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Egg Shen

MMA: Past Fight Discussion

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I bet he shit himself. If he'd accidentally knocked out Takada no doubt the men with the tattooed backs and missing pinkies would've been waiting for him in his hotel room that night. 

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UFC 5 - PART TWO!

Image result for royce gracie vs ken shamrock ufc 5A

Apologies for the huge delay in getting this up. A combination of a busy schedule at home and just my general off-putting of searching out this fight has meant I've been nowhere near as on the ball as I'd like to be with this series. I think my earlier assumption that I'd be able to whack 3/4 of these out a week may have been a little optimistic in hindsight.

Rather than type out another introduction, I'll just use what I had written in my initial post:

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7 months ago, UFC hosted their third event, and their first taking place within Charlotte, North Carolina. The show was advertised under the premise of the anticipated rematch taking place between Royce Gracie, and Ken Shamrock. Following their fight at UFC 1, which Royce won in mere minutes, it was obvious that their rematch was the money match to make. Their first fight was a massive factor in setting the UFC wheels in motion. How could Royce, this skinny little Brazilian force this chiselled statue of a man in Shamrock to voluntarily submit? It massively reinforced the ideals of anything being able to happen in the octagon, and it paved the way for Gracie's Jiu-Jitsu to dominate many a fighter in the company. This is a big fight, reflected in the surge of attendance and buy rate this show garnered. In comparison, their last outing in Charlotte garnered just half the attendance, and only a 90,000 buy rate. It's a fight people were very much willing to pay for, and it's going down. At the time of this show, Gracie had won 3 out of the 4 tournaments hosted by the UFC. The only occasion he didn't win was due to dropping out, citing fatigue as the issue. His last fight was his toughest to date though. Dan Severn had taken apart his two opponents in the quarter and semi finals, before dominating Gracie for a long duration of time in the finals. Royce proved too intelligent for a fighter like Severn however, submitting him with an arm triangle in just under 16 minutes. Though he's been tested before, still nobody is able to find a method of beating Gracie.

The aforementioned Dan Severn would go on to win the fifth UFC tournament, making him the logical and likely next challenger for the winner of this fight. 

Royce Gracie vs Ken Shamrock

As soon as they commence fighting, the announcers label this as the first ever superfight of the UFC. That's very much going to be the buzzword for this fight. Shamrock is mere inches away with a right hook, and engages with a takedown, they scramble on the ground and winds up with Shamrock in his guard. After just a minute on the clock, the announcers begin to speculate how long this fight could go on. Small strikes are exchanged, Gracie throwing from the bottom with Ken landing with headbutts. There's hardly any damage being done though, everyone seemingly understands this fight isn't very likely to hit a standing position again. Ken can't get anything going for him, with Gracie being able to maintain guard and hold Ken close as to avoid any winding up for any potential big offence. It's not as though Gracie is being aggressive from the bottom either. As is the norm, he's happy to hold guard and wait for mistakes. Shamrock seems to understand though. Either that or he's gassed. He's doing nothing. These opening five minutes wouldn't do anything to convince people that MMA is nothing but "two blokes hugging on the floor". There's a million more intricacies to it than that, but to the untrained eye that's all this fight has been. We're still in the same position as to when we hit the ground.

Gracie maintaining Ken in full guard, entirely comfortable to do so. Neither man is giving the other any opportunity to exploit. That is until Ken manages to slip past a leg, winds up for a big punch, but gets pulled BACK into the guard on the way back down. It's a long waiting game for Royce, he's not the type to actively seek a submission, but Shamrock is giving him no mistakes to capitalise on. That probably has something to do with the fact Shamrock isn't actually doing ANYTHING, but I digress. I go and let my dog outside for a piss, and when I come back we're still watching Royce hold guard. I'll give him this - he has a game plan and the man sticks to it. No deviating from him to try and get a quick finish. Every minute or so Shamrock will throw a punch, but he's not causing any concern to Royce. There's a lot of patience here. Neither chap is taking even the smallest of chances. The announcers try to spin this as the fighters going at a "modest" pace. That's incredibly generous. It's also very notable the crowd is deathly silent, barring a few bursts of booing. This is a far cry from the bouts they've been witnesses to beforehand.

The fight has really fizzled out now. The brief spurts of energy from Shamrock seem like a million years ago, both men have been reduced to sitting and waiting for the other to do something. That's been the recurring theme of this fight and there's no indication of that being switched up anytime soon. We're coming up on the 30 minute mark by this point. The time limit has been reached, but just like Wrestlemania 12 we're heading into overtime! The lack of urgency from both fighters is alarming. There hasn't been a move with offensive intent since the start of the fight. Something happens! Big John stands them both up, and overtime begins!

Hilarious moment as the crowd finally gets their hopes up seeing the fight stand, and they deflate like a balloon when they hit the ground again. Shamrock has caught Royce, leading to some bleeding underneath the eye. Nothing but the guard. There's still no risks being taken. There's still nothing but hugging. Even when Big John informs the lads about how little time is left, they're both fighting the most defensive style possible. 30 seconds left. Shamrock finally starts throwing some elbows, but it's too little, too late. 10 seconds left. 5 seconds left. It's all over. They embrace afterward and the crowd is NOT happy. They are pissed! Shamrock parades the ring though he won the fight whilst Gracie is tended with, and we're done here.

Image result for ufc 5 gracie/shamrock

This was nothing short of a slog to sit through. Most of what I've written has nothing to do with the actual action taking place, because there was so little. It's incredibly difficult trying to find new ways of typing out "Royce holds guard". You could evidently see what the UFC were going for, and with good reason. Their two biggest stars squaring off in a big rematch, but this was the worst result they could have hoped for in my eyes. Not only do you not establish a winner for Severn to challenge, both guys have their stock considerably lowered by the crowd and the way in which they fought. Considering the aim of the UFC initially was to identify the most effective style of fighting, this went no way in helping the fans to establish the answer. Whilst I can completely understand as to why both fighters fought in the way they did, it doesn't hide the fact that his was dull as dishwater.

