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Alex Carnevale



In the world of mixed martial arts, one promotion has done the impossible: released a compilation of its best matches that I bought at Hollywood Video for 5.99. The tape is almost two hours, so if one or two fights are amazing, then it vindicates my purchase.

Unfortunately, some folks' definitions of a good fight differs from mine. I watch a lot of boxing, but that's it in terms of real fighting. I've never seen Pride, or K-1, or anything like that. If there's no action in a UFC fight, I suspect I won't like it very much. I have seen some of the big matches in passing.

Keep in mind I have a limited knowledge of the UFC. Also keep in mind I will be rating these matches on a five star scale, just to make several people angry. "Star ratings for MMA! Aaargh!"

Mike Goldberg is our host. They pimp FORTY fights on the video, while delivering thirty one, which is still pretty good. You get more for your money in UFC because a two hour wrestling highlights tape sucks bad, but a MMA tape can have a lot of good stuff in a short length of time. Onwards!

UFC 1: Tella Tuli v. Gerard Gordeau. This is the UFC's first fight ever. Tuli is a fat Dominican, I'll say and he's fighting a slinky white man. The white guy kicks Tuli in the face and draws blood. Ref stops the fight because blood is flowing out of his eye. The announcers claim "they should not be stopping it." Auspicious beginning. Pretty nasty kick, I'll say that. Fight ends. DUD Nothing fight.

UFC 2: Scott Morris (Ninjitsu, whatever that is) v. Pat Smith (Kickboxing). Both guys are about six foot. They tie up but Pat Smith takes Scott down and severely fucks his face up. Fight over. 1/4* Elbows are the strongest one in the body I guess. Kind of gruesome there, as the man who would become UFC veteran Pat Smith gets a quick and bloody win.

UFC 2: Remco Pardoel v. Orlando Wiet. Orlando is a tiny black guy and Remco is some kind of karate-guy. Remco starts off by kind of lying down on Orlando. He's smothering the little guy. Remco then elbows Orlando into unconsciousness. ** We're getting better.

UFC 3: Emmanuel Yarborough v. Keith Hackney. Yarborough is a big, big fat black dude, apparently the largest athlete in the world or something or other, and Hackney is a built white guy. Hackney knocks him on his ass with a forearm, but Emmanuel responds with some brutal blows. They lock up, and Yarborough throws him though the gates and out of the ring. Good shit. They go back in the ring, and Hackney knocks him around and tries kicking Yarborough. These kicks just bounce off, but Hackney gets him down and starts to whale on him with right hands. The corner won't throw in the towel. Emmanuel taps out on the strikes. ***1/2 Best fight yet on the tape. Hackney has to withdraw from the tournament, apparently.

UFC 3: Harold Howard v. Roland Payne. They roll around on the floor, and Payne gets a suplex reversed. Finally Payne goes down. Brutal and short, one shot puts him down. *1/2 Congratulations to all involved.

UFC 3: Royce Gracie v. Kimo (Tae-Kwon-Do). Even I know this is a huge fight, as it's the main event of UFC 3. They go right into the fence, and they break through the wall again. Royce tries to take him down, but stays on his feet. Royce is a little guy. Kimo wraps Royce up for a bit. Royce puts himself on top but Kimo rolls over again. They struggle awesomely until the three minute mark. Gracie is punching at him as Gracie grabs the hair. Both men are busted open a bit. Waistlock on Gracie, but Gracie turns around and grabs the arm for the tap-out. The announcers hype it as a great fight. I don't know about that, but it was pretty good in parts. ***1/4 Gracie had a battle there, as he limps afterwards. The men don't shake hands. I don't know what that's about. This could be a shoot, folks. Gracie would go on to miss the next UFC as a result of this fight.

Why in God's name is Jim Brown doing commentary? I guess it gives the UFC some credibility. They should have Vince do commentary.

