**This is the second in a lengthy series lifted from my new blog. The first one received limited, yet positive feedback, so I've decided to post the second here as well. Be sure to check fightrankings.wordpress.com for more.**
Four months after the first Ultimate Fighting Championship event, the world was treated to UFC 2. The success of the first pay-per-view spectacular gave way to this event, which expanded the original tournament format from eight men to sixteen. Now we have twice as many ne’er do well bar fighters to take part in a second orgy of violence!
UFC 2: No Way Out – March 11, 1994
On this card, there are a few holdovers from the first UFC tournament. Royce Gracie and Patrick Smith have both returned, and…well, Jason Delucia fought in a reserve fight at UFC 1. Aside from these three fighters, we’re dealing with 13 unfamiliar faces. Even worse, the pay-per-view broadcast only featured one fight in the opening round, showing highlights and results from the other seven first round fights.
Some video releases featured all eight of the opening round fights, so I’m taking to YouTube to find the missing fights. Once I have those reviewed, I’ll make my way to reviewing the official UFC 2 video release. The reviews for some of these early show reviews may be all over the place, but some of the fights area bit hard to track down. At least with YouTube, I can link the fights so you can follow along with me.
The first opening round fight is between Scott Morris and Sean Daugherty. Could this video be worse quality? Perhaps only if someone recorded a VHS tape by aiming a video camera at their television. The audio and video barely sync, but I guess this will have to do. Skip ahead to around 2:30 for Sean Daugherty’s entrance. He’s got a good attitude and has quick kicks? Who is this guy, Daniel-san? Scott Morris’ ninja entrance is so powerful that he negatively impacts the tracking of the VHS tape.
Rich Goins is back to yell at us a little more, lucky for us. Daugherty, at 18, is a seven year veteran of taekwondo. Something tells me a lot of that preteen and teenage training won’t count for much. Morris is a ninjutsu veteran and he has a mustache. This is actually a lot like the Karate Kid.
Hey, it’s “Big” John McCarthy! Big John makes his UFC debut refereeing this event. The fight starts with wild punches from both men and Morris grabs Daugherty and rolls on top of him. Morris quickly applies a guillotine choke and Daughterty taps out. We’re told by an announcer, who may or may not be Rod Blagojevich, that karate will not work when a fighter is on the ground. The brilliant analysis from UFC 1 has surely carried over to this event.
Next up is Patrick Smith Vs. Ray Wizard, which I had a bitch of a time trying to find. Video quality? Very good, actually! Yes, this is a Russian website that has likely infected my computer with spyware. But how can you put a price on finding MMA classics streaming on the internet?
Smith seems to get gassed in his pre-fight introduction video and that’s not a good sign. Let’s hope his tournament run goes better here than at UFC 1. Ray Wizard is a newcomer who is here “to fight in the Ultimate Challenge…to be the Ultimate Fighter…and win.” Pure intimidation! Ring announcer Rich Goins apparently likes to be called the “G-Man.” The dorky nickname definitely fits the dorky announcer.
Pat Smith gets an underwhelming hometown welcome, since we’re still in Colorado at UFC 2. “Big” John is looking remarkably fat-faced and young and we’re under way. Smith grapples quickly with Wizard and throws some glancing kicks. Wizard has Smith shoved against the cage and lands some groin shots. Wizard’s offensive approach seems to be bend over and apply pressure. Smith’s approach is choke idiot opponent and it goes surprisingly well! Smith grabs Wizard in a guillotine and chokes the man out. Jim Brown correctly notes that it’s a guillotine choke and not a headlock, as asserted by his idiot partner.
We’re onto the third opening round fight between David Levicki and Johnny Rhodes (part one and part two.) It seems that the competitors aren’t the only ones calling this the “Ultimate Fight Challenge” since the G-Man manages to also incorrectly identify the event. G-Man also declares there are no referees as referee “Big” John McCarthy begins the fight.
Rhodes throws a spinning back kick which angers Levicki to the point of throwing wild thrusting palms. Rhodes manages to throw Levicki to the ground and throws some weak shots. Rhodes lands a number of headbutts which have little effect. Levicki is trying to control Rhodes, butt has little success. His greatest defense is that Rhodes has little idea what he’s doing.
