UFC 24: First Defense review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on February 26, 2007, 7:56 AM
UFC 24: First Defense
Lake Charles, Louisiana
-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Jeff Blatnick. Interestingly they make absolutely no mention of Kevin Randleman and the Heavyweight Title, which is what the ĎFirst Defenseí subtitle refers to. For those wondering, Randleman was scheduled to make his first title defense here against Pedro Rizzo, but during warm-ups in the back, he slipped and hit his head on the concrete floor, knocking himself completely unconscious and taking him out of the fight. Iím thinking they probably explained it somehow but just cut that part out for the DVD release.
-Weíre deep into the ĎDark Agesí period here too, the height of the cable ban, as this was the second show under SEG to not receive a home video release, and in fact I believe this DVD Iím reviewing is the first time this show has ever been available to buy!
This was Pulverís second UFC bout, his first being an unaired draw with Alfonso Alcarez at UFC 22. Velasquez is a Frank Shamrock student, and of course the announcers make a huge deal of the fact that itís a Miletich student vs. a Shamrock student.
They circle to begin, and Velasquez lands a low kick, but Pulver catches a high kick attempt and gets a takedown, dropping a hard punch down onto his opponent. Pulver slugs away with left hands as Velasquez tries to get guard, and then Velasquez comes back to his feet. Pulver gets a plum clinch and NAILS him with some left hands, before backing off, and Velasquez comes back with a couple of low kicks. Pulver gets the clinch again and lands a hard knee, but Velasquez takes it and lands some knees to the body, only for Pulver to continue to nail him with the left hand. Pulver backs out, and then comes forward again with a HARD LEFT HOOK, stunning Velasquez, before grabbing the plum clinch again and dropping him with a knee. Velasquez comes back up but takes another nasty knee, and Pulver begins to take over, BATTERING him with brutal left hooks as Velasquez tries to answer, to no real avail. Pulver gets a clinch and a takedown to side mount, then gets full mount and slugs away, but Velasquez manages to survive, and actually tries a reversal to end the round. Hell of an opening period.
They exchange briefly in the clinch to open the 2nd, before Pulver gets a head and arm lock and pulls him down off that. Into full mount, and Velasquez tries to buck him off, but Pulverís having none of it and OPENS UP with a flurry. Velasquez holds on for dear life, so Pulver lands some elbows to the shoulders, and then slugs away with more clean shots for the stoppage.
Very exciting opener there, bit one-sided, but Velasquez was very, very tough to take the barrages that Pulver was throwing. This was a great way for Pulver to begin his (televised) UFC career, for sure.
Announcers are excited for this one due to the trainers again, as this time itís a Frank Shamrock guy (Cook) against a Tito Ortiz guy (Tiki). Current American Kickboxing Academy head Cook is described as Shamrockís best student, while Tiki, billed as a kickboxer as always, looks *exactly* the same as he does now, funky beard and everything.
Both men charge out of the gate to begin, and Cook takes a couple of knees en route to getting a slam. Tiki pops right back up though and they tumble down to the mat with Tiki on top. Cook gets an armbar quickly from the bottom, but Tiki lifts him right into the air and drops him, then manages to step out of a leglock attempt too. Cook comes back to his feet, but slips down on a high kick attempt, only for Tiki to call him back to standing. Cook shoves him into the fence, but Tiki breaks the clinch with a knee and then comes forward throwing kicks, before stunning Cook badly with some quick punches. Cook shoots in for a takedown, but Tiki sprawls and gets on top in half-guard. He canít do much damage from there though so he stands up and Cook follows. They exchange some stiff punches standing, before Tiki blocks another takedown. An exchange of knees follows, and then Cook drops to his back, but Tiki calls him back up again. They circle and exchange again, before Cook jumps to guard. He works his legs up, looking for an armbar or a triangle, but Tikiís having none of that and stands back up, but this time when Cook follows he opens up with a flurry of punches to rock Tiki! Tiki manages to get a clinch, and they exchange shots inside the clinch, before Cook drops to his back again. Tiki calls him back up, and lands a combination to end a really exciting round.
They circle and exchange strikes to open the 2nd, with Cook landing some left hands, and Tiki looking more to land kicks. Cook shoots in, and this time his takedown is successful, ending up in Tikiís half-guard. He works the body and then passes cleanly into full mount, and Tiki gives his back. Cook gets both hooks in, and follows with a textbook rear naked choke for the tapout.
Really good fight there, too, probably even more exciting than the Pulver one. They seemed pretty well-matched during the opening round, but Tiki was clearly gassed towards the end of it, and I think that made the difference as it allowed Cook to get the takedown in the 2nd and close things out. Not sure why Cook didnít fight again after this, either, as he looked very skilled here. Maybe he just prefers coaching, who knows?
-Pat Miletich joins us to talk about some various issues, including denying that heís planning retirement any time soon. He also talks about recovering from injuries, before pimping Jens Pulver and explaining how much he enjoys coaching his students.
