UFC 43 “Meltdown”
June 6, 2003 | Las Vegas
This is exactly what it sounds like.
Matt Lindland was an Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling and had dominated all of his opponents in MMA, save one: UFC middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante. His foe at UFC 43, a debuting Hawaiian named Falaniko Vitale, was a heavy underdog, and there was no real reason to think he would have much of a chance against an experienced and accomplished fighter of Lindland’s caliber. Essentially, Lindland would have to beat himself to give Vitale a shot.
Funnily enough, that was exactly what happened. After attempting a few unsuccessful takedowns and working over Vitale against the cage, Lindland attempted a lateral drop to bring the Hawaiian to the mat. It worked, but not in the way Lindland expected. The Team Quest representative failed to rotate far enough mid-takedown to get himself out of danger and ended up falling directly on his head.
Vitale’s follow-up punches were nothing more than a formality, as Lindland was already out. Although he would go on to defeat Vitale in the rematch five months later and put a vicious beating on him in the process -- the Hawaiian landed only three significant strikes in almost three full rounds of action -- the damage, so to speak, was already done.
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