UFC 4: Jo Son (JoSon???) v. Keith Hackney (karate). I like this guy Keith Hackney. Hackney is the same cool white guy, while Jo Son is a Asian guy who was in Kimo's corner previous to this fight. Hackney tries kicks but Jo Son takes him down, where Keith isn't too sure what to do. Jo Son grabs a front headlock, but can't go for the submission. Hackney resists the choke, and battles to his feet. Hackney springboards off the fence to get position and tries to punches out of the hold. Then the incredible occurs, as Hackney starts punching Jo Son in the penis. Good lord, that's not right. Sick, sick, sick. Hackney chokes him out on the floor. **3/4 Unmitigated brutality. Jim Brown- "I guess when you get hit in the groin twelve times, you go out quietly." Yeah, this was hard to watch.

UFC 4: Dan Severn v. Anthony Macias (jujitsu). This is Severn's first fight in the UFC. Macias tries some kicks, but Severn goes down and grabs the legs. They battle around and go down hard. Severn hits a belly-to-back suplex, and then another one that was more of a dragon suplex. Sweet shit. I'm starting to really like Dan Severn. Severn gets on top of Macias and tries to choke Anthony out. He does so at 1:45. *** This is, I'm informed, a pretty famous visual. Severn shows some actual charisma in celebrating, a weird counterpoint to his entire WWF career.

UFC 5: Dave Beneteau v. Asbel Cancio. Both guys are white and Beneteau starts by jumping and taking Asbel down. He then just whales away on him with brutal quick punches. Cancio taps out but the ref doesn't see it, so the corner throws in the towel, but not before Beneteau can unleash again. 1/2* Blood pours out. Beneteau waves the flag. Note how I did not make a CANADIAN VIOLENCE joke in the previous paragraph. Thank you.

UFC 5: Andy Anderson v. John Hess. Hess flies across s the ring with his height advantage and pounds on the smaller man with strikes. Hess gets him down but Anderson gets a nasty reversal but is caught up in leg scissors. Hess is getting tries. Anderson knocks Hess' mouthpiece out with strikes. Hess gets up and pounds some more. A sharp knee strike and Anderson goes right into the Octagon fence and it's all over. A neat display by Hess, who closed Andy's eye with a poke. **1/2 Jim Brown and I don't know what style Hess was using. Anderson was simply out of his league in this fight.

Next we have the first Tank fight on the tape. It's one of many, so don't worry. If you were worried.

UFC 6: Tank Abbott (streetfighting) v. John Matua (Kapu-Kui- Aluau). This is Tank's Octagon debut. Tank begins by swinging wildly with strikes and Matua tries to get a hold of himself, but the onslaught never stops and Matua goes down, down, down. Tank killed him practically; the guy is knocked unconscious. 1/2* for Tank's schtick and the ferocity of his debut. "Our thoughts are with John Matua right now." Amen.

UFC 6: Paul Varelans (Trapfighting) v Cal Worsham (Tae-Kwon- Do). Winner goes on to meet Tank Abbott. Varelans is much bigger, but Worsham gets some nice strikes in on Paul Varelans. Worsham is pretty sparky. Varelans is busted open hardway. I've been waiting to make that joke. More slugfest, but Varelans kills him with one blow to the side of the head to end it in 1:04. *** Whew. Worsham tried real hard.

I want to see the Varelans-Abbott match, but instead we go to UFC 7. Whatta shame. I've heard the Varelans-Abbott match was a killer display of Tank's power.

UFC 7: Paul Varelans v. Marco Ruas. This is JIP at 11:35. Varelans is now wearing tights, and Ruas kicks at Paul's legs. Varelans is a big bully. Ruas is killing the legs. Nice kicks from Ruas, and Paul tries to retaliate with kicks. Bad idea. Ruas takes him down with one nasty kick and from there knocks him on his ass with rights. Technique over strength here. **1/2 from what we saw, which is pretty great.