Miletich stays with us on commentary here. This is interesting actually as itís Menneís UFC debut and heís at 170lbs; I thought he was always a 185lbs guy and only dropped to 170lbs this past year. I think Iha was still with Ruas Vale Tudo at this point rather than Titoís camp, too. Menne has quite the reputation, apparently, too.
They get underway and Menne comes forward, but Iha gets a takedown and goes into side mount. Menne looks to reclaim guard, but gives his back, so Iha floats into an armbar attempt, only for Menne to slip out and escape to his feet. Menne throws a combo, landing a nice straight left into the clinch. They muscle for position, with Menne working a front headlock to land a knee, and then break off and trade momentarily. Iha shoots in, but Menne shows a good sprawl and they go into a clinch before breaking again. Iha shoots again, but this time Menne sprawls, lands a knee to the head, and goes down into Ihaís guard. Menne lands some clubbing shots from the top, then chooses to stand, and when Iha joins him Menne lands a combo, mixing knees and punches up beautifully. Another takedown attempt from Iha is stuffed, and more punches land before Menne sprawls to avoid another shot. They clinch and exchange some sharp uppercuts, before breaking, and Menne comes forward, avoiding another takedown in the process. Into the clinch and Iha jumps to guard now, and they exchange in guard before standing to end the round.
Into the 2nd, and Menne presses with punches, but Iha jumps to guard again. They exchange inside the Brazilianís guard with Menne working him over with nice body/head combinations on both sides, before standing again. Menne presses, landing a combination of a left-right followed by a body kick, and they go into the clinch where Iha pulls guard again. Menne continues to work him over, then stands again. Iha shoots, but Menne stuffs the takedown and they go into the clinch, where Iha pulls guard once more. Menne continues his body/head work, getting some good shots in, before standing, and this time Iha walks right into a stiff left hand. Menne lands a combo...so Iha pulls guard again to end the round.
Third and final round, and Menne blocks another takedown attempt and gets on top in guard. He comes up quickly though, and Iha shoots again, but Menne blocks and they end up in a clinch where, you guessed it, Iha pulls guard. Menne lands a few blows, and then stands again, before rocking him with punches and a big knee. A left high kick glances off Ihaís shoulder, and then they go into a clinch where Iha pulls guard again. Menne continues to work the body and head with punches, before coming back up, where he sprawls to avoid another shot and lands some knees to the head. Another takedown is stuffed by Menne, who continues to come forward, so Iha pulls guard again. Menne works inside the guard again, then stands, and finishes the fight with another flurry.
We go to the judges, where Menne picks up the obvious decision victory. The opening round here was pretty good, but the rest of the fight became a bit tiresome as Iha just continually pulled guard, had no answer for Menne standing, and didnít have enough in the tank to pull off a takedown of his own. Menne for his part showed good stand-up, solid takedown defense, and with a less defensive opponent he mightíve been able to finish things off. A good debut for him.
-The announcers officially confirm Tito Ortiz vs. Wanderlei Silva for the vacant Middleweight Title at UFC 25. Tito then joins us to talk about the fight with Frank Shamrock, and they mention his participation in the Abu Dhabi submission grappling tournament, as well as his work with Scott Adams, Chuck Liddell and John Lewis.
Gibson is fighting out of Matt Humeís camp, and they announce him as ďLance Gibson SENIORĒ, before the announcers tell us his son is actually five years old. Ha, no chance of getting Junior and Senior mixed up there, then. Andreís a Muay Thai guy with crazy long dreadlocks, looks really cool.
They begin the opening round, and Andre lands some jabs into a clinch, where Gibson lands some knees to the midsection and muscles him to the fence. Gibson gets a takedown to guard, and works with punches, stacking up and keeping Andre firmly pinned on his back. He passes into half-guard, and then works his way into a side mount, landing some more punches. Gibson looks for the full mount, but Andre blocks and gets half-guard back. Gibson manages to pass into the north/south position and then spins into an armbar, getting it fully extended, but somehow Andre manages to wriggle and spins his way out, getting back to his feet! Crowd pop big for that, and Andre follows by decking Gibson with some heavy punches! Jermaine closes in for the finish, but Gibsonís got enough in the tank to last out the round. Really good ending there.
Into the 2nd, and Gibson blocks a high kick attempt as both men push the action. Gibson looks to close the distance, but Andre pushes him away, looking to strike. Gibson manages to close in though, and then shoves Andre into the fence, where they exchange some knees to the legs. Andre blocks a takedown, but Gibson comes back with knees to the body, and the head too. Andre answers with some punches, but Gibson gets a takedown to half-guard. He works to pass, and then decides to go for a keylock, but Andre shows some tremendous strength and simply muscles out. Gibson continues to work from the top though, landing punches and elbows to close out the round.
Third and final round then, and Andre opens up with a side kick to the body, looking to strike, but Gibson manages to close the gap and muscles him into the fence again. Some Marco Ruas foot stomps land for Gibson, and then he lands some knees to the legs too. Andre avoids a takedown, so they continue to exchange knees, before Gibson creates some distance and grabs the back of the head, landing a CRUSHING KNEE to drop Andre face-first, out cold! Good lord was that a hard shot. Andre is literally OUT.
Good win for Gibson in what was an interesting fight for the most part, as he looked like he was avoiding any sort of striking game for the majority of the fight, but ended up actually KOing Andre standing. Some nice spots here.
-Frank Shamrock joins us to talk about how retirement is treating him, how heís enjoying coaching his students, and his acting career alongside Chuck Norris.
This is a pre-taped preliminary fight, so itís two five-minute rounds only. Both are making their debuts, but Carter was already an experienced guy even here, sporting a record of 28-3-4, with God knows how many other fights in kickboxing, karate and San Shou. Heís also wearing the most bizarre tights this side of Shinya Aoki, with one side long and down to his ankle, and the other cut off just above the knee. Dan Severn is our referee here, strangely enough.
They go into the clinch almost instantly, where Carter gets a beautiful throw down into a side mount. Gumm gets guard though, so Carter stands back up. They press and exchange some kicks, until Carter catches one and gets an AWESOME leg capture slam. Gumm locks up a triangle choke almost as soon as they hit the mat though, and pulls the arm across, as Carter looks in trouble. Shonie squirms around, but the hold looks tight, but Shonie keeps working and working until finally he manages to escape free. Not much action follows from inside the guard, so Carter stands, and they trade into the clinch, where Carter gets another throw, but this time he chooses to let Gumm stand. Gumm presses forward into another clinch, and Shonie gets a nice leg trip to a butterfly guard from Gumm, where Carter ends the round with some good punches from the top.
Into the 2nd, and they clinch right away. Both men try takedowns, but Carter ends up on top in guard. He chooses to stand though, and they trade strikes, with both getting their licks in. Into the clinch again, and Carter throws him once more, into side mount. He tries to mount, but Gumm blocks, so Shonie stands back up again, and they exchange some punches. Back to the clinch and itís another throw from Carter; this time he ends up in Gummís guard. He works some short, chopping punches from the top, but as he postures up for more distance, Gumm gets a nice reversal using an ankle pick and ends up on top in Shonieís guard. Gumm quickly passes into full mount and takes Shonieís back, but Carter reverses and gets on top in side mount to end the round and the fight.
We go to the judges, and itís a unanimous decision for Shonie Carter. This was an impressive debut for Shonie actually, as he pretty much ran a clinic of throws every time they clinched, and showed some tremendous submission defense to get out of the triangle. All that, and he didnít even throw one spinning backfist, either! Another fun match.
Judson was the unfortunate victim of one of *the* UFC highlight reel knockouts at the hands of Brad Kohler in his previous UFC fight, while Williams, a huge wrestler/submission grappler, was making his octagon debut here.
They get underway and Judson comes out swinging, tagging his opponent as Williams tries to close the distance for a takedown. Williams manages to get to a couple of clinches, but eats some big punches as they move around, and looks hurt a number of times. Suddenly though, Williams comes back with a BIG right hand in the clinch, and then nails Judsonís body and follows with another big right! Judson staggers backwards, and Williams closes in, catching him on the jaw with a left jab for the knockout.
That was a shorter, Ďliteí version of Ron Waterman vs. Andre Roberts from UFC 21, basically, as Williams looked in huge trouble standing early, before somehow finding it in him to come back and actually score the knockout. Sloppy fight with a good finish.
With the lack of a proper main event (though itís not mentioned, as I said earlier), they show the second Prelim bout, the debut for the UKís first MMA export, Ian Freeman, against leglock expert and current WEC promoter Scott Adams.
Adams opens up with a nice ankle pick to Freemanís guard, and immediately falls back and rolls for a heel hook attempt. Freeman rolls with the pressure, so Adams goes for a kneebar instead, but Freeman manages to avoid that, too. They end up in Freemanís guard again, and again Adams tries the heel hook, with the same result as Freeman rolls to alleviate the pressure. Freeman actually tries a heel hook of his own, seemingly okay with the situation...but itís a mistake on his part as Adams finally tightens up his heel hook, and manages to close things off properly by transitioning to an Achilles lock for the tapout.
Not the best debut for Freeman, as he basically played into Adamsís gameplan, but heíd come back and have much more success later on.
-We end with a highlight reel of the nightís fights.
Many people online would have you believe that UFC 24 is one of the worst shows the company ever put on, mainly due to the lack of a real main event and the Randleman debacle. They couldnít be further from the truth, really. Although the lack of the title match obviously affects the card in a negative way, whatís here is really good for the most part Ė Pulver/Velasquez, Cook/Tiki and Carter/Gumm are really fun, exciting fights, and the only fight you could call really slow is Menne/Iha, and even thatís not at all bad compared to some other snoozers I could mention from other shows. So donít believe what people normally say Ė despite the lack of a main event, UFC 24 isnít bad at all for a ĎDark Agesí show. Mildly recommended.
UFC: 26, 27, 28, 29, 63, 64 and 65.
Cage Rage: 10, 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.