THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
And so the marathon continues. Having reviewed the first four shows of the Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1 box set, we now move onto the fifth show, Ultimate Combat 5: Maximum Power, and with the shows getting better as I go along, I’ve got high hopes for this one.
The show begins with action from the welterweight division, with Neil Barber taking on Dave Waters. For those of you who know of my past life, this isn’t former pro wrestler Dave Waters. Besides, there’s no way the fat git would make the weight limit! Anyway, back to the matter at hand. This was a very good fight to kick things off with. Most of the action took place on the ground. In the first round both fighters had their fair share of submission attempts, with Barber’s knee bar looking the most likely to end the fight. The end didn’t come until the next round though, where Waters took Barber down, moved into the mount, and unleashed with the ground and pound. With Barber failing to answer any of Waters’ shots, the referee stepped in to stop the fight. It may not have been the best technical fight I’ve seen, but it was still fun to watch.
Next, down to the lightweight division, with Gary Howe facing Steven “Widge” Milward. Howe looked really nervous standing in his corner before the fight, and it showed when the fight began. Widge soon took him down to the mat, and it wasn’t long before he took his back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission victory against a fighter who just looked like he didn’t really want to be there.
Then it’s on to action from the middleweight division, with Robert Mitchell going up against John Nicholson. An interesting fight this. When the fighters were exchanging blows Nicholson looked the far superior fighter, but as soon as the fight went down to the mat it was Mitchell who looked better, and this proved to be the case when the fight went downstairs in the second round. Nicholson showed literally no defence as he almost submitted to Mitchell’s kimura, before finally tapping out to an armbar. If you ever wanted an example of a fighter who needed more ground training, then watch this fight.
The next fight saw Brian Sugden against Aaron Chatfield at lightweight. These guys certainly didn’t waste any time. Both guys began to swing for the trees early, before quickly going to the ground, where Sugden went to work with the ground and pound. Chatfield was helpless, and the referee stopped the onslaught just seconds later. The time – nineteen seconds. A nice and explosive fight.
The first international fight followed, light heavyweight action with Spain’s Julian Gonzalez and England’s Tom Blackledge. This promised to be an explosive fight, and it certainly was at times. Both fighters gave a good account of themselves while trading blows, but when it got to the ground it did look a little tepid at times, and the end was a little unexpected. With Gonzalez on top near the ropes, he delivered blow after blow after blow to Blackledge’s head, before pushing him away, saying that he couldn’t take any more, and that was it, with the Spaniard getting the win in a fight that could only really be described as having it’s ups and downs.
The international action continued in the lightweight division, with American Brian Davis and England’s Pat Carr. This was another of those fights that was technically sound if somewhat unspectacular. Davis spent the early part of the fight tying Carr up on the mat, but when the referee stood the fighters up because of inactivity, Carr took his chance. When the fight went back down to the mat, Carr took the upper hand, outmanoeuvring Davis, delivering some good ground and pound shots, before locking in an armbar for the submission win. Good stuff.
The next fight went up a division to welterweight, and saw Daniel Rogerson and Matt Thorpe. Much like the previous fight, this was a technically sound battle, with some good work shown on the mat by both fighters, with Rogerson getting the two minute submission with an armbar.
Then it was back to the international action, this time in the middleweight division, with Spain’s Antonio Navarro taking on Scotland’s Sandy Geddes. A very quick fight saw both men go to the mat early, before Navarro took up a north/south position and synched in choke for the submission win, making it two wins for the Spanish contingent.
More international action followed, this time in the heavyweight division, with Denmark’s Pauli Nielsen facing England’s Ryan Robinson. This one saw lots of quick transitions from both men, before keeping up the tradition of quick finishes when Robinson took the Dane’s back and locked in the rear naked choke for the submission win. A little messy at times, but good action throughout.
Back down to the lightweight division for the next fight, between Dave McLaughlin and Lee Bowers. This one went to the mat quickly, and Bowers looked like he was going to get the quick win with a guillotine, which, after much struggle, McLaughlin managed to escape, applying a keylock just seconds later to get the submission one in a nice, quick, reversal of fortune.
Then it was a quick return to international action, a welterweight fight featuring Spain’s Javier Garcia facing England’s Paul Ramsdale. Once again we had an impressive showing from a Spanish fighter. Garcia did a good job of tying Ramsdale up early on, but the Englishman mounted a small comeback, before Garcia reasserted his authority and locked in a triangle choke for the submission win, making in 3-0 for the visitors.
Championship action followed, with the British Middleweight title on the line, and David Webb and Paul “Hands of Stone” Jenkins going for the big prize. Now this one came as something of a surprise, because it actually went into the second round, and the first round featured very little ground work, although we did get a bit of comedy as Jenkins inadvertently began to climb the ropes while holding on to a guillotine choke. It was Webb’s turn to try for a standing guillotine in the second round, but Jenkins quickly reversed things with a take down, before living up to his nickname by unleashing the ground and pound. Webb offered no defence, so the referee stepped in to stop the fight, giving Jenkins the win and the title in what was the best fight on the show so far.
After that great fight, it was back to lightweight with Ozzy Haluk taking on John Waite. Haluk looked great in this fight, controlling things from the beginning, putting Waite on the back foot with his stand up game, before controlling the fight on the ground, taking Waite out with the ground and pound, forcing the referee to stop the fight. A great showing from Haluk here.
The international action returned next, with light heavyweight action, as Spain’s Ruben Vazquez went up against American Pierre Guillet. This one promised much, especially given the Spanish record on this show, and Guillet’s impressive performances in past Ultimate Combat shows. It certainly delivered. Good stand up exchanges complimented the ground work perfectly, with both fighters looking great in the process. Things were so close at the end of the second round that the two minute overtime round was called for, but that wasn’t actually needed. Before the round had even started, Vazquez’s corner threw the towel in, giving the victory to Guillet, and the Spanish contingent their first loss on the show. This was a great fight, taking over from the Webb/Jenkins bout as the best fight on the show.
The final fight is the second fight of the show, a British Lightweight title fight which sees Mark Chen take on Paul Sutherland. The only fight on the card to go the distance, this was a pretty even affair, and was also pretty unspectacular. The only real action of any note came in the first round when both fighters went for submissions, but after that they seemed content to play out time on the mat, delivering the occasional blow. This was also the case in the two minute overtime round. In the end the decision and the title belt went in favour of Sutherland, who just edged things as far as work rate goes.
In conclusion – these Ultimate Combat shows are really starting to grow on me. Overall this was probably the best show of the set so far. The Spanish contingent really impressed me, and I must admit that I’m fast becoming a fan of Pierre Guillet after another great performance, these two things made the show for me.
So, five shows down and one to go, and Ultimate Combat 6 sees a slight change in direction for the company. If you want to find out what that change is, you’ll have to wait until the next review.
Ultimate Combat 5: Maximum Power is part of the six show Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1 box set, and is available to buy online at www.mmauniverse.com.