MMA Review: #67: UFC 7: The Brawl In Buffalo Dec07

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MMA Review: #67: UFC 7: The Brawl In Buffalo

UFC 7: The Brawl In Buffalo

09/08/95

Buffalo, New York

-Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnick (who quickly shows us around the Octagon), and former kickboxing champion Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, who’s sporting possibly the worst haircut in the history of the world. We go to the brackets, and they explain that tonight’s alternates are Joel Sutton, Onassis Parungao, and Scott Bessac.

Quarter-Finals

Paul Varelans vs Gerry Harris

Varelans is a veteran of UFC 6, where he got beaten down by Tank Abbott in a pretty entertaining little slugfest. Both of these guys are GIANTS, both standing at 6’8’ with Varelans being slightly bigger at 300lbs. The crowd are RIDICULOUSLY loud here, giving Varelans a monster pop for some reason.

They get underway and Varelans rushes right in and gets a takedown, punching away as Harris holds on, looking lost on the ground. Harris rolls and gives his back, so Varelans takes the back mount and slugs away some more as the announcers can’t understand why he doesn’t just go for a choke. Varelans keeps slugging, and then finally lands some downward elbow strikes to the back of Harris’s head, and Harris taps out there. Pretty easy win for Varelans actually.

Mark Hall vs Harold Howard

Hall is a black belt in multiple karate disciplines, but he’s giving up a bit of size to UFC 3 veteran Howard, who inexplicably gets another mega pop from the crowd. I’m guessing because he was in UFC 3, but c’mon, the guy lost to Steve Jennum in the finals!

Howard presses to begin, with both guys in hands-down stance, before he lands some punches into the clinch. Howard looks for a takedown, but as they fall Hall reverses into Howard’s guard. Howard doesn’t bother to control the head, so Hall lands some punches from the top to bloody him, and then PULLS HIS MULLET!~! Hall lands some headbutts from the top as Howard’s face is a mess now, and a few more shots cause him to tap out there. Hall didn’t look overly impressive, but he got the job done.

Remco Pardoel vs Ryan Parker

Pardoel is another UFC veteran, having reached the semis of UFC 2 where he was choked out by Royce Gracie. Michael Buffer takes FOREVER to announce him, going through all his Jiu-Jitsu credentials (Belgian Jiu-Jitsu champion, French Jiu-Jitsu champion, three time German Jiu-Jitsu champion…and so on). Parker is a karate guy, so they’re both sporting gis.

Remco clinches immediately and gets a nice judo throw to a side headlock, cranking on it in an attempt at some kind of choke, while also landing some sharp punches to the face. They stay in the same position for a couple of minutes with Pardoel looking for some sort of neck submission, before he changes tactic and gets a full mount. Pardoel looks for a smother choke, but it doesn’t work, so he goes for a gi choke instead and gets it, as Parker taps out at just over three minutes in. Parker just had nothing on the ground here.

Marco Ruas vs Larry Cureton

The announcers hype Brazilian Vale Tudo champion Ruas as the favourite to win the tournament, as according to them, he went to a draw with Rickson Gracie in a reputed Vale Tudo fight in Brazil. Ruas’s age is unknown, apparently, which makes him even more of a badass than he already is. MYSTERY!~!

They get underway and Ruas grabs him early, but Cureton looks for a guillotine, so Ruas gives him a BIG SLAM down into north/south position. Into the side mount, and then Ruas takes the full mount, but Cureton manages to roll him over, into Ruas’s guard. Ruas looks for an arm triangle choke from the bottom, but gives it up as Cureton works the body with some short punches. Ruas goes for an armbar, but Cureton slips out, and lands some more punches. Cureton tries to stand, but Ruas grapevines the leg as he does, and clubs him with an upkick as he tries to pull out. Cureton tries to pull out again, but Ruas is having none of it, and pulls him down right into a tight heel hook for the tapout.