UFC 8: Gary Goodridge (Kuk Sool Won) v. Paul Herrera (American wrestling). Goodridge ties Herrera up in a crucifix and destroys him with elbows for the instantaneous knock-out. * Brutal. Quick. Next.

UFC 9: Mark Hall v. Koji Kitao. Koji is a sumo guy, and Mark Hall appears to a be a kickboxer or something. The small guy runs away from Kitao. The sumo guy puts him up against the fence. They get down on the ground and the announcers think Mark Hall is finished. The ref brings Kitao off him and Kitao is pouring blood from the nose. There is blood all over Mark Hall. Kitao's nose is broken and Mark Hall wins the fight in 47 seconds. **1/4 Funny David v. Goliath stuff.

UFC 9: Don Frye v. Amaury Bitteti. Frye immediately places himself on top and hits Amaury with a strike. Frye is till on top, attacking with strikes. Amaury is bleeding, and Frye hits some more strikes. Both guys are tired, tired, tired. Frye hits another elbow to the face. Another. Frye is mutilating him. They stop and the ref orders a restart. The doctor asks Amaury if he wants to continue, and he says, "More." Both men are incredibly fatigued. The fight is restarted, and Frye grabs a front facelock. Amaury pushes Frye to the the fence, which Frye uses for leverage. More elbows to the back, but Amaury won't quit. Vicious knee strikes and hand strikes follow. The ref stops the fight at 9:30. ****1/2 Awesome fight. If only Frye had any charisma whatsoever.

UFC 10: Mark Coleman v. Don Frye. This is the final of UFC 10, and Frye had already had a drag-out brawl with Mark Hall before the final. JIP, Both guys look to be in bad shape. We are at 6:20 as we start. They box it out to start here. They trade blows, and Frye go to the legs. Frye is too small, though, and Coleman is too big. Coleman pounds on him in the hold, and lets Frye work himself out. Mark Coleman starts a clubberin'. Coleman is doing to Frye what Frye did to that Amaury Bitteti guy. Mark Coleman looks for a choke, but tries a half-nelson. Frye reverses and puts himself on top. They get to their feet, but Mark Coleman just picks Frye up and decks him with right hands. Amazing strength. Both guys are tired as hell. Frye looks like he was in a trainwreck. Coleman tries to pound, but Frye gets in the best possible position to outlast Coleman. Coleman tries headbutts now, but the ref stops the fight for a doctor - no he's ending the fight. A changing of the guard and Mark Coleman's first UFC championship. ****3/4 Another phenomenal Frye match. I'd like to see what's so bad about him in New Japan.

UFC 11: Brian Johnston v. Resa Nazri (shootfighting, I think). Nazri tries to take Johnston down to the ground, but Johnston takes him down and unloads with headbutts and punches. This fight is over. DUD Total Hogan-style squash for the rubes; thirty seconds in length.

The ref McCarthy is pretty good.

UFC 11: Tank Abbott v. Scott "The Pitbull" Ferrozzo. This fight is joined in overtime. Ferrozzo is a big fat guy. It's one three minute overtime here. These guys look similar. Pure slugfest here, as both guys are just striking at each other haphazardly. Tank sticks Ferrozzo against the fence. Tank starts some punching but both guys are dead bloody tried. Ferrozzo tries to battle out. Tank is dead in the water right here. Tank looks overweight compared to his WCW days. Tank loses by unanimous decision. They only showed the overtime, but what we saw was pretty blasˇ. No rating, but what they showed was pretty shoddy. Ferrozzo was unable to continue after this fight.

The next clips are from Ultimate Ultimate, which is pretty well-known as being a kick-ass MMA show.

