MMA Review: #68: UFC 8: David vs. Goliath Dec08

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MMA Review: #68: UFC 8: David vs. Goliath

UFC 8: David vs. Goliath

02/16/96

San Juan, Puerto Rico

-Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnick, and Don Wilson. They hype the Superfight between Ken Shamrock and Kimo, as well as the entrance of Jiu-Jitsu fighter Joe Moreira, who they claim could be a new Royce Gracie.

-We go to the brackets, and the announcers explain that it’s a David vs. Goliath tournament, so every fight in the Quarters has a smaller guy going up against a giant. Pretty interesting. They also explain that there’s now a ten-minute time limit for each fight, with a fifteen-minute time limit for the Superfight and Finals. Hmm, I like that much better, prevents any re-runs of Taktarov/Shamrock. We also learn that there are now three judges (Stephen Quadros is one of them here) to render a decision if the fight goes to the time limit, rather than declaring it a draw. I’m guessing that’s due to the Shamrock/Taktarov fight, too.

Quarter-Finals

Don Frye vs Thomas Ramirez

Dan Severn comes out with Frye as he’s one of Frye’s trainers, and the announcers hype him as a top class Greco-Roman wrestler, as well as a trained boxer and also a Judo black belt. The David vs. Goliath theme is prevalent here as both stand at 6’1’, but Frye weighs in at 206lbs, while Ramirez is 410lbs! Crowd are mad loud again, but Ramirez is a local fighter, so he gets a huge pop while Frye gets resoundingly booed.

They begin and Frye comes in with a swift jab, then suddenly lands two BIG RIGHT HANDS, and Ramirez is OUT IN EIGHT SECONDS!~! Whoa. I believe that’s still the fastest KO in UFC history, and Frye looked awesome here. Sweet opener.

Paul Varelans vs Joe Moreira

UFC veteran Varelans stands at 6’8’, 300lbs, while BJJ expert Moreira is 5’11’, 205lbs. Serious size difference there. The announcers plug that Moreira trains with the Gracies and Allan Goes, though, so they’re thinking he could be a contender to win it all.

They get underway by circling into the clinch, and Moreira breaks quickly with a right hand. Much slower pace for a Varelans fight, I have to say. Into the clinch again and this time Varelans lands an elbow to break, and follows with a good right hand. Back to the clinch, and Varelans easily shrugs off a takedown attempt and they come back out. They circle, and Varelans lands a big left hand that appears to stun him. This is a REALLY slow fight as they’re circling without doing much at all. Varelans presses forward some more, but eats a right hand, and the ‘action’ continues as they circle and do nothing. Moreira tries another takedown, but fails miserably again and breaks off with a right hand, as they continue to go slowly. Moreira shoots in once more, but again Varelans blocks and punches to break. The crowd begin to boo loudly at this point as they circle, doing nothing again, and finally Varelans blocks another takedown and lands some punches as time runs out.

We’re going to the judges for the first time in UFC history, and Varelans picks up the unanimous decision. So much for Moreira being the new Royce Gracie, then. Horrible fight as neither man seemed willing to really engage, and it made for a boring, circling-without-doing-anything fight. I hate to say it, but I preferred the old Paul Varelans who’d charge in and wildly swing.

Jerry Bohlander vs Scott Ferrozzo

Bohlander is a student of Ken Shamrock, who stands at 5’11’, 200lbs. Ferrozzo, like Tank Abbott, is billed as a Pitfighter, and he’s HUGE, 5’10’ and 330lbs. This is like watching Hackney vs. Yarborough every time out.

Bohlander throws some kicks to begin, but Ferrozzo quickly muscles him into the fence and lands some punches. Ferrozzo gets two big suplexes, and holds Bohlander in a waistlock on the mat, before they come back up and Bohlander manages to escape a guillotine attempt with a headbutt and a knee. Bohlander tries a climbing guillotine with his back to the fence, but Ferrozzo works his way out by throwing him down to guard, where he headbutts him. They slow down on the ground and end up being stood, where the doctor checks a cut on Ferrozzo, I’m guessing caused by the headbutt. They restart and Ferrozzo comes forward again, eating a leg kick and a right, but he manages to shove Bohlander into the fence. They slow down and McCarthy separates them, but on the restart Ferrozzo muscles him to the fence again, and then tries a Greco throw, but Bohlander reverses on the way down and catches him in a guillotine as they come back up, and Ferrozzo’s forced to tap out there.