Pretty good fight there, and Ruas was impressive after being put into somewhat of a bad position early. So the semis are now set, with Varelans-Hall and Pardoel-Ruas.

Semi-Finals

Paul Varelans vs Mark Hall

Varelans has a LOT of size on this guy. Like, eight inches of height and well over 100lbs.

Varelans charges in early again, eats a right, but gets a clinch and muscles him against the fence. Varelans works a headlock takeover, and then gets a mount, as the size advantage really comes into play. Varelans lands a couple of shots from the top, and then applies a quick keylock for the tapout. Very quick and easy win again for Varelans, who’s going into the finals practically 100% fresh.

Marco Ruas vs Remco Pardoel

Beck and Blatnick both pick Ruas via submission pre-fight, while Wilson goes with Pardoel based on his Octagon experience and Jiu-Jitsu credentials.

They get underway and Ruas dodges around early, working Pardoel’s left leg with some hard low kicks. Pardoel comes in and grabs a guillotine attempt, pinning Ruas to the fence standing. Ruas tries to escape, but Pardoel keeps him right against the fence, albeit in no danger as the announcers spot that Ruas has his arm inside the choke, preventing it from getting tight. Remco tries to trip him down, but Ruas blocks nicely, and then starts to work some foot stomps, as the action really slows down. Ruas lands some more foot stomps, which the announcers really mark for, before Pardoel finally manages to trip him down. Ruas works quickly and escapes the possible guillotine, ending up on top in Pardoel’s guard. They lay there for a second before Ruas drops back, looking for a heel hook, but Remco grabs his wrist and stops him from finishing the hold. Remco manages to pull out of the leglock and get his guard back, where Ruas lands a big left, as the action slows down badly. Finally Ruas stands up holding the sides of Pardoel’s gi pants, and passes into side mount. Ruas reaches into the gi collar for some reason, and then gets a full mount, but before he can do anything, Remco taps out.

Announcers are confused as hell over the tapout, as am I. Replays show that there was definitely no submission being used by Ruas – he just mounted, and Pardoel tapped immediately. I’m guessing he was just worried that Marco would wail on him from the top. Weird finish to a pretty uneventful fight.

-Tank Abbott cuts a decent promo on his performance in UFC 6 and his intentions on winning the upcoming Ultimate Ultimate tournament. Despite his caveman-like tendencies, Tank actually comes off as a really smart guy here.

Superfight

Ken Shamrock vs Oleg Taktarov

Ken is the current Superfight Champion, having choked out Dan Severn at UFC 6, while Taktarov won the UFC 6 tournament to get his shot here. 30 minute time limit for this one, with a potential three minutes of overtime should they reach that point. Ken looks SHREDDED here.

They press tentatively with some feeler jabs to open, before Ken gets a takedown to guard. Ken lands a headbutt as Oleg works some short punches to the back of the head from the bottom. Ken works the body as things REALLY slow down, like Royce/Ken levels. Oleg tries a sweep, but Shamrock blocks, and lands some good rights, following with another couple of headbutts. Ken continues to chop away at the body, marking Taktarov up, but this is really boring as hell. A couple more headbutts land, cutting Taktarov open over the left eye, and blood starts to roll down his face. Ken headbutts the cut a couple of times, before Big John McCarthy FINALLY stands them up.

They restart standing and Ken blocks a takedown, popping him with a decent right, and they end up back in Taktarov’s guard. Ken works the body again, then rises up and lands a heavy right to the face. Oleg looks content just to lay there, completely defensive, as Shamrock continues to attack the cut with some headbutts. McCarthy finally stands them again with nearly twenty minutes gone at this point. They restart and go into a clinch, but Ken quickly shoves him away, and presses with some jabs. Into the clinch again, and Taktarov rolls down into guard and ties Ken’s arms up, as Shamrock headbutts him. Ken chops away at the body as the crowd start becoming restless, bored of seeing them do pretty much nothing, especially Taktarov who’s literally just laying there in the guard, holding on. Ken lands some more headbutts, and finally McCarthy stands them back up again after 28 minutes. Oleg finally lands a standing combination, and they circle for a second before Ken lands a low kick and gets warned for it, as you’re not allowed to kick whilst wearing shoes, apparently. And, the time runs out and we get three minutes of overtime. Umm, yay?