ULTIMATE ULTIMATE '96: Tank Abbott v. Cal Worsham. Tank picks up Worsham and tries to throw him out of the Octagon. Tank snaps him down with a spinebuster... type-manuever and then takes Worsham down to the ground. Tank backs up and goes against Worsham on the fence again. Worsham tries to fight out of it. They have a kind of stare-down. Tank doesn't seem to know what to do here. Tank hits a right hand and for some reason Worsham is pissed off. Worsham apparently tapped out. He wants a disqualification. Maybe based on a late strike. Yep that's it. Weak match, good finish. **1/2

ULTIMATE ULTIMATE '96: Tank Abbott v. Steve Nelmar. Nelmar replaces Ken Shamrock, who broke his right hand in this tournament. Tank gives Nelmar a fisherman's buster by accident. Amazing, amazing, strength from the big man. Tank starts whaling away on Nelmar. Nelmar runs away in fear. Hilarious. One punch knocks Nelmar out and he looks like his neck was severely fucked up against the fence. ***1/4 Another good Tank fight. Man, he destroyed him with that right hand. Nelmar is OUT.

ULTIMATE ULTIMATE '96: Tank Abbott v. Don Frye. This is a dream match right here. Tank knocks Frye on his ass with one punch at the beginning but Frye continues easily. They slug it out, and Frye is a brave man, I'll give him that. Tank continues to kick Frye's ass all over the Octagon, but Tank slips on a wet place on the mat or something and Frye sees his opportunity. Frye goes for the choke, and Tank is scared, looking to grab Frye's foot. Frye sinks in the choke and Tank must tap out to lose the Ultimate final at 1:23. ***3/4 Pretty nasty little match. Another day, maybe Tank can take him down, but not this day, brother.

We shift gears as more current stars appear.

UFC 12: Tra Tellinman v. Vitor Belfort. Tra Tellinman is from Lion's Den and Vitor Belfort is a pretty badass for what it's worth. This is his first appearance on the tape and it's a showcase. Belfort releases with some quick looking strikes. Belfort takes him down and begins destroying him, making him bleed like a baby, if babies bled. The fight is rightfully stopped at 1:17. Amazing speed from Belfort. *1/4 This was worth inclusion simply to hype Belfort for his later matches on the tape.

UFC 12: Vitor Belfort v. Scott Ferrozzo.
Ferrozzo is the big fat Tank Abbott-type guy from the fight with Tank Abbott. This is an interesting style clash. This is the final of UFC 12. Vitor comes in close and knocks Ferrozzo on his ass. He then rides him with a waistlock and punches Ferrozzo in the back of the head. The fight is topped, but Ferrozzo keeps on fighting. Vitor's expression is priceless. Another ref comes in and Vitor wins UFC 12 and looks bloody amazing in doing so. Great performance, but the worst would come later. **

UFC 13: Guy Mezger v. Tito Ortiz. I think Ortiz is an Abbott disciple, but I my be wrong. Ortiz starts throwing out punches but Mezger holds onto Ortiz's leg. Ortiz start giving him knees, and locks on a front facelock. Ortiz slaps on an inside cradle. A knee strike cuts Mezger's head, and the fight will continue. Announcers through he had tapped for a second. Ref- "He did not tap, he was trying to block." The fight restarts and they slug it out. Mezger locks on the legscissors and goes for a choke. He locks it in and Ortiz taps out. Nice win for Mezger as the Shamrock disciple takes the match. ***1/2 Reminiscent of Shamrock-Severn the first time they met and Shammy sunk in the choke, although more interesting than that match. He wins this UFC event, or whatever. Ortiz would win the middleweight titel several times in later UFCs.

UFC 13: Vitor Belfort v. Tank Abbott. Another dream match. They both go down to start and Tank rolls around with Vitor admirably. I have to think Tank is dead in the water here. Tank takes plenty of shots en route to going down. He keeps fighting when no man conceivably would until the ref stops it. Energetic match, but a total Belfort squash in 53 damn seconds. ** Abbott seeks out Belfort to shake his hand, in a nice show of class from the man that has none. Tank was totally overmatched in this one, sad to see.

