Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Ultimate Combat 3: Warriors Quest - DVD Review

And so the marathon continues. Having reviewed the first two events of the Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1 box set, we now move on to the third of the six events, Ultimate Combat 3: Warriors Quest.

We begin with Jon Williams facing Andrew Liu in a British Lightweight title eliminator. This was a great way to open the show. Both fighters went full tilt from the opening bell, taking it to the ground early on, where they both nearly got the win with submissions, Liu with a rear naked choke, and Williams with an arm bar. But despite this, things came to an end with a knock out, with Williams connecting with a hard right uppercut that sent Liu crashing to the mat. Nice stuff here fellas.

Then it was on to Ross Pettifer against Shaun Parkin in a semi-pro light heavyweight fight. This fight was all Pettifer. He charged at Parkin as soon as the bell rang, slammed him down to the mat seconds later, then worked on the ground before locking in neck crank, with Parkin tapping almost immediately. The time, only 55 seconds, and explosive stuff, especially when you consider that Pettifer was only 17 years old at the time.

The second British Lightweight title eliminator followed, with Paul Sutherland against Chris Smith. While the first round looked to be a pretty even affair, with both men having luck with submissions and ground and pound, the second clearly belonged to Sutherland, who out fought Smith at every opportunity, and when it looked like the fight could go the two round distance, Smith began to turtle up on the mat. Sutherland went for the ground and pound, connected with one blow, and then Smith tapped out. Whether it was because the blow was so damn painful or because he’d just had enough of Sutherland’s onslaught I don’t know, but either way it seemed like a sour sort of ending for me, even though Sutherland’s dominance of the second round was deserving of the victory.

The lightweight action continued with Alex Owen taking on Luke Cole in a semi-pro fight. A quick one here. After a few combinations from both fighters, it soon went down to the mat, and just after the minute mark Owen locked in an armbar which Cole tapped out to almost immediately. Nice stuff from both fighters here.

Then it was up to the welterweight division, with Oliver Ellis up against Pete Tiarks. Fought at a much slower pace, this fight featured a lot of good work on the ground from both men, and at one time Tiarks looked like he was going to try and emulate the great Sakuraba with a jumping stomp as Ellis lay on his back. The end came just seconds after the referee ordered Ellis back to his feet. As the end of the first round approached, Tiarks connected with a knee to the head as Ellis looked like he was going for a shot. Ellis was out cold, and the fight was stopped immediately, giving Tiarks the knock out victory in a very entertaining fight.

Another British Lightweight title eliminator followed. This one featured Mark Chen and Rob Hannis. This was the first fight of the show to go the two round distance, and it didn’t exactly make for inspiring viewing. There were moments when it seemed like nothing was happening, and perhaps it would have been better if the referee stood the fighters up because of inactivity. But as he didn’t what we got was a ground-based battle that looked pretty even, with Chen getting the unanimous judges decision.

The show continued with yet more lightweight action, with Ozzy Haluk facing Craig Mitchell. Now this was more like it. A good fight here, with Haluk’s arrogance (or should that be confidence) apparent for all to see, although he was a little over-eager at times, which earned him a warning in the second round for striking the back of Mitchell’s head. But in the end Haluk’s skill gave him the win as he outfought Mitchell in the stand-up game in the second round when a left to the body sent Mitchell down to his knees, with the referee stepping in immediately to call a halt to proceedings, with Haluk getting the TKO win. Very enjoyable fight here.

Then it was on to international action, with Scotland’s Sandy Geddes taking on Denmark’s Eddie Christensen in the middleweight division. This fight was definitely a bit hit or miss. When the fighters were standing, both of them would flail wildly as they attempted to connect. Then, when it went to the ground, the action slowed considerably, with the referee standing the fighters up at one point. A few moments later Christensen almost got an armbar submission, but the hold was broken up when the fighters went into the ropes. Things got a lot better in the second round, and it wasn’t long before the Dane took the fight to the mat again, unleashing with the ground and pound, with the referee stopping the contest to save the Scot from any further punishment. The proverbial game of two halves here, a so-so first round followed by an explosive end to the second.

The next fight saw more middleweight action, with Sol Gilbert going up against Guy Stainthorp. This one only lasted a few seconds. Both men began to swing for the trees, before a grappling session that soon took both men to the mat. Then, as they grappled some more, the referee stopped the fight, with Stainthorp suffering what looked like a broken nose. Hard to know what to make of this one, especially because of the early injury.

The action continued with John Waite and Dave McLaughlin in the final British Lightweight title eliminator. A good example of the ground game here. McLaughlin took the fight downstairs early on, and controlled Waite well, taking his back. But when it looked like he was about to apply a rear naked choke, the referee stopped the fight so the ringside doctor could take a look at a cut underneath Waite’s eye. Waite was allowed to continue, and came back well when the fight was restarted, slowly taking over on the ground as the first round ended. The second round, though, didn’t last long. Once again McLaughlin dominated early on, taking it to the ground early, and applying a kimura seconds later. Waite had no choice but to tap out, giving McLaughlin a much deserved victory.

Next up, more international action, this time in the light heavyweight division, with England’s Paul Johnson against American Pierre Guillet. Another quickie saw Guillet take the fight to the mat immediately, and within seconds, he applied an armbar. Johnson had no choice but to tap, and just like that it was all over. Explosive stuff from the American here, looking impressive in the process.

The next fight saw England’s John Jones take on Denmark’s Lars Besand at middleweight. This was, by far, the best fight of the show so far, a back and forth affair in which both fighters gave a very good account of themselves. Both men had their moments as they went all out on the ground, and the fight was so close that the judges ordered a two minute overtime round, which proved just as good as the first two, even though there was a brief stoppage so the doctor could check on Jones’ bloodied nose. So with the fight going the two round distance and into overtime, the judges gave the majority decision to Besand. A superb fight here, although I thought that the judges would have given something to Jones.

Next up was a free-weight international fight, with Spain’s Daniel Tabera taking on American Tony Zamora. This wasn’t exactly the best fight I’ve seen over the years. The first round involved lots of body locks, and when the fight went down to the ground, the moments of inactivity seemed to last forever. The second round wasn’t much better, and just a few seconds in Zamora suffered a knee injury which forced his withdrawl from the fight, giving the victory to Tabera. This isn’t one I’d recommend to any new MMA fans.

Main event time, with Shain Tovell against Paul Jenkins, with the British Middleweight title on the line. A blink and you’ll miss it affair. The fight quickly went to the ground, and as Tovell applied a guillotine choke, both fighters moved into the ropes. When the referee separated them, intending to stand them up, he found that Jenkins was actually unconscious, and stopped the fight immediately, and giving Tovell not only the submission victory but the British Middleweight title as well. The time - just twenty nine seconds. Good stuff here.

Unlike the previous discs, this disc contains an in-ring interview with Frank Shamrock, who sadly wasn’t fighting on the show.

In conclusion - despite there being a couple of fights that won’t go down in history as the best seen on British shores, Ultimate Combat 3 was a very good show, and the best show on the collection so far. The production standards were a lot better, with the introduction of a stationary hard cam a welcome addition. The camera work was also a whole lot better than the previous two shows, which really increased my enjoyment of the event. Sadly, still no commentary, but I suppose you can’t have everything, can you?

So with Ultimate Combat 3 out of the way, it’s on to the fourth show, which has an added, special attraction for yours truly. The Beast is in the house!

Ultimate Combat 3: Warriors Quest is part of the Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1 six event set, and is available to buy online at www.mmauniverse.com.

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