Into the overtime period, and they exchange jabs into a clinch, before Ken breaks off with a nice left hook. Shamrock gets double underhooks and headbutts him standing, then they back out and press once more, with Ken landing a good, hard right. Into the clinch again, and they muscle for position before Ken breaks with a right hand, so Oleg pulls guard, angering the crowd. Shamrock headbutts him and they stay in guard as the fight comes to an end, and as this was before the days of judges, it’s declared a draw.

Awful fight, almost as bad as the Royce-Ken debacle, albeit slightly better as at least Shamrock was active and somewhat aggressive this time. Taktarov for his part put in a pretty disgusting performance, laying in the guard for 90% of the fight without trying one submission – I think his only offensive manoeuvre would’ve been some chopping punches to the back of the head. The fight being declared a draw was obviously the only outcome, but don’t kid yourselves – Ken completely dominated this and would’ve gotten a lopsided decision if there were any judges. Still, a horribly boring fight to sit through.

Finals

Marco Ruas vs Paul Varelans

Anything’s going to be better than the last fight, so really these guys don’t have much to live up to. Interesting match here as Ruas clearly has a big advantage in terms of skill, but he’s giving up quite a bit of size, and Varelans had spent a lot less time in the Octagon than him earlier in the night.

Varelans charges in to begin, but Ruas dodges around, popping him with some crisp punches and low kicks. Varelans gets a clinch against the fence, but Ruas works his way out and then works Varelans’ left leg with some hard kicks, causing Varelans to change stance as his leg welts up. Varelans keeps pressing, but catches countershots from Ruas as the Brazilian dodges around. Ruas tries a takedown, but Varelans blocks and grabs a guillotine attempt, lifting Ruas into the air, before releasing him into a clinch. Back out, and Varelans lands a couple of leg kicks of his own, so Ruas clinches and muscles him into the fence. Ruas lands some of his trademark foot stomps and then a couple of knees, before securing a rear waistlock. Varelans tries some backward elbows to get Ruas off him, but Ruas holds on, landing some knees as Varelans grabs the top of the Octagon to keep himself on his feet. Ruas continues to stomp the feet, but can’t seem to pull Varelans down as he continues to grip the fence. Finally McCarthy breaks them at nine minutes, and they restart. Varelans presses the action again, as Ruas avoids and works the left leg with some more kicks. Into the clinch, and Ruas breaks and continues to circle away. Ruas lands a HARD leg kick that wobbles Varelans, but he keeps coming forward, so Ruas lands some more leg kicks, and finally CHOPS HIM DOWN LIKE A TREE!~! Varelans drops and Ruas pounces with some strikes on the mat, causing McCarthy to stop things there.

Your NEW Ultimate Fighting Champion, the King of the Streets, Marco Ruas. Announcers immediately gush over the fact that Ruas used both ground skill and striking skill to win the tournament. And we end there.

Final Thoughts…

Pretty solid show for the most part. The tournament only has one really slow fight (Ruas-Pardoel) and the rest is definitely watchable, but it’s not as good as some of the older tournaments (UFC 4, UFC 6) and the Superfight is another complete abortion, tainting Taktarov’s reputation as a really gutsy fighter for me a bit. Ruas-Varelans is a pretty legendary match though, as it was the first real example of leg kicks being used to great effect in the UFC, and it’s the match of the night, so if you’re a completist, the show’s worth a look for that fight alone. Ignore the existence of the Superfight if you can, and it’s a decent showcase for the skills of Ruas, who’s definitely one of the baddest men in the early days of the UFC. Overall, thumbs in the middle, worth a look.

Coming Soon…

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

UFC: 8, 9, 10, 55 and 56.

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

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