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Length: 140 mins
From the sold-out Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino Ultimate Fighting Championship brings to us UFC 55: Fury. Sold out maybe, but is it any good? Thank goodness you guys have me here to tell you.
- UFC Heavyweight Title:
Andrei Arlovski vs. Paul Buentello
- Branden Lee Hinkle vs. Sean Gannon
- Forrest Griffin vs. Elvis Sinosic
- Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Chael Sonnen
- Joe Riggs vs. Chris Lytle
- Jorge Rivera vs. Dennis Hallman
- Alessio Sakara vs. Ron Faircloth
- Marcia Cruz vs. Keigo Kunihara
The opening show pits two men making their UFC debuts, Alessio Sakara and Ron Faircloth. Going into the fight Faircloth appeared to be the stronger of the fighters but was quickly out punched and taken down by the much quicker Sakara who continued the strike attacks on the American. Faircloth showed little defence on the ground and seemed amazed he made it as far as the second round. Round 2 managed to last all of 10 seconds before Faircloth accidentally kicked Sakara in the groin. The referee quickly stopped the fight as Sakara folded up with what may have been a ruptured testicle. A No Contest was recorded for this fight, although it seemed like Sakara would have continued to dominate. **
Next up pitted Marcio Cruz making his MMA debut against Judo expert Keigo Kunihara. I don’t know if Cruz improved, but here he threw the worst strikes I have ever seen in any MMA contest! Thankfully Cruz had excellent submission skills and in round 2 managed to put together the single greatest set of groundwork I have had the privilege to witness, ending in locking a rear naked choke on the Japanese fighter to win by submission. A boring fight up until the submission. *
In a clash of styles expert striker Jorge Rivera faced grappler Dennis Hallman. Hallmen immediately went for a takedown and submission, but Rivera had been working on his groundwork and escapes the armbar attempt. A war of attrition ensues, a war that the poorly conditioned Hallman is unable to win. Beaten all around the octagon by Rivera, Hallman knew he had to pull something out in a hurry and managed to lock in a heel hook just as the time ran out. An unsurprising unanimous referees decision gave the match to Rivera. **
In the fight of the night Chris ‘Lights Out’ Lytle faced Joe Riggs in a welterweight contest. Both men show amazing energy both on the ground and striking. In my eyes Riggs has the advantage at the end of round 1, but is unable to continue this into round 2 as Lytle controls on the ground. A lucky elbow shot opens ‘Lights Out’ up and the referee is forced to end the fight and declare Riggs the winner despite Chris Lytle being in the far superior position. ****
In an explosive fight Renato Sobal managed to keep his winning streak against Chael Sonnen. Both men gave as good as they got from the word go, with both men exchanging positions on the floor. In round 2 Sobal showed how dangerous he was with getting a win from nowhere with a stunning triangle choke on Sonnen to extend the streak to 9 wins. ***
On to lightweight action next with Forrest Griffin Vs Elvis Sinosic. Normally I’m not a fan of fights that are entirely striking, but this was a fine example of two men comfortable on their feet. The younger Forrest managed to score the knockout win after a huge left hook on the end of a beautiful flurry of strikes. **
In the penultimate fight policeman Sean ‘Cannon’ Gannon took on ‘The Iron Lion’ Brandon Lee Hinkle. A fight based purely around the power of the two contestants normally makes for a poor show, but the added skill of both men in how they applied the power. Hinkle immediately grounded Gannon with a perfectly applied single leg takedown, once on the floor ‘The Iron Lion’ locked in kimura after kimura only for the powerful Gannon to break the hold each time. Eventually, as Hinkle realised he wouldn’t get a tap out on Gannon, ‘The Iron Lion’ started dropping huge elbows from the mount position which Gannon was unable to counter. One of the best ground and pound attacks quickly saw the referee stop the fight and Gannon was left a bloody and swollen mess on the ground. ***
The final fight of the evening has Andrei Arlovski defending his UFC Heavyweight Championship against Paul Buentello. Both men come out punching, and at the 15 second mark a right hand from Arlovski knocks Buentello out, much to the disgust of the live crowd! Unlike the crowd I was astounded by the pure spectacle of seeing a man known for his jaw knocked out so quickly, and so this in my eyes deserves a ****.
Bonus DVD Features
Nothing unusual in the bonus features, pre and post fight interviews as well as a gallery and fighter bio’s makes the usual ‘blah’ factor here. The addition of seeing the fighters choose their gloves was slightly on the surreal side though…
Fury is a fairly disappointing card for UFC with some fights scraping the barrel of entertainment, but the awe-inspiring fight between Lytle and Riggs as well as the stunning KO in the main event manage to earn this DVD a healthy ***.