffman and Josh “the Baby-Faced Assassin” Barnett made their way to the Octagon. Hoffman and Barnett had met up before, squaring off in 1999 at the end of a grueling eight-man tournament – Superbrawl 13. There, Barnett had gotten the better of Hoffman, earning a hard-fought decision. But a lot had changed since then. Now, Hoffman was the King of the
As referee Big John Mc
Back in their corners between rounds, both fighters seemed fresh, although Hoffman was indeed nursing his eye. As Big John turned them around to face one another, Barnett could be seen mouthing yet another “I’m sorry.” And then they were clashing again, Hoffman landing a knee before getting tied up. A sweep by Barnett took them to the ground, where he scored with punches from within the Bad Seed’s guard. After passing, then a scramble, Barnett was sidemounted. It was there that he unleashed a flurry of forearms and elbows. Unable to defend himself, Hoffman tapped at four minutes and twenty-five seconds.
Although it was unclear as to how much the accidental eye-gouge factored into the win, both fighters acquitted themselves well. The Baby-Faced Assassin, in spite of his signature throat-slashing “victory dance”, was quick to praise his opponent, and asked the crowd to applaud him. “I’m know I’m going to be wearing the gold real soon,” said Barnett on his future. “Real soon.” With only a handful of fighters in the UFC heavyweight division having made their mark, Josh Barnett will certainly get a shot at that gold – sooner rather than later.
Next up was
Many believed Uno’s vast experience in defeating top talent would be too much for Penn – a relative unknown quantity in the MMA world. Other than being the first American black belt to win at the Brazilian Mundials, Penn only had two quick wins – against Din Thomas and Joey Gilbert. How well could he really hope to do? Evidently, extremely well. It took only eleven seconds for the Hawaiian “Phenom” to knock Uno out, cementing his shot at the belt with a dizzying flurry that left the Japanese Shooto champ crumpled on the Octagon floor.
“I want my belt,” Penn said in his post-fight interview. “I’ll go past anyone to get it.” Get ready for fast hands facing off against heavy leather at the upcoming UFC. The next stop on the Phenom’s quest: Jens Pulver.