UFC 26: Night to forget
After the Kevin Randleman vs. Pedro Rizzo UFC heavyweight title match didn’t take place at UFC 24 due to Randleman slipping and hitting his head on the floor, it was rescheduled for UFC 26, on June 9, 2000, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Only 1,100 fans showed up to the Five Seasons Center for one of the worst shows in company history. The shocking match saw Rizzo being able to avoid being taken down for five rounds against the former two-time NCAA champion wrestler. By all rights, that should have meant Rizzo would win with ease. But instead, Randleman had little problems standing with Rizzo and connected with better punches to take a dull five-round decision. Rizzo’s only offense was the occasional leg kick.
An early third-round accidental head butt seemed to take Rizzo out of the fight. Rizzo fought the remainder of the match, did nothing offensively during that period, and remembered none of it. He even had no recollection in the dressing room if he had won, lost or even completed the fight.
The fight was so dull fans started throwing garbage into the cage and it didn’t help that there was little excitement on the undercard, which saw wins by future champions Jens Pulver and Matt Hughes, as well as Pat Miletich retaining the lightweight title (as the current welterweight title was then known) beating John Alessio with an armbar at 1:43 of the second round.
The most excitement of the evening happened at cageside, with a near confrontation between Ken Shamrock and Bobby Hoffman, the Extreme Challenge (Iowa promotion run by Monte Cox) heavyweight champion.
Hoffman started yelling at Lion’s Den fighter Alex Andrade, who became the first fighter ever to be disqualified in a UFC match. At the time, fighters were allowed to wear approved shoes if they wanted to kick, but the Iowa State Athletic Commission had adopted rules that a fighter couldn’t kick wearing shoes. At the rules meeting the day before, it was explained, and Shamrock’s side decided Andrade would wear the shoes for traction and agree to throw no kicks in his match against Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Amoury Bitetti.
But when Andrade got in the cage, he reverted back to instinct and was throwing kicks. After two warnings by referee John McCarthy, he threw another kick, and was disqualified in a match he was dominating. Hoffman started yelling at Andrade, causing Shamrock to start yelling at Hoffman. The sides were separated before they came to blows.
Shonie Carter def. Andrian Serrano, unanimous decision
Ian Freeman def. Nate Schroeder, submission (strikes), 2:13 R2
Jens Pulver def. Joao Roque, unanimous decision
Matt Hughes def. Marcelo Aguiar, TKO, 4:34 R1
Tyrone Roberts def. David Dodd, unanimous decision
Amaury Bitetti def. Alex Andrade, DQ (illegal kicks), 0:43 R2
UFC lightweight championship Pat Miletich def. John Alessio, submission (armbar), 1:43 R2 (Miletich retains title
UFC heavyweight championship: Kevin Randleman def. Pedro Rizzo, unanimous decision (Randleman retains title).