The Ultimate Fighting Championship 27: Ultimate Bad Boyz!
– Live (I think) from New Orleans, LA
– Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Frank Shamrock. Jeff Blatnick is apparently working the Olympics, but I don’t think he’s around for much longer either way.
– This is from the PPV broadcast, and it was either pre-taped or directed by someone in a hurry to be somewhere because there is little introduction and no filler (not even the announcers introducing themselves!) before the first fight. Plus last time they were advertising Tito Ortiz defending the Middleweight title, but there’s no mention of it here.
Heavyweights: Tedd Williams v. Ian Freeman
This should definitely be a slugfest. They clinch on the fence and Williams gets a sloppy takedown and works for side mount, throwing some good knees to the ribs. Freeman doesn’t seem to have much of a gameplan from the bottom, as Williams basically hits him at will against the fence. That’s a bad position for Freeman, but Williams needs to go for the kill. Goldberg notes that Big John has PROMISED to keep the action moving this time, after the disaster that was Rizzo v. Randleman last time. Round one expires, 10-9 Williams.
Second round and Williams puts Freeman down again and throws knees on the fence while trying for a choke, but Freeman stands it up. Williams keeps driving him into the fence to control the pace. Freeman keeps coming and takes it to the ground, pounding on Williams right through his guard. Not really much of a guard, in fact. Freeman gets more good ground and pound on him, and the round expires with him on top. 10-9 Freeman there.
Third round and Williams is looking terrified, letting his hands drop. Freeman rides him to the mat in a front facelock and Williams has got NOTHING left. Williams tries pushing him into the fence to slow it down, but Freeman clobbers him with knees and pounds him from the top, staying dominant until the round expires. 10-9 Freeman and he gets the unanimous decision for the victory.
Middleweights: Yuki Kondo v. Alexandre Dantas
Kondo is yet another Pancrase import, as that promotion proved to be a valuable resource for the UFC. Dantas is another hardcore Brazilian, so this should be an interesting matchup. They clinch on the fence and show some good technical grappling while fighting for a takedown. That ends up with Dantas on top, and Kondo almost gives up his back trying to shake him. Dantas tries hard for the armlock, and then just punches the shit out of him instead until Kondo reverses and puts Dantas into the guard. And now Kondo rains down with punches and they stand it up for a slugfest. I was not expecting that. They trade on the fence, and the round ends. Very close, almost too close to call. We’ll go 10-9 Dantas for more control and submission attempts. I could be swayed either way, but I doubt this is going to anything but a finish.
Round two and they’re throwing, before Dantas goes for the leg and takes Kondo down against the fence. More great reversals as they each work for top position, but Dantas nearly gets an armbar from the bottom as a result. Kondo gets out of that by brute force, pounding his way out, and we’re back to the guard again for some damage by Kondo. They stand it up and Kondo is looking really confident on his feet, as Dantas REALLY wants it on the ground again and gets another takedown to escape the strikes. And that’s where we wrap up the round, which is another incredibly close one. I’m tempted to go with Dantas for the armbar attempts, but I think Kondo has better control so I’m going 10-9 Kondo.
Third round and Dantas ties him up to avoid strikes, but Kondo catches him out of nowhere with a right and puts him down. Kondo pounds away from the top and Dantas is looking helpless to defend, but John won’t stop it yet. Another strike puts Dantas on his knees, but Kondo lets him up. Kondo gets fancy with spinkicks now, and finishes with a big knee to knock him out at 2:38. That was an absolutely spectacular fight, and it draws a well deserved standing ovation from the crowd. High level technical work on the ground and great power from Kondo, can’t ask for anything more.
– We get an extended promo for the original UFC game on the Dreamcast, which of course looks incredibly simplistic and cartoony as compared to UFC 2009, the game that has consumed many hours of my life on Xbox 360. Somehow the early sequels managed to be even worse.
