Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) DVD Reviews

UFC 78: Validation DVD Review

What a show to return with, the UFC’s…. um…. lets be honest here, Zuffa’s New Jersey soiree on 17th November 2007 was one of the first of what are fast becoming recognisable as UFC “B” shows (their equivalent “In Your House”, if you will), with the only real selling point to the masses being the main event which pit two TUF Champions against each other for the first time…

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Cert: 15

Length: 2hrs 46mins

Greetings and salutations, boys and girls. Did you miss me? I bet you did. First off, big thanks to all of you who asked where I was hiding…. for those of you who care, I’ve had some personal troubles this year that had to take precedence over any and everything else. Secondly, big thanks to the mighty Kam for keeping my spot open. But enough misplaced emotion from me…. there’s fighting ahoy!

What a show to return with, the UFC’s…. um…. lets be honest here, Zuffa’s New Jersey soiree on 17th November 2007 was one of the first of what are fast becoming recognisable as UFC “B” shows (their equivalent “In Your House”, if you will), with the only real selling point to the masses being the main event which pit two TUF Champions against each other for the first time.

The Fights

  • Rashad Evans vs. Michael Bisping
  • Houston Alexander vs. Thiago Silva
  • Karo Parisyan vs. Ryo Chonan
  • Ed Herman vs. Joe Doerksen
  • Spencer Fisher vs. Frank Edgar
  • Chris Lytle vs. Thiago Alves
  • Joe Lauzon vs. Jason Reinhardt
  • Marcus Aurelio vs. Luke Caudillo
  • Akihiro Gono vs. Tamdan McCrory

Special Features

  • Exciting fights not seen on pay per view
  • Bonus behind the scenes featurette
  • DVD motion menu with fight card section

One sure-fire way to recognise such an event is when the second-string crew of referees are wheeled out en masse. Now a fixture, big Dan Miragliotta appeared for the first time in the opening prelim, pitting Akihiro Gono against Tamden McCrory, and much amusement ensued as Bruce Buffer struggled to blurt out the new Octagon enforcer’s formidable surname. Gangly young gun McCrory looks like one for the future at welterweight, as he gave a commendable account of himself before falling prey to a second round armbar from PRIDE veteran Gono. The meteoric rise of Thiago Alvez continued elsewhere on the pre-show card, as “The Pitbull” forced the ringside doctor to intervene between the second and third rounds of his scrap with likeable Chris Lytle; Gomi conqueror Marcus Aurelio made light work of Luke Caudillo and, to round things out, aging natural-145lber Jason Reinhardt was resoundingly outclassed by Joe Lauzon, and rubber-stamped the one way ticket out of the UFC that his thrashing probably would’ve served anyway, by flipping “J-Lau” off prior to tapping to a Rear Naked Choke. What gets into these blokes?

The main broadcast kicked off with my very own posse, the Lightweights, and two fellas I have a lot of time for in Frankie Edgar and Spencer Fisher. The latter bossed the opening round, scoring two significant takedowns- the second by virtue of a solid front legsweep- and landing several calculated strikes from inside Fisher’s guard, in spite of the Milletich man doing an otherwise solid job of controlling his posture from the bottom. With the tone set and Edgar’s superior wrestling ability established, the second round continued in identikit fashion, with Fisher frustrated standing up, and “The Answer” able to pass into side mount on a couple of occasions when the fight went downwards. The pace slowed into the third as both began to tire: clearly behind, Fisher attempted to pull a triangle choke from guard in the closing minute, with Edgar posturing up and securing side control to end the fight and ensure 30-27’s all round. A decent enough fight, but a finish would’ve been nice.

Why can’t Joe Doerksen catch a break? Similarly, Ed “Short Fuse” Herman seems destined never to capitalise on the momentum he garnered in TUF 3, hence a thoroughly invigorating second fight of the night-proper is tarnished a little with the knowledge that neither fighter will likely make any headway at 185lbs. Kevin Mulhall completed the jobber-referee crew, as Team Quest’s Herman bossed the opening 5 minutes, opening a cut above the eye of the Canadian with a tidy elbow from the top position, compounded by a series of shorthand punches at the end of the round. The second period proved a far more even affair, with Herman now routinely taking affairs to the canvas and landing strikes, and “El Dirte” finally offering up some resistance by taking the back, securing hooks and working a choke, only to fall prey to a swift and cumbersome reversal by the red-head, which he immediately looked to counter by pursuing a heel hook. The persistent submission attempts in the second must’ve taken it out of Doerksen, who came out looking haggard for the final stretch; hence it was little surprise when Herman unleashed an early left hook to put him down and out. Best fight of the night.

Karo Parysian, master judoka, is poetry in motion when on form, as evidenced in his fights with Nick Diaz and Matt Serra, to name but two. Ryo Chonan had several entertaining battles in the latter days of PRIDE. Go seek these fights out now, and give the UFC 78 meeting between the two a wide berth, as it is an interminable bore. “The Heat” was afforded the laborious unanimous decision, and at the very least had the good grace to confess that the fight was far from a barnburner. Hey, cut a brother some slack here!

The Houston Alexander bubble began its epic burst in the semi-main, courtesy of a resplendently professional job from the promising Thiago Silva, the Brazilian securing visual strike feast of the night honours after transitioning from half guard to mount and letting fly with a cornucopia of heavy duty shots. Nebraskan Alexander has a true intangible likeability which will surely translate into him being kept around for Spike TV specials and the like for a short while, but this night was easily the first nail in the coffin for his prospects at the top end of the 205lb tree.

Whilst the marquee bout certainly had its tagline, ultimately a fight between Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping was far from enticing on paper, and alas, so it proved in practice. With the advantage in wrestling clearly going to Greg Jackson’s man before a metaphorical ball had been kicked, “Sugar” Rashad set out with a defined gameplan to nullify “The Count” standing, and clearly took first round honours by virtue of this fact, holding a kick to the torso to secure an initial takedown and controlling the tempo from side mount. Bisping looked to immediately even the score at the onset of the second, overzealously so as a wild kick left him prone to a gargantuan slam from the TUF 2 Heavyweight winner. As the round reached conclusion, Bisping circled and looked to work the legkicks to wear Rashad down, at the expense of eating a stiff left, yet the Brit likely secured the 10-9 on the scorecard, amplifying an otherwise even period with a pair of knee strikes from the Thai Clinch. With the fight finely balanced, both appeared reluctant to throw caution to the wind at the onset of the decisive round. Crucially, Evans was able to bide his time and secure the takedown, again when Bisping looked to utilise kicks. The fight made its way to the feet for the final minutes, with Evans shading the exchanges with a particularly effective 1-2 combo. Evans received the split decision nod (just about rightly so) to send Bisping down a weight class. Prior to the decision, Dana White audibly congratulated both men on a “great fight”. Rose tinted specs, methinks, Dana.

Nothing truly horrible to found here for sure, it’s just that outside of Herman-Doerksen (and noteworthy individual moments for Messrs Silva and Lauzon), there’s nowt that particularly stands out. Indeed, “Validation” is a “B” show in every sense of the word. For completists only.

Points: 5 / 10

Stew Boyd

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