UFC 45: Revolution
November 21, 2003
Mohegan Sun Arena
Matt Hughes Wsub1 (3:54 – rear naked choke) Frank Trigg (UFC welterweight title)
Wesley Correira TKO1 (2:14 – cuts) Tank Abbott
Evan Tanner TKO1 (4:42) Phil Baroni
Robbie Lawler WUD3 Chris Lytle
Matt Lindland Wsub 3 (4:23 – strikes) Falaniko Vitale
Pedro Rizzo WUD3 Ricco Rodriguez
Keith Rockel Wsub1 (3:29 – guillotine choke) Chris Liguori
Yves Edwards TKO2 (2:14) Nick Agallar
On November 21, 2003, at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Zuffa presented its tenth anniversary show, UFC 45 – Revolution, and used a mixture of old school tributes and new talent to bridge the gap between past and present.
In the main event, welterweight champion Matt Hughes once again proved his superiority over the competition with a first-round submission win over a man expected to give him his sternest test – Frank Trigg.
Using the wrestling skills honed on the collegiate level, Trigg gained the advantage early by taking Hughes down and working well on the ground against the Illinois native. Soon enough though, Hughes got his bearings and lifted Trigg to the sky before parading him across the ring and slamming him on his side.
Trigg recovered quickly and wrestled evenly with Hughes on the ground before a tactical misstep allowed the champion to get the challenger’s back and sink in a fight-ending rear naked choke at the 3:54 mark.
In the “Revolution” co-feature, there was little finesse or skill shown in the heavyweight matchup between David “Tank” Abbott and Wesley “Cabbage” Correira, but there was plenty of action and blood, at least until a crimson gash on the forehead of Abbott forced a halt to the bout at 2:14 of the opening round.
Post-fight antics marred an otherwise compelling four minutes and forty-two seconds of action between middleweights Evan Tanner and Phil Baroni.
Using his patented hand speed and power, Baroni stunned Tanner with a right hand seconds into the scheduled three rounder, and follow-up bombs by the “New York Badass” had Tanner stumbling, cut, and in deep trouble. But after a brief break to have his cut inspected, Tanner used some effective knees in the clinch and finally took the Long Island native to the mat. As the seconds ticked away on the first round, Tanner gained a full mount position and rained elbows on his foe. Landless leaned in and repeatedly asked Baroni if he wanted the fight stopped. Baroni, thinking that the referee was asking if he was fit to continue, answered ‘yes’. The bout was halted at 4:42 of the first, a controversial verdict that didn’t sit well with Baroni.
Matt Lindland stayed in the hunt for the vacant 185-pound crown with a workmanlike third round stoppage of Falaniko Vitale. The bout was a rematch of a June 2003 contest in which Lindland knocked himself out while throwing Vitale. “The Law” took no such chances this time, sticking to a steady but unspectacular ground and pound attack, which paid benefits late in the third as Vitale tapped with 38 seconds remaining in the match.
Welterweight bomber Robbie Lawler opened up the main card with a razor thin unanimous decision over tough Chris Lytle. All three scores were 29-28 for “Ruthless Robbie”, who was making his first start since injuring his hip during a loss to Pete Spratt in April 2003.
Heavyweights Pedro Rizzo and Ricco Rodriguez showed little urgency in their matchup, with Rizzo winning a lackluster three-round decision over the former heavyweight champion. Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Rizzo.
Local middleweight Keith Rockel thrilled the fans who came down from nearby Massachusetts as he scored a first-round submission win over newcomer Chris Liguori. The end came via a guillotine choke.
In the first preliminary bout, lightweight contender Yves Edwards stayed busy with a second round TKO of late sub Nick Agallar.
A pre-main event ceremony saw Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock honored as the first inductees in the UFC Hall of Fame. Also in attendance to receive Viewer’s Choice Awards were former UFC competitors Oleg Taktarov, Marco Ruas, Mark Coleman, and Don Frye.
Fight of the Night (unofficial) – Tanner TKO1 Baroni
Knockout of the Night (unofficial) – Tanner TKO1 Baroni
Submission of the Night (unofficial) – Hughes Wsub1 Trigg
Debuts – Frank Trigg, Chris Ligouri, Nick Agallar
One Hit Wonders – Chris Ligouri, Nick Agallar
Both Ligouri and Agallar made early exits at UFC 45, prompting their release from the organization, but neither stopped fighting.
Excerpted from the UFC Encyclopedia