UFC 10 – The Tournament

July 12 1996, Fairgrounds Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

After trying out single bouts in UFC 9, this event returns to the familiar tournament structure, though there’s not Super Fight. Bruce Beck and Jeff Blatnik return for commentary duties (Don Wilson is away shooting a movie), John McCarthy is the referee, and there’s a notable debut for ‘Voice of the Octagon’ Bruce Buffer.

24We get underway with undefeated defending tournament champion Don Frye taking on Mark Hall, himself being 3-1 from his previous three events. Frye slams Hall to the ground and goes to work trying to punch his way through Hall’s rib cage. A few minutes in and Hall’s body is already starting to look like a well tenderised steak. There’s some head butts mixed in, but the punishment to Hall’s body is relentless. Hall’s corner is screaming at him to get up and he shouts at them to shut up. Then Don Frye starts pleading with him to quit, but he refuses. After a little over ten minutes, John McCarthy saves Hall from himself and stops the fight. He has a seemingly bottomless well of resilience and bravery, but it’s a one sided beating. Frye progresses.

Next up we have two new comers in Scotty Fiedler against Brian Johnston. Fiedler obviously didn’t enjoy the experience much as this was his first, last and only MMA fight. Johnston throws Fiedler a couple of times and after the second, almost secures a knee bar. Fiedler takes Johnston’s back and gets both hooks in but doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. Johnston sneaks out the back door and takes Fiedler’s back, flattens him out and pounds on the back of the head. John McCarthy pulls Johnston off and stops the fight.

3764_esThe third fight is the UFC debut of Mark Coleman, who’s facing Israeli striker Moti Horenstein. Coleman takes the fight to the ground with ease and unleashes the as yet unchristened “Ground N Pound” he’d go on to be credited with inventing. It could be argued Frye and Severn both employed similar tactics in early tournaments, but there’s no argument that Coleman took it to a new level. After a savage couple of minutes, John McCarthy sees that Horenstein has had enough and he stops it.

The last quarter final is New York Beef Cake; John Campetella against Gary ‘Big Daddy’ Gary Goodridge. Campetella has some early success out grappling Goodridge and landing some heavy shots. A minute in, they’re on the ground with Campetella on top. Goodridge reverses positions and lands a few really big punches from the top. John McCarthy stops the fight and there’s some booing from the crowd who think it was a bit early. They may be right, but I doubt things were going to improve for Campetella with Big Daddy fully mounting him, dropping bombs.

The first semi-final is Don Frye against Brian Johnston. Bruce Beck and Jeff Blatik are joined in commentary by a suspended Tank Abbott. He got into a couple of dust ups at UFC 8 with Allan Goes and John McCarthy, but is itching to get back in the Octagon at the next event to show everyone how it should be done. The first couple of minutes are a fairly even ‘dirty boxing’ match, but 3 minutes in, the fight goes to the ground and Frye has a clear edge. When Frye gets side control and drops a couple of elbows, Brian Johnston decides to tap, rather than take any serious damage.

colemanThe second semi-final is Mark Coleman and Gary Goodridge, both of who had short but ferocious first round fights. Coleman has Goodridge on his back early and drops some short punches and head butts. Goodridge is able to scramble to his feet, but Coleman takes his back standing and has some success punching from behind. They’re right in front of Coleman’s corner and he’s receiving some direction, so Goodridge decides to scuttle sideways round the cage wall to his own corner instead. It doesn’t help much and Coleman continues to smash Goodridge up against the cage. They break and Big Daddy does look the fresher fighter, but before long, Coleman has it back to the ground and unloads everything he has on Goodridge. Coleman takes Goodridge’s back and flattens him out, getting a tap before any more punishment is taken.

Screen_shot_2012-10-19_at_11.32.58_PMAs the final starts, Don Frye is able to sprawl to Mark Coleman’s takedown attempt and gets an arm round his neck. He hangs out there too long though and Coleman easily clears the headlock and takes Frye’s back. Coleman starts smashing Frye’s skull in until around 4 minutes in when they’re briefly back to their feet. Both men are exhausted, particularly Coleman, who has his hands on his knees, sucking air in through every available hole. After another spell on the ground with Coleman dominating, McCarthy separates them to have the doctor take a look at Frye’s cuts. As they re-engage, Frye still has a bit of a spring in his step when they’re striking. As soon as they clinch up though, Coleman’s just too big and strong. After one more Ground N Pound session, John McCarthy has seen enough and calls it for Coleman. It’s not pretty, but Frye loses for the first time and Coleman wins the tournament at the first attempt.

Event Highlights

Incredible show of guts by Mark Hall and solid performances by legends Gary Goodrifdge, Don Frye and Mark Coleman.

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UFC 9 – Motor City Madness

17th May 1996, Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, USA

There’s a change of format for tonight’s event. For the first time ever, there is no tournament. It’s seven stand-alone bouts, including Ken Shamrock defending his Super Fight title for the third time in a rematch against Dan Severn. Following pressure from Senator John McCain, the rules have been adapted to ban head butts and closed hand strikes. Although that’s ignored in most of the fights, it certainly de-supers the Super Fight.

calworsham_display_imageWe open up with two returning fighters. Zane Frazier got his head pounded flat by Kevin Rosier all the way back in UFC 1, while Cal Worsham was holding his own Paul Varelans in UFC 6 until a huge elbow to the top of his head stopped him in his tracks. A few kicks are landed early, but the fighters are looking uncertain, pawing with open hands. Worsham drops for a double leg and takes Frazier to the mat. Rules or not, he lands some short head butts. Frazier looks to John McCarthy for some assistance, but he lets Worsham crack on. The punches start going in too, and John McCarthy remembers he’s supposed to be stopping these techniques so starts chastising Worsham, but with no effect. Frazier decides he’d like to stop eating Worsham’s forehead and taps.

