Wednesday, 18 May 2011

UFC 6: Clash of the Titans - Retro Review

It featured the second Superfight, the debut of the pit fighter, the introduction of new rules, and a controversial semi-final as the Ultimate Fighting Championship presented their sixth show, Clash of the Titans, in July 1995.

The show began with the tournament quarter-finals, beginning with pit fighter Tank Abbott taking on Hawaiian bone breaker John Matua.

This was a wild and quick affair. Abbott caught Matua with some lunging blows as Matua staggered around like a baby learning to walk until he fell to the ground. Abbott got in another punch before referee “Big” John McCarthy stepped in to give Abbott the knockout win after just 18 seconds.

Next up was tae kwon do fighter Cal Worsham against trap fighter Paul Varelans.

These two came out swinging, with Worsham wobbling his bigger opponent. But Varelans worked his way back, and a left elbow to the back of the head sent Worsham crashing, with the referee stopping the fight as Varelans took the knockout win.

Then it was on to kenpo karate fighter Rudyard Moncayo against kickboxer and former tournament finalist Pat Smith.

Smith ran across the cage at the start, knocking Moncayo down with a front kick. He then showed how much he’d improved in the grapping game, going for a standing guillotine before getting the take down, taking Moncayo’s back and synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

The final-quarter final saw wrestler and UFC finalist Dave Beneteau taking on sambo expert Oleg Taktarov.

A fast paced fight saw Beneteau score with the early take down. But the Russian quickly got his feet, and after Beneteau went for some strikes Taktarov got a take down of his own, locking8 in a guillotine for the impressive submission win.

The semi-finals began with Tank Abbott taking on Paul Varelans.

Abbott put in another big punching display here, taking the big man down and unloading with the ground and pound.

At one point Abbott grabbed the cage as he kneed Varelans in the face, smiling to the crowd as he went.

With his left knee on Varelans’ face Abbott connected with a series of lefts. It wasn’t long before the referee intervened to give Abbott the TKO win.

The second semi-final was a controversial affair as Oleg Taktarov faced muay thai boxer Anthony Macias, who had replaced the injured Pat Smith.

Both fighters were managed by a guy called Buddy Alvin, who was also the manager of the other alternate, Guy Mezger. When Smith pulled out there was a slight delay. The story goes that neither Mezger or Macias wanted to fight their training partner, until Macias finally stepped up to the plate, with Alvin taking his place in Taktarov’s corner.

When the fight began Macias ran straight into a Taktarov guillotine, tapping out within seconds. The look on the Russian’s face afterwards said everything as the crowd and the commentators voice their displeasure. It was pretty obvious that Macias had taken a dive, and because of this it would prove to be his final UFC appearance.

After a brief interview with UFC 7 entrant Marco Ruas it was on to the bout for the Superfight title as Ken Shamrock faced Dan Severn.

This was a great display of grappling. Both men jockeyed for position at the start, and a few moments later Severn escaped from Shamrock’s initial guillotine attempt.

Seconds later Shamrock outwrestled Severn and went for the guillotine again. It wasn’t long before the Beast tapped out, giving Shamrock the win and the Superfight Championship.

Then it was on to the tournament final between Tank Abbott and Oleg Taktarov.

This was by far the longest fight on the show. Abbott began with his usual brawling but he soon began to visibly tire.

The fight soon went to the ground, with Abbott taking Taktarov’s guard, accessional going for a few blows while the Russian looked for an arm bar a couple of times.

It was basically a war of attrition, very much in the Royce Gracie style, with the referee eventually exercising his new authority and standing the fighters up.

Abbott managed to connect with a big left against the cage before Taktarov came back with a standing guillotine. Abbott slumped to the ground as Taktarov took his back, eventually securing a rear naked choke for the tournament winning submission victory.

In conclusion - UFC 6 turned out to be a pretty good show. Okay, the early fights looked little more than a car part brawl, and the whole Macias affair left a nasty taste in the mouth, but on the whole the show delivered.

As for the rule changes they were really what the UFC needed. Giving the referee the power to stand fighters up due to inactivity certainly made the final a more enjoyable affair.

So in all UFC 6 gets the thumbs up as another interesting slice of MMA history, and one you should check out if you get the opportunity.