The Smark Rant For UFC 11

Each week, we present a review of an Ultimate Fighting Championship show in chronological order, assembling a sort of historical record of mixed martial arts in America. This week: UFC 11.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship XI: The Proving Ground!

– Live from Augusta, GA.

– Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Don Wilson and Jeff Blatnick

– They’re making no secret about who this tournament is set up for, as everything is focused on Mark Coleman v. Tank Abbott.

– Another small change in format sees them going from pre-taped promos with the actual stars, to having Blatnick interviewing them backstage. Tank is less than enthused in his interview.

Open Weight tournament quarterfinals

Julian Sanchez (“ASAX”) v. Mark Coleman (Wrestling)

Oh god, another self-made “discipline”. Sanchez, who admits that he has no stand-up, looks like Andy Richter if he decided to become a fighter. I, uh, don’t see this one going particularly well for him. The announcers diplomatically note that this looks like a bit of a mismatch on paper. No kidding. The announcers advise us not to blink. Coleman shoots in and pounds the crap out of Sanchez effortlessly, and the guy wisely taps before he can be killed, at 0:44. Well, they did note that Sanchez’s discipline was submission-based. They just didn’t specify who was submitting.

Reza Nasri (Wrestling) v. Brian Johnston (Kickboxing)

Nasri tries to shoot and gets taken into the fence by Johnston, and Johnston takes him down with a double-underhook throw and into the full mount for the fast finish at 0:30. No surprise as the crowd loudly cheers for the guy with the flag on his shorts against the Iranian. Big John actually apologizes to Nasri afterwards for not stopping it immediately, as Johnston was able to get in a LOT of unprotected shots while on the ground.

Tank Abbott (Streetfighting) v. Sam Adkins (Boxing)

Tank shows the skills early, shooting in with a takedown to get it on the ground right away, but he just kind of holds it on the fence rather than doing any real damage. Tank, showing remarkable patience, pounds away and then finishes with a straight choke at 2:06. Of note: Tito Ortiz as a very baby-faced young corner-man for Tank.

Fabio Gurgel (Jiu-Jitsu) v. Jerry Bohlander (Submission Fighting)

They go right to the clinch on the fence as Bohlander desperately clings to it, trying to prevent a takedown. Doesn’t work. Gurgel pulls guard , but Bohlander gets out of it, then throws a kick to his downed opponent (while wearing shoes no less), which is a major no-no even back then. Gurgel takes him down again, but Bohlander has a choke, so it’s a bit of a stalemate. Gurgel passes the guard, but Bohlander reverses him over to end up in top position again. Nice little sequence there. Then it gets pretty dull as Bohlander throws the occasional strike from the top while Gurgel stays in the guard. Bohlander, trying for a finish, actually lets Gurgel up, but he chooses to stay on his back as this gets closer to Bohlander winning a decision. And yup, time expires and it’s a unanimous decision for Bohlander.

Open Weight tournament semi-finals

Mark Coleman v. Brian Johnston

They go with the boxing match to start and Johnston throws a couple of leg kicks, but Coleman explodes in with the takedown and finishes on the ground at 2:20. Just too dominating, as Johnston had no clue how to defend himself on the mat.

Tank Abbott v. Scott Ferrozo

Ferrozo is the alternate, replacing Bohlander, which gives us a lengthy 30 minute stretch of nothing while he prepares. They throw down in entertaining fashion and Ferrozo kind of ends up in control on the fence, but the newfound patience of Tank is on display as he waits it out. Ferrozo throws a couple of knees and Tank is shockingly rocked, but Big John breaks them up to check Ferrozo’s cut. So back to the standup before they go to the fence again for more hugging action. Both guys are just ridiculously gassed and I’m not sure why Big John hasn’t restarted it yet. Finally he does so and Tank is throwing again, but then goes back to the cuddling on the fence. What is the strategy supposed to be here? If this goes to the judges I’m thinking Ferrozo takes it. So time expires and we go to a 3:00 OT. They exchange some sloppy punches and Tank goes back to that fence again. No matter how this shakes down, Coleman gets the easiest title defense ever next. Tank gives us one last flurry of suck and we wrap it up and go to the scorecards. Ferrozo gets the unanimous decision, screwing up the finals they were shooting for.

Open Weight tournament finals

Mark Coleman v…

Well, no one. Ferrozo is understandably DOA and the other alternate has a broken foot, so Coleman wins the tournament by default. And they’ve got absolutely nothing to fill the last hour with, so they interview pretty much anyone within microphone distance, and then show the Ferrozo-Tank match in its entirety again.

Well, that show turned into quite the disaster of epic proportions. Unfortunately the crappy show hurt them in more ways than one, as political pressures from outside were eroding their fanbase faster than any disorganized PPV like this one ever could. The less said here, the better. Next up is supposed to be the Ultimate Ultimate 96 with Don Frye beating Tank Abbott in the finals, but I don’t have that one. So instead we’ll skip ahead to UFC 12, as they get pulled from most major PPV carriers and essentially go underground for a LONG time.

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