Length: (VHS) TBA
This week I had the pleasure of viewing UFC 38 on video thanks to the good people down at UFCVideo.com. This event was the first time that the UFC had held an event on UK shores so it was a night of history in the making. The show was presented live on Sky Box Office at the time of the event but now for those of you who missed it or want to keep this brilliant event on video to watch time and time again it has been put on VHS for general release.
This event was to host the main event everyone had been waiting for around the world the rematch between Matt Hughes and Carlos Newton for the UFC Welterweight championship. There was a lot of history leading in to this match as Matt Hughes had won the title off Carlos Newton but this was one of the most controversial matches in UFC history. In that match Matt Hughes was given the win when it looked like both men were out as Carlos Newton choked out Hughes but in doing so made Hughes loose his grip on him causing him to fall to the mat hitting his head hard and knocking him out. All of this history lead to a buzz of excitement in the build up to the much awaited UFC 38.
The undercard looked impressive with many British competitors looking to make a name for themselves in this premier MMA competition. It looked like a battle of Britain against the rest of the world. Here is how the undercard looked.
Light Heavyweight Division:
James Zikic vs. Phillip Miller
Leigh Remedios (UK) vs. Genki Sudo
Mark Weir (UK) vs. Eugene Jackson
Ian Freeman (UK) vs. Frank Mir
There were other matches on the card but these have been the matches picked as the best and most entertaining for the video. The video is shorter than previous UFC title I have reviewed which makes it more fast paced and entertaining which is good for the casual fan and to keep the interest of non fans but when it comes to your hardcore UFC fight fans they may like the presentations that go for closer to 3 hours. I must say I enjoyed the two hour 5 fight format which made for non stop action. The length of a UFC event is so hard to predict as you see in UFC 38 some matches can be over in a blink of an eye and others go the distance. If knock out fever is running wild on the night technically an event could be over in an hour but the unpredictability is one of UFC key points of interest for me as you never know what will happen next.
Now on to the action first out was Zikic against Miller in the light heavyweight division. This match went the distance with both men putting a tremendous effort in over the 15 minutes of action. It was a good way to start the event out as a so called weaker match managed to keep me quite entertained. For me though no matter how hard Zikic tried Miller seemed to have a little bit more in his reserve. Zikic though being a former student of Frank Shamrock didnít cave in and made sure the match went the distance. No doubting the unanimous decision that was rendered by the judges in favour of Miller.
Next out was a match I was looking forward to between Genki Sudo and Leigh Remedios. Sudoís ring entrance might resemble something you might see in the world of professional wrestling but when he steps in the octagon it is all business. I hadnít seen Leigh before and he had the look of a good fighter he reminded me of a character out of old computer game street fighter or Tekken. When bell time came though Sudo annihilated him with a bombardment of kicks for which I think Sudo has the fastest kicks in the UFC. Leigh hung in until the second round in which the pressure became too much and Sudo gained the win with the rear naked choke to which Remedios taped. Sudo dominated from start to end and it was looking like the English fighters could be in for a tough night at the office.
Now it was a case of blink and miss the next match as more UFC history was created in the Royal Albert Hall. Mark Weir took longer to get in to the Octagon than it did for him to knock out his opponent Eugene Jackson. Within 11 seconds Weir had grounded Jackson and forced the ref to jump in with a devastating combination of punches. Jackson expecting a kick to begin with which came didnít cover up for the fists that came in his direction. This was a huge scalp for Gloucesterís Mark Weir as Jackson is a respected UFC fighter with a good reputation. It was good for the British fans in attendance to show that we could mix it with anyone and get the confidence back in our fighters.
It then came time for the match before the main event pitting Ian Freeman against Frank Mir in a hard hitting heavyweight bout. Mir known at the time as a rising star was sure to give Freeman a very stiff challenge. Ian Freeman though seemed to be able to muscle him around with ease and was no surprises when he got the victory within the first round with a technical knock out. Mir was taken off his guard within seconds and couldnít get back in to the match and on occasions played in to the hands of Freeman by standing up to fight when this was Freemanís forte. This was a quite surprising victory for Freeman but it meant a lot to him as he dedicated the match to his ill father.
This meant it was main event time already and the waiting for the match everyone wanted to see was over. Finally the controversy between Newton and Hughes was going to be settled where it should be in the octagon. Both men were clearly up for this match and both wanted to prove themselves as the rightful champion. The bookies may have had Newton the favourite to win back his belt he said was on loan to Hughes but they were proved wrong by Hughes who wanted to prove himself to everyone as the rightful champion. I think all the talk from Newton had focused Hughes and made him a better fighter on the night. I think Newton was a bit complacent expecting to win back his belt. The ground and pound style of Hughes took the fight out of Newton. Newton though trying to make sure it went the distance to try and squeeze a points decision was finally taken down a peg or two in the 4th round as Hughes was proclaimed the winner via technical knock out. It was good to see this one go for longer than many of the others though as it was the match people wanted to see.
This marked the end of a history making event and what a night of action it was. The event had a distinct British feel to it which it is a credit to the UFC. This could be the start of a big UK involvement with UFC but only time will tell. An entertaining video with some good matches thrown in to the mix.
Points: 6 / 10