The second fight of the night is 6’8” Brazilian Rafael Carino facing Matt Anderson, who’s a training partner of UFC 3 champion, Steve Jennum. Carino has Anderson on his back in short order, maintains control and gradually works his way to mount. There’s a flash of blood on the forehead of Anderson and John McCarthy stops the fight. A methodical but not particularly thrilling win for Carino.

schultzThe next fight should have been a battle of the big Canadians, with Dave Beneteau facing Gary Goodridge, but Beneteau has broken his hand while preparing. His training partner, highly decorated wrestler Mark Schultz is stepping in on a few hours’ notice to face Big Daddy. Schultz looks really uncomfortable on his feet in the opening few seconds, but as soon as he gets his hands on Goodridge, he explodes into action and takes him down with ease. Schultz has complete ground control and if he was working for the UFC at the time, Mike Goldberg would undoubtedly have uttered the phrase “embrace the grind” multiple times. Half way through the 12 minute regulation time, John McCarthy breaks them up and restarts them on their feet, but Schultz shoots in and puts Goodridge on his back again. Some Ground N Pound (not that the phrase has been coined yet) opens up a cut on Goodridge’s eye brow and Big John stops the fight for the doctor to take a look. It’s not a bad one so they are allowed to restart and it’s the same routine, Schultz gets his hands on Goodridge and slams him to the ground. The bleeding from Goodridge’s cut worsens and as regulation time ends, the doctor takes another look and stops the fight, rather than allow overtime.

hall kitaoNext we have UFC 7 & 7.5 veteran Mark Hall facing the Octagon’s third Sumo fighter, Koji Kitao who outweighs Hall by more than double. As they start, Hall throws a low kick and a punch to Kitao’s face before being taken down hard. The punch has broken Kitao’s nose and there’s a delayed reaction before the blood starts gushing from it. John McCarthy and the doctor take a look, and the fight is stopped. Good effort Mr Hall.

fryeOur final ‘regular’ fight before moving on to the ironically named Super Fight is reigning tournament champion Don Frye returning to fight Amaury Bitetti who’s stepping in to replace Marco Ruas (what a fight that would have been). They clinch up early and Bitetti is initially hanging with Frye, but after a minute or so of dirty boxing, they break and Frye lands a couple of big punches that turn the tide firmly his way. Frye hands Bitetti one of the most savage one sided beat downs you’ll ever see. John McCarthy stops it a couple of times for the doctor to take a look at the cuts, but Bitetti wants to fight on each time. In the end McCarthy saves Bitetti from himself and stops the fight. Amongst his post-fight shout outs, Frye thanks his big brother for “beating him like a red-headed step child” and teaching him how to take a punch. A bit stomach turning in places, but a dominant performance by the Predator.

Which brings us onto the Super Fight. Instructions to not use the head or closed fist were largely ignored for the rest of the card, Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock fully took on board the rules. This has been described as one of the worst MMA fights in history, but in truth, using the word ‘fight’ at all is a bit of a stretch. The majority of the bout is both men circling barely making contact. The fans are booing and chanting “BULL SHIT” and “BORING”, the commentary team are struggling to find anything to talk about, and even John McCarthy is getting annoyed and screaming at them to engage. In the last 10 minutes Dan takes Ken to the ground but he isn’t able to hold him down. A second grappling exchange ends with Dan on his back, mounted by Ken. In the final minute there’s a flurry of action that sees Ken briefly take Dan’s back, but get reversed. In the last 2 minutes of regulation time, Dan finally unleashes the Beast and gives Ken a bit of a mauling. There’s no improvement in the two overtime periods, and Dan Severn picks up a split decision win. Horrible fight.

Dan-Severn

Event Highlights

Even putting the terrible Super Fight to one side, this was not a great event. A couple of the referee/doctor’s stoppages were a bit early, but the Frye / Betetti fight should probably have been stopped much earlier. I personally prefer the stand-alone bouts, but the tournament format was brought back in the next event due to popular demand. The only real highlight was Don Frye being a complete savage.

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UFC 8 – David vs Goliath

16th February 1996, Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico

This event has the familiar format of a ‘Super Fight,’ plus an eight-man tournament, but tonight, there’s a twist. All of the first round fights purposely pit a smaller guy against a bigger guy, hence the title of David vs Goliath.

The now familiar commentary team of Bruce Beck, Don Wilson and Jeff Blatnik make the UFC’s first and only trip to Puerto Rico to call the event.

