Monday, August 18, 2014

UFC 16: Lightweight Revolution

Chris Brennan vs. Pat Miletich at UFC 16
(Photo: UFC)

UFC 16: Battle in the Bayou - March 13, 1998 - New Orleans, La. 

Mike Goldberg and Jeff Blatnick are calling the action for “Battle in the Bayou.” Sounds like the fighters would all get wet.

In alternate fights before the pay-per-view, Chris Brennan beat Courtney Turner with an armbar at 1:20, and Laverne Clark defeated Josh Turner by TKO at 1:15.

Bruce Buffer is our ring announcer.  Here we go!

1. Lightweight tournament semifinal: Mikey Burnett (submission fighting) vs. Eugenio Tadeu (Luta Livre)

This is a tournament for fighters at 170 pounds or less. Burnett, from Tulsa, Okla., is at 170 pounds, but he can deadlift 600 pounds. Tadeu is a 33-year-old Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend making his first U.S. appearance.

Both fighters start quickly. Burnett lands some good combinations. He sinks in a guillotine choke, but Tadeu escapes.   Referee Joe Hamilton stands the fighters up after a stalemate on the ground.

Friday, August 15, 2014

UFC Ultimate Japan: Couture Wins the Crown

Randy Couture wins UFC title

Randy Couture won the first of his three UFC heavyweight titles at UFC Ultimate Japan on Dec. 21, 1997, at Yokohama Arena.

Couture, who had stopped Vitor Belfort two months earlier, won a 21-minute battle over champion Maurice Smith to capture the crown.

Smith had won the title from Mark Coleman on the strength of his kickboxing, but Couture neutralized his attack with the skills he honed as an All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University.

Two of the judges ruled in Couture’s favor, while the third judge called the fight a draw.

Frank Shamrock became the UFC’s first middleweight champion (under 200 pounds). He demolished Kevin Jackson in 16 seconds with an armbar.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

UFC 15: Stopping the Phenom

Randy Couture (left) battles Vitor Belfort

Randy Couture overcame the undefeated Vitor Belfort in the superfight at UFC 15: Collision Course.

The pay-per-view took place on Oct. 17, 1997, at the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Couture capitalized on the momentum he built by winning the UFC 13 heavyweight tournament, as he scored a TKO win over Belfort in 8:16.

Belfort had won his first four MMA fights and looked untouchable in doing so.

Mark Kerr won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 15. He knocked out Greg Stott with a knee strike in just 19 seconds and polished off Dwayne Cason in 53 seconds.

Maurice Smith was scheduled to defend his UFC heavyweight title against Dan Severn, but Severn was sidelined with a broken hand.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

UFC 14: Here Come the Strikers

Maurice Smith vs. Mark Coleman

UFC 14: Showdown – July 27, 1997 – Boutwell Auditorium – Birmingham, Ala.

Maurice Smith challenged Mark Coleman for the UFC title in a classic “striker vs. grappler” main event.

Despite the political forces that took UFC off of many pay-per-view carriers, the show drew a sellout crowd of 4,800 fans.

UFC renamed the under-200 pound weight division from light heavyweight to middleweight. Also, new rules included mandatory gloves and no kicking on the ground.  

Before the pay-per-view, Alex Hunter beat Sam Fulton by TKO at 2:30 in the heavyweight alternate fight.

Bruce Beck and Jeff Blatnick are our commentators, with Joe Rogan handling the interviews. Bruce Buffer is our ring announcer. Here we go!

1  - Middleweight tournament semifinal: Yuri “The Mauler” Vaulin (Boxing) vs. Joe “The Gorilla” Moreira (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)

Vaulin is from “the hardscrabble streets of Rega, Latvia.” Remind me not to walk around town there at night.   Blatnick said Vaulin has no ground skill but has been in 273 fights in the last 17 years. Moreira lost to Paul Varelans at UFC 8.

Moreira takes Vaulin to the mat and throws some elbows. The crowd is booing despite the fact that both men are working.  Vaulin can’t land the big punch and time expires.  

In overtime, Vaulin hits a punch, but Moreira takes him down again. More boos. Tough crowd! Time runs out again, and the judges award the decision to Moreira.

