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Length: (VHS) 172 mins
Thanks to the good people down at ufcvideo.com the official UK distributor of UFC videos I have been given some UFC videos to review starting with UFC:35. UFC has been in existence for some time now but it is only recently they have caught mainstream attention in the UK with their weekly shows on Sky Sports and most recently the PPV event they hosted at Royal Albert Hall. Now I am going to look at what all the fuss is about.
For those of you have not seen any UFC action before here are the basic concepts behind it. UFC is Mixed Martial Arts where competitors of the same weight class compete against each other to show their various Martial Art disciplines and to see which is best. The competition takes place inside a metal caged octagon and is contested like Boxing with rounds and a decision coming by submission, knock out or by judges decision. So there are the very basic rules of UFC now on to the tape.
The show starts off with all of the razzmatazz of Professional Wrestling with pyrotechnics, lights and music but when the matches start it is all business. Our commentators for the night Jeff Osbourne and Mike Goldberg give us a brief run down and introduction to the nights matches alongside special guest UFC heavyweight fighter Randy Couture. Then it is straight into the action no hanging around over analysing the matches and event.
Our first match starts like the rest with the fighters in the ring which keeps the action fast paced as there is no wasted time with entrances. We are greeted with a middleweight battle between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist Ricardo Almeida going up against the young Russian making his debut in the UFC Andrei Semenov. Ricardo comes out strong in this one with some good kicks and take downs he is looking for a submission and is very strategic. Andrei keeps himself alive in the match with some good striking which draws blood from Ricardo. The second round is just as lively as the first with Ricardo looking for the submission and Andrei using his striking. The striker wins out with a second round knock out stoppage of Ricardo. A brilliant way to open things up.
Before me have time to contemplate on what we have just seen the action keeps on coming with a match between two kick boxing specialists. This was set to be a stand up of aggression between Chuck Liddell and Amar Suloev and it did not disappoint. Both stood up to the challenge though with this match going the distance with Liddell being the aggressor although Suloev landed some good kicks one of which was after the bell with added fuel to the fire. Liddell won by judges decision the clear winner in my book. Another good feature of the UFC format is that straight after the result is given interviews are conducted with the fighters in the ring with emotions high.
It was now on to our first title match of the night as Dave Menne defended his Middleweight title against the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend Murilo Bustamante. Menne showed why he is champion with superb countering in the first 5 minute round Bustamante couldn’t get any offence locked in. Just as we had finished watching replays during the break before round 1 it was over as shortly in to round 2 as Bustamante changed his game and got the unexpected knock out punch to beat Menne. In his post match interview Menne said the reason he got knocked out was because he was expecting the shoot which Bustamante had been trying in the first round. Two knock outs and a title change already tonight this was turning in to one hell of an event.
Now on to our first heavyweight battle of the night which Couture watched with great interest. It was the Wrestling styles of Jeff Monson vs. another Jiu Jitsu specialist Ricco Rodriguez. Monson wins the early exchanges but after that it is all Rodriguez as he overpowers him with his takedowns and forearms. As the match goes on Monson seems to tire and is always trying to defend himself. Rodriguez eventually ends it with a third round stoppage with a high knee which knocks Monson out.
Two hours doesn’t seem to have gone by when it is now time for the main event of the evening as Jens Pulver puts his light heavyweight title on the line against the unstoppable BJ Penn. One Jiu Jitsu fighter had already won a belt tonight could BJ Penn do the same under the training of legend Frank Shamrock? After all the knock outs we have had tonight it is good to end on a title fight which goes the distance of 25 minutes of solid action. This match more than lived up to the hype in my eyes. Penn always looking to shoot or a submission, gets himself in to trouble early when he tries a dangerous submission hold to Pulver’s neck which leads him wide open to Pulver slamming him on the canvas. Pulver seems to force the issue more in this fight although Penn looks dangerous throughout. Pulver eventually holding on and retaining his title by a majority judges decision.
This video was better than any other combat, fighting or martial arts I had ever seen. The action was fast moving the way it was presented was innovating with in ring interviews and no hyping up matches before hand with video packages just letting the action speak for itself. The girls, lights and pyrotechnics made it a complete show and helped on the entertainment side. Even the referees seemed to have personality and weren’t afraid to get in to the action and break it up if they thought it had become inactive. I would highly recommend this video as never once was my finger reaching for the fast forward button, hard hitting action at its best.
Points: 9 / 10