Frye SevernFirst up, we have 206lb Dan Severn protégé Don ‘The Predator’ Frye facing local fighter Thomas Ramirez, who tips the scales at 410lbs. Blink and you’ll miss it. Don Frye throws a lead right hand that knocks Ramirez back, a couple more that glance off, then one more that gets through and Ramirez is out cold, eyes open, but completely glazed over. Welcome to the Octagon Don Frye.

varelans moreiraThe Goliath in the second quarter final is UFC 6, 7 & 7.5 veteran Paul Varelans, facing BJJ legend, Joe Moreira. In contrast to the opening 8 second fight, this one goes the full 10 minutes and isn’t what you’d call a thriller. Moreira is landing the cleaner punches at boxing range, and although he’s unable to get Varelans to the ground from the clinch, he’s landing the better shots on the break. Varelans is relentlessly plodding forward and constantly raising his lead leg, perhaps still sore from the battering it took from Marco Ruas five months earlier. In the end, all three judges give the fight to Varelans, most likely due to the constant forward motion, but it could have easily gone the other way.

The third opener is a double debut of Lion’s Den product Jerry Bohlander, giving away 130lbs to the original Pit Bull, Scott Ferrozzo. In the clinch Ferrozzo is tossing Bohlander around like a ragdoll. Standing and on the ground, Bohlander has to withstand a mauling for the majority of the fight. Bohlander tries to apply a choke using the shoulder strap of Ferrozzo’s wrestling singlet, but it’s not as effective as a gi lapel choke. With just over a minute left, Ferrozzo attempts a throw, but it goes wrong and he’s briefly on the bottom. There’s a scramble and they are back to the feet, against the cage. Bohlander has managed to reach round Ferrozzo’s thick neck for a standing guillotine and gets the tap. Good effort Jerry.

crucifixThe last quarter final is Gary ‘Big Daddy’ Goodridge against Tank Abbott’s buddy, Paul Herrarra. Goodridge is announced as representing the Korean art of Kook Sool Won, although he was allegedly awarded the status of 4th degree black belt after two lessons in the art. Straight out of the traps, Herrera shoots for a double leg and Goodridge sprawls. They roll and come to rest with Herrera trapped in a crucifix. Goodridge slams eight sickening elbows to Herrera’s temple, and he’s out cold after the first two. Absolutely savage finish.

frye-adkinsPaul Varelans is not able to come out for his semi-final, due to a broken foot so alternate Sam Adkins is brought in to face Don Frye. There’s some feinting by both men, but Frye snatches a quick single leg and puts Adkins on his back. There’s some confusion in the commentary team who think they see Adkins tap, but to me it looks more like a panicked grab at Frye to stop the barrage of shots he’s raining down. There’s a lot of claret which prompts John McCarthy to jump in and stop the fight. Adkins is unhappy with the stoppage, but he was in a bad position and was likely done.

The second semi-final is Jerry Bohlander fighting Gary Goodridge, and for the second time tonight, he’s being tossed around by the bigger man. Bohlander is on his back in short order, but to everyone’s surprise, perhaps even his own, he reverses and mounts Goodridge. It’s a temporary state of affairs and Big Daddy powers his way out, back to the top position. Bohlander tries to work an ankle lock with Goodridge standing over him, but he eats a couple of huge punches and John McCarthy steps in to save him. Brave effort by Bohlander, but Goodridge moves on to fight Don Frye in the final.

kimo1Before that final, we have our Super Fight, with Kimo Leopoldo facing defending champion, Ken Shamrock. I’m not sure if Kimo has “forgotten his P.E. kit” but he’s literally fighting in his underwear. Kimo charges across the Octagon and opens up with a low kick, which is met with a straight punch and Ken takes the fight straight to the ground. He methodically works his way from side control to half guard and eventually to full mount. shamrockThere’s a lapse in judgement as Kimo is allowed to sit up. He shows Ken his back but it isn’t capitalised on. Kimo spends a little time on top dropping head butts, but he gives Ken too much distance and gets pushed off. At the third time of trying, Ken secures a knee bar and Kimo taps before he’s taking his leg home in a bag. A masterful display on the ground by Ken Shamrock and an excellent defense of his Super Fight belt.

That just leaves the tournament final to take care of. Don Frye has barely broken a sweat yet, clocking up less than a minute of fight time in the previous two bouts. Goodridge treats us to an impressive gun show as he finally ditches the gi. Frye gets the better of the early stand up, but loses position in the clinch and has his back taken. Big Daddy wastes the positional advantage by lifting and throwing Frye away. They clinch against the cage wall and Frye wins the dirty boxing exchange. Again, Goodridge picks Frye up but this time he stays on him as he throws him to the floor. Frye sneaks out the back door, rolls Goodridge onto his back and begins to unload. Goodridge reaches out an arm and taps the mat. Solid night’s work by Don Frye.

frye goodridge

Event Highlights

Excellent debuts from Gary Goodridge, Jerry Bohlander and especially Don Frye. The Super Fight was pretty entertaining too. Very enjoyable event.

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UFC 7.5 – The Ultimate Ultimate

16th December, 1995, Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado, USA

UFC 7.5 has a great list of returning fighters, although there are a couple of notable absences. It’s a tournament of two halves, getting off to a cracking start but slowing down to a bit of an endurance event, for fighters and viewers alike. This tournament is the first to use judges in the event of a fight going to the time limit, and they get well used later in the night.

We get underway with UFC 6 runner up Tank Abbott against UFC 3 champion Steve Jennum. Tank takes Jennum to the matt early and scuttles him over to the cage. He pushes his head into Jennum’s face so hard it looks like he’s going to squirt through the gaps in the fence. Jennum is forced to tap.