Pretty cool little fight there, and it told a good story, as Bohlander’s superior technique was able to overcome Ferrozzo’s brute strength, but not before a very tough fight. So we’ve got one Goliath and two Davids in the Semi-Finals thus far.

Gary Goodridge vs Paul Herrera

Wrestler Herrera is the smallest guy in the tournament at 5’10’, 185lbs, but he’s also a Tank Abbott training partner. This is Goodridge’s UFC debut, and he comes out wearing a black gi and is billed as a Kook Sool Won fighter, which I’d say is up there with Kimo billing himself as being a Tai Kwon Do guy. He’s 6’3’, 258lbs here.

Herrera shoots in for a takedown right away, but Goodridge blocks and takes him down into a crucifix, then SMASHES HIM WITH ELBOWS TO THE HEAD!~! Herrera is OUT, holy fuck, that was BRUTAL. I can’t find a gif, but I think most MMA fans will have seen this anyway. Goodridge’s sheer ferocity was frightening, and the speed he threw the elbows at looks fast when they show it in slow motion. I don’t know how true this is, but I read on Sherdog that someone told Goodridge pre-fight that Herrera was a hardcore racist, which would be the reasoning for the intensity of his attack. Still, whatever the reason, that was one scary, scary fight.

-We get a quick recap of the Quarters and a look at the brackets. With the exception of Varelans’s fight, this David vs. Goliath tournament has been dope so far.

Semi-Finals

Done Frye vs Sam Adkins

Pre-fight we learn that Varelans has pulled out due to a broken foot, so alternate Sam Adkins is stepping in to take his spot. Adkins is another Goliath though, at 6’3’, 270lbs.

They press forward with Frye working the right jab, and as Adkins throws a jab of his own, Frye gets a quick single leg and lands behind Adkins, hitting him with punches from behind the head. Into side mount, and Frye pounds away with some hammer fists, busting Adkins open badly, and McCarthy stops it as the crimson mask becomes huge. So far then Frye’s slaughtered two guys in less than a minute COMBINED. Never realized he was this good, to be honest.

Gary Goodridge vs Jerry Bohlander

Bohlander managed to get past the strength of Ferrozzo, but the announcers make Goodridge the favourite to advance here based on the short time he was in the Octagon with Herrera.

They get underway and Goodridge presses, so Bohlander shoots in for a takedown, but Goodridge catches him in a guillotine attempt. Bohlander manages to escape into the clinch, but Goodridge gets a rear waistlock. Bohlander drops to his stomach, and Goodridge goes into side mount, as Bohlander holds on. Goodridge looks for the full mount, but ends up in Bohlander’s guard instead, and Jerry manages to get a sweep over to Goodridge’s half-guard. Bohlander takes a full mount and lands some punches as Goodridge looks tired suddenly, eating more punches and a couple of headbutts as he struggles to move from the bottom. Suddenly Goodridge just gets a huge burst of strength and rolls Bohlander over into his guard, stacking him up against the fence and STANDING ON HIS HEAD. Bohlander tries an ankle lock from the bottom, but Goodridge just drops a pair of brutal right hands down onto him, and McCarthy’s seen enough and stops it.

Another entertaining fight, as it looked for a while like Bohlander’s technique would prevail, but then Goodridge just took over with brute strength, and once he got into a dominant position it was over quickly.

-The announcers discuss the effectiveness of striking on the ground in the tournament so far, something we’ve seen little of in past UFCs. They discuss that Frye used short punches and hammer fists to take out Adkins, rather than the wild swings we’ve seen in the past.

Superfight

Ken Shamrock vs Kimo Leopoldo

The announcers hype that Shamrock’s unbeaten in three Superfights, but in reality he actually drew two of them (although he would’ve got a decision in both I think). This was Kimo’s first UFC fight following the shocking war with Royce Gracie at UFC 3, and we’re told he’s no longer with Joe Son’s group, and in fact you can see AMC Pankration’s Matt Hume in his corner here. Dan Severn, hoping to face the winner at UFC 9, is on guest commentary.

