Ultimate Fighting Championship V: Return of the Beast! (April 1995)
– Live from Charlotte, North Carolina
– Your hosts are Bruce Beck and Jeff Blatnick.
– More tweaking of the rules, as we now have 20 minute time limits instead of the previous “fight until the death” format. Earlier tonight, Dave Beneteau and Guy Mezger won alternate fights to in case of injuries, and oddly both would become big names in the sport.
Open Weight tournament quarterfinals:
Andy Anderson (Nude Steakhouse Barfighting) v. Jon Hess (Scientific Aggressive Fighting Technique of America)
Is Hess’s “discipline” like the scientology of MMA or something? Can’t he just be “karate” like everyone else? Because with no sanctioned record and that kind of pretentious discipline, he’s gonna look really stupid if he loses here. Hess charges in and pounds on Anderson in pretty impressive fashion for someone apparently suffering from an epileptic seisure, but Anderson manages to take him down and gets in top position. Hess gets out and goes back to his crazy “flailing arms and legs” style, finally putting Anderson down for good at 1:23. Man, and Anderson had the cool Terry Funk tights and everything. Hess was just sheer uncontrolled power here, although the fight was a total clown show. As charming as the early days of the sport were, I’m getting kind of sick of watching these “toughman” hacks go out and make themselves look stupid next to the professional fighters.
Todd “Funky Cold” Medina (Jeet Kune Do) v. Larry “Thunderfoot” Cureton (Kickboxing)
OK, I made up that nickname for Medina. Medina gets the takedown immediately but doesn’t really know what to do, and Cureton actually gets a choke going from the guard. Medina breaks free and throws headbutts, then goes to side mount with not much going on. He keeps pounding on Cureton and finally Cureton just taps out at 2:57, unable to mount any offense. We’re only five in and already the one-dimensional strikers are becoming obsolete, as the “grappler with standup skills” mold is proving to be a winner.
OLEG FUCKING TAKTAROV (Sambo) v. Ernie Verdecia (Kenpo Karate)
Our first look at Oleg, who would become one of my favorite fighters. Verdecia shoots in and gets the takedown and full mount, but Oleg uses the fence to get free and calmly elevates into an AWESOME side choke for the win at 2:20. He knew what he was doing from the start, but that was a lot less impressive than I was expecting.
Dan Severn (Wrestling) v. Joe Charles (Judo)
Severn just destroys him with a takedown and sends him into the fence off that, then throws knees, but can’t finish him fast enough to prevent the guard. Charles tries for the arm, but Severn shows some killer instinct, finishing with a rear naked choke at 1:54. Huge reaction from the crowd for that one.
Open Weight tournament semi-finals:
David Beneteau (Judo) v. Todd Medina
Jon Hess, whose only offense consisted of bare-knuckle shots to his opponent’s head, has SHOCKINGLY broken his hand and is out of the tournament. Beneteau shoots and gets the takedown , getting full side control with ease. He moves to full mount, in total control but not doing much, and just rains down with punches to finish at 2:15. Not much challenge for him there.
Dan Severn v. Oleg Taktarov
How’d these guys end up in the same half of the draw? Severn gets the first takedown and he’s all fists and fire again, pounding away from the top, but Oleg calmly wraps him up from the bottom. Severn’s like a kid with a new toy with these striking skills. Oleg fights for the armbar as Severn can’t finish, but now he drops knees on Taktarov’s head for some impressive damage. Oleg is bleeding really badly and Big John stops it at 4:20. Great but shockingly one-sided fight, and Oleg would be back. What was going on with him tonight, though?
SUPERFIGHT: Ken Shamrock v. Royce Gracie
So with their attempts to set this match up in UFC 3 foiled by real life, they just went ahead and signed it here. Hey, there’s an idea, going ahead and booking matches that they want to promote instead of depending on a random draw. 30 minute time limit here, and I’m pretty sure this is gonna use all of it. Shamrock gets the first takedown and Gracie of course goes into the guard. And so they stay for 7:00 with only the occasional kidney kick from Gracie. Ken tries to get up, fails, and they end up back in the same position again as this is obviously a “play not to lose” strategy from Shamrock. And so it’s another 10:00 on the ground as they hug it out. This is now the longest fight in UFC history, and it feels like every second of it. 20:00, nothing going on, I check my mail and surf the web. Jesus, I know Shamrock was embarrassed by the quick tapout last time they fought, but even his DAD is yelling at him to get up and do something. 30:00 and the fight is supposed to be over, but they arbitrarily come up with a 5:00 “overtime” in hopes of someone doing something to finish. And John finally stands them up for the OT period. Finally we get some standup action as Shamrock actually gets a PUNCH…but it’s back to the guard immediately after. 5:00 more of that and the Superfight is a draw at 36:00. Crowd boos the shit out of it as the announcers try to sell it as a technical masterpiece. This of course would prove to be NOTHING compared to the epic borefest that was Severn v. Shamrock later on, so they should count themselves lucky. At least there was contact made here.
Open Weight tournament final:
Dan Severn v. David Beneteau
Severn wants to finish fast, and he shoots in on the fence as they battle it out there. Severn finally out-waits him and brings him down, and chokes him out from the top at 3:08. Severn holding up the NWA and UFC titles is a great visual, although it took a pretty bad show to get there. Definitely one to skip.