Next is a battle of the big men, with Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn taking on Paul ‘The Polar Bear’ Varelans. This one’s on the mat even faster than Tank and Jennum were and Severn has side control and at the second attempt, secures an arm triangle choke. Varelans taps.

The third quarter final is the second meeting of Oleg Taktarov and Big Dave Beneteau. In UFC 6 Beneteau got himself caught in a Taktarov guillotine, which has been his go-to move in a lot of his previous fights. Tonight Taktarov has a new move that he’s going to attempt a LOT. He rolls from a standing clinch and grabs Beneteau’s leg. He does eat a kick from the shod Beneteau, but he holds on his leg lock and gets the tap.

19The last quarter final is reigning tournament champion, Marco Ruas against UFC 3 & 4 veteran, Keith Hackney, who for some reason has replaced his usual black gi pants with Lycra incontinence pants. They exchange leg kicks early, and after Hackney misses with a wild overhand right akin to the one that knocked 616lb Emmanuel Yarborough on his ass in UFC 3, Ruas rushes in, rips Hackney to the ground and back-mounts him. Some heavy shots to the back of Hackney’s head create an opening and a rear-naked choke goes on for the early submission.

The semi-finals get underway with Tank Abbott vs Dan Severn. Tank stuffs Severn’s first takedown attempt, but within a minute, he’s grounded and is being mauled by the Beast. Heavy punches, slaps, knees and elbows are relentlessly dropped and although Tank somehow survives, it’s 18 minutes of utter domination. The judges are called into action for the first time in UFC history, and it’s an easy decision for Severn.

miThe Second semi-final is Oleg Taktarov against Marco Ruas. It’s a cautious start from both fighters with Ruas getting the better of the early striking, having particular success with his patented legs kicks that chopped down Paul Varelans with in the previous event. Taktarov tries a front kick of his own but the knee of his standing leg seems to give way. That spurs Taktarov on to close the distance and clinch against the cage. He drops for his second leg lock attempt of the night, but Ruas is wiser to it that Beneteau was and he fights his way out of it. Ruas lands a few shots before Taktarov wall-walks and they’re back to their feet. Ruas is winning the fight so far, but the altitude is starting to take its toll. Both fighters have slowed right down and are breathing heavily. Ruas pauses to adjust his mouth piece Taktarov throws a punch which stuns him. They clinch and Taktarov reaches round Ruas’ neck for a guillotine and pulls guard. He’s not able to finish the choke and John McCarthy stands them back up. Although it’s slow and laboured, Ruas clearly has the edge in the striking. Bizarrely Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson in commentary, and seemingly the judges too, consider Taktarov’s forward plodding is more ‘aggressive’ than Ruas’ counter striking. At only the second time of asking, the judges make a horrible decision and give a fight to Taktarov that for my money, Ruas clearly won.

photo___ID_155So the final is a high altitude battle between two big guys who have already endured 18 minute semi-finals. Strap in. Severn decides he’s had enough of smashing his knuckles up on opponents’ skulls and elects to bitch-slap Taktarov for the opening few minutes instead. For the third time of the night, Taktarov rolls for a knee bar/leg lock, and initially it’s close. Severn rolls out of it and mounts Taktarov. The variety of strikes he used to pound on Tank is replaced almost exclusively with head butts. 15 minutes in, Taktarov manages to find a way back to his feet, and John McCarthy takes the opportunity to have the doctors and cut man take a look at his face, which is starting to resemble a well tenderised steak. They restart, and Taktarov drops for the leg lock again. It goes badly and he finds himself back underneath Severn being savaged. John McCarthy stands them up, and after some ineffective striking, you guessed it, Taktarov drops for a leg lock, which puts him straight back under Severn for some more punishment for the rest of regulation time. Overtime contains a couple more failed leg lock attempt and some ineffective striking all round. Severn cruises to the finishing line for a decision win.

Event Highlight

Erm? Dan Severn utterly dominating I suppose, but it’s no thriller.

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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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UFC 5 – The Return Of The Beast

7th April 1995, Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

ufc_5There’s a bit of a change of format for this event. In addition to the eight-man tournament, there’s a ‘Super Fight” which will crown the first UFC Champion-proper. The winner of the night’s tournament will be the next in line to challenge the Super Fight champion next time round. The commentary is provided by the now regular team of Bruce Beck, Jim Brown and Jeff Blatnik. There’s a new ring announcer for the night too, with Rich ‘Go Go’ Goins being replaced by Ron Jeremy (no, not that one).

The tournament gets underway with Andy “The Hammer” Anderson fighting Jon Hess. As well as his various Black Belts, Anderson boasts an 86-0 bare knuckle challenge match record, all won by KO. He’s also pledging to donate the $50,000 to children’s charities if he wins it. Long way to go yet Andy, but nice gesture. Jon Hess is 6’7” and 295lbs, to Anderson’s 5’9” and 238lbs. Despite being only 26, Hess is claiming to be a 4th degree master in his own fighting style of SAFTA (Scientifically Aggressive Fighting Technology of America). It doesn’t look very scientific as the fight begins. You remember at school when the big awkward fat kid got made to face the tough kid in a prearranged fight, but instead of taking a beating like he was supposed too, he charged the length of the school yard and crashed furiously into his opponent? It looks like that. Anderson tries to take Hess down but he’s just too big. He gives up on the grappling and collapses to the canvas when Hess rakes across his eyes with a clawed hand. Despite the ‘No Holds Barred’ headline, eye gouging is one of the few techniques prohibited, and this is a bad one. Hess drops down on Anderson, and although now blinded, Anderson manages to reverse Hess and end up on top. More eye gouging draws a scream of agony from Anderson and a warning from John McCarthy to pack it in. They stand and Hess unloads on Anderson until McCarthy pulls him off and stops the contest. Nasty fight!