Kimo charges in to begin, but Ken pops him with a right hand and catches a kick, taking him down to side mount. Kimo grabs a headlock and manages to get half-guard, but Ken wiggles his head out and works the body. Shamrock works for the mount, and finally gets it. Ken attempts a choke as Kimo turns his back, but Kimo manages to slip out and reverses over to Shamrock’s half-guard, quickly landing a headbutt. Kimo lands another headbutt and then raises up, landing a big left, but Ken manages to get full guard around Kimo as he’s standing over him. Shamrock rolls through and looks for a leg submission, and despite Kimo trying desperately to block by rolling and thrashing around, Shamrock manages to secure a tight kneebar for the tapout at about five minutes. Announcers call it an ankle lock, but replays clearly show it was a kneebar.

Post-fight Shamrock explains that he wanted to submit Kimo rather than use strikes on the ground, and even though he missed the choke attempt, the tactic worked in the end. He also confirms that it was a kneebar that ended things rather than an ankle lock. Good showing from Ken, who pretty much dominated in all facets outside of a brief moment when Kimo was on top. I’d say Shamrock was probably in his prime at this point.

Finals

Don Frye vs Gary Goodridge

We see some sort of fracas involving the crowd pre-fight, with no real explanation given as we cut away to a graphic of Frye vs. Goodridge. Anyone know what was up there? Anyhow – after the Quarters and Semis, the tournament comes down to this – a David vs. Goliath matchup, with 6’1’, 206lbs Frye taking on 6’3’, 258lbs Goodridge, who chooses to come out without the gi for this fight.

They begin and Frye works the jab into a clinch, but Goodridge manoeuvres around into a waistlock. Frye throws some elbows to try to break, so Goodridge trips him down, then tosses him onto the mat as he gets back up, but misses a wild kick attempt as Frye turns back around. Back into the clinch, but then they break off again and briefly exchange jabs. Frye clinches once more and forces him into the fence, then starts to punish him with some heavy uppercuts, really working him over and it looks like he’s ready to go, but Goodridge manages to reverse and shove Frye into the fence. Goodridge goes for a takedown, trying to pull Frye to the mat, but Frye holds onto the top of the Octagon to prevent it. Goodridge finally lifts him up and tosses him down again, but as he takes a back mount, Frye slips out and gets into top position, where he pounds away and Goodridge taps out swiftly.

Your NEW Ultimate Fighting Champion, Don ‘The Predator’ Frye, after a total of around four minutes in the Octagon. Frye was awesome throughout the whole tournament, able to get into good position for the most part, and his strikes were more effective than anyone had shown in previous UFC tournaments. You could probably make a case for Ken Shamrock or maybe Marco Ruas, but I’d say that Don Frye was the first real Mixed Martial Artist (even though he didn’t show submissions here) as his strikes and wrestling enabled him to fight in any position and win with ease.

Post-fight Goodridge says that he was exhausted following the Bohlander fight, and when Frye got him in bad position, he decided to tap out to fight another day. He explains that he’s got the strength, the heart and the technique, but he just didn’t have the stamina.

We then go to an interview with Frye, as he explains that his short punches are more effective than wild swings, and that he’s strong in every facet of fighting. He thanks his trainers, Dan Severn and Richard Hamilton, and says he’ll be back soon.

-We end with the announcers answering some questions from the Compuserve users, and some quick plugs for the UFC instructional tapes.

Final Thoughts…

This is a really great show with some exciting fights from top to bottom, Varelans/Moreira nonwithstanding. The David vs. Goliath theme of the tournament turned out to be really entertaining, as even though the ‘David’ Frye was able to progress and win the tournament pretty easily, there were other stories like Bohlander’s technique being able to overcome Ferrozzo’s power, but not Goodridge’s. Couple that with some really sick KOs (Frye-Ramirez and Goodridge-Herrera) as well as the most entertaining Superfight to date, and you’ve got one of the best shows from the early days of the UFC, as well as one of the most historically important given Frye’s position as arguably the first legitimate MMA fighter. Highly recommended.

Coming Soon…

Pride: 25, 26, 27, 28 and Bushido 9.

UFC: 9, 10, 55 and 56.

Cage Rage: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

WFA: 1, 2 and 3.

King of the Cage: 18, 23, 30 and 32.

WEC 9: Cold Blooded: featuring Joe Riggs vs. Alex Stiebling, and Chris Leben vs. Mike Swick.

Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2, featuring Takanori Gomi vs. Joachim Hansen, and Joachim Hansen vs. Vitor Ribeiro.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

OratoryNewman@gmail.com