Sunday, 12 August 2012

UCMMA Go 4 It! - DVD Review

It’s time to step into the world of British MMA once again for another of those strange occurrences, a DVD review of a TV show I’ve already reviewed.

This time we’re going to delve into the pile of DVDs sent to me by the good people at Ultimate Challenge MMA, and the penultimate review in this mini-series sees us going back to September 2011 for Go 4 It!

The show began in the featherweight division as Salih Kulucan faced Florian Culin.

These two, who were both making their professional debuts, put on a very entertaining opener.

Culin put in a very good performance on the ground. His judo throw takedowns were excellent, and Kulucan offered nothing in that department as Culin basically shut him down.

Kulucan’s best, albeit brief moment came with a couple of nice strikes, but Culin soon took him down to the mat again with another great judo throw, and it wasn’t long before he locked in an arm-in guillotine for the submission win.

Then it was on to UK1 light heavyweight kickboxing action as Brendan White went up against Charlie Curtain.

This proved to be a slightly intriguing three rounder. Curtain did a good job in the first round when he targeted White’s leg, although his striking did look a little sloppy at times.

White’s best moments came in the second. He had his man on the back foot on more than one occasion, bloodying his nose at one point with a nice combination.

By the time the third round started both fighters looked exhausted, although White managed to raise his game towards the end with some nice combinations.

So with neither man able to get the knockout the judges were called into action for the first time as White took the unanimous decision. It was okay, but it wasn’t the most technical UK1 fight I’ve seen.

It was back to regular MMA action next, this time in the welterweight division as Jason Cooledge took on Matt Robinson.

Robinson went into this fight with a big height and reach advantage. It didn’t do him much good early on though when he earned a point deduction after he delivered several blows to the back of his man’s head in the clinch.

Cooledge did a good job of taking the fight to the ground, but once he was there he seemed a little subdued, as if he didn’t know what to do. Instead of going for submissions or posturing up he sat in Robinson’s guard with his head down while delivering numerous short shots.

As far as coming close to victory that honour goes to Robinson with his kimura attempt in the second and his guillotine towards the end of the fight, attempts that Cooledge managed to escape from.

The judges were then called into action once again as Cooledge took the unanimous decision.

It was up to light heavyweight for the next fight as Nath Hutchins faced Rory Beackon.

This one didn’t last long. Hutchins began with his left arm extended in front of him as he tried to gauge the distance. This left him open to a takedown from Beackon, and once he’d taken the fight to the ground he went to work with the heavy leather.

All Hutchins could do was cover up as he turned his back on his man as he offered nothing in response. It wasn’t long before the referee stepped in to give Beackon the TKO win.

The light heavyweight action continued as Damien Carroll took on Ricky Campbell.

Campbell scored with an overhand right straight off the bat, quickly following up with a takedown. From there he dominated the action on the ground, and although Carroll went for a kimura at one point and almost reversed the positions Campbell quickly regained control, eventually synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

It was back to welterweight for the next fight as Sam Book went up against Dominic Taylor.

This was one of those fights you couldn’t take your eyes off, just in case you missed something.

Round one was fought at a frantic place. Taylor scored with the early takedown and dominated the early part of the fight as he transitioned at will while looking for that fight ending submission.

Eventually Boo managed to escape and get back to his feet, and a few moments later he put Taylor on his backside with a big left, following him down for some ground work of his own.

The round ended with Taylor regaining control on the ground. It was something he’d do again at the start of the second, although fatigue had become a factor and he wasn’t as busy as he’d been a few minutes earlier.

Once again Boo eventually managed to escape, and when Taylor went for another takedown Boo pulled guard and immediately went for an arm-in guillotine which Taylor soon tapped out to, giving Boo the submission win with his only offensive move of the round.

Then it was back to UK1 kickboxing action, fought at a catch weight of 79 kilos between Jimmy Millar and Tony Giles.

This was a very scrappy affair. Millar scored with a good combination early on, but whenever Giles went on the attack he seemed to be looking for a knockout blow every time he threw a punch.

The scrappiness came from the almost constant holding. Whenever the fighters got close to each other it seemed as if all they wanted to do was clinch, as if they’d forgotten that this was a kickboxing affair and not an MMA fight. It got so bad that the referee warned them several times, even threatening to take points off them. His warnings had little to no effect though.

So with the fight going the distance it was down to the judges with Giles taking the split decision.

It was back to regular MMA action again for the next fight as Peter Waterhouse faced Afakasi Sione in the lightweight division.

Sione clearly wasn’t being paid by the hour here. He came forward as soon as the fight began, scoring with some hard body shots and a nice combination that sent Waterhouse down.

As Waterhouse slumped to the ground Sione unleashed with the heavy leather. All Waterhouse could do was cover up, and with nothing coming in return the referee stepped in to give Sione the TKO win.