Onward and upward however! UFC 6 follows this card and it looks like a bit of a treat from the card I'm looking at. Tank Abbott? Oleg Taktarov? Patrick Smith? It can't be any more of a chore to sit through than this fight.

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UFC 6: Clash of the Titans

Date: July 14 1995 - Casper Wyoming - Attendance: 2700  - Buy Rate: 240,000

Ufc 6.jpg

Superfight part two.

After the initial superfight between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock culminated in some fairly unfavourable reviews, you wouldn't particularly blame the UFC for scrapping the whole idea of superfights on the head and just sticking to the tournament schedule and regime that had brought them to the dance. 36 minutes of two men lay on top of each other wasn't a fight that set the company on fire, and thus the notion of them hosting another labelled superfight on their very next pay-per-view seemed ambitious at the very least. Despite the aforementioned superfight ending in a draw, the UFC hardly made it secret that Ken Shamrock was the guy they would endorse and spin as the winner coming off of that fight. And why not? His performance and showing against Gracie was much improved over their initial fight, in which he lasted just over a minute before being tapped out. Though Shamrock hardly endeared himself to the masses by sitting inside Royce's guard for over half an hour, and the stock of both men arguably went
down, Shamrock was the man whom the UFC were getting behind after the fight. It went some way in taking the shine off of Royce's submission arsenal, especially if you had some degree of knowledge about how to not essentially sacrifice one of your limbs to Gracie. Shamrock was the man who proved that for over half an hour, but he wasn't the first man to damage the previously untouched reputation of the three-time winner.

That honour belonged to Dan Severn. In their meeting at UFC 4, Severn was the first man to bypass the 6 minute mark with Gracie. In fact, using his wrestling background he was able to last over 15 minutes before eventually succumbing to tiredness and allowing Royce to submit him. Though he wasn't victorious, similarly to Shamrock his performance earned the approval of the UFC, and he was subsequently booked in their next tournament at UFC 5. He ravaged his way through that competition, spending less than 10 minutes fighting inside the octagon that night. Since nobody was clamouring for Gracie and Shamrock to fight out a trilogy, the obvious match to be made was between Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock, and here we are. They square off here in the second fight to hold the name of a "superfight". Alongside that fight you have the usual tournament, featuring participants from older version such as Oleg Taktarov and Dave Beneteau, mixed with debuting fighters, namely Tank Abbott. A man noticed with his absence is Royce Gracie. After his draw with Shamrock, Gracie would not appear in a UFC cage again until 2006. There's a lot to get through with this show, so I'll waste no more time in getting straight into it with...

Tank Abbott vs John Matua

They label Tank as a pit fighter. Which seems to be a mixture of numerous striking styles, including the aptly named "headhunter". Matua practices in the art of Koo-Ee-A-Loo-Wa. I think that's how you spell it. He's weighing in at 400lbs as opposed to Tank's smaller frame. He's also a cousin of Akebono! Now I just want to see Akebono have a scrap inside the UFC. OH SHIT! We have Michael Buffer as our ring announcer. He's such an improvement, and reinforces that an announcer who knows his stuff can make everything seem a lot more important. Tank instantly drops Matua with an overhand right and unloads with some vicious shots to the head, forcing the stoppage after 20 fucking seconds. Matua is OUT and they have the doctor in. If this was your way of making Tank seem like a monster, then job done. The very first punch he threw had Matua fucked, and from there it was nothing but onslaught.

Paul Varelans vs Cal Worsham

Cal Worsham is a Tae-Kwon-Do fighter, who specialises in HONOUR. Good stuff. He squares off against 6'8 Paul Varelans. A man who truly empitimises the word "shithouse". Another completely unknown fighting background, he comes from Trapfighting and has an undefeated street fighting record. Based off the sheer size of him, that doesn't overly surprise me. Worsham actually connects with a piss load of right and left hands but they don't have to give Paul too much to worry about. He's connecting over and over squarely on the chin but Varelans is able to walk through the strikes like they're nothing. FUCKING HELL AGAIN! Varelans throws ONE downward elbow and Worsham is down. The fight is over after 1:02. Hilarious that both of these hybrid fighting styles went completely out of the window, and both men just resulted to slugging away at one another. Paul has no drop of technique in his body, but his immense size is going to make it difficult for anyone against him, as Worsham found out.

We get some shots of famous people in the crowd, most notable are Leon Spinks and David Hasselhoff.

Patrick Smith vs Rudyard Moncayo

Patrick Smith is back! He last showed up at UFC 2, in a losing effort to Royce Gracie in the finals. A 2-2 record inside the UFC. Smith instantly drops Moncayo with a push kick into the ribs, flattening Moncayo out, but he's able to reach a standing position quickly after. They clinch around the cage, with Smith scoring with some nice elbows whilst pressed on the fence. A strange approach for a boxer to take, but it seems to work for him. A much improved ground game from Smith, as he takes down Moncayo and slaps on a rear naked choke to send him into the next round. This was a lovely showing from Smith, proving he isn't the one dimensional fighter than we saw at UFC 2, both in his striking selection and his ground game. He's no Royce Gracie yet but it's good to see somebody go away and refine their skills in a specific area to try and round out their overall game.

Oleg Taktarov vs Dave Beneateau

Both men can be sectioned under the "fighters who Dan Severn beat on our last show" category. Beneteau losing in the finals, and Oleg taking a defeat in the semi. Both men did show capabilites though, proving themselves to be far from pushovers, so it's not in the slightest a fight between two cans. Beneteau is a judo champion, with Oleg boasting numerous sambo accolades. Taktarov has also been training with Ken Shamrock in the build up for this fight, which might lead to an increased usage of wrestling. For once, we have a fairly even match in terms of physical attributes. Both the same age, similar heights, and a fairly modest (for this era) weight difference of 40lbs in favour of Taktarov. Dave instantly grabs a takedown with Oleg pulling guard not longer after. Beneateau lands a couple of decent shot whilst holding a front facelock and starts throwing wildly at Taktarov. A scramble results in Oleg grapping a guillotine and Beneateau taps out! A really entertaining fight whilst it lasted, Oleg's takedown ddefence wasn't particularly extraordinary but he managed to weather the storm leading into the finish of the fight.