2 – Middleweight tournament semifinal : Todd Butler (Karate) vs. Kevin Jackson (Wrestling)

Both men beat the weight limit by checking in at 199 pounds. Jackson is an Olympic gold medalist. He takes Butler down at 1:00, takes his back and wallops him in the head. Jackson gets the tapout to strikes at 1:28.

Here’s a video on kickboxing champion Maurice Smith, who has more than 50 wins. He is also the current Extreme Fighting heavyweight champ. Despite these credentials, Smith is a heavy underdog against Coleman.

We also get some hype for Vitor Belfort’s return to the Octagon at UFC 15 in October.

3 – Heavyweight tournament semifinal: Mark Kerr (Wrestling) vs. Moti Horenstein (Karate)

Kerr was a NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Syracuse University. Horenstein is from Israel, and he lost to Coleman at UFC 10.

Kerr hits a double-leg takedown and gains side control. Kerr lands some knees and lot of punches, so the ref stops the fight at 2:22.

Rogan tells us that Moreira can’t continue, so Fryklund will step into the middleweight tournament.

4 – Dan “The Bull” Bobish (Wrestling) vs. Brian Johnston (Freestyle Fighting)

Bobish is a 310-pounder from Cleveland, and he is a Division III national wrestling champion. Johnston is 2-3, but his losses were to Don Frye, Mark Coleman and Ken Shamrock.

Great brawling by both men, and the crowd loves it! Bobish takes Johnston down and mauls him against the cage. Bobish uses a forearm choke to get the tap out at 2:11.

Now it’s time for a Mark Coleman highlight video. We see him beat Frye at UFC 10, Johnston at UFC 11 and Dan Severn at UFC 12.

Rogan tells us that Moreira is disappointed that doctors won’t let him fight due to a concussion.
Before Fryklund appears in the middleweight final, we get to see his alternate fight.

5 – Middleweight alternate bout: Donnie Chappell (Kickboxing) vs. Anthony Fryklund (Jiu-Jitsu)

Chappell is the hometown boy, as he was the Alabama jr heavyweight kickboxing champ. Fryklund is a karate black belt from Boston.  Fryklund gets the tapout win with a choke at 1:31.

Here’s a video on the top-ranked middleweights in the UFC: Guy Mezger, who won the UFC 13 tournament; Jerry Bohlander;  Mark Schultz, who retired to concentrate on wrestling;  Enson Inoue; and Yoshihiki Takahashi, a Pancrase competitor who will compete in the UFC “when his schedule permits,” according to Beck.

6 – Middleweight tournament final: Anthony Fryklund (Jiu-Jitsu) vs. Kevin Jackson (Wrestling)

Before the fight, Jackson says wrestlers have more stamina, and that other fighters submit because they’re tired .  Jackson takes Fryklund down, takes his back, lands some punches and wins the fight with a rear naked choke in 45 seconds.

UFC co-founder Art Davie gives a gold medal to Jackson, who says he wants to fight the best.

Another hype video focuses on wrestlers who have excelled in the UFC: Severn, Coleman, Frye and Randy Couture.

7 – Heavyweight tournament final - Mark Kerr (Wrestling) vs. Dan Bobish (Wrestling)

Kerr trained with Coleman for this show. Buffer introduces some guy from Kazakhstan and says UFC hopes to visit there someday (not yet).  

Kerr hits some leg kicks, takes down Bobish. Kerr buries his chin in Bobish’s eye to force the tap out at 1:38. 

Kerr flexes gleefully and gets his medal and kudos from Davie and UFC co-founder Bob Meyrowitz.

Beck and Blatnick thank the cable systems that have stuck with UFC. They ask fans to watch UFC on satellite or at a friend’s house.

Here's yet another video. This one highlights the top heavyweights in UFC: Coleman, Smith, Frye, Belfort, Severn and "The King of the Streets" Marco Ruas.

8 - Main event superfight for the UFC heavyweight title – Maurice Smith (Kickboxing) vs. champion Mark Coleman (Wrestling)

Smith is 48-5-2 in kickboxing  and has never lost a title fight. He says Coleman punches like a girl. Beck says Coleman took those comments personally.

Coleman tests Smith’s theory with a takedown, headbutts and punches as the crowd chants his name. Smith pulls guard and lands some elbows from the bottom. Smith finally escapes Coleman at 9:09 and kicks Coleman while he’s on all fours. FOUL!

