Over the past fifteen years, Scott Keith made a career out of writing about the wacky world of professional wrestling. He's now turning his sights toward mixed martial arts and will be providing Heavy.com with exclusive reviews of past and present UFC shows. We'll start the fun with UFC 9, featuring a then-anticipated heavyweight superfight between Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock. Would the fight live up to its billing?
- Live from Detroit, MI.
- Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Don Wilson and Jeff Blatnick.
- This is the first UFC show to switch from the tournament format to simply running a series of matches. And also like today's product, a couple of people hurt themselves in training and so we have substitutions before we even start the show. Oh, also there's a Superfight between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.
- So first...WAIT A MINUTE. Superfight between Shamrock and Severn? OH MY GOD, NOT THIS SHOW!
Zane Frazier (Kenpo Karate) v. Cal Worsham (Tae Kwon Do)
Zane's from all the way back in the Wild West days of the first UFC, so it should be interesting to see if he's evolved with the other fighters. They do some tentative standup, but Worsham shoots in and gets the takedown because Frazier is too passive. Worsham has some weak ground work and Frazier can't quite figure out how to guard, as it's obvious that things have evolved past the slugfests of the early days already. Worsham pounds away and Frazier taps at 3:20, having no defense for it. Frazier was clearly out of his element here, looking for a standing fight and getting overwhelmed on the ground.
Rafael Carino (Jiu Jitsu) v. Matt Andersen (Warrior Training)
Warrior Training? Was he trained by the Ultimate Warrior? Because that would be pretty awesome, actually. He's apparently a second degree black belt in this discipline that no one's ever heard of, truly a spectacular accomplishment for a guy who looks like the Sherminator from American Pie. This is Andersen's first actual MMA fight, so that's probably gonna be bad for him, especially against a Brazilian. Even the announcers note that this looks one-sided on paper, "but you never know." Yeah, right. Carino takes him down with ease and Andersen is slow getting into the guard, and Carino calmly pounds him at will, then passes Andersen's guard, but the kid keeps squirming back into it. Inevitably Carino gets into full mount like a boa constrictor swallowing its prey, and Big John stops it before it gets ugly, at 5:33. Welcome to the UFC, Matt. They call it a "respectable showing", but he had no idea what to do standing up, and no idea what to do on the ground, so that doesn't really leave much in terms of skills. I thought it was really interesting to watch someone get dismantled like that.
Mark Schultz (Wrestling) v. Gary Goodridge (Kuk Sool Won)
Schultz is the brother of late champion wrestler David Schultz and is a high level grappler himself, so this should be interesting. But can he strike? Well, he can sure take Goodridge down, that's for sure, as he drives in on the fence and gets the top. Goodridge calmly wraps him up in a guillotine from the bottom, however, using his own gi for leverage, but can't sink it in and Schultz gets half mount. Schultz calmly works him over and passes into side mount, but it's a stalemate and Big John stands them up. And Schultz gets another easy takedown! Man, Goodridge is looking like much less of a badass here than he did at UFC 8. Schultz gets some hard shots in and we have a stoppage to check the cut, but it's still not bad enough to stop the fight. So they start again and now Schultz even tries some strikes, but inevitably just kills him with another takedown. Really though, he doesn't have submissions or striking on the ground, making him into more of a Dan Severn than a Don Frye. Schultz gets full mount and fires away from the top, but can't finish, and time expires at 12:00. The doctors declare Goodridge unable to continue, giving Schultz the win before any overtime can happen. Good first showing for Schultz, although he didn't do anything in MMA after this.
Mark Hall (Moo Yea Do) v. Koji Kitao (Sumo)
Kitao is representing sumo, but is more well known as a pro wrestler, although obviously they're not going to bring that up here. He's actually one of the few people to compete at both a UFC and a Wrestlemania (Ken Shamrock and Brock Lesnar being the others). Hall is small but fearless and he dives right in, but gets dominated on the fence and taken down. Suddenly, Kitao's nose is gushing blood and broken, so we're done at 0:49. That was either a fluke or a hell of a shot from Hall. Hall's post-match interview reveals that it was a punch.
- In what must be an intermission at the arena, we get the Shamrock v. Pat Smith match from the first UFC, complete with the original promo packages from the show!
Don Frye (Wrestling) v. Amaury Bitetti (Jiu Jitsu)
Bitetti is subbing for Marco Ruas. That would have been quite the matchup. Crazy start as they slam each other into the fence trying for the takedown, throwing punches all the way while in a clinch. Bitetti just can't get him down, as Frye sprawls to block and throws shots right in his face when he backs off. Frye is so badass. They trade more harsh shots and Frye adds knees from the standing position, then takes Bitetti down and pummels him with elbows from the top. Bitetti hangs in there, but Big John stands them up. Back to the mat with Frye in control again on top, and he just keeps throwing those vicious elbows, but John stops it again to check Bitetti's face. The kid wants to continue, so Frye continues the assault, throwing knees to a defenseless Bitetti's head, and Big John has seen enough at 11:28. Awesome match, but too much Frye for any man to handle.
Superfight: Ken Shamrock v. Dan Severn
So yeah, this one is pretty infamous, as Severn promises to be "patient" and that translates to "two guys circling each other for 6 minutes with no contact made". I wish I was exaggerating or making that up. Finally Shamrock gets a takedown and fights from the top, but there's just as little going on there and they manage to stretch that all the way to the 22:00 mark. Severn gets on top and shockingly manages to bust Shamrock's eye open, but they go into OT as time expires. And once there, it's more circling. Second OT, more circling, and it goes to the judges. Amazingly, they're still awake, and score it a 2-1 decision to give the Superfight belt to Severn. I've heard that there was political machinations behind this one, with the UFC owners instructing them not to punch each other for fear of spurring on the forces who were trying to ban the sport at that point. Whatever the reason, this was a horrible letdown.
A really good DVD, outside of the main event, although this brief flirtation with non-tournament format would end after one show. Next time: UFC 10: The Tournament!