THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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My journey is about to come to an end. Having reviewed the first five shows of the Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1 DVD set, I’m now going to take a look at the final show in the collection, which sees the promotion moving away from the ring and into the cage with Ultimate Combat 6: Battle In The Cage.
The show begins with lightweight action, as Aaron Chatfield faces Aaron Blackwell. A very interesting fight saw the debuting Blackwell start quickly, but when it went to the ground Chatfield tied the youngster up immediately with a triangle around his beck, trapping his arm. Blackwell tried to fight out, and got out of the triangle for a few seconds, only to find himself straight back in it. A short time later Blackwell was tapping out. A good effort by the Blackwell, but his inexperience played right into Chatfield’s hands.
Then it’s on to heavyweight action, with Marc Goddard tackling James Thompson. This may have been one of the best all British fights I’ve ever seen. The first few minutes were fought at a frantic pace, with both men going all out and trying for submissions. But as the round progressed things began to slow down as the fatigue factor began to kick in. The second round was fought at a somewhat slower pace, but was just as action packed, and after Goddard’s arm bar attempt failed, Thompson got the win after a brief ground and pound, with Goddard apparently unconscious. Nice stuff here.
Down to the welterweight division for the next fight, with Sami Berik and Terry Thompson. When I saw that this fight involved someone making their pro debut and someone who was stepping in at the last minute my heart sank a little, thinking that this could be a bit of a stinker. Happily, I was wrong. This was a cracking little battle. Berik looked like he’d been fighting professionally for years, while Thompson didn’t look like he was under prepared in any way. Fought mainly on the ground, it was a great back and forth battle, with each man giving a good account of themselves, and Berik picking up the win with a rear naked choke in the last minute of the fight.
Up a division to middleweight next, with Chris Powell taking on Andrew Dartmouth. Two fighters making their professional debuts here, and from the beginning both men seemed eager to make a good impression. Round one saw a leg lock/heel hook stalemate, before Powell unleashed with the ground and pound, bloodying Dartmouth’s right cheek. The quick pace though took it’s toll as both fighters slowed down as the round came to an end. Round two ended quickly, with Powell getting the submission win with an armbar in the first minute to end what was a very good fight, although I do think the fan’s chants of “who are they” was a tad unfair.
International heavyweight action follows, with England’s Adam Woolmer facing Spain’s Aaron Marsa. Once again a Spanish fighter impressed me. At times this fight was little more than a slug fest, with both guys swinging for the trees. The pace was fast to begin with, but as the first round progressed both fighters slowed down significantly, although they continued to unload with the heavy stuff. The energy levels were still way down as the second round began, and once again both men unloaded with the heavy stuff. Then Marsa connected with the first series of kicks in the fight, and seconds letter Woolmer, clutching his right leg, pulled out, unable to continue, ending what was a very intriguing brawl. Although I had to wonder if the fight would have lasted as long if Marsa had used kicks earlier.
The international action continues at light heavyweight, with Spain’s Julian Gonzalez facing England’s Alex Cook. Another impressive outing from Gonzalez, coupled with a similarly impressive performance from Cook made for a great fight. It looked pretty even throughout as the action went back and forth, although Gonzalez started to bleed from the nose towards the end of the second round. By this time though both fighters were visibly tiring, and with neither man having gained any sort of advantage, the overtime round was needed, which was also evenly fought. So with the fight having gone to the limit, it was down to the judges to decide, with the decision going to Gonzalez.
More light heavyweight, this time at domestic level, followed, with Wayne Cook and Alec Davenport. This lasted a matter of seconds. Cook came in swinging, and Davenport fell to the ground almost immediately. The referee quickly stepped in and stopped the fight. The time – four seconds. Kind of hard to give an accurate assessment of a fight this quick!
A first for Ultimate Combat in the next fight, their first ever women’s contest, with England’s Kelli Salone going up against American Danielle “Batgirl” West, a semi-professional bout fought over one round. Another quick fight saw Salone totally overwhelm West, who at one point turned her back on her opponent, the worst thing you could do in any combat sport. Seconds later her corner threw the towel in. This one did look a bit messy to be honest.
An all European fight next, with Spain’s Enrique Anton going up against Denmark’s Lars Besand in the middleweight division. For the first time in this series, I was disappointed with a Spanish fighter. Anton spent much of the fight in a body lock with Besand, with the Dane getting off the occasional stomp or knee. When they eventually went to the mat, Besand took control, went for the ground and pound, took Anton’s back, and locked in the rear naked choke. To be honest, apart from the final few seconds, this fight was a bit of a duffer. Anton looked like he didn’t want to fight at all.
The international action continued at lightweight, with Denmark’s Kim Hovgaard facing England’s Pat Carr. After three somewhat disappointing fights, this was just what the doctor ordered. Both fighters put on an excellent display of ground work in the first two rounds, and in the second Carr’s theatrics almost led to his downfall. But once again the groundwork of both fighters made for compelling viewing, and with the fight dead level at the end of the second round, the fight went into overtime. The great ground work continued, and they still couldn’t be separated. So it went down to the judges decision, with Hovgaard getting the win by just a single point, it was that close. A really, really good fight here.
Back up to light heavyweight for the next fight, with Holland’s Evert Fyett and America’s Pierre Guillet. Another display of great ground work here, with Guillet once again giving a tremendous performance, with Fyett proving to me a match for him, until Guillet managed to lock in a toe hold, with Fyett tapping seconds later. A very good and very enjoyable fight.
The final fight, in the middleweight division, was for the European Champions Cup, with Germany’s Patrick Suhl tackling England’s Sol Gilbert. To say that the fans were solidly behind Gilbert would be an understatement. They went absolutely wild for the guy, and he gave them the performance they wanted, controlling the fight from the outset, apart from one moment when Suhl went for a guillotine. But in the end Gilbert was just too much for the German, and the referee stepped in to stop the fight when Gilbert’s ground and pound went unanswered. Great performance from Gilbert here.
In conclusion – this was by far the best of the six shows in this box set. The move from a traditional ring to a cage greatly improved the flow of the fights, as the referee didn’t have to stand the fighters up constantly whenever they got too close to the ring ropes. As for the fights themselves, well, there were three poor fights in the middle of the show, but overall the quality was very good.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed taking a look back at the first six shows of the Ultimate Combat promotion, seeing how they began and how they evolved from both the in-ring/cage aspect and on the production side of things as well. It’s a good way to see how the promotion evolved.
So in closing, thanks to the good people at MMA Universe for supplying a copy of this release and for their continuing support.
Ultimate Combat 6: Battle In The Cage is a part of the Ultimate Combat Legacy Volume 1 six event set, and is available to buy online at www.mmauniverse.com.