Tank Abbott vs Paul Varalans

This is going to be an interesting clash. Buffer drops the clanger of "The winner here will advance to the Ultimate Championship!" - almost there Michael. Varelans obviously carries the big size difference in height, but only a 20lbs advantage in terms of weight. Tank throws a solid punch from the off and lands a takedown from the clinch. He grabs a sloppy mount, eventually transitioning into half guard. He peppers with body shots before literally squashing Varelens face against the cage with his knee! A couple of big shots to the head end this one. Another interesting showcase of Abbott, he's potentially the first guy we've seen who has the qualities of being an empowering fucker, mixed with massive power and a technical know-how, no matter how limited. It's a new combination that we haven't seen before in the UFC, I'm intrigued as to how far it could take him against the likes of Severn and Shamrock.

Oleg Taktarov vs Anthony Macias

Macias is filling in for Patrick Smith, whom after looking great in his fight has pulled out of the tournament due to...stomach cramps. He's a self proclaimed MAD DOG, and a Muay Thai fighter. You might remember him from UFC 4, being battered by Dan Severn. Both these chaps share the same promoter, and the winner fights Tank. Macias goes for the takedown, gets stuffed and gets choked out. The fight is over after 9 seconds. MAD DOG, ladies and gentlemen.

Dan Severn vs Ken Shamrock

Severn is the current UFC Champion, running through the competition at UFC 5. Shamrock of course forcing a draw from Royce Gracie. Similarly to the Gracie/Shamrock fight, this goes on before the main event. Another risky move, given you run the risk of completely killing your crowd before the final fight of the night. Shamrock is sporting a lovely purple number, Severn slightly more muted, kitted out in black. Severn holds a 55lbs weight advantage over his smaller opponent. The announcers start waffling on about altitude for unknown reasons. Shamrock misses a takedown but engages the clinch and they spend the next 30 seconds locked against one another. A nice knee from Ken forces the break. They re-engage with Shamrock stuffing a Severn takedown and trying for a guillotine which he can't fully administer. Severn pushes Ken up onto the fence but another choke DOES get applied, Severn goes down, and Shamrock is our winner.

Tank Abbott vs Oleg Taktarov

Image result for taktarov vs tank abbott

You have to presume the winner here gets Shamrock. Impressive that both men have spent such little time fighting over the course of the night, especially for the debuting Tank. Oleg goes for a quick takedown but Tank is just able to muscle him over to stop that in it's tracks. Tank is able to muscle Oleg around with relative ease, but decides against that and starts slugging away. He struggles to connect though, having to settle for a clinch on the cage. A second takedown attempt is denied from Taktarov. Oleg looks for a guillotine from the clinch but can't lock it in, even after dropping down to the mat. He's content enough to lock a knackered looking Tank in his guard for the time being, both guys taking the opportunity to rest up and recover. Yeah, both guys are really tired. I know a gave Shamrock a hard time for his lack of output, but Tank is literally just lying down, using Takatarov's chest as a pillow. Tank chooses to follow the pattern of punch, then rest, punch, then rest for a while, unable to put any form of combination of sequence of punches together. Whereas Royce and Shamrock sat in this position due to defensive fighting, these two fighters are just plain knackered. That said, they do shuffle around somewhat. Tank is able to slip into side control before getting back to his feet. Tank throws a couple of sluggish shots, but there's nothing behind them. Back onto the ground, and back into Oleg's guard. Massive breaths in from both guys, and there's the feeling amongst both crowd and announcers this could very well go on for a while. Tank isn't even in guard anymore, he's just too knackered to lift his ample stomach off of Oleg. Tank manages to land 1 (one) nice elbow but that's his energy gone for the next two minutes. I'm only half joking with that one. Oleg is fairly motionless from the bottom, having to expend the tiniest amount of energy to keep Tank from mounting. We crawl past the 15 minute mark and Big John finally decides to break up and reset the fighters. Abbott throws a left hand which forces Oleg up against the fence but staggers straight into a standing guillotine, which Tank actually manages to survive. Oleg effortlessly takes the back to choke Abbott out in 17:47.

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Oleg vs Macias was a work. As you say, same promoter and it was a way of getting Oleg through advancing to the next round unscathed. Think there was a bit in the No Holds Barred book by Clyde Gentry on it being a fix. 

I love UFC 6. It's one of my favourites from the SEG era along with UFC 8 and Ultimate Ultimate 96. A lot of it's to do with the arrival of Tank but the fights are all fun and even Severn and Shamrock don't shit things up. 

From memory UFC 7 wasn't much cop. As above though, UFC 8 is another favourite of mine. You get the debuts of Don Frye and Gary Goodridge, I liked the David vs Goliath theme and even Shamrock vs Kimo is actually surprisingly fun from what I remember. 

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It wasn’t tiredness that did Severn in against Gracie. Severn, by his own admission, didn’t know how to defend, or even know to expect, the triangle choke. Nobody who didn’t have submission knowledge knew what Gracie was doing. Even on commentary, Jeff Blatnick, as Gracie was applying the triangle and then had it applied, was calm and relaxed and said that Severn wasn’t in any trouble. Severn then tapped and Blatnick was left looking foolish. And Jim Brown couldn’t resist rubbing it in.

