UFC 34 took place on November 2, 2001 and actually had a bit of a buzz heading into the show, due to the headline bout for the Heavyweight Championship which pit Randy Couture against Pedro Rizzo in a rematch of their controversial fight at UFC 31.
In that particular bout, Rizzo appeared to do enough to win the decision after Couture appeared to punch himself out in the opening two rounds; however Couture was named the winner via Unanimous Decision. Rizzo was upset with the judges' call as were many observers which is why this rematch was rearranged.
In truth, this encounter was not a patch on the original fight but had its moments. Couture was a more dominating force in this match-up, with dirty boxing and brilliant take-down offence. In the second round, Couture pounded away at Rizzo in the mount which caused a big gash to open up on the Brazilian's face.
Rizzo survived the second and was lucky the doctors allowed him to continue. Bafflingly then, Rizzo did not come out all guns blazing in the third, with time not on his side due to his deep cut under his eye, he instead sat back and waited to counterpunch Couture.
The champion did not need any further invitation and grabbed hold of Rizzo, trapped him up against the face and punched away until the referee stopped the bout. That was Couture's seventh victory out of seven inside the Octagon.
In another rematch, Josh Barnett clashed with Bobby Hoffman in a battle of the Super-Heavyweights. It started on the mat, where Hoffman attempted to beat on the younger Barnett in the mount but the wily Barnett repeatedly attempted an armbar.
Eventually, Barnett began to beat on the tiring Hoffman himself. Once Hoffman got cut, Barnett zeroed in and pounded away until Hoffman submitted, for an impressive win. Next up for Barnett was a Heavyweight Championship bout with Couture at UFC 36.
In a Lightweight title eliminator, BJ Penn faced Caol Uno in a bout that lasted barely over 10 seconds. Uno launched himself at Penn immediately with a high knee that Penn dodged. The Hawaiian then launched a brutal combination which instantly knocked Uno out. Like that, the fight was over and Penn was an overnight sensation.
The Welterweight Championship was on the line when Carlos Newton defended the title versus Matt Hughes. Hughes controlled the fight with several beautiful takedowns and body slams. That was the story of the finish when Hughes hoisted up Newton and effectively power-bombed him to the mat.
Newton was knocked out when his head slammed the canvas hard. Hughes was also briefly knocked out but came around before Newton and thus was awarded the win and the title. What a finish!
Ricco Rodriguez took on Pete Williams in a fight with Heavyweight title implications. The massive Rodriguez mauled Williams, who got his shots in and some good submission attempts but every time he looked like he could work an opening, Rodriguez used his massive frame to overwhelm Williams and eventually pounded away in the mount for the TKO victory.
UFC 34 was a success on pay per view, drawing 65,000 buys, double the number UFC 35 would pull, the following March.Published 03 Dec 2018, 20:44 IST