Eddie Mercado is joined by Victor Rodriguez to recap the classic UFC 43 card where Randy Couture TKO’d Chuck Liddell to win the light heavyweight belt, plus illegal face stomps, a gaping gash, and a rare self-knockout.
On June 6, 2003, UFC 43: Meltdown occurred at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The night’s marquee matchup witnessed a 39-year-old Randy Couture TKO Chuck Liddell in the third round, to capture the light heavyweight belt and become the promotion’s first ever two-division champion. In the co-main event, Kimo Leopoldo made short work of David “Tank” Abbott, submitting his fellow Huntington Beach’er with an Arm Triangle in just under two minutes of the opening round.
Also on the main card, Yves Edwards picked up a dominant decision win over Eddie Ruiz, and Vitor Belfort blitzed Marvin Eastman with a set of knees and punches that left a major gash in Eastman’s forehead. An ultra-rare draw occurred in Vernon White vs. Ian Freeman, with one judge scoring it 30-27 for White, another judge seeing it 29-28 for Freeman, and the final judge with an interesting result of 29-29. Opening up the main card, Wes Sims decided to grab ahold of the cage and stomp upon the head of a downed Frank Mir, to get himself disqualified in the first round.
The preliminary card was graced with the always humorous self-knockout, as Matt Lindland botched a takedown, dropping himself on his own head and gifting Falaniko Vitale a win. Opening up the event, Pedro Rizzo stopped Tra Telligman by way of doctor stoppage in the second frame, after arguably dropping the opening round.
- Randy Couture def. Chuck Liddell by TKO at 2:39 of round 3: Light Heavyweight Interim Title
- Kimo Leopoldo def. Tank Abbott by submission (Arm Triangle) at 1:59 of round 1
- Yves Edwards def. Eddie Ruiz by unanimous decision: Lightweight
- Vitor Belfort def. Marvin Eastman by TKO (Knees & Punches) at 1:07 of round 1: Light Heavyweight
- Vernon White drew with Ian Freeman (30-27 White, 29-28 Freeman, 29-29): Heavyweight
- Frank Mir def. Wes Sims by disqualification (stomping a downed opponent) at 1:56 of round 1: Heavyweight
- Falaniko Vitale def. Matt Lindland by KO (Slam) at 1:56 of round 1: Middleweight
- Pedro Rizzo def. Tra Telligman by TKO (Cut) at 4:24 of round 2: Heavyweight