UFC 7 – The Brawl In Buffalo

8th September, 1995, Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, USA

UFC 7 runs to the same format as the previous event; an eight-man tournament and a Super Fight. There’s a change to the commentary team, with Bruce Beck and Jeff Blatnik being joined by Don “The Dragon” Wilson instead of stalwart Jim Brown. John McCarthy is the referee and Michael Buffer introduces the fighters.

Proceedings are kicked off by two huge men, with Gerry Harris fighting the returning Paul Varelans. Harris is easily taken down and after taking some punishment rolls to his front. He continues to receive a battering, and when Varelans switches from punches to elbows to the back of the head, Harris calls it a night and taps.

26The second quarter final Is Mark Hall facing UFC 3 runner up; Harold Howard. They crash to the canvas early and some of Halls strikes from the top are open hand, and possibly even claw-like. Howard begins bleeding heavily from the face and Hall gets busy with some hair pulling and head butts. Howard decides he’s had enough and taps.

The third quarter final is another returning fighter, Dutch grappler Remco Pardoel, against newcomer Ryan Parker. Pardoel throws Parker and in side control, he ties up an arm. Some punches are dropped but as Pardoel’s knuckles start to redden, he thinks better of the skull cracking, moves to mount and works to a lapel choke with his own gi.

The last quarter final is the much anticipated debut of Vale Tudo legend Marco Ruas. He’s fighting Larry Cureton who was on the wrong end of a couple of dozen head butts from Todd Medina in UFC 5. Ruas lifts and throws the much bigger Cureton and quickly transitions to mount. More by luck than judgement, Cureton reverses Ruas, who is really active from his back. There’s an attempted arm triangle and arm bar, and finally it’s a leg lock that gets him. Very impressive debut by Marco Ruas.

The first semi-final is a quick one. Mark Hall manages to land a couple of early punches and kicks, but Varelans gets the much smaller Hall in a side headlock and tosses him to the ground. After transitioning to mount and dropping a couple of his trademark elbows, Varelans synchs up a key-lock and gets an instant tap, maybe before it’s fully on. Hall is obviously sufficiently aware what’s going on to know he’s about to lose his arm.

pardoelRemco Pardoel against Marco Ruas is a very different affair. After a couple of leg kicks from Ruas, they clinch up and there’s some standing grappling with Pardoel working hard for a guillotine. Ruas resists being taken down for several minutes, but eventually, they crash to the ground and there’s a frantic struggle to escape a really tight choke. Ruas finds a narrow opening and reverses Pardoel. They spend some time in a 50/50 with Ruas working for leg locks, but eventually he bails on it and puts Pardoel on his back. After some heavy punches, Ruas passes to side control and then to mount. Rather bizarrely, Pardoel taps as soon as he’s mounted and although he’s had a work out, Ruas moves on to the final undamaged.

Next, we move on to Ken Shamrock’s third Super Fight in successive events. The anti-climactic draw against Royce Gracie in UFC 5 was followed by a masterful win over Dan Severn in UFC 6. Tonight he faces the champion from the previous event, Oleg Taktarov. There was some controversy at UFC 5 when Anthony Marcias clearly threw his semi-final to his friend and training partner; Oleg Taktarov. That sets alarm bells ringing before this Super Fight, because Taktarov is a member of the Lion’s Den camp, led by none other than Ken Shamrock. There’s a bit of half-hearted striking early, but they go to the ground fairly quickly. There are a few heavy looking punches and open hand strikes from both fighters, and Shamrock does use his head frequently. The 3 minute overtime is pretty ferocious but while it’s clearly not the outright fix the Taktarov vs Marcias was, I’m not convinced there isn’t some element of a ‘work’ going on. To cut a long story short, they ‘fight’ to a 33 minute draw and Ken Shamrock retains his title.

MarcoRuasThat just leaves the tournament final to take care of. You wouldn’t know Ruas is across the cage from 6’8” of fury by the look on his face. He looks like he’s pool-side in his Speedos, queueing for an ice cream. Varelans charges across the octagon and is met with half a dozen thudding leg kicks. They clinch up occasionally, but each time they separate, Ruas unloads with a mixture of crisp punches and heavy leg kicks. One prolonged clinch ends up with Varelans facing the fence and holding on tight with Ruas giving him a reach around. There’s an exchange of heavy foot stomps but when it grinds to a halt, John McCarthy separates and restarts them. As they come back together Ruas throws another leg kick and Varelans answers with a massive one of his own which momentarily slows Ruas down. As Varelans lumbers forward, Ruas throws a variety of strikes, but it’s the relentless kicks that are clearly having the biggest success. He continues to chop away until finally, TIMBER! Varelans’ leg gives way and he collapses to the canvas. Ruas climbs on top and unloads to finish the big man off. Fantastic performance by ’The King Of The Streets.’

Event Highlight

Marco Ruas hacking down Paul Varelans.

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UFC 6 – Clash Of The Titans

14th July 1995, Casper Events Center, Casper, Wyoming, USA

UFC 6, the first with no Gracie involvement. Also, as there’s no Steve Jennum and Dan Severn is in the Super Fight, we’re guaranteed a first time tournament Champion.

Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnik and Jim Brown are all on duty, and as always, John McCarthy is the third man in the cage. Our ring announcer for the night is beautifully dressed, silky voiced Michael Buffer. A definite step up in class from Rich Goins or Ron Jeremy.

abbottkomatuaThe tournament gets underway with the debut of the one and only David “Tank” Abbott. He’s being welcomed by John Matua who has a 120lbs weight advantage, but as they meet in the middle of the cage it’s not a factor. Tank throws some heavy leather and completely starches Matua in 20 seconds. Welcome to the UFC Tank. “Cake walk, baby!”

Next up is retired US Marine and Tae Kwon Do practitioner; Cal Worsham taking on 6’8”, 300lbs Trap Fighter; Paul Varelans. Worsham gets the better of the early punching exchanges, but Varelans is like a Terminator. He brings a crushing elbow down onto the back of Worsham’s skull and shuts him down instantly. Absolutely brutal KO.

The third quarter final is UFC 2 finalist Pat Smith against Rudyard Moncayo. Pat’s been working on his submission game since losing to Royce Gracie last time out and is even wearing a wresting singlet for this outing. As McCarthy starts them, Pat throws a glorious front kick which almost puts Moncaya through the cage wall and into the first row. Immediately back to their feet, Pat gets Moncayo in a standing guillotine and throws a variety of punches, knees and elbows, there’s a scramble and they go to the ground. Pat grabs a choke and Moncayo taps. Very efficient win by Pat Smith.

The last quarter final is all-round nice guy, big Dave Beneteau against UFC 5 runner up Oleg Taktarov. Beneteau is successful right from the off with a double leg, but Taktarov manages to get back to his feet. Beneteau unloads a barrage of punches, and Taktarov goes for his own takedown. There’s a scramble and Taktarov ends up on his back, but slams on a tight guillotine which forces a quick tap from Beneteau.

tank varelans 1The semi-finals get underway with Tank Abbott against Paul Varelans. After throwing a quick right hand, Tank surprises Varelans by taking him to the ground.  After dropping some bombs, Tank raises up, puts his knee across Varelans’ face and throat, grabs the fence with both hands and uses it to pull down hard, all the time grinning maniacally. He drops a couple more punches for good measure and John McCarthy steps in. Varelans is really not happy about it, but it’s a good stoppage. In his post-fight interview, Tank says he’d heard Varelans say he likes to take people down and tickle them, so he’d decided to take Varelans down and tickle his brain.

The second semi-final is Oleg Taktarov against alternate Anthony Macias, who’s stepping in for Pat Smith who’s pulled out with stomach cramps. The problem here is, they share a promotor, and are friends and training partners. The other alternate still fit to fight is Guy Metzger, but he’s in Taktarov’s corner. By 9 seconds into the fight, Macias has tapped to a guillotine he clearly gifted to his mate. Macias was tapping before the choke was even applied. The crown knows it; the commentary team know it; we all know it. Bullshit!

super fightNext up is the second ever Super Fight. The first one at UFC 5 was a big let-down, so we’re hoping for better this time. Before we get underway, we check in with ‘The King Of The Streets’, Marco Ruas, who’s booked to fight in UFC 7. He’s particularly looking forward to facing either of tonight’s Super Fight competitors; Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock, but he’ll have to earn that right by winning a tournament. After a little over a minute of evenly matched standing grappling, an attempted takedown goes wrong for Severn and almost gets himself caught in a fight-ending standing guillotine. He doesn’t learn his lesson and drops for a second takedown. Shamrock puts on a second guillotine, Severn drops backwards to his butt which makes it tighten and he taps. Excellent job by Ken Shamrock, and at the second attempt, we have a Super Fight champion.

olegtaktarovvstankabbott_display_imageThe tournament final is Tank Abbott against Oleg Taktarov. Tank lands some big punches in the first couple of minutes, but as the gas tank starts to quickly empty, the grappling comes into play and the match evens up. They hit the canvas with Tank in Taktarov’s guard, and although they’re both active, it’s a bit of a stalemate. After about 6 minutes they stand and Tank, despite blowing out his arse, has a bit more success, but within a minute they’re back on the ground and back to an exhausted stalemate. Every now and again, Tank’s batteries recharge enough to drop some thunder, but it’s short lived each time. Eventually McCarthy restarts them on their feet and Tank lands a couple of clean shots, but somehow Taktarov survives them. Tank drops for a takedown and gets sucked into what’s becoming a trademark guillotine for Taktarov. Tank turtles up and Taktarov climbs on in the most laboured back mount you’ll ever see. He reaches round for a rear-naked choke that gets the tap. It’s a Herculean effort by both men, and both are unable to get to their feet for quite some time. Tank is the first man walking, and he’s heading backstage for a well-earned cocktail or two. Taktarov doesn’t even have the energy to receive his belt.

Event Highlight

Two words: Tank Abbott!

You have to wonder what would have happened if Pat Smith hadn’t retired ahead of his semi-final with Oleg Taktarov. A Smith/Tank final could have been a barn-burner, or if Taktarov had got through Smith, he’d have likely been pretty banged up. Certainty in much worse shape than he was after effectively being given a bye by his mate, Anthony Marcias.

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