Middleweight action was up next as Bret Bassett faced Ben Craggy.

This was a very intriguing affair. Craggy tried to open his account with a kick which Bassett caught and used as a set-up for a takedown. He went on to put in a good stint on the ground before Craggy eventually escaped.

Bassett continued his stellar ground work later on, and although Craggy managed to take the top position for a few moments after he survived a few leg submission attempts Bassett soon regained control, locking in an arm bar to secure the submission win.

Another catch weight fight followed, this one made at 63 kilos, as Davin Byfield went up against Rae Edgar.

Byfield looked like he was going to get the win in the first few seconds when he went for a standing arm triangle, taking the hold to the ground a few moments later.

Edgar managed to survive this scare and he soon got to his feet, only to find himself taken down again seconds later.

Byfield quickly reasserted his authority, delivering some ground and pound from various positions, and although Edgar managed to scramble away from an arm bar attempt it wasn’t long before Byfield was on the offensive again, taking Edgar’s back and synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

Welterweight action followed as Ross Pointon took on Jamaine Facey.

This was a case of slow-quick-slow-quick. There was a lengthy feeling out period at the beginning, the first kick from Facey connecting after over 30 seconds.

We then saw a frantic back and forth exchange in which both fighters scored with meaningful blows before the action slowed down again as the fighters basically stood in front of each other looking for an opening.

That opening came when Facey connected with a flying knee. It wasn’t long before Pointon was hitting the canvas. Facey followed him down to finish him off as the referee stepped in to give him the TKO win.

Then it was on to title action as Cory Tait challenged Nathan Beer for the Featherweight title.

This was a great fight. Early on Beer used his strength advantage to good effect, taking Tait down into the half guard. However, once they got down there Tait did a good job of locking Beer down, making it almost impossible for him to work.

The referee soon stood them up, but it wasn’t long before Beer scored with more takedowns, only for Tait to frustrate him again with his sound defensive work, work that led Tait to escape on more than one occasion.

It was the same story at the beginning of the second round, only times time Tait was quicker with his escapes, and a few moments later the challenger locked in a standing guillotine.

Beer tried to fight it, and at one point it looked like Tait was going to pull guard. Eventually the champion managed to pull his way clear. The only problem was that he was walking around the cage like an extra from a George Romero film.

Tait went in for the kill, and it was a little surprising that the referee didn’t stop the fight considering Beer looked out on his feet. Tait took that decision away from him moments later with a spinning back fist that sent Beer crashing. A brief moment of ground and pound followed until the official finally stepped in to give Tait the title winning TKO win.

The big boys came out next as Darren Towler faced Ben Smith for the vacant Heavyweight title.

Towler began by unloading with a barrage of blows, Smith countering with a takedown attempt against the cage. Towler did a good job of defending in what eventually became a clinch before he simply pushed his way out.

It wasn’t long before Towler was unloading with the heavy leather once again, and a big knee to Smith’s forehead brought some colour into the equation. Towler went on to deliver a few more blows before the referee called a time out so the doctor could check on Smith’s cut.

The decision was quickly made as the referee called the fight, giving Towler the title win.

The main event saw Peter Irving challenging John Maguire for the Welterweight title.

This proved to be a very entertaining and somewhat controversial three round affair.

The first round looked pretty even. Maguire showed how much his boxing skills have improved with some crisp strikes, with Irving putting in a good stint in a clinch as both fighters traded knees.

The controversial moment came in the second round. Irving connected with a couple of knees to Maguire’s head, but the champion claimed that because he had one hand down on the ground he was a downed opponent. He was actually quite loud in his claims, as were his corner.

So the referee called a quick time out, gave the corner men a warning, and then consulted with a second referee, who confirmed what the replays showed. Maguire did have his hand on the ground, but raised it whenever Irving connected with the knee.

This seemed to throw Maguire a little, and he didn’t seem himself as Irving took control. Maguire must have had a good talking to between rounds because when the final round began he seemed more like his old self.

The best moment of the fight came towards the end. With the two fighters grappling on the ground Maguire applied his submission hold of choice, the kimura. He had the hold in tight, but as the clock ran down Irving gutted it out and refused to tap, the final bell saving him from having to submit.

So after three hard fought rounds it went down to the judges again as all three gave their decisions to Maguire.

In conclusion - this is another fine piece of British MMA action.

Although there were a couple of scrappy performances Go 4 It! proved to be a very good show, and as with my other UCMMA DVD reviews it was nice to finally get to see the whole picture as it were.

Seeing the whole event certainly adds to the overall enjoyment of the show, especially when you know that you’re not going to get brief highlights of some of the fights.

As for my fight of the night it definitely has to go to the Maguire/Irving encounter, not just for the skills of those concerned but for the overall drama as well.

So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving UCMMA Go 4 It! the thumbs up.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. For more information of purchasing Ultimate Challenge MMA DVDs visit

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