The second quarter final matches Jeet Kun Do fighter Todd Medina against kickboxer Larry “Thunder Foot” Cureton who looks really tasty on the heavy bag in his VT. Although Cureton is four inches taller, he gives up 30lbs in weight to the stocky Medina. Cureton is unable to stop an immediate takedown by Medina and straight away, any advantage he may have had in striking is taken away. Initially, Cureton looks like he’s got a decent guillotine choke going, but Medina pops his head out, then brings in down into Cureton’s face a couple of dozen times. Medina passes to side control, leans the blade of his forearm on Cureton’s throat and drops a couple more head butts. Cureton has had enough and taps. After the fight, it looks like Medina has come off worse from the head butts than Cureton, despite winning the fight.

Next up is classic grappler v striker match up of Oleg “The Russian Bear” Taktarov against Ernie Verdecia. The fight goes a little clumsily to the ground immediately, with Verdecia on top. Taktarov keeps it tight from the bottom, then just over two minutes in, sweeps Verdecia and cranks a headlock from side mount. A relatively straight forward win for Taktarov.ufc-5-severn-charles

The last quarter final is the eponymous Dan “The Beast” Severn facing Joe Charles, who was an alternate in UFC 4, and who missed out on fighting Severn that night by virtue of a coin toss. There’s some serious meat in the Octagon with Charles and Severn both weighing in at 260lbs, plus Big John McCarthy not far behind them. Severn catches a Charles kick and drives him hard into the fence and down to the canvas. After taking a bit of punishment, Charles attempts an arm bar from the bottom, but Severn pulls out of it. As Charles rolls away, Severn slams on a rear naked choke and it’s over.

Jon Hess is a no-show for his semi-final (broke all his fingernails on Andy Anderson’s cornea maybe). He’s replaced by Canadian grappler Dave Beneteau who beat Wing Chun practitioner Asbel Cancio in 21 seconds in his prelim. He’s up against Todd Medina, who’s face is a bit of a mess from using it as his primary weapon in his opening fight. Beneteau wastes no time putting Medina on his back and unloads some big punches. Medina quickly calls it a night and taps.

The Second Semi is The Russian Bear vs The Beast. As expected this goes to the ground quickly and Severn begins mauling Taktarov with a mixture of punches, open palm strikes and the odd head butt. Taktarov attempts an arm bar from the bottom, but it’s like trying to submit an angry bear. Severn drops several sickening knees on Taktarov’s skull which open him up. Some more head butts and knees go in. Eventually, John McCarthy has seen enough and steps in to save Taktarov.

Next up is the Super Fight between Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie. A 30 minute time limit was instituted before the event, due to UFC 4 over-running it’s PPV slot well before the final. It’s a good job, because otherise, they might still be fighting today.

[EDIT: at the time of writing, bizarrely, they actually ARE fighting today!!.Bellator 149 is being held at the Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, headlined by Royce Gracie v Ken Shamrock. 21 years since UFC 5. Hopefully, the rematch is a bit more “Super.”]

[EDIT 2: It wasn’t.]

1865405_origThe fight is on the mat in under a minute  and is a grind from the outset. There are bursts of energy and activity, but it’s basically a stalemate, with Ken stuck in Royce’s guard for 30 minutes. A 5 minute overtime is agreed, but other than Royce taking some facial damage in the opening exchange, it’s no different to the previous session. After 36 total minutes the first Super Fight is declared an anti-climactic draw.severn

The tournament final will have to save the night. Severn and Beneteau are both well rested and undamaged from their previous fights. They clinch up from the outset, and the two huge men fight for control. A couple of minutes in, Severn trips Beneteau, and instead of pounding on him, as he has with his previous opponents, he goes straight for a key-lock submission and gets a quick tap. Great performance by Severn to dominate the night.

Event Highlights

Dan Severn was thoroughly deserving of the nick name “The Beast” and his performance was the highlight of the event.

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UFC 4 – Revenge Of The Warriors

16th December 1994, Expo Square Pavillion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.

Ufc4After the debacle that was UFC 3, this included three alternate bouts to make sure no one walked straight into the final without fighting. There were some returning fighters from earlier events and some great first timers. We also have a new commentary team of anchor Bruce Beck and color commentator Jeff Blatnick. They are joined by the ever-present Jim Brown.

The first fight of the night is the 51 year old Ron ‘The Black Dragon’ Van Clief who is drawn against Royce Gracie. Van Clief comes out in the now standard Gracie-esque human train. black dragonHe looks in great shape, and that’s not even just “for his age.” Royce has Van Clief on the canvas in seconds, mounting with relative ease. After a couple of minutes of short strikes, Royce raises up and drops a few heavier ones. Van Clief rolls to his front, Royce works in a choke and gets the tap.

Next up is a returning Keith Hackney who fought and beat 6’8” 616lb behemoth Emanuel Yarborough in the previous tournament. This time he faces Joe Son, manager of UFC 3 competitor Kimo, who is a much more manageable 5’4” and 220lb. When you’ve watched this fight, it stays watched. After a couple of early exchanges, Joe Son gets a body lock and drops Hackney to the canvas. They stand, with Hackney trapped in a front headlock,  he lands a big uppercut to Joe Son’s groin which is a taste of things to come. Son drives Hackney back to the cage and they crash to the mat with Hackney on top and Son on his back. Hackney lands half a dozen full power, eye watering punches to the groin which makes Son let go of the head lock he’s been attempting, and makes every man watching cross his legs and take a sharp intake of breath. Hackney presses down on Sons throat  with one arm and appears to be attempting to relieve him of his bright red trunks with the other. HackneyJoeSonSon taps and Hackney moves on. Don’t shed any tears for Joe Son and the brutal groin shots he took though. I won’t go into detail here, but take a look at his Wikipedia page and what he’s currently serving life for. Not a good guy. In fact, it’s a shame Keith Hackney didn’t get at him a decade early and permanently crush those stones.

Boxer Melton Bowen is next up, facing defending champion, Steve Jennum. Bowen is the first fighter to compete in open hand 4oz gloves and is what you might call ‘a specimen’. Jennum initially keeps the fight at kicking distance, and the first time Bowen gets close enough to wing a hook, Jennum ducks under and gets his hands on him. Jennum takes Bowen down, mounts, creates some distance and drops some bombs, including a really nasty looking head butt. Bowen manages to briefly find a way back to his feet but is hip-tossed back down and once again mounted. Jennum drops everything he has on Bowen’s head pausing briefly to attempt a key lock, before going back to raining down punches. Just when it looks like Jennum is running out of ideas and gas, Bowen offers up an arm, Jennum grab hold of it and finishes with an arm bar. Absolutely exhausted, our defending champion is forced to retire from the tournament following this win.

The last quarter final gives us our first look at Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn. At 6’2” and 260lbs he dwarfs his opponent Anthony ‘Mad Dog’ Marcias who allegedly has home field advantage. At 5’10 and 190lbs, he’s going to need more than having some friends in the crowd. severn_display_image_display_image_crop_northAs the fight starts, Marcias throws a few harmless leg kicks, and as Severn gets hold of him and drags him to the mat, a few elbows go in too. That just enrages Severn who starts throwing Marcias about like a rag doll, including a couple of sickening suplexes. Severn struggles to find an actual submission, and just resorts to trying to squeeze Marcias’ brains out of his ears. That has the desired result and gets the tap.

The first semi-final is Royce Gracie against Keith Hackney. It takes Royce a few attempts to get into grappling range, and takes some punishment on the way in. They clinch against the fence and Royce delivers several decent knees to Hackneys head. Royce gets a grip on a dazed Hackney, pulls guard, and after a couple of failed triangle attempts, switches to an arm bar resulting in Hackney tapping.

As Steve Jennum is out, Dan Severn needs a new opponent from one of the three winning alternates. I like to imagine that the decision on who got the dubious honour of facing The Beast was sorted out by someone standing in front of a lined up Joe Charles, Guy Mezger and Marcus Bossett and saying, “Right lads, I need a volunteer to fight Dan Severn.” Charles and Mezger catch each other’s eye and deftly take a step backwards. “Good man, Marcus, well volunteered.” *Gulp!* Actually, it was decided by a coin toss, but I like my mental picture better. Bossett is a traditional karate guy and is here to show the kids, if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. Bossett opens up with a solid kick to Severn’s body which momentarily stuns the big man. Emboldened by that, Bossett attempts a spinning kick and pays for it be being dumped unceremoniously on his back. Severn mounts and starts attempting to remove Bossett’s head from his shoulders, who decides the best example to set his young students is that sometimes a quick tap is preferable to decapitation.

gracie severnSo, the final is a real David and Goliath affair, with Royce Gracie facing Dan Severn, and truth be told, it’s a bit of a grind. Royce is on his back in under a minute and is trapped there for the rest of the fight. If Severn had any kind of a submission game, or even any striking, the fight could have been over early. Severn’s strategy is essentially to crush Royce into submission. After a grueling ten minute mauling, Royce throws his legs up for an attempted triangle choke. “Nothing there,” exclaims a clueless Jeff Blatnik who’s been relentlessly pimping wrestling from the off and doesn’t see any way Severn can be beat. Severn (nor Blatnik) doesn’t realise how much danger he’s in, or that stacking Royce has he’s doing is the only thing saving him from getting choked unconscious. Royce is forced to let it go and takes another few minutes of punishment. Quarter of an hour in and Royce throws a second triangle attempt up. “Nothing there, there’s nothing there,” again professes Blatnik. To everyone’s complete surprise, except Royce and his corner (who they’re right in front of), Severn taps before he passes out. Royce has worked so hard for this, that he REALLY doesn’t want to let it go. He squeezes with every remaining ounce of strength he has before John McCarthy peels him off. Incredible show of guts by Royce Gracie to survive and find the finish.severn

Event Highlights

Keith Hackney mashing Joe Son’s taters, and Royce submitting The Beast.

Special anti-highlight mention for Jeff Blatnik. Every time I rewatch these early UFCs I remember how much I hate the sound of his voice, banging on about wrestling and missing any of the subtlety of what the non-wrestlers are doing.

