MMA Review: #55: UFC 6: Clash Of The Titans Jun16

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MMA Review: #55: UFC 6: Clash Of The Titans

UFC 6: Clash Of The Titans

07/14/95
Casper, Wyoming

-Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnick, and Jim Brown. We see the brackets, before they tell us that the location is actually 5140 feet above sea level. God, that’s HIGH.

-The highlights of the alternate bouts are shown, with Guy Mezger and Anthony Macias winning to qualify as the alternates. They then announce that there’s a new rule in place, that being that the official can stand the fighters up for inactivity at any time. TOTALLY inspired by Royce/Ken II, that one.

Quarter-Finals

Tank Abbott vs John Matua

This is Abbott’s UFC debut, and in his pre-fight interview he claims he’ll be “The most athletic man to ever enter the Octagon”. Right. He is of course the first Pitfighter in UFC history, too. Matua is a HUGE 400lbs Hawaiian who’s trained in the ‘ancient art of bone breaking’. Got to mention too, they have Michael Buffer doing the announcing here. Up to this point UFC had used an awful guy called Rich Goins, who had a horrid habit of saying everyone’s name twice (“Please welcome Patrick Smiiiith! Smith!”) which was one of the most annoying things on the show. Buffer doing this one adds another dimension to it, strange as it sounds.

They get underway and Tank immediately has him floundering with some BIG punches. Matua looks badly rocked, going down and coming back up and eating MORE PUNCHES, until finally Tank decks him with a HUGE RIGHT causing him to crash to the mat, hitting the back of his head hard on the canvas. Tank follows in with a DIVING PUNCH TO THE HEAD, and Matua’s arms and legs come up and start quivering, and unsurprisingly, that’s all she wrote.

We’ve got doctors flooding the ring now as Tank makes fun of Matua’s convulsions, while the announcers sound really spooked, obviously horrified as this is the first time they’ve seen someone legitimately hurt in the Octagon. That was a seriously nasty KO though. Replays show Matua’s head bounced off the canvas as he fell, and when you’ve got Tank hitting you with those kinds of sledgehammers, the damage is bound to be pretty big.

Post-fight we get a quick interview with referee Big John McCarthy, who tells us that he couldn’t step in before he was sure Matua was totally out, so the call wasn’t a late one on his part. McCarthy says the fighters in UFC just get bigger and meaner, as we then see Matua being helped out of the Octagon wearing an oxygen mask. CRAZY start to the night.

Paul Varelans vs Cal Worsham

Worsham is an ex-marine and a Tae-Kwon-Do black belt. Varelans is billing himself as a ‘Trapfighter’, which nobody seems to know a whole lot about. He’s legit huge though, 6’8” and 300lbs.

Worsham lands a side kick to begin, before they exchange some wild punches, with Worsham getting the better of it. They clinch and exchange knees, and then continue to just slug it out, with Worsham again landing the better shots. Worsham keeps coming, but suddenly Varelans lashes out with a MASSIVE ELBOW STRIKE to the back of the head, and Worsham is OUT. Good KO from Varelans, he hit him really hard, but was totally losing the fight beforehand. These big guys seem to have a ton of power, but very little skill.

Pat Smith vs Rudyard Moncayo

This was Smith’s return to UFC action following his loss to Royce Gracie at UFC 2. He’s got a shaved head here, which makes him look like Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller, for those of you who care. Moncayo is a karate guy from Ecuador.

They begin and Smith sprints right across the Octagon and decks him with a front kick to the chest! Moncayo comes back up and Smith grabs a headlock and punches at the body, looking for a guillotine. Smith takes him down into a mount, and Moncayo rolls and stands at the same time, so Smith yanks him right down into a nasty rear naked choke for the swift tapout. Smith is a ton of fun in this early stuff actually, and he totally overwhelmed this guy here.

Oleg Taktarov vs Dave Beneteau

Both of these guys are veterans of UFC 5 and looked good there, Beneteau reaching the final, but Dan Severn beat both eventually. Taktarov’s dumped the gi top this time, just going for a pair of plain blue shorts. Guy Mezger enters with him, as he did on UFC 5.

