Flashback Friday: UFC 28: High Stakes

In UFC’s next show, the promotion went to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Headlining the show, Kevin Randleman put his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Randy Couture. 

Original Event Date: 11/17/00

Quick Results:

Bout 1: Ben Earwood def. Chris Lytle via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 2: Mark Hughes def. Alex Stiebling via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 3: Jens Pulver def. John Lewis via KO, Punch (RD 1, 0:15)

Bout 4: Andrei Arlovski def. Aaron Brink via Submission, Armbar (RD 1, 0:55)

Bout 5: Josh Barnett def. Gan McGee via TKO, Punches (RD 2, 4:34)

Bout 6: Renato Babalu def. Maurice Smith via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 7: Randy Couture def. Kevin Randleman via TKO, Punches (RD 3, 4:13) (UFC Heavyweight Championship)

Full Report

Preliminary Card

Bout 1: Chris Lytle (5-5) vs. Ben Earwood (11-2) (Welterweight)

Kicking off the two-fight preliminary card was Chris Lytle and Ben Earwood. This was the UFC debut for both fighters involved. Earwood caught a leg kick early on for a takedown. Earwood’s head was trapped in a guillotine position while he was in half guard. He went into full guard, eventually popping out of the choke. Earwood landed strikes from top position until the round ended.

Earwood landed a right hand to start the first round before clinching up. He got a takedown from a clinch moments later. Lytle tried for a guillotine choke again. Just like the round before, Earwood eventually got out of the choke but held top control. With less strikes this time, Earwood kept the position until the end of the round again. After two rounds which saw Ben Earwood do all of the work, it was no surprise when he walked away with the unanimous decision win. Despite the victory, this was the last time Earwood appeared in the UFC.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Total
Lytle 9 9 18
Earwood 10 10 20

Bout 2: Alex Stiebling (5-0) vs. Mark Hughes (4-1) (199 lbs)

The two-fight preliminary card concluded with Matt Hughes’ brother Mark Hughes fighting in his UFC debut against Alex Stiebling. It wasn’t as emphasized, but this was also the UFC debut for Stiebling. Hughes wore shoes in this fight. To start off the fight they clinched up where they both threw knees to the body. They went over to the fence, where Stiebling was up against the wall. Hughes eventually got the double leg takedown in the first minute. Hughes almost got caught in a heel hook, however the advice from his corner, who was right behind the fencing he was at helped him. He landed hammerfist punches to the head until he could escape the position. He was warned about holding the fence. When Hughes escaped the heel hook he was in half guard. He eventually went into full guard. He landed strikes on top every now and then. Hughes kept the dominant position until the round ended.

Hughes was quick to shoot for a takedown in the second round. Stiebling resisted the takedown, going against the fence. Hughes eventually got the takedown landing in full guard. Stiebling was more active with strikes from the bottom this round. Hughes tried for a neck crank for a moment. In the fourth minute, Hughes got up and came down in a north south position. He tried for a headlock from the position, however he let it go eventually. They stayed in this position until the round ended. The crowd booed lightly after the final horn went. Going to the scorecards, Mark Hughes got the unanimous decision win. This was the last UFC appearance for both fighters. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Total
Stiebling 9 9 18
Hughes 10 10 20

Main Card

Bout 3: Jens Pulver (8-2) vs. John Lewis (3-3) (Lightweight)

Starting off the main card, Jens Pulver returned to the UFC to fight John Lewis. In three previous promotional appearances, Pulver was undefeated. Almost immediately in the fight, Pulver landed a left hook which dropped Lewis and ended the fight. With a fast and explosive performance, Jens Pulver remained undefeated in the UFC. At the time, this was one of the best runs in the UFC from a non-championship fighter. This was the last MMA fight that John Lewis competed in.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 4: Andrei Arlovski (3-1) vs. Aaron Brink (8-3) (Heavyweight)

