For a lot of years this was my favourite UFC event. In UFC 1 they had trouble recruiting fighters but for this event the oddballs lined up. It was in that rare time that we knew what was coming but the Traditional Martial Arts delusion was still real.
Saying all that, people who entered had real guts. Today if you want to do MMA there are gyms you can go to and training is specialised. You can have training fights in a cage, you have a pretty good idea what you are getting into. Back then there were no strength and conditioning coaches or striking and grappling coaches, you just strapped on your balls and got in the cage. Most of them were woefully unprepared but still, brave men. You had guys like Remco or Delucia or Pat Smith who took the lessons on board and tried to evolve as fighters. Then you had guys who did it once and disappeared, probably back into self delusion, which was their right. The world was changing and the revolution was picking up pace.
1 – Scott Morris vs Sean Daugherty
Sean Daugherty was an 18 year old TKD blackbelt but Scott Morris was a fucking ninja!! An actual real life fucking ninja. I guess American ninj are different from the Japanese ones, but still…
In this fight Morris did it right, and immediately crowded the TKDist and didn’t let him get any strikes off. Pretty soon Morris grabs the kid in a front face lock and roll backwards into a perfect mounted guillotine choke for the submission.
It did look like impressive ninja shit, even though it would only work on an 18 year old Tae Kwon Do player.
– Morris by submission at 0:20
2 – Patrick Smith vs Ray Wizard
The return of Patrick Smith after being easily dispatched by Ken Shamrock at UFC 1, wanting to show that he had evolved. His opponent, Ray Wizard, had a bit of a name on the karate scene and an alleged Crip gang member.
Wasn’t a lot of technique. At the start of the fight Smith closed the distance and tried to use his size and strength to bully Wizard to the ground. Wizard defended fairly well and they ended up against the cage exchanging knees. Smith manages to grab Wizard in a guillotine choke and cranks it while his opponent fails to defend. Wizard taps out just as he goes unconscious and we get the scene of Smith with his arms raised while Wizards spasms in the background.
– Smith by submission at 0:58
3 – Johnny Rhodes vs David Levicki
Oldest man in the competition fighting the biggest man. Rhodes at 39 was an absolute stud. He had the heart to make something of mma had he been younger when the UFC came around. As for Levicki, he claimed Wing Chun but fucked if I could see it in the way he fights.
Levicki rushes forward slapping and almost immediately gets taken down and that’s it for the rest of the fight. Rhodes attacking with short punches and headbutts and Levicki trying to defend the best he could. The referee Big John McCarthy had to keep pulling up Johnny’s gi pants to cover his bare ass, I’m sure that wasn’t in the job description or rules meeting. Anyway, Levicki hung tough for 12 minutes and at the end this eye was cut and full of blood and he couldn’t see and tapped out in the longest UFC fight to this point.
Johnny Rhodes must have been exhausted been he came out for the next fight when a lot of men would not have, hi Frank Hamaker.
– Rhodes by submission at 12:13
4 – Frank Hamaker vs Thadeus Luster
This fight was a bit of a sign of things to come. The superior wrestler kept the striker on his back without doing much damage. That was the fight, Luster just couldn’t get up and Hamaker wore him down and grabbed a key lock and got the tap.
– Hamaker by submission at 4:52
5 – Orlando Weit vs Robert Lucarelli
Orlando Weit really looked the part didn’t he? Looked dangerous and seemed to have the skills to match. Lucarelli on the other hand was much bigger but not necessarily good bigger, you know?
They exchange a couple of punches and kicks before Lucarelli grabs a regular schoolboy side head lock and forces Weit to the ground. He’s squeezing but is unsure of what to do with it and eventually Weit escapes out the back, lands an elbow then a crushing knee then dazes his man with a soccer kick to the head. Weit walks aways with his hands raised before remembering the rules and that the fight ain’t over yet. He runs back over to the basically helpless Lucarelli and lands a devastating elbow to the back of his neck then really pounds him until the corner throws the towel.
This was the first time we had seen so much controlled killer instinct from a striker, choosing his strikes to do maximum damage. Weit looked like he would be a handful in the next round.