UFC 14: Maurice Smith v. Mark Coleman. Coleman is a big, brutish motherfucker, as we saw before. This was a huge fight, which is JIP in overtime. Smith is a kickboxer, who is kicking at Coleman's leg in the beginning of overtime. Coleman is tired as hell. Smith misses a kick but nothing happens. Coleman is dead tired. Coleman is flat-footed here. Smith's glove comes undone and there is another break in the fight. More kicks to the leg, and Coleman is looking bad here. Coleman looks afraid. Coleman even checks the clock at one point. It's all over, and they hug to finish, as the match will go to the judges. Can't rate the match as we saw nothing of it, so to speak. It's a unanimous decision for Maurice Smith, as he shocks the former UFC champion.

UFC 15: Mark Kerr v. Greg Stott. It's weird seeing the ref, John McCarthy, age over the years. One knee ends the fight for a Kerr win. Stott is out. DUD I guess there's no reason not to include this as a quick exhibition of brutality.

UFC 16, Collision Course: Vitor Belfort v. Randy Couture. I've never seen Couture. He works Belfort better than anyone I've seen. The tie up and Couture pulls Belfort in a front headlock near the fence. Belfort grabs a leg, and they have a slugfest at close range. The two men break and Couture can't get Belfort down. This is longest Belfort's ever gone. Couture takes Belfort down on the ground and Couture takes Belfort where he doesn't want to go. Side mount by Couture. Couture sets up the headlock-punch combo but Vitor is smart enough to fight out. Couture moves into the close-guard. Belfort tries to grab an arm or do something from that position. This is reminiscent of a Gracie fight. It reminds me specifically of Taktarov v. Abbott. Couture keeps using energy from his legs, and Belfort stays strong. Belfort manages to flip over but Couture starts working the knees to the face. They are standing at 7:01 and they slug it out. Randy Couture is killifying Belfort in there. Astonishing strength. Couture pounds into him with knee strikes. He is pounding on Belfort as he's down and the ref stops the fight. Couture upsets Belfort in an amazing fight, the best of the tape. ***** What a war. Belfort was undefeated before that loss. I want to see that Pedro Rizzo v. Couture fight very badly now. I think Belfort thought that Couture would be more tired. Couture stayed patient and put the exhausted man away.

I think it's clear in these fights that he guys just got a lot, lot better from UFC to UFC.

UFC Japan: Frank Shamrock v. Kevin Jackson. This is the first Frank Shamrock fight I've ever seen. Kevin Jackson was a great free-style wrestler in his day, but Jackson takes him down early, but Shamrock turns into an armbar and gets the nearly instant submission in twenty-two seconds. Pretty cool stuff. It's amazing that Shamrock could come out of basically nowhere and destroy him like that.

UFC 16: Mikey Burnett v. Eugenio Tadeau (Luta Livre). JIP eight minutes into the right, this is a lightweight match. Burnett opens up on Tadeau and gets the quick victory with the TKO. For those of you who keep asking, it's a fireman's carry into a neckbreaker. Ha.

UFC 16: Frank Shamrock v. Igor Zinoviev. Shamrock starts with some knee strikes, but then Shamrock picks up and drops him on his head into unconsciousness with a slam. Quick and painful. Shamrock goes over and checks on his down opponent. Didn't even need a submission on that one. * for the spots. Zinoviev supposedly broke a rib, his collarbone, and lost a few teeth in that fight.

And that's the finish to the tape. Boy, was I glad I bought this one. Lot of great fights on UFC Hits Volume 1, and I was never bored. Some notable exclusions, but they had to save some fights for the next tape, which I may pick up as well. May I say I only included the star ratings for comparative purposes between the matches on the tape and I offer no objective criteria for them.

If you liked this, I'll keep doing it. If you didn't let me know, and I'll stop. Hit me at I need it bad.

Alex Carnevale
[slash] wrestling

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