In a double UFC debut, Andrei Arlovski fought Aaron Brink. Arlovski’s last name was spelt as “Orlovskiy” on the broadcast. Brink shot for a takedown early, however Arlovski was able to stop it and do a guillotine choke. They separated while still on the feet. Brink was the one pushing forward. They clinched up, with Arlovski getting a takedown. Arlovski got on Brink’s back, putting in an armbar which made Brink tap out in no time. With a quick win, Andrei Arlovski had a flashy debut in the UFC. Aaron Brink continued to fight dozens of more times in MMA, however this was his last fight in the UFC.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 5: Gan McGee (7-0) vs. Josh Barnett (9-0) (Heavyweight)

Moving on with more UFC debuts, two undefeated fighters in Gan McGee and Josh Barnett fought in the next fight. McGee put Barnett against the cage in a clinch to start the fight. After a body lock for a minute or so, McGee got a takedown. Barnett landed a few good punches from the bottom, however McGee landed some too. McGee eventually stepped through into full mount. Mcgee was able to keep top position for the first round.

They clinched up again to start the second round. Mcgee got a takedown again, but was getting hit with lots with hammerfist punches. Barnett tried for a triangle choke from the bottom position. McGee escaped. They got up, where Barnett was able to get a takedown before they got up again in a clinch. McGee tried for a single leg takedown, however Barnett was able to take top position. McGee didn’t put up much of a fight as he was clearly fatigued. Barnett got full mount on the ground. In the final minute he started to let hard punches fly, landing quite a few before the referee ended the fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
McGee 10
Barnett 9

Bout 6: Maurice Smith (11-12) vs. Renato Babalu (16-2) (Heavyweight)

Before the next fight, UFC Middleweight Champion Tito Ortiz was on commentary. He hyped up his matchup against Yuki Kondo which would take place at UFC 29. He also retold his story about being hit by a bus. In the co-main event, Renato Babalu made his UFC debut against experienced promotional fighter Maurice Smith. Babalu wore shoes for this matchup. Babalu caught a leg kick in the first minute which allowed him to get a takedown. Babalu was working from half guard for a while, throwing light punches throughout. They stayed in this position until the round ended.

Babalu got a trip takedown in the first minute of the second round. With under two minutes to go in the round, Babalu got up and let Smith get to his feet as well. Seconds later, Babalu got another takedown. They were on the ground until the round ended.

In the final round, Babalu got a takedown in the second minute. The ability for Babalu to get a takedown whenever he wanted made him dominate the fight. Babalu stayed in control on top until the round ended. Judges gave a majority decision Renato Babalu after three dominant rounds of competition. This was the last UFC fight for Maurice Smith, having a stint with K-1 kickboxing after this.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Smith 9 9 9 27
Babalu 10 10 10 30

Bout 7: Kevin Randleman (9-3) vs. Randy Couture (6-2) (UFC Heavyweight Championship)


Returning to the UFC, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture attempted to earn back the belt from current champion Kevin Randleman. Before this fight, the last fight from Couture was at UFC 15.5. Randleman defended his belt earlier this year, defeating Pedro Rizzo in a five-round fight. Randleman was wearing shoes for this fight. Randleman got a takedown early in the first minute of the fight. Couture tried for an armbar from the bottom position. Randleman tried to slam Couture to escape. He slipped out of the armbar eventually, keeping full guard. Randleman kept the dominant position until the first round expired.

The fighters traded punches to start the second round. Randleman scored with a two-punch combination before clinching up. Couture was wobbly, getting hit with a four-punch combo from Randleman when they escaped the clinch. Randleman shot for a takedown in the second minute. Randleman kept with ground and pound until the round ended.

In the first minute of the third round, Couture landed some knees in a clinch. After being in a clinch for a few minutes, Couture got a takedown. From bottom position, Randleman was cut at some point. Couture was landing lots of punches while in full mount, which Randleman didn’t have a counter for. Couture continued with the strikes until the referee saw too many. Randy Couture came back from two close rounds, winning in the third to become the first two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Randleman 10 10
Couture 9 9

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