Heavyweight fight for us to open with – both men were coming off victories in their last UFC appearance, Freeman taking out Nate Schroeder, and Williams knocking out Steve Judson. Williams has quite the size advantage here too, although both announcers claim Freeman’s probably just as physically strong, if not stronger.
They press forward to begin, before Williams shoots in and muscles the Brit to the fence. Freeman defends, but Williams gets a takedown to side mount, smothering Freeman and not really allowing him any room to move. From there Williams goes to work, hitting Freeman with some knees to the body and head, and also some short, clubbing elbows to the face, and the entire round is spent with Williams on top in side mount, keeping busy throughout. Williams lands some nice shots actually, but Freeman looks fine going back to his corner after the round, more frustrated than anything.
Into the 2nd then, and Freeman tries a knee strike, only for Williams to shove him down towards the fence. Williams closes in as Freeman stands, getting a front facelock and then landing a good knee, but Freeman blocks his attempt at a single leg, and then breaks off with a couple of short punches. Williams suddenly looks tired, and tries a really low double leg attempt that Freeman avoids easily, getting on top as Williams goes into the turtle position while holding onto the Machine’s leg. Freeman whacks him with a couple of heavy lefts, causing Williams to go to full guard, and from there it’s Freeman’s game, as he hurts Tedd with some strong, jackhammer punches from the top. Freeman looks to pass, and eventually makes his way into side mount, causing Williams to roll back into the turtle position. Freeman nails him with some good knees to the side of the head, so he drops back to guard, where Freeman continues to punish him with big punches until the round ends. Williams is looking very tired at this point.
Third and final round, and Freeman presses the action, breaking an early clinch with a big knee. Williams tries a takedown, but Freeman sprawls nicely, using a front facelock to attempt to take Tedd’s back. Back up, and Freeman lands with a combination and then some knees in another front facelock to counter a takedown attempt. Williams goes into the turtle position, taking more knees to the head, and then drops to guard. From there Freeman continues to nail him with big punches, landing cleanly although he’s getting tired by this point too. Round comes to an end, and we’re going to the judges cards.
There’s only one way this fight’s going and sure enough Freeman picks up the unanimous decision. Pretty interesting fight as he looked outsized by Williams in the first round, but the moment Tedd gassed, Freeman was all over him. For the most part, an entertaining, hard-hitting opener with a good performance from the Brit.
-They announce UFC 28 in Atlantic City and we get a video package for the main event there – Kevin Randleman vs. the returning Randy Couture for the Heavyweight Title.
This was Kondo’s UFC debut, and we get a cool video package to hype him up, highlights from his Pancrase career including showing him decking Frank Shamrock! Indeed, I believe Kondo was the reigning King of Pancrase at this point. Dantas is a well-known BJJ practitioner, and the announcers claim he’s unbeaten in MMA at this point, but all I can find online in terms of his fighting career are his two UFC fights, so I’m unsure of his actual background in terms of fighting.
Round 1 gets underway, and Kondo lands a punch, but Dantas clinches and shoves him into the fence. Kondo blocks a takedown and ends up on top, but Dantas quickly sweeps and gets into side mount, then takes the full mount on the Japanese native. Dantas lands some punches, getting Kondo’s back momentarily before he rolls back to the mounted position. The Brazilian lands a flurry of shots, and Kondo gives his back again, but this time he uses it to reverse position, ending up on top in Dantas’s guard. Kondo postures up, sitting back in the guard and drops some hard left hands down onto his opponent, before standing back up. Dantas shoots in for a takedown, but Kondo blocks the attempt and catches him with a big knee to end the round.
Kondo opens the 2nd with a couple of kicks, before Dantas looks for a single leg, and gets the takedown right into side mount. Dantas mounts again, and then prevents a reversal, before trying an armbar. Kondo looks to escape and ends up on top, as Dantas tries to straighten the hold out from the bottom, but Kondo avoids it nicely and then lands some punches from the top in guard once he’s escaped fully. Back to standing, and Kondo presses forward, throwing Dantas to his back on a failed takedown attempt. Kondo swings with a right, but misses and Dantas uses the opportunity to get a takedown to guard, where he takes the opportunity to seemingly recover before the round ends. This is a pretty close fight thus far.
Third and final round, and Kondo lands a nice front kick into a clinch. They muscle for position, before Kondo breaks and catches him on the jaw with a right, putting him on the mat! Kondo drops into Dantas’s guard and pounds away, looking to finish, but Dantas does well to survive, so Kondo stands back up. Dantas follows, and Kondo lands a right hook and then blocks a takedown attempt. He presses forward, throwing a couple of flashy kicks that miss, before a BIG LEFT KNEE puts Dantas down once more, and this time Kondo follows with some punches on the mat for the stoppage. Anouncers immediately talk up Kondo as a potential contender for Tito Ortiz’s Middleweight crown.
Very entertaining back-and-forth fight, as Dantas looked pretty skilled on the ground, but couldn’t put Kondo away and just didn’t have enough to handle him standing. Kondo for his part looked impressive, showing good defense on the ground and some excellent strikes on his feet. A really good fight.
-We get a plug for the UFC video game on the Dreamcast, and then go backstage where James Werme is with Tito Ortiz. Tito explains that he’s signed a new deal with the UFC and he’ll be back to defend his title at UFC 29, immediately talking about Kondo as a potential opponent. Man, they wasted no time with that, did they?
This was a rematch of an exciting, if short fight from the UFC 20 undercard, which saw Iha look like he would submit Clark with a leglock, before the fight was stopped due to a bad cut that Iha had sustained earlier in the bout. Clark was still unbeaten in UFC competition at this point, too.
Iha circles to open, and Clark counters a kick attempt with a body punch. Clark swings again, but this time Iha ducks under and gets a takedown, sliding instantly into an armbar as Clark scrambles! Clark looks in trouble and tries to slam his way out, but still ends up caught deep in the hold, and Iha straightens it out badly, causing Mario Yamasaki to come in for the stoppage.
Looks like Clark refused to tap, but post-fight replays show that he verbally submitted. Still, that was a seriously deep armbar and a nice win for Iha too.
-We go backstage to the dressing room of Pedro Rizzo, who does his best impression of Tong Po on Kickboxer, beating the hell out of some pads and doing it LOUDLY.
Jackson was looking to bounce back from a disappointing showing at UFC 25 (where he apparently suffered from the flu), while Horn was looking for his fourth successive UFC win to throw his name into the hat of Middleweight contenders, too.
They exchange low kicks to open, and Horn blocks Jackson’s big left on his first attempt at throwing it. Horn tries to close the distance, but Jackson manages to shove him away. Jeremy ducks a punch though, and gets a bodylock, following with a quick trip to half-guard. He works patiently from the top, waiting for Jackson to make a mistake while looking to pass, and indeed Jackson does make a mistake, scrambling and allowing Horn to stand and pass the legs into side mount. Horn moves momentarily into north/south, and then changes it up, taking the full mount and punching the body as Jackson holds on to keep the distance minimal. Horn manages to sit up, working the knee-on-belly position, and then goes for an armbar, and although Jackson does well to roll through and almost escapes, Horn quickly straightens it out and locks it up for the tapout.
Very impressive performance from Horn who dealt with a dangerous opponent in a swift and workmanlike manner. Not much else to say there really – sweet armbar to finish things, too.
-Matchmaker John Peretti joins us and talks about the potential UFC 29 clash between Tito Ortiz and Yuki Kondo. We then go backstage to James Werme with Mark Coleman, who says he’d welcome a UFC return, and then go back to the announcers where they tell us Peretti’s going to be joining us for the next bout, replacing Shamrock who’s gone to corner his fighter.
The notorious Hoffman’s debut in UFC, then, and the second attempt at a comeback for Maurice Smith, who had his first attempt derailed by Kevin Randleman back at UFC 19. He’s giving up quite a bit of size to Hoffman here. We also get the interesting aspect here of having Shamrock cut intermittent commentary while cornering Smith, which is cool.
Round 1, and Hoffman chases right out of the gate and clinches with Smith, getting the takedown to guard quickly. Smith looks to elevate him for a sweep, but still ends up in bottom position. Smith ties him up, preventing any strikes, but Hoffman still passes into side mount, despite scrambling from Smith. Hoffman lands a few shots as Maurice makes it back to half-guard, and defends well, covering Hoffman’s mouth for good measure. Hoffman suddenly gets full mount, and lands a flurry, but his eagerness allows Smith to slip free and stand. They muscle for position in the clinch, with Smith throwing some knees to end the round.
