THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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So here’s the deal. Here in Britain ESPN Classic has been showing The Ultimate Fighter from the beginning, but I haven’t been following it, mainly because it seems to be on a different time every week.
So it was by chance that I saw that the season four finale was being shown this past Wednesday. So I thought what the hell, I haven’t seen it before, so let’s give it a look see.
The show began with middleweight action as Jorge Rivera faced Edwin Dewees. A good striking battle, a back and forth affair with each man rocking the other, until Rivera scored with the knockdown, with the referee stopping the fight when Dewees had no answer to Rivera’s ground and pound, ending a very good performance.
Then it was down to the lightweight division as Din Thomas faced Rich Clementi. A very good fight here, and a very impressive performance from Thomas as he out boxed Clementi on numerous occasions throughout the two rounds, with a big left sending Clementi crashing down. Thomas took his back seconds later, and it wasn’t long before Clementi tapped out to a rear naked choke. Nice stuff.
It was back to middleweight action next as Pete Sell faced Scott Smith. This was one crazy fight. Despite the fact that these two were good friends they went all out to get the win, putting on a great striking battle that bloodied both of their faces by the end of the fight.
The crazy finish came in the second. Sell connected with a left to the body the doubled Smith up in pain, but it wasn’t enough to put him away as he connected with a big right that sent Sell down like a sack of spuds, with the referee stopping the fight immediately, giving Smith the knockout win. As soon as the fight finished both fighters laid down on the canvas. Crazy, just crazy.
The middleweight final saw Travis Lutter go up against Patrick Cote. After some good striking battles it was great to see some ground work. Lutter looked impressive as he controlled the fight on the ground. Cote went for a kimura at one point, but that was his only moment of offence as Lutter soon locked in the arm bar for the submission win, earning a future title shot against Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. (Lutter never actually fought for the title. He failed to make weight, and his match with Silva was turned into a three round affair.)
The middleweight action continued with Martin Kampmann against Thales Leites. This was the first fight of the show that went into the third round, and it proved to be a very good battle. Leites was able to out-strike the striker in the first round, but Kampmann showed some excellent defensive work whenever the Brazilian tried to take the fight to the ground.
From the second round onwards the fight belonged to Kampmann as he basically beat Leites up. Leites lay on his back on numerous occasions, exhausted, wanting to take the fight to the ground, but the Dane was having none of it.
No surprise with the decision her as all three judges scored in favour of Kampmann.
Then it was on to the welterweight final as Matt Serra faced Chris Lytle. The most even fight on the show was also, for the most part, the most entertaining. Both guys put on good displays, but it seemed so close that they looked like they were neutralising each other at times.
Once again the judges were called into action, split on favour of Serra, who, like Lutter before him, also won a title shot. (Serra would go on to cause one of the greatest upsets in UFC history when he beat Georges St-Pierre for the Welterweight title.)
In conclusion – this is the first time I’ve seen this show, and I really enjoyed it. There wasn’t one bad fight here, and the showed was topped off nicely by the Serra/Lytle battle.
As for the differences between the UFC of 2006 and the UFC of today, well, Bruce Buffer is certainly a lot more animated with his introductions than he was back then, and Joe Rogan had a bit more hair. But the thing that I noticed the most was that Big John McCarthy is sadly missed from today’s UFC’s shows.
So if you get the chance to see this show again, then please do. Also, keep an eye on the TV listings, otherwise you’ll miss out on the next Ultimate Fighter finale when it’s on ESPN Classics. Mind you, I’ve already seen the season five finale, so I won’t actually be missing that one!