– Weit by submission (towel) at 2:50
6 – Remco Pardoel vs Alberto Cerra Leon
Before the fight Alberto claimed that he could grapple on the ground, on the evidence here I would suggest that Alberto was lying. Alas this was one of those fights where not much happened. Cerra Leon wasn’t able to get up from under Pardoel, and Pardoel was great at keeping top control but didn’t really know how to finish the fight. What you had was Remco going from scarf hold to mount to side mount over and over for ten minutes till Alberto, more out of exhaustion or frustration, tapped out.
– Pardoel by submission at 9:51
7 – Jason Delucia vs Scott Baker
So Baker comes out introduced as a master of Shaolin Kung Fu in what looks like an old karate gi and nothing he does suggests Kung Fu at all. Then Delucia comes out still claiming Five Animal Kung Fu, yeah mate only if one of the animals is a Koala Bear. You see Jason has decided he’s a grappler and to be fair most people were grappling after UFC 1, but he comes across as a guy who’s had one or two classes then tries to show off to his friends. He’s enthusiastic but doesn’t really have the control or subtleties that makes you good at it.
Delucia even pulls guard at the start then it’s several minutes of reversals and no one really being able to hold position very well or do any damage. Delucia even managed to apply the first ever triangle choke attempt but it wasn’t technically good or tight and eventually Baker escapes for some more back and forth grappling. With both men tired Delucia throws on another triangle but this time in the struggle he ends up mounted. Delucia throws a few punches and is telling Baker that he has to tap because he doesn’t want to hurt him, even though he hadn’t been able to hurt him the previous 6 minutes, but Baker sees the hopelessness of the situation and taps out.
Jason Delucia would later join Pancrase. In a fight with Bas Rutten, Delucia kept complaining to the ref that Bas was striking him in the face with closed fists, which was illegal. He did this over and over which pissed Bas off and he beat the shit out of Delucia.
– Delucia by submission at 6:41
8 – Royce Gracie vs Minoki Ichihara
The early UFC were big time bullshit salesmen. Everyone was a local legend and had an undefeated full contact record. Anyway, Ichihara was advertised as a big time dangerous karate guy, they big him up massively in the build up, “could’ve been the final”. In reality it was just another victim for Royce, in fact this guy seemed less prepared than most but then you must consider the opposition.
This was another typical Royce Gracie fight, he ducked under a punch and got the easy takedown and did his thing. People criticised Royce for how long it took but he’s in no rush. No risks and take what the opponent gives. Ichihara hung tough though throwing hard punches but nothing that was going to alter the fight. What Royce showed over everyone who now thought they were grapplers, was control and the ability to keep position. Gracie kept control of Ichihara and during a half scramble he choked him out with his own lapel, although it looked like an armbar at the time, “yeah Royce probably broke his arm”.
– Gracie by submission at 5:08
The first round of the contest had ended with every single fight ending by submission (is the towel a submission?), the revolution had truly begun.
9 – Scott Morris vs Patrick Smith
We were waiting to see more mulleted ninja shit from Scott Morris but instead we got one of the early ‘oh fuck’ moments in MMA that we love so much.
They tie up quickly with Morris going for the takedown but he slips and Smith lands on top of him in full mount. Smith breaks Morris hold of his head then rains down absolutely brutal punches and elbows, Smashing the Ninja’s face and knocking him semi unconscious.
This was the point where Big John decided that the rules had to change or someone would get badly hurt. So Pat Smith is crushing the face of Morris with elbows, and remember the ref can’t stop the fight. So John is telling Morris corner, ‘watch your fighter’ meaning ‘throw the fucking towel’ and at this point the corner throws the towel……… into the crowd as well as yelling some bad words at Big John. Luckily Pat Smith stopped on his own and walked away or it could have been a problem. After this event John told Rorion Gracie that the only way he would stay involved was if the rules were modified and later that made it a lot easier to get licensed.
– Smith by KO at 0:30
10 – Johnny Rhodes vs Fred Ettish
Fred Ettish steps in for an injured Frank Hamaker. Not exactly sure how Hamaker got injured, maybe a ‘heart’ problem if you know what I mean. Anyway in steps Fred looking like the most unlikely character, like out of a 70s movie. Mr Ettish was a karate practitioner and looked and fought about as traditional as it gets.
