Friday, 10 September 2010

UFC 4: Revenge Of The Warriors - Retro Review

It’s retro time again as we go back to December 1994 and the fourth Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament, Revenge Of The Warriors, featuring the return of Royce Gracie and the debut of Dan “The Beast” Severn.

Quarter-Final #1 saw karate fighter and film star Ron Van Clief taking on two-time tournament winner Royce Gracie. Van Clief was 51 years old at the time of this fight, making him the oldest fighter in UFC history.

As was his custom, Gracie took the fight to the ground immediately. Van Clief looked powerless as the Brazilian slowly worked into position so he could apply a rear naked choke for the submission win.

Quarter-Final #2 saw a creator of his own style of fighting and the man who would later become known as Random Task in the Austin Powers films Joe Son going up against karate fighter Keith Hackney.

This was one of the most infamous fights in UFC history. After Son took the fight to the ground and applied a front face lock Hackney countered, if you could call it that, with several rights to the groin, gaining the submission moments later with a handful of trunks in his right hand and his left hand over Son’s throat. Definitely not a fight for the squeamish.

Quarter-Final #3 saw the-then WBF Intercontinental Heavyweight boxing champion Melton Bowen facing ninjitsu policeman and UFC 3 winner Steve Jennum. It’s interesting to note that Bowen was wearing the style of glove that would become a vital component in the development of MMA over the years.

The longest fight of the round saw Jennum taking the action to the ground. A few moments later Bowen managed to get to his feet, only to be taken straight back down again.

From there Jennum went to work with the ground and pound, and as both fighters began to tire Jennum applied an arm bar for the submission win.

Quarter-Final #4 saw muay thai boxer Anthony Macias taking on wrestling star and future legend Dan Severn.

Being the hometown favourite didn’t help Macias at all. Severn took him down at will and threw him around with a couple of back suplexes. Macias looked a beaten man before Severn applied a rear naked choke for the submission win.

Semi-Final #1 saw Gracie facing Hackney.

A lengthy feeling out period saw Hackney holding off Gracie for a few moments until the inevitable happened and Gracie pulled guard. He then wrapped Hackney up with a body lock before eventually getting the win with an arm bar.

Semi-Final #2 saw Severn going up against karate fighter Marcus Bossett, who replaced the injured Steve Jennum.

The blink and you’ll miss it affair of the evening. Bossett connected with a kick to the mid-section, but Severn caught the follow-up and took him down. A head and arm choke later and Severn had the submission in just under a minute.

What was originally described as an exhibition fight was next as jiu-jitsu fighter Jason Fairn faced kickboxer Guy Mezger, with a spot in the UFC 5 tournament up for grabs.

Fairn showboated at the beginning, and got off a few good shots before Mezger took control with a take down, with Fairn’s corner throwing in the towel as Mezger took the mount and went to work with the ground and pound.

The Final followed, Royce Gracie against Dan Severn.

Despite what the commentators would have you believe this was a very good fight. Severn did a good job of neutralizing Gracie on the ground, but despite his best efforts he just couldn’t get the job done.

Gracie’s defensive work was top notch, and after fifteen minutes he managed to apply a triangle choke. With fatigue taking over Severn had no choice but to tap out, giving Gracie his third tournament win.

In conclusion - it’s been a while since I’ve taken a look back at the UFC’s early history, and UFC 4 proved to be a very good show, with outstanding performances from Severn and Gracie, with both men putting on a very enjoyable final.

So once again an early UFC show gets my thumbs up. If this review makes you want to seek out a copy for yourself just be prepared to wince a little when you see the Hackney/Son fight.