UFC 16: What happened when Kimo returned to the Octagon?
UFC 16: Battle In The Bayou took place on March 13, 1998, and was the first UFC event of the year.
Kimo Leopoldo returned on this card, having not been seen inside the Octagon since Ultimate Ultimate 1996.
He competed against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, who was making his UFC debut. Leopoldo started like a house on fire, overwhelming his Japanese opponent with his superior power.
However, Leopoldo's early flurries led to him running out of gas and Kohsaka steadily picked him apart when the two were stood up. It was tight but Kohsaka earned the decision victory.
Jerry Bohlander versus Kevin Jackson was a decent wrestling encounter while it lasted. After some excellent grappling action, Bohlander managed to somehow secure an armbar and the referee stopped the bout. Jackson wasn't happy but had the bout not been stopped, his arm may have been broken.
Frank Shamrock defended the Middleweight Championship versus Igor Zinoviev. This clash was even more one-sided than many of his other title matches as he beat his challenger in just 22 seconds with a massive slam. The impact was so severe that it didn't only cost Zinoviev the match, it broke his collarbone and ended his career.
UFC 16 saw a Lightweight tournament contested. In the first round, Pat Miletich bested Townsend Saunders in a tough watch. For 15 minutes, Miletich was laying in the guard, but Saunders was unable to do any real damage.
When the fight moved to standing, Miletich was a bit more aggressive and did enough to win the decision, but Miletich's style was far from box office as a spectacle.
Mikey Burnett beat Eugenio Tadeu in a bout that could not have been more different. Both men came out swinging but a late flurry from Burnett was enough for the referee to call for the TKO.
Regrettably, Burnett had to pull out of the final match. He was replaced by Chris Brennan instead.
Miletich beat Brennan in a fight which was a mild improvement on his first. However, it was still a tough watch. The wily Miletich earned the win by forcing down his shoulder over Brennan's throat for the submission.
With that, Miletich won the tournament. That was UFC 16 an event where the only memorable action was the unfortunate career-ending injury to Zinoviev.
Thankfully, UFC 17, two months later, was a return to form for the promotion.
Published 04 Dec 2018, 19:47 IST