MMA Review: #54: UFC 5: Return Of The Beast Jun14


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MMA Review: #54: UFC 5: Return Of The Beast

UFC 5: Return Of The Beast

Charlotte, North Carolina

-Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnick, and Jim Brown. They hype the Shamrock/Gracie Superfight, and Dan Severn’s chances of winning the tournament.

-The ‘Rules’ are shown, and they are pretty simple – no eye gouging, no biting, 20 minute time limits in the tournament matches, and 30 minute time limit for the Superfight. We then find out that the alternates for the tournament will be David Beneteau and Guy Mezger.


Jon Hess vs Andy Anderson

Hess is a big guy who’s founded his own style of martial arts, called SAFTA, which stands for ‘Scientific Aggressive Fighting Technique of America’. He also claims to respect nobody, and calls submissions “silly”. Basically Wes Sims for the 90’s Generation, then.

Hess charges right in with a kick to begin and starts swinging wildly, stunning Anderson. Hess starts clubbing at the back as Anderson tries a takedown, and Anderson ends up on the mat, but as Hess pounces Anderson reverses him over into guard. Anderson gets to a side mount and lands some punches, but they come back up and brawl wildly again. Hess lands some more clubbing blows, this time Anderson goes down, and Hess follows with a kick and the referee stops it there. That was awful stuff, quite possibly the most devoid of any skill fight I’ve ever seen.

Todd Medina vs Larry Cureton

Medina is the first fighter in UFC history to practice Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do style. Should be interesting. Cureton is a professional kickboxer.

They begin and Medina goes for a single leg, taking Cureton down. Cureton surprises the announcers by getting a full guard and trying a guillotine, but Medina works the body and escapes the choke, before landing multiple headbutts. Medina keeps headbutting, then works the body before passing into side mount. Cureton gets a headlock, so Medina punches him in the groin, and then gets a forearm choke and Cureton taps out. Medina looked pretty tough actually.

Oleg Taktarov vs Ernie Verdicia

This is Taktarov’s UFC debut, and from the way the announcers are talking he’s already got a reputation as a tough guy to beat. Guy Mezger is cornering him, with a long, flowing ponytail, pretty funny to see. Verdecia is a Karate guy, gotta have one in these tourneys somewhere. Oleg looks weird here, wearing the jacket from a gi, but with plain black pants.

They circle and Verdecia closes in with a palm strike, so Oleg pulls guard. Verdecia holds him down, and Taktarov tries an armbar from the bottom, but Verdecia defends it well. Verdecia tries some punches and a headbutt as the announcers talk about how relaxed Oleg looks. No sooner have they said that when Taktarov sweeps him over to side mount, and gets a side choke for the tapout. Oleg was awesome here, just staying completely calm while the guy landed his strikes, then when the time was right, boom, it was OVER.

Dan Severn vs Joe Charles

Severn is obviously the favourite for this tournament given that Gracie isn’t involved, and Severn pretty much steamrolled everyone but him last time round. He’s actually announced as being the NWA Heavyweight Champion here, don’t know whether that’s the pro-wrestling NWA though….surely they wouldn’t announce that he holds a worked title? Anyhow, Joe Charles, his opponent, actually held the record for fastest UFC KO (14 seconds) here, something he’d actually end up holding for the best part of a decade.

They get underway, and Severn gets a quick single leg to side mount. Severn presses him into the fence and lands some knees, before Charles works for full guard. Severn stacks up in the guard and lands some punches to the body, continuing to work as Charles tries an armbar, but he’s really bloody at this point and Severn avoids it. Severn lands a nasty elbow strike, then takes Charles’ back, pulling him down into a nasty rear naked choke for the tap. Severn looked unstoppable there, just didn’t mess around at all and took Charles out quickly and decisively.

-We get an updated look at the brackets, before they announce that Jon Hess pulled out with a bruised hand. We see a highlight of his replacement, Dave Beneteau’s fight from earlier.


Dave Beneteau vs Todd Medina

Beneteau is a wrestler from Canada who beat his opponent in 21 seconds earlier in the night to claim his spot as an alternate. Jim Brown starts ripping on Jon Hess for ‘submitting’ during Beneteau’s debut, pretty funny stuff.

Beneteau gets a double leg to side mount, and then headbutts Medina as Todd holds on. Beneteau lands some punches, then stands before taking the full mount. Medina tries to muscle him off as Beneteau goes for an arm triangle, then changes his gameplan and sits up, wailing away with punches before Medina taps out. Post-fight we see that Medina’s eye is badly messed up, those punches must’ve landed heavily. Beneteau took him out fast, but it’s pretty clear that he’s no match for the winner of the other semi.

Dan Severn vs Oleg Taktarov

This one should be good, judging by the reputation both guys have even now, a decade later. To tell the truth I didn’t even know they fought in this tournament before I got this DVD, so this should be interesting.