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UFC 3 – The American Dream

9th September 1994, Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

UFC3_LogoAfter the massive improvement from UFC 1 to UFC 2, UFC 3 was a bit of a step backwards in many ways. Styles are now broken down into just two broad and over simplified categories of punchers and grapplers. We’re back down to eight fighters from the sixteen of UFC 2, which means one less round of fights. The biggest issue with this event though was the injuries along the way that turned it into a it of a farce. One notable rules change is that as well as KO, submission and the towel coming in, John McCarthy now has the power to stop the fight.

First fight of the night is Sumo fighter Emanuel Yarborough against Kenpo Karate fighter Keith Hackney. Yarborough is 616lbs which even dwarfs UFC 1’s sumo fighter Teila Tuli, let alone the 200lb Hackney. As Yarborough approaches, Hackney throws a leg kick, which has no effect, followed by an over hand open palm strike which against all odds, drops Yarborough. Hackney pounces on him and tries to take advantage but after only one follow up strike slips and Yarborough crashes down on him. Kackney manages to drag himself free and back on UFC3_Hackneytheir feet, Yarborough throws Hackney against and through the cage door. Hackney is ushered back into the Octagon and they restart. As Yarborough plods forward Hackney does his best to stay out of range, throwing low sidekicks and open over-hands. When Yarborough does finally get hold of Hackney he eats a few punches to the head and goes down. Hackney throws a couple of dozen punches to Yarborough’s melon and he’s completely unable to get up. John McCarthy steps in and makes his first stoppage. Hackney’s hand is a mess but he moves on.

The second quarter final is Ken Shamrock facing Judoka Christophe Leininger. It goes to the ground predictably quickly and Leininger throws a series of punches to the top of Shamrock’s head from the guard, which looks like it sucks for both parties. They exchange head butts, then as Leininger goes for a triangle, Ken explodes out and takes his back. Leininger tries to find a way out but ends up on his back taking a lot of punishment from Ken and taps from a combination of strikes and exhaustion.

Next up is the wonderfully named local Thai Boxer Roland Payne against Canadian Karate/Jui Jitsu fighter Harold Howard. Payne’s not a bit guy but he certainly looks the business on the pads in the preamble. Howard is a lot bigger and looks like a complete psychopath in his video. After a brief exchange on their feet, Payne surprises us with a takedown but he can’t keep Howard on the mat. They’re up and down a couple more times and both land heavy strikes until Payne is on the receiving end of a big right hand to the temple that shuts him down. A frantic and ferocious 45 second fight ends with Howard winning by KO.

UFC3_KimoThe last quarter final is defending two time champion Royce Gracie facing lay preacher and alleged Tae Kwon Do master, Kimo Leopoldo. (alright mate). He’s dragging a massive cross behind him on his way to the give Royce ‘The Good News’ in the Octagon. Kimo charges out and Royce gets his hands on him straight away. There’s a little over a minute of Royce trying to drag the fight to the ground before a throw goes badly and he ends up underneath Kimo. They’re back and forth for a couple of minutes, reversal after reversal and Royce gets hold of Kimo’s ponytail/top knot, almost managing to drag him into a triangle choke with it. About four minutes in, Royce grabs hold of an arm bar from the bottom and gets the tap. Our defending champion wins but he’s utterly exhausted and limps out of the Octagon.

It’s confirmed that Keith Hackney has smashed his hand to pieces on Emmanuel Yarborough’s skull and has retired from the competition. He’s replaced by Felix Mitchell who will fight Ken Shamrock. Mitchell is slated as Shaolin Kung Fu, but he looks like a boxer on the heavy bag, and that’s confirmed in his ring intro. Mitchell initially steps into the Octagon wearing open hand gloves but decides to take them off at the last minute. The fight beings as a standing grappling match which Ken seems to have a slight edge in, although Mitchell does fire a couple of eye watering knees right between Ken’s legs that lift him clean off the ground. Ken doesn’t even wince. Mitchell attempts to wedgie Ken with his yellow budgie smugglers, but they collapse to the ground with Ken on top. Mitchell rolls onto his front, Ken sinks in a deep choke and gets the tap. Ken limps away with a damaged ankle and that’s the last we see of him tonight.

The next fight is supposed to be a semi-final between Harold Howard against Royce Gracie. Howard’s really been looking forward to this apparently, and he makes his way to the Octagon in a Gracie-esque train, looking all business. Royce’s approach to the Octagon much more laboured. The fighters are introduced, but before John McCarthy can get them started, Royce retires from the competition. Howard is furious, screaming and stamping his feet. He still turns and bows as he storms out of the Octagon though. Classy old school martial arts etiquette. That’s juxtaposed by a classless display of Kimo charging into the Octagon to celebrate his part Royce’s retirement.

With Ken Shamrock out, Harold Howard is left to fight the remaining alternate, Ninja cop Steve Jennum. As they start, Howard attempts a front scissor flip kick, which Jennum backs out of range of. Howard springs back to his feet and lands some heavy punches that stun Jennum. Howard gets hold of Jennums neck and cranks a guillotine, first standing, then from his back, but he doesn’t have full guard so Jennum is able toUFC3_Jennum step out of it. They exchange punches on their feet before Jennum trips and mounts Howard. Jennum is dropping punches but Howard seems to be blocking them all. John McCarthy stops the fight and the towel comes in at roughly the same time. Jennum earns $60,000 for his one and a half minute’s work.

