UFC 17 was headlined by the returning Mark Coleman; fresh off his shock loss of the Heavyweight Championship to Maurice Smith at UFC 14, 10 months earlier.
Coleman was looking for redemption but did not get it. After a decent back and forth contest Coleman gassed and was easy pickings for Williams, who smashed him full force in the face with an expertly timed leg kick. Coleman was out and the UFC had a new superstar.
Tank Abbott destroyed Hugo Duarte in under a minute after Duarte attempted to lock in a choke but Abbott reversed and smashed him in the head with brutal hammer fists to the head.
The tournament at UFC 17 played host to the Middleweights and saw the Octagon debuts of Dan Henderson and Carlos Newton.
Henderson met Allan Goes and dominated him with excellent ground and pound and solid work in the clinch. Henderson won via Unanimous Decision.
In the other Semi-Final bout, Newton submitted Bob Gilstrap in just 54 seconds with an expert triangle choke which set up a mouth-watering final match-up between Newton and Henderson.
Despite competing for 14 minutes longer in his first round encounter, Henderson bested Newton via Split Decision. It was a close call but the right one. Newton was the more active of the two in overtime, but that was to be expected considering he was much more well rested than "Hendo." However, Henderson had done enough in the early going with excellent striking, which did significant damage to Newton.
In spite of his victory, Henderson did not return to UFC for almost a decade, next appearing at UFC 75 in 2007. Newton would also take time to return, making his UFC comeback in 2001 at UFC 31.
Rounding out the card was the Heavyweight clash between Mike Van Arsdale who defeated Joe Pardo in a dominating performance, highlighted by his excellent wrestling skill which enabled him to keep control for the entire contest, before securing the submission.
UFC 17 will always be remembered for the Coleman/Williams encounter which is one of the few fights to have been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. It is notable also for the impressive Octagon debuts of Henderson and Newton; both of whom would go on to be true legends of the sport.