2nd begins in the same fashion, with Hoffman charging out into a takedown to guard, but the referee calls time to tape up his shoelace. They restart and Hoffman closes in, getting a front facelock and a takedown, but Smith uses the fence and manages to come back to standing. Hoffman looks pretty gassed at this point, too. Maurice holds the clinch, and then breaks off, landing a body kick before muscling Hoffman to the fence and punching the body. Smith breaks off, and Hoffman tries to chase him down again, but he’s gassed and McCarthy calls time to replace his mouthpiece, which he leaves hanging out as soon as he’s given it back. They restart and Hoffman charges into the clinch again, but takes some uppercuts and knees to the body for his troubles. Smith breaks, but Hoffman suddenly gets a second wind, chasing him down again with punches, and then getting a takedown and full mount. Smith blocks Hoffman’s strikes and tries to scramble free, but the round ends with Hoffman on top in side mount.
Third and final round, and Smith opens with a low kick and goes into the clinch, where he works Hoffman over with some knees and punches to the body. Hoffman looks visibly winded at this point, and Smith begins to go to town, nailing him with heavy uppercuts inside and really working the “dirty boxing”. Smith even punches Hoffman’s thigh at one point. Hoffman tries to answer, swinging, but Smith uses some great head movement to avoid, and continues the punishment, snapping Hoffman’s head back with uppercuts now and seriously bloodying him up throughout the round until it ends. We’re going to the judges once more.
Announcers think it’s a close one to call, and indeed they’re right, as Smith gets the split decision. I’d agree with that – Hoffman dominated the first round but didn’t really do much damage, the second was close, but Smith absolutely owned the final round and really hurt Hoffman badly. Not a bad showing for the veteran, but I think it was clear his speed was slowing down at this point due to his age, as he struggled with Hoffman’s early ferocity where he may have been able to pick him apart a few years prior.
-We get a strange and awkward moment next, as Goldberg attempts to hype up the main event, asking John Peretti if he feels Dan Severn’s got anything left to offer. Peretti then absolutely SLAMS Severn, asking if he’s *ever* had anything to offer, before claiming that he’s “not got a finishing hold in his entire body”, and that his takedowns are good, but he can’t strike and just slaps people. And that’s from the MATCHMAKER of all people. No wonder this company was losing serious money at this point! I mean, why would you slam a guy who’s about to fight in your main event?
Frank Shamrock re-joins us and at least he’s smarter, making sure to put over the fact that Severn’s been extremely active and successful leading into this fight, despite Rizzo being the favourite. After his horrible performance against Kevin Randleman, Rizzo was promising to bring a show here. This was of course Severn’s first UFC fight since his loss to Mark Coleman about three years prior. He looks really, REALLY old here though, despite Bruce Buffer doing a really good job of getting him over with the ring announcing.
They get underway, and Severn charges in, but Rizzo steps aside and avoids a takedown attempt like a matador, outright refusing to go to the ground with the Beast. Severn comes up and looks pretty tentative, so Rizzo presses forward, clipping him with a high kick. A big low kick follows and that puts Severn on the deck, but he gets back up quickly. Severn comes forward, but Rizzo lashes out with another VICIOUS LEG KICK, and this one lands flush on the knee joint, buckling Severn’s leg and McCarthy quickly steps in there.
Impressive showing from Rizzo to bounce back from a horrible one, but this was more sad to me than anything, as from Peretti’s rant it was clear they’d simply brought Severn in to be crushed, and it was pretty horrible to see a legend go down in such dominating fashion, even if I’m not a huge fan of the Beast. Still, you probably won’t see a better low kick in MMA than Rizzo’s a few years back, and this was a devastating example of that.
-Announcers talk about the show and talk up Randleman/Couture and Ortiz/Kondo some more, and we end with a highlight reel.
I actually enjoyed UFC 27 for the most part, despite going into it after looking at the results with pretty low expectations. Pretty much all of the fights are fun, despite none of them really standing out as a classic, and Kondo’s debut especially is a very entertaining fight to watch. Main event was extremely one-sided and more a sad execution than a true blockbuster fight, but that doesn’t make it unwatchable or anything. Don’t expect the show of the decade or anything, but UFC 27 is definitely a perfectly acceptable show from this period in MMA. Recommended.
UFC: 28, 29, 63, 64 and 65.
Cage Rage: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
WEC: 10 and 11.
WFA: 1, 2 and 3.
King of the Cage: 15, 18, 21, 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42 and 48.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.