Beneteau tries a single leg to begin, and eats punches along the way, but takes Oleg down to guard. Beneteau stacks up, but Oleg stands and gets a front facelock, so Beneteau breaks out by rocking him with some punches. Oleg gets a single leg, and they go down, and scramble for a second before Oleg gets a guillotine, and Beneteau taps out there. Not a bad fight at all, Taktarov has this knack of seeming to be hurt momentarily, and then he’ll just pull something out of his bag and finish his opponent off.

Semi-Finals

Tank Abbott vs Paul Varelans

HUGE “Tank” chant before the fight, I think he’s the first guy to have his name chanted after one fight. I’ve never seen this stuff before, but *now* I understand why he’s such a cult favourite with the UFC fans.

They begin, and Tank gets a big right hand to open. Abbott shoves him into the fence and gets a takedown to half-guard. Varelans lands some elbows from the bottom, but Tank starts slugging away with left hands. Varelans tries a guillotine, but Tank powers right out, and pounds away, then SHOVES HIS KNEE INTO VARELANS’ FACE, pressing it up against the fence. Jim Brown points out that Abbott has a huge grin on his face while he’s doing it. Early Tank RULES. Tank lands some more big shots while pressing his knee into the head, and McCarthy stops it there.

Pretty brutal beating right there. Post-fight Brown says that Tank’s shown no skill yet, he’s just a violent street fighter, and so far it’s worked because his opponents haven’t been all that skilled either.

Oleg Taktarov vs Anthony Macias

We have a bit of a delay before the second semi as the announcers tell us that Pat Smith’s got stomach cramps backstage. We wait for a while and then they announce that Smith’s officially out, and Anthony Macias will be taking his place. This is an immediate conflict of interest as they train together, and have the same promoter, who comes out with Taktarov here.

And just like that, Macias charges right across the Octagon to begin, straight into the awaiting guillotine, and that’s it at 23 seconds. Crowd boo LOUDLY for this as the announcers start to wonder whether the fix is in, too. I’m not 100% sure personally, but at a guess, I’d say Macias threw this one and it’s the closest thing to a legitimately worked fight in UFC history. That said – UFC shouldn’t have been using Mezger and Macias as alternates given that they were training and were good friends with Taktarov. Shady stuff here for sure.

-Jeff Blatnick interviews Marco Ruas, who’s hoping to enter into UFC 7. Ruas uses an interpreter here for the interview, and points out Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock as the guys he wants to fight. Ruas scares me, well, the whole bare-knuckle Vale Tudo Brazilian crowd do, to be honest.

Superfight

Ken Shamrock vs Dan Severn

Severn is the favourite for this one, according to a viewer’s poll. Wonder if this one will be as epic as the last Superfight, then? I shouldn’t really be saying that knowing what happens at UFC 9, I guess……back to this fight, the announcers claim that Ken feels his ground skill and wrestling is underrated, and he wants to show people what he can do here.

Ken shoots in to begin, and Severn blocks, so they go into an upper body lockup and muscle around the cage. They look evenly matched in terms of strength, before Ken breaks with a knee. Back into the lockup, and this time Severn tries a takedown, but Ken muscles him off and actually outpowers him, showing some tremendous strength. Severn ducks his head for a takedown and Ken grabs a guillotine, but Severn pops out and they scramble back into the lockup. Severn pushes him into the fence, but ducks his head again, and this time Shamrock gets a tight guillotine, forcing Severn forward and down, and Severn’s forced to tap out! Shamrock is the NEW UFC Superfight Champion. Post-fight Ken celebrates with the championship belt, puts Severn over, and says people shouldn’t underestimate him on the ground now.

Not the most exciting fight, but it’s definitely one of Shamrock’s most impressive performances, as he out-muscled a guy who TORE through the competition in the last UFC, and finished him off pretty quickly too. Doesn’t make up for the Ken/Royce abortion, but really what could? Good showing from Ken.

