The UFC came crashing back down to earth with its UFC 42 show. Taking place from Florida, for the first time on April 25, 2003, the event failed to attract pay per view orders anywhere close to the previous offering UFC 41 or the mega-successful, UFC 40.
It was doubly disappointing due to the fact the card was a stacked show with some of UFC's biggest names. What it did not have, however, was a mainstream name like Ken Shamrock or Tank Abbott to attract the casual audience.
The headliner saw Matt Hughes defend his Welterweight title versus the unbeaten, Sean Sherk.
This was Hughes's toughest test to date as Sherk stayed with him for full five rounds, particularly rocking him with a brutal flurry of punches in the third round. Hughes showed tremendous heart to come back and largely dominate the final rounds with takedowns and flurries of sick elbows from the mount position.
The winner via Unanimous Decision and still Welterweight Champion, Matt Hughes.
In the same division, Pete Spratt upset Robbie Lawler in the battle of the brawlers. Lawler dominated early before a huge high kick rocked him badly. Lawler did well to survive the first round.
He didn't last through the second. Lawler lunged forward towards Spratt and in the process, he dislocated his hip. Spratt, therefore, won the bout due to technical submission.
Wesley "Cabbage" Correira dominated Sean Alvarez for his first win inside the Octagon. Alvarez repeatedly tried to take down the massive "Cabbage" to no avail. Correira finally unloaded on Alvarez in round two with a sickening combination of punches followed by knees which earned him the stoppage victory.
Rich Franklin made his UFC debut versus Evan Tanner and made light work of his more experienced foe with a stunning display of striking combinations to finish Tanner within three minutes.
The card opened with Duane Ludwig defeating Genki Sudo in a hugely entertaining opener. The eccentric, Sudo showboated and looked like something out of pro-wrestling as he took bizarre stances and hit overly dramatised strikes.
Both men exchanged brilliant flurries but the highlight of the bout was saved for Ludwig who hit an insane amount of elbows in the final round and then did a Karate Kid crane kick type pose as the time ran out. Insane! Ludwig; the winner via Unanimous Decision.
UFC 42 pulled a paltry 35,000 buys, half as many as UFC 41 and only a third of what UFC 40 drew. Thankfully, the first time ever bout between Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell drew a much-improved buyrate at UFC 43.