Severn gets a headlock takedown to begin and lands a knee, as Taktarov tries to get guard. Severn pounds away, then uses a cradle hold to pass the guard into half-guard. He lands some rights and tries to pass, pressing Taktarov up against the fence for good measure. Taktarov tries an armbar, so Severn just starts BASHING HIM with knees to the head, up against the fence. Oleg looks cut open badly, just going for the armbar upside-down and taking more knees to the head. Severn lands some nasty headbutts, then continues to drop the knees and punches, and finally McCarthy stops it there with no defense left for Taktarov at all. Taktarov is HORRIBLY bloody as the doctors flood the ring to help him.

Totally overwhelming performance from Severn, he just smashed Taktarov badly. The Beast is SCARY when he’s on like this.


Ken Shamrock vs Royce Gracie

Pretty (in)famous match here, I’m guessing everyone who’s reading this review already knows of it. Basically, these two met in the semis of UFC 1, where Royce choked Ken out, and Ken’s been after a rematch since, but he missed out at UFC 3 after Royce had to pull out through injury, and so they set up this ‘Superfight’ here.

They begin with Royce pressing with some kicks, before Shamrock gets a takedown to guard. Royce gets his legs up and lands a right hand, but Ken avoids whatever submission he’s looking for and lays close in the guard. Ken headbutts him a few times, and Royce responds with some heel kicks to the kidneys, as they spin around in the center, but nothing of note really happens. 10 minutes in (yep, that’s all that happened in ten minutes) and Royce lands some elbows, then they lay there for another six minutes before Ken headbutts him again. Royce slaps him a few times as the crowd start to get impatient. This is INCREDIBLY BAD. 20 minutes in, and NOTHING HAPPENS. Royce starts slapping him again on 26 minutes, as Bob Shamrock starts to shout at Ken from the outside to try something, hit him at least. We reach the 30 minute time limit, and Big John McCarthy decides to allow them another minute before stopping it.

BUT WAIT, we get five minutes of overtime. Yay? Crowd are booing loudly at this point. They restart for the overtime, and finally exchange some blows with Ken landing a couple of good rights, causing a mouse to appear under Royce’s eye. They go back into Royce’s guard, and Ken lands a couple of headbutts, cutting his eye open badly. Then…they lay there for the rest of the five minutes, and the fight ends in a draw. Post-fight Ken and Royce hold each other’s arms up as the crowd chant “Bullshit!”.

Well…..when I proclaimed Satake vs. Yasuda worst fight ever when I first got into MMA, I was immediately told by my more educated friends to check out Shamrock/Royce II. To put it mildly, they were right. A ton of people knock Ken for playing “Fight not to lose”, but to be fair though, Royce was just as bad, he didn’t try any submissions from the bottom, and didn’t attempt a sweep either. I mean, can you imagine Nogueira or Mir allowing a guy to lay in their guard for 36 minutes? Me neither. To put things in perspective, they introduced the rule to allow the referee to stand up the fight if it got inactive at the show following this one, because of this fight. Awful, awful stuff, a total waste of a good half hour.


Dan Severn vs Dave Beneteau

Thank God we’re onto this, a real fight following that nonsense. The announcers are fully expecting Severn to make quick work of Beneteau here.

They clinch to open, and Severn muscles him back, eating a couple of punches along the way. Beneteau drops for a takedown, but Severn blocks, and they continue to muscle around before Severn lands a knee. Severn shoves him into the fence, and gets a leg trip to side mount, where he lands some punches, and then gets a keylock for the submission at about three minutes. Severn really steamrolled this line-up, showing far more ferocity and aggression than he’d done in the last tournament.

Post-fight they present Severn with his cheque for $50,000, and the UFC Title belt that I believe got introduced here, and he celebrates with the UFC belt and the NWA belt to end the show.

Final Thoughts…..

Well, the tournament is decent enough, although none of the fights stand out as really great. Severn’s performance is awesome though, and the Taktarov fight immediately stands out as a frightening example of what the man was capable of. However, the whole show is let down so badly by the Superfight that it’s not even funny. Nobody deserves to sit through 36 minutes of one guy laying on top of another, and for that reason, although the tournament is strong enough (it’s not one of the best, though) I’ll say it’s really not worth picking this show up. If you’re a completist (or you’re getting the UFC 5/6 set like I did), just watch the tournament and forget about the existence of the Superfight.

Coming Soon….

Pride: 25, 26, and Bushido 4, 5 and 6.
UFC: 6, 52, and 53.
Cage Rage: 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
IFC Global Domination: LHW tournament including Renato Babalu, Jeremy Horn, Mauricio Shogun and Forrest Griffin.
WEC 9: Cold Blooded: featuring Joe Riggs vs. Alex Stiebling, and Olaf Alfonso vs. John Polakowski.
Shooto 12/2002: featuring Vitor Ribeiro vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri, Takanori Gomi, and Joachim Hansen.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2, featuring Takanori Gomi vs. Joachim Hansen, and Joachim Hansen vs. Vitor Ribeiro.

Until next time,

Scott Newman: