UFC 45 - Revolution Review

By Greg Savage Nov 21, 2003
The 10th anniversary show of the Ultimate Fighting Championship went down at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena in Uncasville, CT. It was to be an event to celebrate the best the sport has produced over the last 10 years but ended up being marred by a couple incidents that cast doubt on how far the sport has really come. With high hopes and low expectations, UFC 45 came closer to the latter with a sub par lackluster show.

Yves Edwards vs Nick Agallar
Leading things off was a bout between Yves Edwards and last minute replacement Nick Agallar. Edwards looked frustrated against Agallar right up to the point where he landed a lunging left hand that sent Agallar straight to his back. He followed up quickly, pouncing on his downed opponent, firing away until referee Larry Landless stopped the bout at 2:14 of the second round.

Keith Rockel vs Chris Liguori
In a battle of local boys Keith Rockel outclassed Chris Liguori with some good ground work, mostly from the top and finished him with a guillotine choke at 3:29 of the first round.

Ricco Rodriguez vs Pedro Rizzo
In what must have been the most expensive preliminary match in UFC history, a snooze-fest ensued as Pedro Rizzo and Ricco Rodriguez danced around the ring for three rounds. Rodriguez inability to take the match to the ground was the defining factor in the match. It wasn’t as if Rizzo did much to win the fight as he continually refused to engage and put on his usual counter punching performance. The only effective offense from either fighter came in the form of a few pulverizing leg kicks from Rizzo and they most certainly were the difference in the unanimous decision handed down in his favor.

Robbie Lawler vs Chris Lytle
In a fight that started slowly, Robbie Lawler did just enough to get past a game Chris Lytle. Most of the first round was spent on the ground with Robbie Lawler pounding away at Chris Lytle, the most vicious shot coming while Lytle tried to apply an ankle lock. The second round saw both fighters circling endlessly with Lytle moving forward and Lawler away, eliciting a string of boos from the restless crowd. The crowd finally got what they came for in the third as both fighters stood in the middle of the cage and traded blows. Lawler got the better of the exchanges as he dropped Lytle with a right hand, garnering a hand from Lytle along with the rest of the fans. The fight went to the scorecards and by the narrowest of margins Robbie Lawler gets the unanimous decision with 29-28 scores on every card.

Evan Tanner vs Phil Baroni
Evan Tanner survived an early outburst from Phil Baroni that saw him staggered and cut around the left eye. Baroni was punishing Tanner and nearly had him out on a couple of occasions. Tanner, with some help from a doctor stoppage (it was questionable because of the fact that Baroni had Tanner out on his feet at the time of the stoppage) to check his cut, recovered and took Baroni to the mat once the fight resumed. From there he got the mount position and proceeded to drop a number of elbows to the face of Baroni prompting referee Larry Landless to stop the fight.

Baroni was not thrilled with Landless to say the least and grabbed him by his shirt and tried to punch him. The extra-curicular activities didn’t stop there as Baroni took a couple more shots at Landless and had to be separated from him. When all the drama in the ring was over, Evan Tanner was announced the winner by referee stoppage at 4:42 of the first round.

When I asked referee Landless what happened with the stoppage he informed me he was asking Baroni if he wanted out. Phil responded yes and he moved into end the match. Baroni thought he was asking if he wanted to continue and was enraged that the fight was stopped. Landless also said he would have restarted the match if it weren’t for the outburst from Baroni.

At the post fight press conference Dana White described the event as “not a good ending for the sport.” Next up to the mike was a remorseful Phil Baroni who got choked up as he apologized to everyone involved except Larry Landless. He thanked Zuffa for all the chances they have given him and promised he would make up for his transgressions. We will have to wait and see what consequences Baroni will have to face before he has to worry about getting back in the cage. Phil probably should be thanking Larry Landless right now though because the Tribal Police asked him if he wanted to press charges and have him arrested. Larry declined.

Tank Abbott vs Cabbage Correira
The next fight was a highly anticipated matchup and started out just like most fans had hoped. “Tank” Abbott actually got off a number of his famous haymakers while he exchanged with Wes “Cabbage” Correira. “Cabbage” got the better of those exchanges as he controlled “Tank” in the clinch while he peppered his head with knees and punches.

After a big cut opened up on “Tank’s” forehead the doctor was called in to check it. According to John McCarthy, Abbott was telling the doctor he was fine but was having trouble seeing with the blood in his eye. Abbott was upset when the fight was stopped because he thought they would wipe away the blood and let him get back in there. Much to his chagrin, the fight was stopped but not the action.

As “Cabbage” started his victory dance, Abbott’s cornerman John Marsh threw water at him and all hell broke loose. After order was restored, “Tank” exited to wild cheers from the crowd. You would have never known he just lost his third fight in a row.

Falaniko Vitale vs Matt Lindland
The rematch between Falaniko Vitale and Matt Lindland made it onto the pay-per-view as a swing match. Vitale was out to prove his knockout win over Lindland was no fluke. Both men circled to start the first, exchanging chopping punches until Vitale lost his balance on a kick attempt and Lindland capitalized by taking Vitale to the mat. From there Lindland dished out some punches and elbows to take the first round.

The second round saw Lindland score with a nice left to the face of Vitale that sent him reeling back into the fence. From there Lindland tried to take him down again but was foiled by Vitale. Instead, Lindland started to work from the clinch, landing a couple nice forearms and a good knee. The rest of the round was spent along the cage with little happening.

The third round began with Lindland falling down on a failed kick attempt. Vitale jumped right into Lindland’s guard, avoiding flailing legs on the way down. Vitale tried to work but could not get past the half guard. Lindland reversed and got to the top with a little over a minute left and put Vitale in a bad position where he commenced an all out assault on his face. Referee Landless stopped the bout at Vitale’s behest at 4:23 of the third round.

Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg
With nothing looking like it could save this doomed event, Matt Hughes made his way to the Octagon to face Frank Trigg. Trigg came right out and did what many have tried but few have been able to, take Hughes down and rather easily at that. Hughes had a little something for Trigg though and as soon as he got to his feet he scooped up his opponent and slammed him to the mat. From there Trigg and Hughes put on a high quality display of wrestling before Hughes was able to take his back and sink in the rear naked choke, ending the fight at 3:54 of the first round.

Although he was cordial with Trigg after the fight, Hughes had some scathing remarks for his fallen foe at the press conference. When asked about Trigg’s whereabouts Hughes commented, “Maybe nursing his ego.” Hughes explained how upset he was about Trigg’s pre-fight comments and said he “just wished I could have choked him unconscious.”
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