Johnny comes out looking crazy and intense and Fred comes out in a karate stance. They exchange a couple of kick, pretty ineffective you know and then as usual for a karate practitioner, it’s all good till you get punched in the face. After getting knocked down Fred was on pure defense and didn’t really know what he was doing. Rhodes pounded him a bit then finally sank in the choke for the win.
After this fight Fred Ettish got ridiculed a bit online. Fetal Fred they called him because of the prone position he ended up in but Fred Ettish was a warrior. He only got told he was fighting ten minutes before he made the walk to the cage, he was backstage helping out. After the fight was over Fred licked his wounds then realised that his training had big holes in it and added to his training to be more round and importantly he also held on to his traditional roots.
– Rhodes by submission at 3:07
11 – Orlando Weit vs Remco Pardoel
Everyone was excited to see Orlando fight again after his performance in the first fight and most people didn’t give Remco much of a chance. Commentator Ben Perry stated pretty plainly “I don’t think Remco has a chance”. This despite Remco being more than 6inches taller and almost 100lbs heavier.
A plain old striker vs grappler fight and we know how those went back then. Remco closed the distance and took Weit to the ground with ease and kept his weight on him and controlled his opponents right arm. Even in this position Ben Perry was saying that Weit would be up soon. No faith in big Remco at all. Then out of nowhere Pardoul lands five hard elbows to Orlando’s temple knocking him completely unconscious before the ref or anyone else even noticed.
After the fight they asked Pardoel how he had expected the fight to go and he replied that he hadn’t expected to win. Not even Remco believed in Remco.
– Pardoul by KO at 1:29
12 – Royce Gracie vs Jason Delucia
These two had fought before. Jason was the guy who challenged Royce on one of those Gracie in Action VHS tapes. Bravo to the Kung Fu guy for testing himself, both back then and in the UFC. That being said, this was a cake walk for Royce, which is true of all the fights up to now, but I’m not sure if a single punch was thrown in the whole fight.
Delucia closes the distance quickly and Royce pull him into guard then works to move to mount almost immediately. A few more seconds and Royce takes the arm in a belly down straight arm bar. He cranks it and Delucia screams in pain and taps and like that it’s over.
– Gracie by submission at 1:07
13 – Patrick Smith vs Johnny Rhodes
I think Smith wanted to show, and succeded in showing, that he had really rounded out his skills this time around. He had learned what he thought it took to win. These two square off and exchange some hard punches and kicks before Smith gets a bit more aggressive and manages to back Rhodes to the fence. Smith lands a headbutt then some punches and knees forcing Rhodes to drop his head in a sort of shit takedown attempt. Pat takes the neck in a guillotine and really pulls it and forces Rhodes to tap out with his foot. Luckily Big John noticed and Pat Smith advances to the final.
14 – Remco Pardoel vs Royce Gracie
A very intriguing fight on paper with both guys wearing a gi and with Remco being so much bigger than Royce and seemingly very adept at grappling. In reality, not so much.
The fight starts with Remco in the middle with his hands up, waiting. Royce moves around a bit, throwing little fakes but not really. Royce goes for the tackle but Pardoel remains upright. Royce has his hands around Remco’s waist, hanging onto his side/back. Soon enough Gracie drags his opponent to the ground and goes to work. Remco tries to defend as best he can but Royce is on his back and he didn’t lose position from here back then. Royce takes Remco’s gi and attempts to choke him with it but it’s across Remco’s chin rather than neck whick is not ideal for a choke obviously but the pain and pressure is enough to make Pardoel tap.
Royce Gracie makes it to the final for the second year.
– Gracie by submission at 1:31
Royce Gracie vs Patrick Smith
The two best men made it to the finals? That’s probably true. Smith showed a lot of improvement from the year before and he was big, strong and athletic but Royce had always been so far ahead that it was hard to see anyone seriously challenging him.
Same as usual with a bit of feeling out the Smith makes a wrong move and Royce gets his hands on him. Smith almost reverses the takedown but Gracie shows superior balance to stay on top then goes immediately to mount position. From there of course Smith is helpless and Gracie starts punching the body then the head and kind of surprisingly Smith taps to strikes….. from Royce Gracie.
Gracie wins again and made every single fight look easy. Can anyone challenge him?
– Gracie by submission at 1:17