‚ÄėPit Fighter‚Äô was the UFC‚Äôs way of putting a label on someone who was really just an unskilled brawler. The announced weight of Matua was the latest sign of UFC being willing to play with the facts to present a certain image. It was almost comical in ways because Matua was very clearly not much over 300lbs. Varelans was definitely another guy with no real technique, which is a shame because if he had actual ability to go along with his size and strength, Varelans could have been a real force in that era.

Taktarov and Macias was one of the most obvious works of all time, and to the commentators credit, they don’t shy away from making their opinion on the fight clear, openly questioning its legitimacy.

The reason the commentators start talking about altitude during the Shamrock-Severn fight is that they’re in Wyoming, which is 5,150 feet above sea level. That’s well above the altitude where you’re going to feel tired faster than you normally would, hence the need to pay greater attention to conditioning when fighting there.

UFC 6 was the first UFC where things all came together and you ended up with a great show that was definitive thumbs up. UFC 5 would likely have been in that ballpark had the superfight delivered to any degree but it wasn’t to be. UFC 7 isn’t that bad and it had its moments, but we’ll cover those when we come to it.

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UFC 7: The Brawl in Buffalo

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Date: September 8 1995 - Buffalo New York - Attendance: 9000 - Buy Rate: 190,000

With the speed that Wand is churning out his PRIDE reviews, I figured I'd spend my Sunday evening continuing to journey through the UFC archives, leading me here, to UFC 7.

It's an interesting time for the UFC. For the first time since their inception, the top guy isn't Royce Gracie. Though you could point out his absence from the previous show, the main event of that felt like the company trying to see who could take over from Royce as the new kingpin. This feels like a new start almost. UFC 6 was the first show without him as the focal point, and UFC 7 marks the beginning of the new golden boy, Ken Shamrock. Though the UFC made their willingness to push Shamrock no secret, this is the first show where he's positioned in a headline shot with a fighter not held in as high regard as his past opponents of Royce Gracie and Dan Severn. After seeing off Dan Severn in quick fashion on the prior show, he's positioned to defend his championship for the first time tonight, against Oleg Taktarov. Taktarov beat Anthony Macias and Dave Beneteau to advance to the finals, where he beat Tank Abbott after 17 uneventful minutes. Despite his tournament victory, he doesn't exactly come into this fight the dominant force he's perhaps being made out to be. His win over Beneteau was impressive no doubt, but a worked victory over Macias followed by a snoozer against a gassed brawler in Abbott doesn't mean he's riding into this show on a wave of momentum. This is perhaps reflected in the buyrate, substantially lower, with 50,000 less purchases than their last PPV showing. It's new ground for the company, though as usual we still have our undercard tournament, presumably designed to find our next challenger. Despite only having 6 shows up to this point, Severn and Gracie both felt like big players in the UFC hierarchy, and neither of them feature tonight. This means we're set to identify a new challenger for the title.

Glancing over the tournament brackets, they do mainly involve fresh faces. Remco Pardoel, Harold Howard, Larry Cureton and Paul Varelans are the only fighters to have competed for the UFC before this show, meaning that's 4 new names to learn. We do have time limits implemented now, which I forgot to mention in the UFC 6 review. A 20-minute time limit was imposed for the quarterfinal and semi-final round matches in the tournament. The finals of the tournament and the Superfight had a 30-minute time limit and, if necessary, a five-minute overtime.

Another interesting side note before we get things underway, This was the first UFC event to be held in the state of New York. After the event, it became known that mixed martial arts were illegal in New York, which prohibited UFC or any other promotion from holding any further MMA events in the state until UFC 205, in November 2016.

Paul Varelens vs Gerry Harris

Harris is a karate fighter, and you should remember Varelens from UFC 6, getting bludgeoned in the head by Tank Abbott. Varelans looks like a gymnast. He's wearing a singlet, but seperate shorts. Both of these guys stand at 6'8! That's a crazy statistic, they both tower over Big John, who's officiating all the action. Varelens initiates the takedown, leading to the cage door momentarily swinging open. The announcers touch on Harris' limited ground experience and that's evident by how he proceeds to completely give up his back. Varelens ground work isn't exactly good either, his attempt of a choke doesn't get him anywhere, but slugging Harris over the head with elbows does, and that's the fight. It's still interesting to watch how important a dynamic wrestling, and being able to land a takedown was even for fighters like Varelens with no ground game. I don't think we've seen a striker be able to withstand any form of wrestling yet.

WINNER - Paul Varelens via Submission (Elbows) after 1:07

Mark Hall vs Harold Howard

Image result for ufc 7

The only non-UFC related accomplishments I can dig up for Hall is that he holds the accolade of IVC 2 Tournament Semifinalist. He's a Tae-Kwon-Do fighter from California making his UFC debut. Conflictingly, his opponent Howard is slightly more decorated. A black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, and was the first World Sport Jujutsu Heavyweight Champion in 1984. Surprisingly, he's made the finals of a tournament before, in a losing effort to Steve Jennum at UFC 3. He has the unnvering mentalist look to him. Not an all out psychopath, but he's certainly not someone you'd fancy bumping into down an alleyway. Despite coming from a Jiu-Jitsu background, it's Howard that's able to initiate most of the striking. He begins the fight by scoring with a nice body kick and a solid right hand, before dragging Hall to the ground. Hall actually winds up on top, and starts smacking away from the guard. It's clearly having effect, Howard is busted up from the mouth and isn't looking for anything from the bottom other than to survive. Another hard shot lands and there's the tap from Harold. Weird fight. Despite having the upper hand standing it was Harold who engages with the takedown and drags the fight down to the floor. Hall did look impressive here, the power he mustered up from a guard being noteworthy in particular.

