UFC: Ortiz vs. Shamrock: The Final Chapter review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on September 26, 2007, 7:28 AM
UFC: Ortiz vs. Shamrock 3: The Final Chapter
-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan, who talk Ken vs. Tito, naturally.
-This was somewhat of a bonus show for UFC fans after the Zuffa brass felt the millions of people who paid to see UFC 61 for Shamrock-Ortiz 2 got screwed over by the premature stoppage in the fight. So they slapped together a third fight between the two, put it on free TV on Spike along with an undercard primarily based around the fighters from TUF 3, which made sense given that Ken and Tito were the coaches of that show, and voila. Evidently it was a great idea as this show set the record rating for UFC programming on Spike that didn’t end up being broken until this month with UFC 75.
Opening fight here was Tito’s main man from TUF 3, deaf wrestling prodigy Hamill, taking on a veteran from TUF 2 in Petruzelli. Seth had fought as a heavyweight on the reality show but was dropping down to a much more natural 205lbs here, and in fact this was his first fight following the show over a year beforehand, as he’d suffered for a long time from various injuries. Before the fight even begins Joe Rogan mentions that Hamill needs to get this to the ground fast as he won’t be able to compete with Seth standing.
They begin the first round and immediately Hamill catches an attempted kick and goes for the takedown. Seth blocks into a clinch and knees the thighs, before breaking off and landing a good low kick. Hamill goes for another takedown but Seth blocks again, but then Matt catches a kick and this time his takedown is successful. Seth uses his guard defensively to keep Hamill from opening up with strikes, but Matt lands a short backfist that slices open a nasty cut under Seth’s right eye. Seth immediately starts wincing and Hamill then uses the despicable tactics of rubbing the cut with the stitches on his glove, as well as subtly gouging Seth’s eye with his fingers. Hamill lands a couple of short elbows, but Seth escapes to his feet. He looks to strike, but Hamill gets another takedown and drops some elbows down onto the ever-worsening cut. Seth goes for an armbar, but Hamill avoids it and more of the same follows until the round ends. Seth’s eye looks a complete mess as he heads back to his corner and he looks pretty frustrated too, no doubt due to Hamill’s shitty tactics.
Seth opens the 2nd round with a few punches, and then follows with a BIG right high kick as Hamill leans for a takedown, catching him flush in the head and putting him down face-first! Hamill quickly recovers though and grabs a double leg as Seth looks to follow up, putting him on his back again. Right away Hamill goes back to rubbing at the cut, as Seth tries to answer by punching from the bottom. Ref stands them up as things slow down, but despite Seth landing some glancing shots from the outside Hamill gets the takedown again. Some punches follow, but then Hamill goes back to rubbing at the eye with the stitches of the glove, and the cut gets far worse now, blood all over the place at this point. Round ends and it looks like the doctor might stop things between rounds, but an angry Seth refuses to quit and decides to carry on.
Round 3 opens with Petruzelli throwing some kicks, but Hamill catches one to the body and gets a takedown to guard. More rubbing and gouging follows and it’s pretty disgusting to me that the announcers completely ignore this – Hamill’s not even throwing many real punches either. Ref stands them up and Hamill shoots again, but this time Seth blocks with a guillotine and breaks off. Seth lands a glancing spin kick that appears to stun Hamill and does slice his right eye open, but he slips on an attempted follow-up combo, and Hamill gets the takedown. More of the same from Hamill follows, before the ref stands them up and calls time to check Seth’s eye. Seth decides to carry on again, and he lands a couple of kicks from the restart, only for Hamill to get yet another takedown. More of the same follows, and Hamill avoids an armbar to end the fight.
Judges have it 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 for Hamill, unanimous decision. Now, I have no problem with Hamill taking that decision even if he didn’t truly come close to stopping Seth at any point, as he neutralized Seth’s striking and took him down practically at will. What I do have a problem with is Hamill’s tactics on the mat, as rather than open up with punches or elbows (mainly due to Seth’s defensive guard) or attempt to advance position, he got a lucky cut caused by his glove and proceeded to make gouging and rubbing the cut his primary offense. What made it even worse to me was that not only did the referee choose to ignore it, but so did the announcers, instead concentrating on what a brave man Hamill is for competing with his disability. Well sure he’s disabled but that doesn’t give him the right to use what is outright stated in the UFC rules as an illegal tactic in order to win a fight. Fans wanted to crucify Ricardo Arona when he rubbed Sakuraba’s cuts and that wasn’t nearly as bad as this. Horribly frustrating fight to watch and I wait with baited breath for the day when someone knocks the hell out of Hamill.
Herman had a lot of momentum at this point despite losing in the TUF 3 finals to Kendall Grove, as he put up such a great fight that he was given the six-figure deal as well. So basically the new Stephan Bonnar, for the want of a better term. His opponent here, the Canadian MacDonald, was bringing in somewhat of a mixed record, and many people saw him as a stepping-stone for the more popular Herman, a view MacDonald was determined to prove was incorrect.
