THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.twoshedsreview.com Blog: www.myspace.com/twosheds316 Facebook: www.facebook.com/twosheds316 Online Store: www.lulu.com/twosheds316 – buy my books! As the Ultimate Fighting Championship prepares to hold it’s 100th major show, I thought that it would be a good idea to take a trip back in time to 1993, to see where it all began. That’s right folks, it’s time to review UFC 1: The Beginning. Handling commentary duties are Bill Wallace, former kickboxing champ Kathy Long, and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown. It’s an eight man, single elimination tournament, so naturally we’ll start with round one. The first fight saw Teila Tuli, representing sumo, facing Gerard Gordeau, representing savate. After a quick feeling out process, the big Hawaiian came rushing forward, and tried to take Gordeau down. Tuli failed, and after he slipped, Gordeau connected with a right kick to the face that knocked out a couple of teeth and opened up a cut under his right eye. The referee called an immediate time-out, and after a little confusion the fight was stopped, with Gordeau being declared the winner. A blink and you’ll miss it affair, so it was kind of difficult to gauge how good the fighters were. The second fight had Kevin Rosier, representing kickboxing, against Zane Frazier, representing karate. Now this was a lot better. The bigger Rosier came out quickly, but it wasn’t long before Frazier was countering well. They clinched up against the cage for a few minutes, and by then they were visibly tiring. After they broke up and returned to the middle of the cage, Rosier began to unload with the heavy artillery, with some blows to the back of the head, knocking Frazier down, punching and kicking until Frazier’s men threw in the towel. Not really a good performance from either man, considering they both tired pretty quickly. The third fight saw Royce Gracie, representing jiu-jitsu, taking on Art Jimmerson, representing boxing. Jimmerson came into this one wearing just one boxing glove, while Gracie wore his full gi. After a long feeling out process, Gracie eventually scored with the take down, and took the full mount. After moving into position and locking Jimmerson down, the boxer tapped, not because he was injured or submitting, but because he just couldn’t do anything. Although this didn’t sit well with the crowd, it was a well thought out game plan from Gracie. Jimmerson was also hampered by his decision to wear just one boxing glove, when none would have been better. The final first round match saw Ken Shamrock, representing shoot fighting, against Patrick Smith, representing tae kwon do. This was more like the MMA of today. It went to the ground early, with Smith controlling Shamrock in the guard. Shamrock then worked himself into position, and it wasn’t long until Shamrock synched in an ankle lock, while Smith tried to apply a hold of his own. In the end Shamrock won out as Smith tapped out. Good stuff, really enjoyable. Then it was on to the semi-finals, beginning with Gerard Gordeau against Kevin Rosier. Gordeau came into this one with a broken right hand, but he insisted on going through with the fight. Gordeau had this one from the start. Gordeau began with a few well placed kicks to the legs, and, despite his broken hand, he followed up with a few blows, knocking Rosier down. Gordeau went in for the kill, connecting with a few elbows and forearms, before stomping Rosier’s ribs. The pain was evident on Rosier’s face, and his corner threw the towel in seconds later. A good performance from Gordeau as he booked his place in the final. The second semi-final saw Royce Gracie face Ken Shamrock. The announcers were touting this as the fight of the night. It was certainly a quick encounter. It wasn’t long before they went to the ground, grappling for position, with Gracie soon taking the dominant position. Shamrock tried to work his way out, but Gracie managed to take his back and applied a rear naked choke. Shamrock tapped out, but the referee didn’t see it at first, stopping the fight a few seconds later. The announcers were right. It may have been short, but it lived up to the hype. After Rorian and the rest of the Gracie family pay tribute to their father Helio, with Rorian giving him a commemorative plaque, it’s on to the final, with Gerard Gordeau facing Royce Gracie. As well as his broken hand, Gordeau came into this one with his right foot heavily taped, having had one of Teila Tuli’s teeth removed from it. This was the first fight where Gordeau had no control at all. Gracie went into the clinch early, soon taking it to the ground. The Dutchman looked defenceless as Gracie went to work, soon taking Gordeau’s back and locking in a rear naked choke. Gordeau tapped seconds later, giving Gracie the win and the well deserved tournament victory. In conclusion – my, MMA has certainly changed over the past sixteen years. As a hole this tournament was a little rough and ready. It certainly looked like some of the fighters went into the tournament with no idea what they were getting themselves in to, especially Art Jimmerson and his one boxing glove. For me the only fighters who really knew what they were doing were Gordeau, Gracie and Shamrock. Production wise, it certainly can’t be criticised, although the commentary of Bill Wallace did leave a bit to be desired. Most of the time it seemed that he, like the majority of the fighters, didn’t know what he was letting himself in for. Luckily for him he had Jim Brown alongside him to save his bacon a few times. Overall though, it was a very enjoyable show, and I’m glad I got the chance to see how it all began. If you’ve only seen the UFC and other promotions since MMA became popular, cool and trendy, I’d suggest trying to get a hold of this show.