THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
And so the marathon continues. Having reviewed the first event of the Ultimate Combat Legacy, Volume 1 six event set, we now move on to the second event, Ultimate Combat 2: The World Warriors.
The show begins with action from the middleweight division with Mark Spencer facing Robbie Miller. A good little fight to start the show with. Unlike many of the fights on the first show, these two didn’t rush into things, fighting mainly on the ground and showing some good grappling and submission techniques in the process. However, neither man could get the job during the two rounds, so the decision went to the judges, who gave the fight to Miller.
Next up was Ben Willis taking on Greg Mitchell in the lightweight division. The second good fight in a row was another example of ground fighting at it’s best. While Mitchell clearly controlled the first round, Willis came back into it a little in the second, only to fall to a Mitchell armbar three minutes in. Nice stuff here.
Then it was on to Max Sperring against Ross Pettifer in the light heavyweight division. A semi-professional bout fought over one round, Pettifer controlled this from the outset, beginning with an opening barrage before taking the fight to the ground and quickly locking in an armbar, which Sperring tapped out to almost immediately. A very good performance from Pettifer. Impressive stuff.
The fourth fight saw more semi-professional action, this time in the lightweight division, with Mark Chen and Alex Owen. It’s a shame that this was only a one round bout, because both men showed great technical skill in what was a tremendous, fast-paced back and forth encounter. The fight was so even I was surprised that the judges could separate them, but they did, giving the fight to Owen. These two really needed more time to show their skills.
It was a return to professional two round action next, with Paul Sutherland taking on Lee Shone at lightweight. These two clearly weren’t getting paid by the hour. A fast start saw both fighters swinging for the trees before the fight went to the ground, with Shone getting the armbar submission, putting in a great showing in what was his first professional fight.
Then it was the turn of Mark Collett and Colin Burton in a semi-professional middleweight bout. A somewhat scrappy affair here, and nowhere near the standard of the previous fights saw both men go for leg lock submissions at the same time – twice. Apart from that this was nothing special, a fight which went the distance, with the judges giving the decision to Collett.
Action from the light heavyweight division followed, with Shaun Parkin facing Gidion Ackermans. This fight was all Ackermans. The Dutchman controlled things as soon as it went to the ground, delivering the ground and pound before applying a kimura which Parkin quickly tapped out to after just sixty five seconds. A good display from the Dutchman here, one of those fights you can’t help but like.
Back to semi-pro action, with Ross Mackenzie taking on Brazilian Pedro Martins in the middleweight division. This fight was all Martins. The Brazilian’s ground skills totally befuddled MacKenzie from the outset. The Englishmen failed to take the advice of his corner men, and that proved costly, as Martins tied him up in knots before getting the armbar submission. An excellent performance from the visiting star. Just a shame though that MacKenzie seemed incapable of listening to a little advice.
Then it was on to tournament action, to the semi-finals of the British Middleweight title tournament, with Shain Tovell facing John Jones. This one began quickly, with Jones unloading, before going to the ground, where Tovell, from his back, managed to move around so he could apply a triangle choke for the win. Another example of how a good grappler will always beat a good striker. Well, most of the time.
Down to the welterweight division for the next semi-professional fight, with Kevin O’Hagan and Andy Proctor in an England v Scotland battle. For a one round fight, these guys weren’t exactly in much of a hurry. Many moments were spent walking around the ring in a circle, and when the fight went to the mat, Proctor spent most of the time doing nothing, while O’Hagan spent most of the time looking for a submission when ground and pound was obviously the better option. But in the end O’Hagan’s superior work rate on the ground won over the judges, who gave him the unanimous decision.
The second British Middleweight title semi-final followed, with Simon Bloom facing Paul Jenkins. This was probably the best fight of the show so far, and the first significant use of strikes on the show as well. Jenkins controlled the pace from the beginning, and made good use of the knees when he had Bloom in a front face lock, so much so that Bloom was soon busted open, which saw a brief intervention from the ringside doctor. Bloom was allowed to continue, but by then it was a given that Jenkins would win, and given his relentless assault, and Bloom’s inability to defend himself against the ground and pound, it came as no surprise when the referee stepped in and stopped the bout, giving Jenkins the TKO win and a shot at the title.
Next up, international middleweight action, with France’s Patrick Leberton and the UK’s Gaz Roriston. Leberton was announced as one of MMA’s most controversial figures. Well, his apparent reputation didn’t do him any good in this fight. Roriston controlled the action from the beginning, and showed great work on the ground, almost synching in a kimura before getting the winning submission moments later with a well executed arm bar. Good stuff from the UK boy. But then again, I am somewhat biased in these sort of things.
The final fight of the show was announced as a free weight super fight, and featured Spain’s Rafael Gomes against the UK’s Glen Brown. You know, when a fight is announced as an international super fight, and one of the fighters is meant to be the Spanish Vale Tudo champion, you expect to see something. Sadly, that didn’t happen in this one. This is probably one of the most boring MMA fights I’ve ever seen. Most of the time the fighters spent engaging in a body lock around the ring, and even though both of their corners cried out at them to connect with knees, most of the time they seemed reluctant to do so. So as this went on for the two round duration, the judges were unable to separate the fighters, so the bout went into two minutes of overtime. And guess what happened then! Yep, you guessed it, an almost two minute body lock, and even after all of this “action”, the judges were finally able to render a decision, giving the fight to Gomes. I really can’t see how the judges came to this decision though, because both men were as bad as each other.
In conclusion – this was another good show from the Ultimate Combat team. I really enjoyed the majority of the fights. Well, I suppose eleven out of thirteen isn’t that bad. There was a ton of good action here, helped along by the excellent ring announcer (whose name I sadly can’t remember). Hell, he did an even better job than Bruce Buffer on the first show! And while I’m here, let’s not forget the gorgeous, curvy ring girl as well.
But, and this is a big but, as with the first show, Ultimate Combat 2 is again let down by the production standards. Once again there’s no commentary, and the camera work is pretty awful at times. One example of this is that, on several occasions, I watched an empty part of the ring while the action went on just a few feet away. For a professional produced DVD, this just isn’t acceptable.
So in closing – fights, good. Ring announcer, very good. Ring girl, very nice. Production qualities, bad. So let’s hope they’ve improved on the next show, Ultimate Combat 3: Warrior’s Quest, which I’ll review in due course.
Ultimate Combat 2: The World Warriors is part of a six event set, Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1, and is available to buy online at www.mmauniverse.com.