Anderson Silva (Photo: newslocker.com)
UFC 36: Worlds Collide – Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Arena – March 22, 2002
Anderson Silva almost debuted at UFC 36 for a welterweight “dream fight” against Matt Hughes.
Unfortunately, Silva signed with PRIDE and wouldn’t arrive in UFC for another four years.
Instead, Hughes retained the welterweight title with a fourth-round TKO win over Hayato Sakurai.
UFC was starting to regain popularity one year into the Zuffa era. UFC 36 drew a crowd of 10,000 fans and picked up 55,000 buys on pay-per-view.
Josh Barnett, 24, became the youngest UFC champion ever when he beat Randy Couture for the heavyweight title by TKO late in Round 2.
However, Barnett was stripped of the belt after failing a post-fight steroid test.
In another heavyweight bout, Pedro Rizzo knocked out Andrei Arlovski with a head kick in Round 3.
Pat Miletich and Pete Williams competed in their final UFC fights, although neither man went out on a winning note.
Miletich lost to Matt Lindland by TKO at the 3:09 mark. Miletich, who was already training Hughes, went on to become a successful trainer and announcer.
Evan Tanner won the PPV opener over Elvis "The King of Rock & Rumble" Sinocic. The bout was stopped due to excessive cuts in just over two minutes.
Williams lost to Frank Mir by submission to a shoulder lock in 46 seconds in a preliminary bout.
In the other prelims, Matt Serra beat Kelly Dullanty with a triangle choke at the 2:58 mark, and Sean Sherk defeated Jutaro Nakao by unanimous decision.