Coleman is tiring and the fans are chanting for Smith. Coleman tries a head-and-arm choke, but Smith slips out and lands a couple of strikes. Time expires, so we go to overtime.

Sucking wind and looking at the clock, Coleman is in trouble. He eats a combination from Smith. Three minutes are up, and we go to double overtime.

Smith hits some leg kicks, and Coleman’s lights are dimming. Time is up, and the judges award the unanimous decision to the NEW UFC champion, Maurice Smith! ranked Smith’s win among the 10 Most Memorable Championship Shockers in MMA history.

“The era of takedown-centered MMA swung irrevocably toward the sprawl-and-brawl style later popularized by Chuck Liddell and other well-rounded stylists,” Jason Probst wrote.

The champ signs off by telling his students to be in class on Monday.

“I’ll be late!”

Monday, February 17, 2014

UFC 13: Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture Debut

Tito Ortiz (

UFC 13: The Ultimate Force - May 30, 1997 - Augusta (Ga.) Civic Center

UFC 13 saw the company fall off most of the country’s pay-per-view radar, as anti-UFC political forces led to a smaller audience than usual for the show.

However, the debuts of Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture set the stage for a bright future.

UFC 13 featured four-man heavyweight and light heavyweight tournaments, along with a superfight between Brazilian phenom Vitor Belfort and brawling anti-hero Tank Abbott.

Ortiz opened the show by smashing Wes Albritton for a successful UFC debut in just 31 seconds. This was the alternate bout for the light heavyweight tournament.
After the fight, Ortiz told Joe Rogan that he knew he would “blow through” Albritton. Here’s the interview.

In the heavyweight alternate fight, hometown boy Jack “The Ripper” Nilson beat Saeed Hosseini by TKO in 1:23.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

UFC Ultimate Ultimate 96: The First PPV Era Ends

Tank Abbott (Photo:

UFC Ultimate Ultimate 96 - Dec. 7, 1996 - Fair Park Arena - Birmingham, Ala.

“Ultimate” means “final,” so it’s only fitting that UFC Ultimate Ultimate 96 was the final show before political pressure knocked the UFC off many pay-per-view outlets.

Mark Coleman had won the previous two shows, UFC 10 and UFC 11, but he was unable to compete due to illness. Also, this show featured the final UFC fights for Ken Shamrock and Don Frye before they entered the world of pro wrestling.

The alternate fights were Mark Hall over Felix Mitchell by TKO, Tai Bowden over Jack Nilson by submission to headbutts, and Steve Nelmark over Mark "The Grasshopper" Bossett by submission to a choke.

Manny Garcia is our ring announcer,and John McCarthy is the referee. 

In the quarterfinals, Don Frye defeated Gary Goodridge in a rematch of their battle at UFC 8. Goodridge tapped out due to fatigue at 11:20.

Monday, January 6, 2014

UFC Ultimate Ultimate 95: Battle of the All-Stars

Oleg Taktarov (Photo:

UFC Ultimate Ultimate 95 - Dec. 16, 1995 - Mammoth Gardens - Denver, Colo.

Ultimate Ultimate 95 was the UFC’s first attempt at a year-end All-Star show. It took place  in Denver, where it all began two years earlier.

In alternate fights before the main draw, Joe “The Ghetto Man” Charles beat Scott Bessac; and Mark Hall defeated Trent Jenkins. Both winners used armlocks to get submissions. 

Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnick and Don "The Dragon" Wilson are calling the fights, and they plugged Wilson's latest movie, "Night Hunter."

The winner gets a record $150,000, and there's an online chat on CompuServe. Our ring announcer is Rich "The G-Man" Goins. Here we go!

1. Steve Jennum (Taijitsu) vs. Tank Abbott (Pit Fighting)

Abbott was the runner-up at UFC 6, while Omaha (Neb.) police officer Jennum surprised everyone by winning UFC 3.Abbott has a 55-pound weight advantage: 250 to 195.

Abbott crushes Jennum's neck against the fence, forcing a tap out at 1:14.

2. Paul "The Polar Bear" Varelans (Trap Fighting) vs. Dan Severn (Wrestling)

Varelans was the runner-up in UFC 7, while Severn won UFC 5. Varleans is 12 years younger and weighs 62 pounds more: 300 to 238.

Severn immediately takes Varelans down and works for an arm triangle choke. Varelans fights it but taps out at the 1-minute mark.