What a mess. Three of the four winning quarter finalists retired, Hackney got a bye to the final, less than 20 minutes’ actual fight time across the whole event. Not a great display really.

Event Highlight

Keith Hackney dropping a 616lb Emmanuel Yarborough was pretty impressive.

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UFC 2 – No Way Out

11th March 1994, Mammoth Gardens, Denver, Colorado, USA.

ufc2_logoUFC 2 grew to sixteen fighters from the eight involved in UFC 1. Bill Wallace has been evicted from the anchor spot by Brian Kilmeade. NFL hall of famer Jim Brown returns and they are joined by Hollwood stuntman (and I think Royce Gracie student) Ben Perry.  Sadly, seven of the extra fights took place before the PPV started, so we just get a summary of the results.

The first fight shown is defending champion Royce Gracie’s prelim against Karateka Minoki Ichihara. Royce is the larger man for a change, but the biggest man in the cage is Big John McCarthy, making his first appearance. Royce gets Ichihara to the ground in seconds and mounts. Ichihara manages to hold on to Royce for a while and certainly doesn’t hand the submission over, but after almost five minutes of Royce softening him up, Ichihara thinks he sees and opening to explode out.  Royce takes the opportunity to grab a lapel of Ichihara’s gi and choke him with it (although the commentary team are convinced it’s an arm bar).

Before the quarter finals begin, there’s some announcements of a drop out and an alternate, some brief but brutal highlights from a couple of prelims, and a short summary for the uninitiated about the various martial arts represented in the competition, which are catagorised as Karate, Kung Fu, Kickboxing, Grappling and “Exotics”.

The first quarter final sees Ninja Scott Morris face Kickboxer Pat Smith. Both men had won their prelims in under a minute by guillotine choke. Morris charges out and when they clinch up, he attempts some sort of suplex throw. That ends badly with him on his back, mounted by Smith. Some heavy elbows and punches are dropped and Morris goes limp. A bloody and concussed Morris tries to stand but his legs are rubber. Good job Pat stopped himself from killing Morris because John McCarthy wasn’t looking like dragging him off.

The next fight is an all Karate affair between Johnny Rhodes who’d won a gruelling 12 minute prelim, and alternate Fred Ettish who’d stepped into this round without fighting. Ettish gives away 30lbs to Rhodes and the first time the bigger man connects, it shows. Rhodes batters Ettish then finishes off with sort of a schoolyard choke.

UFC2_WeitThe third quarter final is between French Kickboxer Orlando Weit and Dutch grappler (and team mate of UFC 1 runner up Gerard Gordeau) Remco Pardoel and it’s a bit of a nasty one. Even though Weit is 5’10” 170lb, and Pardoel is 6’4” 260lb, because Pardoel’s prelim was a lot longer, commentator Ben Perry doesn’t give him a chance here. Pardoel throws Weit to the ground but ends up on top but with his back to him. Pardoel adjusts position and an opening appears for him to drop some really heavy elbows on Weit’s skull, who goes limp after the second one. Five more come down and Weit’s legs twitch with each one. Fortunately, Pardoel notices Weit is out and stops the beating, again Big John is not getting involved.

The final quarter final bout is Royce Gracie against Jason DeLucia who has apparently previously tested his Five Animals Chinese Kung Fu against Royce in a private challenge match and come up short. The fight goes straight to the ground and Royce completely dominates, finishing with a belly down arm bar which he holds onto for a LONG time after the tap. Not cool Royce. DeLucia is quick to congratulate him though, which was classy in the circumstances.

The first semi-final matches Johnny Rhodes against Pat Smith. This one starts as a straight kickboxing match with both fighters landing some decent shots until a minute in they clinch up. Smith reaches over to grab a standing guillotine and leans back, almost lifting Rhodes clean off the floor. Rhodes tries to tap but he’s having to relieve the pressure on his throat by pushing on Smith’s waist with both hands. Instead he manages to tap by stamping his foot and fortunately, Big John’s getting the hang of this now and jumps in to save Rhodes.

UFC2_RemcoThe second semi-final is Royce Gracie against Remco Pardoel. Royce is back to giving up a lot of weight, but despite that, he gets his hands on Pardoel quickly, takes his back standing and drags him to the ground. Royce reaches round and for the second time tonight, chokes his opponent using their own gi. Brilliant.

Before the final, we check in a cage-side, broken-handed Ken Shamrock who’s chomping at the bit to get back in there, and also spend some time with the clueless commentary team. Ben Perry really is talking some nonsense.

The final starts and right out of the gate, Pat Smith lunges in with a kick and misses, allowing Royce to get his hands round his waist. Pat attempts a hip toss, but it goes wrong and they land with Royce on top, initially in half guard and quickly transitioning to mount. Royce lets some short punches go, but before he can follow up with a submission, Pat submits and the towel also come in for good measure. Royce makes beating a very tough guy look really easy again.

Ult. Fighter/Gracie

So, Royce Gracie is champion again, and this time he’s going skiing with the money.

Event Highlights

Royce’s takedowns, control and finishes were excellent in this event, and they were counter-balanced by a couple of brutal KO finishes by Pat Smith and Remco Pardoel.

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