Finals

Oleg Taktarov vs Tank Abbott

Time for the final bout. The announcers mention that this is totally “skill vs. power” based, although Tank’s promised to show some groundwork in this one. It’s also pointed out that the high altitude coupled with the previous two fights may make both men tired. Tank comes out first, looking confident, followed by Taktarov. Let’s get it on…..

Oleg tries a takedown immediately, but Tank blocks and they go down into Oleg’s guard. Tank stands, and they come back up into the clinch where Oleg tries a guillotine, but Tank muscles out pretty easily. Tank slugs away with some punches, rocking him, and Oleg covers up before grabbing a clinch to slow things down. They exchange some punches, and Taktarov’s lip is busted open at this point. Oleg tries another single leg, but Tank blocks and they clinch again, muscling around while Taktarov lands some nice uppercuts. Taktarov tries the guillotine again, and it looks tight this time, as he pulls guard for leverage, but somehow Tank escapes! Both guys look GASSED at this point.

Oleg lands some weak punches from his back, and Tank responds with some shots of his own. Taktarov tries a triangle choke, but Abbott escapes, and then avoids a sweep to follow. Tank tries to stand, so Oleg tries an oma plata, but Tank sits on his chest and spins out, avoiding a leglock in the process. They stand and exchange, and Tank rocks him with some more heavy punches, then grabs a headlock as they re-enter the clinch. Tank muscles him to the fence, and they go down into Taktarov’s half-guard, before Oleg gets full guard back. They lay there for a while, both understandably tired at this point, before Oleg tries a triangle, punching away at the head in the process. Tank works and escapes into side mount, before they go back to guard. We get another slow recovery period, before Tank gets a second wind and starts to slug away again, but then they slow down once more.

This time McCarthy decides to restart them, and Tank swings his way into a clinch and muscles Oleg into the fence. Tank throws a haymaker left, but Oleg avoids and catches him in the guillotine again, and suddenly Tank looks totally drained again, as Oleg forces him down to the mat. Tank works, and escapes, but he’s absolutely done at this point, and Oleg takes his back, gets the hooks in, and locks on the rear naked choke for the tapout before both guys collapse on the mat. Post-fight the doctors come in and slap an oxygen mask on Taktarov, as he’s TOTALLY done, while Tank somehow manages to pull himself up and leave of his own accord. Yep, the guy on his back in the oxygen mask is your NEW Ultimate Fighting Champion.

That was a hell of a showing by both men. Admittedly, it had a few slow periods, but c’mon, this was their THIRD fight of the night at a ridiculously high altitude, I think you can forgive them for that. I think it was probably good in the long run for UFC that Taktarov came out on top here rather than Abbott, too, as you can see from this show (and parts of UFC 5) that a few big brawlers were coming in and looking really good, and if it’d come down to it and one of them had won the tournament, it may have suggested to people that skill actually *couldn’t* overcome size and power, when in reality the case was just that there weren’t as many skilled guys as there were big brawlers…if you get my drift. Anyhow, this fight got Taktarov over as one of the biggest legends in the early UFC days, and it’s understandable why as the heart he showed here is probably just as much as I’ve ever seen in MMA. Great ending to the show.

Final Thoughts…..

UFC 6 is a really strong show if you’re into nasty KOs and big time brawls. That said, there’s not much skill on show here outside of Taktarov’s fights and Shamrock/Severn, so if you’re more into great showings of skill than anything else, it’s a show to avoid. I’m somewhere in the middle, so I enjoyed the show for the most part, as it gave me a number of horrific KOs to mark over, but on the other side of the coin, a lot of it is like your ‘Toughman’ style events, and it’s a good thing Taktarov won the tournament, otherwise I feel it could’ve tainted UFC in the long run. I’d recommend the show for a look at the reason why Tank Abbott is still over as a big deal with the UFC fans, and also for the incredible show of heart in the main event. It’s not an essential show, but it’s worth a look.

Coming Soon….

Pride: 25, 26, and Bushido 4, 5 and 6.
UFC: 7, 8, 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:
ScottNewman620@gmail.com