WINNER - Mark Hall via Submission (Punches) after 1:41

Remco Pardoel vs Ryan Parker

Remco does have a bit of background to him. Despite his last UFC showing seeing him get choked out by Royce, he's certainly got some experience in his Jiu-Jitsu. He was a holder of titles across Europe, and is impressively a 2nd-degree black belt in BJJ. Ryan Parker may be the most generic man in the world. He fights out of some form of karate. I can't keep track with all these different styles of karate. They all seem to be as useless as the other for the time being. He doesn't have a Wikipedia either, which might serve as some form of a spoiler alert for how this fight turns out. To be fair on the man, he's never fought on any scale that even comes close to this stage yet, and he comes out looking calm and composed. Remco shoves Parker onto the cage and absorbs some small shots. A lovely judo takedown enables him to slap on an arm trap, giving Remco the availabilty to light Parker up with some shots to the head. Ryan, to his credit is still working and not allowing Remco to really open up. He does however give Pardoel the chance to take mount. Like his BJJ counterpart Gracie there's no urgency to work for a submission. He's well aware that eventually, Parker is going to make a mistake to be capitilised upon which comes in the form of a lapel choke just after the three minute mark. An empowering performance from Remco, but take nothing away from Parker, who looked more than creditable, especially in his first ever fight. He was brought in to lose, but he certainly didn't give a bad account of himself. 

WINNER - Remco Pardoel via Submission (Lapel Choke) after 3:05

Marco Ruas vs Larry Cureton

The announcers make no mistake in notifying us how Marco is the favourite of this one. One look at his accolades mean I can see why. There's all sorts of BJJ and Judo accomplishments, but most notable is his 7th-degree black belt in Luta Livre (a mixture of Judo and Catch Wrestling). Cureton's background is less decorated to say the least. His previous showing on a UFC card saw him get taken apart by Tod Medina. From what I remember, his ground game was non-existant, meaning he'll have to keep this one standing to have even a remote chance against Marco. Oh, and Cureton comes from ANOTHER variation of karate. I hope he loses now. He has the whole Anakin Skywalker padawan braid going on as well. Despite being labelled the favourite, it seems to only be by reputation at this point, with the announcers going on to speculate just how good he may actually be. An early slam seems Ruas take control from the bottom, where he's content to carry the weight of the bigger Cureton. He holds Larry close to limit the amount he can get behind his body punches, which seems to work, as his shots draw little reaction from Ruas. Marco actively seeks an arm bar, but can't manage to hyper-extend the arm, leading to him working from his back again. That said, Cureton isn't shying away. He's landing shots on Marco, but meets his downfall soon after. He attempts to stand for leverage, but gets himself locked in a heel hook. As soon as Cureton hits the floor he submits. Honestly? I came out of this more impressed by Cureton. He managed to last with this ground wizard a lot longer than I'd expect, and expend some good damage for somebody who has no capacity in his arsenal for Jiu-Jitsu. Entertaining fight.

WINNER - Marco Ruas via Submission (Heel Hook) after 3:23

Paul Varelans vs Mark Hall

One of the ring girls nearly impales herself on the edge of the octagon. Varelans boasts a crazy 110lb weight advantage, plus comes in with the bonus of being fresh, having only fought for a minute in his earlier fight. Hall lands a rough right hand, but Paul walks through it to lump Hall up against the cage, and use a judo takedown to take the fight to the mat. He transitions nicely into mount and slaps on an Arm Triangle for the quick submission. Varelans looked good here, but he's been against two fairly untested ground fighters. If he can't take somebody down, as we saw on the last show with Abbott, he might struggle. He's into the finals though, so only one more fight for him.

WINNER - Paul Varelans via Submission (Arm Triangle) after 1:09

Remco Pardoel vs Marco Ruas

I've only just noticed Ruas' age is listed as "???" as though he's some mutant Mortal Kombat boss. I love that. Carnie as fuck. Marco actually opens up with some leg kicks, a strike we've scarcely seen in these early days. Remco replies with one of his own, allowing him to thrust Marco up against the cage. His guillotine attempt is nullified by Ruas and early attempts for a takedown fall flat. Pardoel shows considerable control, holding Ruas up on the cage with a leg trapped for over a minute. Again, he can't land the takedown, this time attempting an outside sweep of Marco's leg. Both men are being patient, Ruas looking comfortable despite being pressed against the cage by the much bigger frame of Pardoel. The crowd starts to boo, so Ruas tries to satisfy them by stomping on the toes of Remco! That doesn't look particularly effective, but I bet it hurts like fuck. Pardoel manages to get the bodylock to send them both crashing to the floor just after the 6 minute mark and has to pull the guard on Ruas. Be interesting to see how the cardio of Remco holds up. Marco tries for the same heel hook that brought him into this fight but Pardoel's legs are like tree trunks, and it's not successful. Ruas is talking mad shit to Remco! His mouth is constantly blabbering, which can't be the most efficient way of maintaining energy. Ruas eventually sacks off the idea of the heel hook and positions himself back in between his opponents legs. Remco is defending well, not allowing any opening for Marco to exploit. He's keeping a nice distance and is subsequently stopping him from mounting up. He can't stop him from standing up however. Nor can he prevent Marco from hopping into side control, and landing some knees to the body. Ruas takes mount and Remco...taps out? Seriously, he submits as soon as Marco takes the top mount. The commentators are as confused as I am. The only presumption is that Pardoel anticipated he would get battered from the top, but still a strange way to end. I really enjoyed this fight, it's a really nice change that you get a genuinely competitive, and engaging tournament fight, as usually you'll see one fighter have a sizable advantage. Ruas looked calm and collected despite being put into some really awkward positions, and he has to fancy his chances against Varelans.

WINNER - Marco Ruas via Submission (Position?) after 12:27

Ken Shamrock vs Oleg Taktarov

Now this could be interesting. Two men who have shown really good capabilities on the ground, and being able to get their opponent. Both have been tested, and it's difficult to say who has the advantage in terms of endurance. Whilst Ken has fought for 36 minutes, and came out looking fine, he spent the vast majority of that time doing fuck all. Whereas Taktarov looked knackered against Abbott, but had to deal with a guy with boulders for fists who was ten times more aggressive than Royce. We haven't really seen either guy demonstrate their offensive submission game either, whilst I'd be confident to suggest that Shamrock is by far the most overpowering wrestler that Oleg has come up against. so I'm fairly intrigued. An interesting sidenote, Shamrock stated in his autobiography that he was uncomfortable fighting Taktarov, as Oleg trained with the Lion's Den and he did not wish to injure his friend and teammate.

