Main Event | UFC Heavyweight Championship | 265 lbs
Randy Couture defeats Pedro Rizzo via 5 Round Decision
|8-3-0||Pro Record At Fight||11-1-0|
|Climbed to 9-3||Record After Fight||Fell to 11-2|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||Fighting out of||Rio De Janeiro, Brazil|
|37 years, 10 months, 5 days||Age at Fight||27 years, 1 day|
|223.0 lbs (101.2 kgs)||Weigh-In Result||230.0 lbs (104.3 kgs)|
|6'1" (186cm)||Height||6'1" (186cm)|
|Xtreme Couture||Gym||Ruas Vale Tudo|
- Bout Information
- Event: UFC 31: Locked and Loaded
- Date: Friday 05.04.2001
- Referee: John McCarthy
- Venue: Trump Taj Mahal
- Enclosure: Octagon
- Location: Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
- Bout Billing: Main Event (fight 8 of 8)
- Pro/Am: Professional
- Weight: 265 lbs (120.2 kg)
- TV Commentary: Mike Goldberg, Jeff Blatnick, Frank Shamrock
- Broadcast: N/A
- Post-Fight Interviewer: James Werme
- Couture Total Disclosed Pay: None Disclosed
- Rizzo Total Disclosed Pay: None Disclosed
- Title on Line: UFC Heavyweight Championship
- Belt Status Before Fight: Held by Couture
Couture vs. Rizzo I Wiki Update Wiki
After finishing MMA legends Dan Severn and Josh Barnett in back-to-back bouts, Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo was considered by many the best heavyweight in the world at the time. The only thing standing in his way of the light heavyweight title was future champion and Hall of Famer Randy Couture, who gutted through some precarious moments to win a Unanimous Decision over the Brazilian bomber at UFC 31 in 2001.
Goldberg: "He [Couture] is a wrestler at heart, taking on one of the most powerful kickboxers in the world in Pedro Rizzo." Rizzo entered the cage first, coming out to his own music video highlight, "You Can't Stop the Rock." Couture walked out next, with a dizzying array of pyrotechnics accompanying him to the cage.
After a clinch battle that lasted several minutes, Couture got the fight to the ground in the first, where he punished Rizzo with his superior ground and pound technique, cutting him on the forehead and easily winning the first round. Goldberg: "What great heart shown by Pedro Rizzo. Wow." Couture took more damage in the second round of this championship fight than almost any other fight in his career, as Rizzo punished his legs, body, and face with brutal kicks and punches for the entirety of the round. Blatnick: "I wonder if Randy punched himself out in the first round because it doesn't seem like he has anything left." The third round was close, with Rizzo doing more damage to Couture on the feet before "The Natural" got the fight to the ground once again midway into the round, where he maintained top control to rest and recover his strength. In the fourth, Couture looked to be the fresher of the two fighters, eventually getting Rizzo to the ground where he looked to break the Brazilian heavyweight mentally with his continuous pressure. Goldberg: "Rizzo seems to be unwilling to commit, which has been a knock on him lately. That is why Marco Ruas tells him, 'you must initiate.'" Couture again controlled Rizzo for most of the fifth round, until the Brazilian knocked him down in the final standing exchange and raised his arms after the horn sounded to signal the end of the fight. Couture emerged with the Unanimous Decision victory to keep his belt.
Couture has stated in multiple interviews that his two fights with Rizzo were two of the most arduous and painful of his entire career, and he still has a knot in his right quadriceps from the Brazilian's vicious leg kicks. Although the first fight was relatively close, Couture quieted the critics with a third-round TKO over Rizzo in their rematch six months later.