Lightweights: Laverne Clark v. Fabiano Iha
This is a rematch from UFC 20, as they were pushing Clark as the rising star of the division for reasons I can’t fathom. Their last fight was a fluke win for Clark due to a bad cut on Iha’s head, so there’s a backstory here. Clark tries for the takedown and Iha clamps on the armbar. Clark slams him to no avail, and Iha just hangs onto the arm until Mario Yamasaki stops it. There’s stoicism and there’s being stupid. Just tap, it’s not worth a broken arm when you’ve got a Brazilian hanging onto you. I believe this is the first time Bruce Buffer announces that the win was in the “very first round”. I could be wrong though.
Middleweights: Eugene Jackson v. Jeremy Horn
Kind of disappointing to see Horn dropping back down to middleweight after looking so good at heavyweight at UFC 22. Eugene Jackson was another one that SEG was seemingly hoping would become their breakout star, but it just never happened for him. His last fight was a bad one at UFC 25, as he was suffering from the flu and looked terrible in a loss. Jackson tries the takedown and Horn ends up on top, but he can’t get through Jackson’s guard. He tries again from his feet and this time gets into north-south position, then switches to full mount. Armbar finishes quick as Jackson was just completely exposed there and Horn just keeps looking better every fight.
Heavyweights: Maurice Smith v. Bobby Hoffman
Hoffman is a former NFL player, who is part of the Miletich fighting team and thus probably can’t be discounted easily. I’m pretty sure Maurice can handle him, even if he’s coming to the end of his usefulness to the UFC. Hoffman charges in and pulls Smith down with a headlock, but falls right into his guard. Hoffman actually passes the butterfly guard pretty easily and gets side control. Hoffman tries to get full mount, but gets caught in a half-guard and can’t get any good offense going from there. Maurice tries to reverse out, and Hoffman gets full mount as a result and pounds away. He can’t finish, and Smith uses the fence to stand up, but the round expires and it’s a clear 10-9 round for Hoffman.
Second round and Hoffman takes another run at Smith and gets the takedown, but Big John stops it so he can tie Hoffman’s shoelace. Well that’s unique. So they start again and Hoffman gets another takedown, but Smith fights up right away. Hoffman tries to throw punches, but you don’t want to get into that game with Smith. Smith hits him with a couple of knees and then backs off to make Hoffman run around and thus gas himself even more obviously. Hoffman goes into hugging mode and if Smith can’t finish this gasbag soon then he might as well retire after this fight. Hoffman manages to bull rush him again and gets another clumsy takedown, but it works, so good for him. Hoffman gets full mount and uses weak hammerfists, unable to finish but still keeping busy despite all of his gasping for air. Round expires and it’s another 10-9 for Hoffman on my scorecard.
Third round and if I’m Hoffman, I get another takedown and go into full hug mode so that nothing surprising can steal the fight away. Smith needs to start throwing and soon. They exchange against the fence and why would Hoffman stand there trading with Smith? Smith works him over like a heavy bag as Hoffman desperately hangs onto the clinch trying to survive the round. I dunno, that second round wasn’t so dominant for Hoffman that the judges wouldn’t necessarily give it to Smith. This is bad strategy. Smith punishes him with body shots, but the round expires and Hoffman is still standing. 10-8 Smith, but Hoffman didn’t go down. That would actually make it a draw by my math, but the judges give it to Smith on a split decision. Could’ve gone either way and Hoffman didn’t do anything to win in the third, so that’s fair.
Heavyweights: Dan Severn v. Pedro Rizzo
Really? This is what we’ve come to in SEG’s dying days? Dragging Dan Severn out of mothballs for this freakshow main event so he can get his head knocked off by Rizzo? This has gotta be a first round KO, second round at the absolute outside. Severn shoots in for the takedown and Rizzo brushes him aside and they stand it up again. Rizzo swings for the fences with a high kick, then puts Severn down with a leg kick. This is getting scary already. Another leg kick and Severn’s knee is blown out, so they stop the fight mercifully. That was ridiculous and I don’t know who in their right mind would have signed that in the first place.
That main event was ludicrous, but everything else on this show was solid and entertaining, so this is an easy thumbs up from me.
Next time: New weight classes, to finally bring them in line with the current ones, as we’re sanctioned in New Jersey and Kevin Randleman is defending the Heavyweight title against Randy Couture! Only two shows left for SEG before the Zuffa era!