Shamrock is looking more roided up than ever. Whereas he looked lean in the earlier events, he's really swollen up for this, and just looks like a ball of muscle. Shamrock looks for a takedown and Oleg pulls guard on Ken. They've been on the floor for literally seconds, and already the announcers are discussing how long they're going to be down there! Oleg didn't look too bright carrying the weight of a completely gassed Tank in guard, so he might not fare too well against someone who has an actual wrestling background, with the cardio to back it up. You can tell these lads are mates, as they aren't really willing to let shots fly against one another. 3:45 minutes in and Ken is still sat inside the guard, showing very little desire to improve his position for now. Neither fighter can better their position really. Oleg very slightly gestures that he might, possibly want to get up, but he's got no chance with Ken glued to him. 7:00 and nothing has changed really. Ken is happy enough to wear Taktarov down rather then posture up, and why not? He's maintaining total control with no signs of that discontinuing. They both throw relatively small strikes, but none of them are thrown with particular malicious intent. Shamrock expands his striking arsenal by throwing a couple of downward headbutts, and managing to nail some right hands into the cheek of Taktarov. Again, this fight is following the tried-and-tested formula of lay in guard -> throw some body punches -> extensive panting -> repeat.

Unlike his fight against Royce, Ken doesn't really have to worry about being caught in anything, and thus can be a little more expressive and confident with his strikes. Big John stands them up after 15:00 and we're quickly back to the guard, Shamrock just able to muscle Oleg down. He's certainly benefiting from being on top for the duration of the fight. A right hand opens a cut near the eye of Oleg, which might make him even more defensive, if such a possibility exists. Shamrock is starting to pull away with this one now, he's finding it much easier to pop up and lay a shot down on Oleg, who is showing slower and slower reflexes to offer up a defence. A second standing up has us witness a prolonged period of standing and weaving, until Ken slides Oleg onto the mat for the third time. No prizes for guessing what happens in the aftermath of the takedown. Taktarov is just holding Shamrock close, looking for nothing else other to than withstand until the time limit. It's smart, sure, but doesn't make for an exciting bout. 27:26 has our third reset and both men are moving on flat feet. Oleg manages to connect on a couple of occasions, but there's hardly anything behind them. Entering the final 30 seconds brings no sense of urgency, with both guys being cautious and maintaining a good distance from the other.

We hit the 30:00 mark and it's announced we're to contest an additional three minutes of overtime. Shamrock lights Taktarov up with a hard right hand but his technique has depleted over the fight, and Oleg is awake enough to dodge his wild swings. Oleg pulls guard in 32:00 and the crowd isn't best pleased. We spend the next minute jockeying for position and that's the fight.

Ken Shamrock and Oleg Taktarov fight to a draw after 33:00

This worked a lot better than the Gracie superfight. There was a lot more to write about, and the fight in general was a lot more entertaining. Shamrock was helped by not having to panic about having his arm trapped, and Oleg did well to survive against a much stronger wrestler than he. I really wasn't looking forward to this when I saw how long it went, but it was a million times more tolerable than Shamrock vs Gracie.

Paul Varelans vs Marco Ruas

The winner is the UFC 7 champion, and will get entry into the Ultimate ULTIMATE, which I think is the upcoming show. Ruas opens proceedings with some leg kicks, with Varelans just chasing him around the octagon. They clinch up against the cage (a running theme for both of these guys in their fights) and Varelans is already a little busted up, a trickle of blood emanating from his nose. Ruas is still maintaining some good pop to his defence, using some nice head movement to allow some hefty swings from Varelans to fly past. Varelans starts to use those leg kicks AND CHRIST ALIVE, Varelans just lifts Ruas up by the neck for a choke! He's completely dangled off the ground, but he can't apply it fully. Ruas initiates some more clinching and reverts back to the toe stomps that we saw him utilise earlier. Varelans is looking for the judo-esque takedown but Ruas, like in his previous bouts, is showcasing some nice takedown defence. He even sweeps around and grabs a waistlock, which Varelans replies to with some short elbows. Marco is really beginning to mean business with those foot stomps, striking them in between knees to the back of Varelans' thigh. Ruas is still holding the waist, an impressive feat given the stocky shape and size of Paul. He's just chopping down the base of Varelans, and it's a good tactic for him to have. Big John calls for a reset after a lull in action at 9:10 and they waste no time in exchanging some sharp leg kicks. Paul is really showing the damage, sporting some big welts on his upper thigh whereas Marco is still bouncing around the cage, fairly unscathed. Varelans is really showing the signs of his leg being damaged, moving incredibly gingerly. A big kick drops Paul's hands, allowing Ruas to drop him with a big right hand! Varelans absorbs blow after blow until the towel is thrown in, making Ruas our UFC 7 winner.

WINNER - Marco Ruas via Corner Stoppage (Punches) after 13:17

I really enjoyed this show! You had a really nice mixture of entertaining squash matches intertwined with some good, competitive stuff. Ruas' run through the tournament was exciting to watch, considering he managed to bring some new techniques into the octagon that proved greatly effective. His performances provided a much needed energy and genuine boost of skill into these tournament finals, and I'm looking forward to seeing him fight next. Shamrock vs Taktarov delivered about as much as I could have hoped, and was a far easier watch than Ken/Royce from a couple of shows back. Probably my favourite UFC showing to date, really good stuff.

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UFC 6 is the event that really cemented me in as someone who would go on to be a massive fan of the sport. The earlier ones were cool, but Tank Abbott felt like the first guy who really delivered on what the UFC promised on its posters. He needs to be in the Hall of Fame, Tank probably made a much of an impact on people as Royce, Ken etc.

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I love Marco Ruas on UFC 7. He just looks like such a hard bastard. Looks strong as fuck...like he could pull a wall down brick by brick with his bare hands. Combine that with the manly chest hair, the brutal leg kicks and the cool as a cucumber way he carries himself but with just a glint of psychopathic murderer in his eyes. There was something about Ruas that left an impression. When you look back, he didn't really even do THAT much in his MMA career after UFC 7. But he's still pretty well remembered and held in high regard. 

I'm enjoying reading these reviews a lot, Adam. Watching through the early Pride shows and reading these early UFC reviews almost makes me feel like I'm in an MMA version of the Monday Night Wars. 

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First time i saw Ruas must have been at UFC 6 where he was shown in the audience and proclaimed The King of the Streets. I legit thought he was the toughest guy on earth and id never even seen him fight.

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He certainly has a presence about him, doesn't he? 

I remember reading an interview with him a few years back and he was talking about his daughter bringing boyfriends home. Can you imagine meeting your new girlfriend's old man for the first time and a grumpy, middle aged Marco Ruas comes lumbering in? I bet he still looks granite in his 50s and wearing a bathrobe and slippers. Anyway, I remember him saying he had no respect for the guys his daughter was dating and that they were all pussies or something. He nicknamed one of them 'The Mute' because he wouldn't speak. Poor pricks were probably terrified. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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I remember first reading about him early when I started watching MMA, that he's regarded as one of the pioneers of the modern game, being one of the first guys to cross-train in various disciplines covering all areas of a fight.

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mousasi.jpg

Wasn't sure where else to put this. But this thread seems like a decent bet. I have been watching some of Mousasi's fights from Dream and Strikeforce lately. I didn't watch much of Dream when the promotion was active. It was very difficult to gain access to their events. So much of their content is new to me. Mousasi was probably the best fighter in the promotion's brief history. He went 8-0 with the promotion in MMA and won both their Middleweight and Light Heavyweight titles. His two best wins came against the highly rated Dennis Kang and Jacare Souza. He entered both fights as the underdog. If Mousasi has a weakness as a fighter, it's his takedown defence. Both Kang and Souza were able to put Mousasi on his back. Yet, on both occasions a slight opening enabled Mousasi to secure victory. He executed a perfectly-timed up-kick to Souza's chops that knocked him out cold. Whereas Kang bizarrely fell right into Mousasi's guard and allowed him to strap on a triangle choke. 

His other notable appearances in Dream came in freakshow fights. He used his offensive grappling prowess to submit Mark Hunt in quick time. He also bizarrely fought Gary Goodridge in late 2009. Goodridge was a shell of his former self by this stage of his career, and truth be told, he was never a top fighter to begin with. It thus came as little surprise that Mousasi was able to stop him with ground strikes inside the 2 minute mark. Mousasi was also able to subdue Melvin Manhoef fairly quickly. A fight most notable for Bas Rutten pleading on commentary for Manhoef not to slam Mousasi and fall into the grip of his triangle choke. Manhoef wasn't minded to take Bas's advice. Manhoef proceeded to powerbomb Mousasi to the mat and allowed him to crank on the triangle for the win.

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Mousasi would make his American debut at Light Heavyweight in late 2009 under the Strikeforce banner. He would face the highly touted Babalu Sobral, who was in the midst of an Indian summer. He was the reigning Strikeforce's Light Heavyweight champion. Bobby Southworth, the fighter who Babalu had beaten for the belt, held Sobral in the highest regard. It was thus striking when Mousasi blitzed Babalu in 60 seconds flat. Mousasi had firmly laid down his marker. Next up, he would defend his title against Sokoudjou. An unfruitful run in the UFC coupled with a submission loss to Babalu in the short-lived Afflication promotion had left Sokoudjou's reputation in tatters prior to this bout. His stunning knockout victories over Little Nog and Arona were becoming faded memories. He nevertheless entered the Mousasi fight under a revised and less strenuous training programme. This initiative seemed to have paid dividends early on as he matched Mousasi in a back-and-forth opening round. Sokoudjou would nonetheless wilt in the second frame and Mousasi turned up the volume to stop him with ground strikes. 

Mousasi's next fight in Strikeforce came on the night of the infamous "Nashville brawl". He defended his title against standout prospect Mo Lawal. This fight once again showcased Mousasi's key weakness as a fighter. Lawal was able to continuously score takedowns and restrain Mousasi for 5 straight rounds. Mousasi scored more damage but it meant very little for the fight's outcome. Lawal was able to notch up the rounds by controlling the fight. Mousasi would ultimately lose his belt by a lopsided unanimous decision. I was a big supporter of Lawal's at the time and expected him to go on to become one of MMA's biggest stars. I had him pegged as a Rashad Evans or Daniel Cormier-esque fighter. Yet, his career arguably peaked the night he beat Mousasi. He lost the Strikeforce title on his first defence against Feijão and his later losses to Emanuel Newton punctured his reputation as a top fighter. Mo would later score victories over Kongo and Rampage, but he would routinely come up short against other name opponents. He's currently on a 2 fight losing streak and has lost 4 out of his last 6 fights. 

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Mousasi would rebuild in Japan after the Lawal loss. He scored wins over former UFC Heavyweight prospect Jake O'Brien and journeyman Tatsuya Mizuno. He returned to Strikeforce in the spring of 2011 to fight Keith Jardine. Mousasi gave Jardine a heck of a beating in rounds 2 and 3. Jardine's face was an absolute state. However, Mousasi had been deducted a point in the first round for an illegal upkick. Most agreed that Mousasi had just about won the opening round, and that the round should have therefore been scored level. But two of the judges saw it for Jardine and the fight was ultimately scored a majority draw. Mousasi's mistake in the first round thus proved costly, but there was no question about who the better fighter was between him and Jardine. Mousasi claims that he learnt to fight smarter after his fight and be less aggressive. Mousasi's next fight in Strikeforce came against future UFC fringe contender Ovince Saint Preux. He clearly won the first two rounds and the three judges correctly awarded him the decision. After a 12 month lay-off due to a knee-injury, he made his final appearance under the Strikeforce banner in January of 2013. He would face Mike Kyle, a fighter who is proof that appearances can be deceiving. Visually, Kyle often looked like the absolute business. But he never amounted to anything more than a jobber to the stars. Hence, it was no surprise when Mousasi's dispatched of him in quick order. After this fight, Mousasi subsequently switch to the UFC. 

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Mousasi currently fights in the ridiculously stacked 185lbs division. For me, he's the best of the bunch. A few years back Mousasi earmarked Rockhold as the best in the division. His selection was not without substance. Rockhold is perhaps Mousasi's toughest match-up at 185lbs. But Rockhold has now moved up to Light-Heavyweight and I believe Mousasi sizes up well with the rest of the division He has one of the best jabs in MMA, his ground and pound is brutal, and he very capable of submitting his opponent. He is tough as nails as well. He went into his fight with Latifi in 2013 with a knee that kept slipping out of place. He also broke his orbital bone in his Bellator debut against Shlemenko, yet  somehow fought on to win a razor-tight points decision. He's also somewhat addressed his biggest weakness in recent years. He's trained hard with his Brother and other Heavyweight grapplers in the Netherlands so that his opponents are unable to keep him on the ground for a prolonged period of time. In sparring, it's said that Mousasi's training partners are unable to keep him on the mat for longer than 30 seconds. He exhibited this skill in his fight with Weidman a few years ago. Weidman was able to repeatedly takedown Mousasi in the early stages, but Mousasi was continuously able to stand back up. The upshot of these exchanges was that Weidman wilted in the second round and Mousasi was able to land the knee strikes that ultimately ended the fight. 

It's a shame that Mousasi left the UFC after the Weidman bout. He had a ton of momentum and there were plenty of interesting match-ups left for him in the promotion. Mousasi is primarily motivated by financially security and a life beyond MMA competition. He's already invested his earnings wisely in real estate and could have probably retired some years ago. He's also not interested in the celebrity life. While he enjoys the female attention he solicits from his status as a fighter, he is primarily a family-orientated person. He lives with his Mother on a farm in Holland. He freely admits that his Mother still does a lot for him. It's thus of little surprise that he already has one eye on retirement after his current contract with Bellator expires. However, his pragmatism should not be mistaken for a lack of passion. The Mousasi of the early 2010s who didn't train properly and often appeared indifferent to his craft is seemingly long-gone. He truly believes that the pre-USADA era created a false impression of the sport's pecking order. He avowed in late 2016 that he would soon become UFC Champion "'thanks to USADA'. Had WME met his financial demands, there is every chance he would have been proven correct. 

All hail the Moose.

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Just checked his record - 45 wins, and he's only 33! Fucking hell, I'm surprised he's not wrecked physically.

Top write-up there, jim.

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Mousasi‚Äôs class. Great post there Jim ūüĎ欆

Mousasi is another guy I could’ve mentioned when we were on about fighters being authentic vs putting on an act. Mousasi has always done things his own way. His personality is dry as fuck but it’s him and I love it. Few fighters can carry off that stoic killer thing and still be entertaining but Mousasi is one of the few. He’s very Cro Cop-like in that way for me. Where you can tell talking to the media isn’t his favourite thing to do, but when he’s got something to say he can actually be great to listen to. Towards the end of his UFC run he seemed to find the balance where he actually became really entertaining in interviews and press conferences, just being himself but more outspoken and without having to ham it up at all. There was one UFC press conference in particular where he was a hoot, ranting about the rankings and not getting a title shot. He had the media cracking up.

Unfortunately, it seemed like just when he might’ve been finally starting to catch on a bit popularity-wise and things were getting really interesting in terms of his position in the division, the split came and he wound up in Bellator. It’s been fun watching him in Bellator but it’s a real shame we never got to see those fights with Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, Kelvin Gastelum etc. And imagine a Mousasi vs Adesanya fight? Fuck! There were so many great fights still to be made. 

Edit - Found the clip of that Mousasi press conference I was on about. It was after he beat Belfort at UFC 204 in Manchester; 

 

Edited by wandshogun09

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1 hour ago, Carbomb said:

Just checked his record - 45 wins, and he's only 33! Fucking hell, I'm surprised he's not wrecked physically.

Top write-up there, jim.

Aye. You would think he'd be fucked by now. He's one of the few top fighters from a decade ago that's still operating in his prime. The likes of Anderson, GSP, Cain, Lesnar, Mir, Rashad, BJ Penn, etc are all either retired or well past-it. Edgar and Aldo are perhaps the only other exceptions. 

He claims that he hasn't taken much damage over his career. He nevertheless conceded recently that the wars are starting to catch up with him. The orbital injury he suffered in the Shlemenko fight was a bit of a wake-up call for him. The doctors were initially unable to diagnose what was wrong with his eye. Thankfully, the injury wasn't serious and he plans to have surgery on it when he retires. But the concern of that incident made him commit to retiring in the not-so-distant future. 

50 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Towards the end of his UFC run he seemed to find the balance where he actually became really entertaining in interviews and press conferences, just being himself but more outspoken and without having to ham it up at all.

Yep. I had always enjoyed watching him fight. But it was those interviews that made me become a full-fledged fan of his. He's actually meant to be a quiet and mild-mannered person away from the cage. But dear god, he doesn't mince his words when he's asked about something. And as you say, he's authentic. He doesn't manufacture beef for the sake of it and he's very honest about his motivations for fighting. 

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