They exchange low kicks to begin, before MacDonald clinches and looks for a takedown. Herman reverses using a whizzer and gets a nice trip, ending up on top in MacDonald’s guard. He advances to half-guard, but MacDonald pulls out a nice sweep to take top position in side mount, where he looks to lock on something Joe Rogan calls a scarf hold. Ed reverses to his feet though, only for MacDonald to drop for a takedown and put him down into half-guard. MacDonald works to pass to full mount, and as he does, Herman rolls him over, only for MacDonald to lock up a tight triangle choke as Herman turns! Herman looks in trouble as MacDonald tightens up the choke and even attempts a kimura for added pressure, but Herman manages to hold on. MacDonald opens up with some elbows though, cutting Herman open on his forehead, and squeezes on the triangle some more, and finally Herman ends up tapping out!
Post-fight MacDonald assures everyone that he’s nobody’s stepping-stone, and after that performance who wouldn’t believe him? Really good fight actually, with some brilliant work on the ground from both men in terms of reversals and the like. Overall though it looked like Herman was surprised at MacDonald’s level of skill on the ground, and it was over before he had a chance to answer. Great debut for MacDonald in a fun fight.
-Rich Franklin joins us via satellite to talk about his upcoming title defense against Anderson Silva on Saturday. He claims he’s 100% following his injury layoff after the Loiseau fight, but physically he looks TERRIBLE, with a gaunt, drained look to his face, his eyes sunken in and one blackened. No wonder people worried about him going into the Silva fight.
TUF 3 Middleweight Champion Grove was making his first foray into the Octagon following his triumph here, with his opponent being a UFC debutant, undefeated Midwest wrestler-boxer Chris ‘The Exorcist’ Price. Got to love that nickname. Reach advantage for Grove isn’t quite as large as in some of his other fights, as Price is 6’3”, which is pretty tall for a Middleweight too.
Round 1 opens and they circle, with Grove catching Price early with a nice combo. They clinch up and exchange knees, before Grove works for a single leg and gets Price on his back in guard. Kendall stacks up and looks to pass guard, landing a good right hand in the process, before switching off to attempt a footlock variation. Price resists so Grove lets it go and then works his way into full mount. Price tries to buck and use the fence to kick off to escape, but Grove keeps the mount firmly secured and then drops some HEAVY elbows, and despite Price blocking the first couple he soon eats some nasty ones to the face, and ends up tapping out to the strikes.
Post-fight Grove celebrates by channelling his mentor Tito and doing the old gravedigger celebration, before calling out Rory Singer in his interview, a move that is met by the sounds of crickets chirping. Very dominant showing from Kendall but Price definitely looked overmatched and probably should’ve gained more experience on the smaller circuit before stepping up to the UFC.
-The announcers discuss the history between Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz and the likelihood that this will probably be Ken’s last ever MMA fight. They pretty much admit that Ortiz is going to win right off the bat too, with Joe Rogan saying that if Ken were to win, it’d probably be the biggest upset in MMA history as Tito was so dominant in the first two fights.
Big pop for both men upon entrance, as Ken looks uber-relaxed for some reason, probably because he’s already planning to retire post-fight I would guess. I presume the people who thought the second fight was stopped way too early (myself included) would’ve sort of considered this the continuation of that match, while others would’ve probably seen it as a pointless exercise after Tito had beaten up Ken twice. But whatever, people will always watch it so who the hell cares?
They begin, and Ken immediately clinches, but Tito just as immediately overpowers him and forces him backwards into the fence. Ken tries to block the takedown, and then looks to roll for some sort of leglock, but it’s all in vain as Tito ends up on top in Ken’s guard. This is looking very familiar. Sure enough Tito pins him into the fence and begins to land elbows ala the 2nd fight, but this time the referee (Big John McCarthy) doesn’t step in right away. Tito stays active though, eventually posturing up with some heavy punches that catch Ken flush, and this time he’s clearly out and McCarthy steps in.
Post-fight Tito decides to bust out the gravedigger celebration, which causes a bit of a problem between the corners, but then Ken catches up with him and they bury the hatchet properly, with Ken raising Tito’s arm and walking him around the Octagon. In the interviews Tito thanks Ken for being such a great rival over the years and for making him into a better fighter, and Ken confirms that this will be his last fight in the UFC and admits that this time he was properly beaten by the better man. Say what you will about Shamrock but the guy is pure class inside the ring even after a crushing defeat. Big pop for Ken on the way out.
-And rather than ending with a highlight of the night’s action, they run a montage of Shamrock’s most memorable moments in the Octagon, right from UFC 1 to this show. Really cool way for Ken to go out actually, befitting of a true legend.
Well, Shamrock-Ortiz 3 itself was basically pointless, as all it turned out to be was an extended version of the second fight with a proper finish, but that really didn’t matter in the end as it turned out to be quite the historic occasion with Ken’s retirement post-fight, and the crowd heat and hype behind it meant that it felt more special than it really was anyway. Undercard was fun with Grove and Herman’s fights definitely delivering, although the Hamill/Seth debacle left a sour taste in my mouth that returns every time I rewatch that one. Still, the story of this show is undoubtedly Ken Shamrock (despite a one-sided loss) and on that note it’s both a historically significant show as well as a fun-if not great one. So thumbs up for the Final Chapter.
UFC: 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, Fight Nights 7-11, and the TUF IV Finale.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.