THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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With the UFC’s 100th show just a few hours away (at the time of writing), I thought I’d kill a little time by once again going back in time to look at their origins, following on from my review of their first ever show with a look at UFC 2: No Way Out. This time commentary is handled by Brian Kilmeade, Ben Perry and Jim Brown.
This tournament followed a different format. This time there were sixteen men instead of eight, and there were also no rounds.
The broadcast began with the final match of the first round, UFC 1 champion and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner Royce Gracie facing karate fighter Minoki Ichihara. Interesting to note that this was the first televised appearance of referee “Big” John McCarthy. Gracie controlled this one from the beginning, taking the fight down early, and controlling Ichihara throughout, before transitioning into what the announcers called an armbar, but what was actually a collar choke. Not a spectacular fight, but a technically sound effort from Gracie.
Then it was on to the quarter-finals, beginning with ninja fighter Scott Morris taking on kick boxer and UFC 1 veteran Patrick Smith. Morris took the fight to the ground early, but Smith quickly countered with what would become known as ground and pound, and just thirty seconds into the fight Smith connected with an elbow that knocked Morris out. Quick and explosive from the man who wanted to make a point after his loss to Ken Shamrock in UFC 1.
Next, a battle of karate fighters, with Johnny Rhodes facing Fred Ettish, a last minute substitute, replacing Frank Hamaker. Ettish came into this one fresh, while Rhodes had undergone a gruelling first round fight, although you wouldn’t have been able to tell that by looking at this fight. Rhodes knocked him down early, following him down and opening up a cut with a series of blows. He then backed off for a few moments, before going back downstairs and choking Ettish out. Ettish refused to tap, with the referee stopping the fight after he passed out. An impressive showing from Rhodes, with poor Ettish looking like he didn’t know what he’d let himself in for.
The third quarter final saw kick boxer Orlando Weit taking on jiu-jitsu and judo fighter Remco Pardoel in an all European battle. The bigger Pardoel took Weit down with a judo throw early on, using his superior weight to good advantage. Holding Weit’s right arm while leaning on him, Pardoel connected with a series of elbows, the second of which knocked Weit out. Weit’s corner quickly, and wisely, threw the towel in. Afterwards Pardoel said he didn’t expect to win, but he did with a very good performance.
The final quarter final saw Royce Gracie and kung fu man Jason DeLucia. These two had actually fought before, with Gracie getting the win in under five minutes. Once again Gracie took the fight to the ground early one, and after escaping from DeLucia’s guard, Gracie locked in an armbar, with DeLucia tapping out from a standing position. Another good performance from Gracie here, once again totally overwhelming his opponent.
On to the semi-finals, beginning with Patrick Smith and Johnny Rhodes. Smith showed that, in between tournaments, he’d learned a thing or two. Although this began as a normal kickboxing match, Smith soon locked in a standing guillotine, with Rhodes tapping out with his foot, giving Smith the submission victory. The second good performance in a row from Smith here.
The second semi-final saw Royce Gracie and Remco Pardoel. Another good performance from Gracie saw him feel out his Pardoel before showing that the Dutchman’s eighty pound weight advantage meant nothing when he took him down. He soon took his opponent’s back, and with the help of Pardoel’s gi, Gracie got the submission win with a collar choke. Three good performances in a row from the master here.
On to the final, Patrick Smith facing Royce Gracie. Smith’s extra training didn’t do him much good here. Once again Gracie took the fight to the ground quickly, but instead of going for a submission he unleashed with a series of blows to Smith’s head. The referee quickly stepped in as Smith’s corner threw in the towel, giving Gracie his second tournament victory in a row.
In conclusion – you can tell that the powers-that-be learned a few lessons after their first show. UFC 1 seemed very rough and ready. UFC 2 was a more polished affair, and once again it was the perfect stage to showcase the skills of Royce Gracie, as he proved just what a great fighter he was, beating four men in a combined total of just over nine minutes. It made for tremendous viewing.
The other fighters as well were also of a much higher standard, as was the refereeing of John McCarthy, and it was easy to see why he became the best referee in MMA. Production wise the standards were the same, but the commentary team was a whole lot better here. Jim Brown was his usual self, while Brian Kilmeade was far more capable as the lead announcer, with Ben Perry providing some great insights into the fights, often predicting what moves the fighters would make before they even made them. So in all, a vast improvement on the first show, and still a good way of seeing how the sport of mixed martial arts evolved over the years.