Levicki tries throwing some elbows while Rhodes throws some sloppy punches. Rhodes appears to throttle Levicki, who throws some short punches back at Rhodes. While in guard, Levicki appears to be pulling down Rhodes’ pants as there is a generous amount of butt crack on my computer screen. “Big” John pulls up the pants of Rhodes, which might be the only time this has ever happened in UFC history.
This is starting to look silly as “Big” John makes repeated attempts to pull up the pants of Rhodes. This is normally the time when a restart would be called, but in the early UFC, there were NORULEZ!! This could go on for a while.
This is probably amongst the most boring guards in UFC history. We’re told that the fight has gone seven minutes, which is around six minutes and thirty seconds too much. Both fighters throw half-hearted shots and “Big” John does his best to keep Rhodes’ pants up. The crowd begins to boo and I’m amazed it’s taken until eight minutes into the fight. Both men keep working but very, very little happens in this fight.
The video cuts off at the end, but I think “Big” John gets as bored as the rest of the crowd. Rhodes ends up opening a cut on Levicki and McCarthy sees this as the best chance to end the fight. The results for UFC 2 say the fight was ended due to strikes, but I don’t see how either of these fighters is capable of landing strikes worthy of ending this fight. Mercifully, this fight is done and Johnny Rhodes ends up moving on.
Next up is the fourth fight between Frank Hamaker and Thaddeus Luster. I very much like the name Thaddeus Luster. He’s a skinnier guy and that surprises me. Thaddeus looks like the name of a larger gentleman. This fight begins and Hamaker is quick to attack Luster. Hamaker pulls Luster down and manages to get into full mount position. Unfortunately, his attempt to choke out Luster looks more like laying on top of him.
Luster looks absolutely clueless on his back as Hamaker looks somewhat less clueless. He tries some kind of vague submission hold and is stood up by Luster. Hamaker rejects that idea and hits a nice judo looking throw against Luster. Hamaker accomplishes full mount once again and does a bit more of nothing. Hamaker attempts some kind of archaic arm submission which doesn’t seem to do much. Hamaker maintains a dominant position throwing some occasional punches and that’s enough for Luster’s corner to call a stop to this fight.
Fight number five is Orlando Weit vs. Robert Lucarelli. Though he’s French, Weit sounds vaguely like a black Bas Rutten. Lucarelli looks like Shinya Hashimoto’s skinnier Italian cousin. Lucarelli throws some weak kicks and then looks to tackle Weit. Weit tries to work back to his feet but is thrown down. Lucarelli looks to have a hold of Weit’s head, but the Frenchman escapes and lands a huge soccer kick! Weit walks away in victory, failing to realize the fight is still going. It looks like Lucarelli wants to stop but Weit keeps throwing kicks and punches to the downed opponent until Lucarelli taps out due to the strikes. Nothing like an old-fashioned kick to a head to finish off your opponent.
Remco Pardoel takes on Alberto Cerro Leon in the sixth bout of the opening round. Leon is looking swank in a black gi with a red belt. Pardoel, however, is donning a white gi with a black belt. Oh snap, this fight is good versus evil! Right away, Leon (evil) is fighting like a little spider monkey, jumping on the back of Pardoel (good) and taking him down.
Pardoel manages to get on top of Leon in a north/south position and decides to rest there. The camera cuts away to some screaming woman and the camera cuts back to the fight with Pardoel performing some kind of slam on Leon. Well that was interesting. Pardoel works to a full mount and attempts to smother Leon! You may call it lazy, but I call it effectively lazy!
Pardoel ends up taking side control of Leon and locking his arm between his legs. It’s almost like a half crucifix position. Any change in position doesn’t appear to be strategic, but rather, just a reaction to Leon squirming around a lot. Hey, whatever works. Pardoel ends up working an arm choke and Leon has no choice but to tap. Pardoel is your winner and I look forward to him laying down more in the quarterfinals.
Jason Delucia vs. Scott Baker is the seventh opening round fight for UFC 2. Rich Goins ask the crowd to give a “warm Denver welcome” to both fighters, but I don’t see a single cup of urine thrown toward either Baker or Delucia. They must not like Rich Goins very much. Delucia comes in quick and tries to take Baker down, but Baker ends up on top. Delucia quickly reverse and attempts a heel hook but it doesn’t go very well. Baker escapes and both men are up.
Wild punches are thrown by both men and Baker pulls Delucia to the ground. Baker tries for mount but is reversed by Delucia. Positions are reversed again, this time with Baker on top again. Delucia works for a triangle choke and Baker successfully counters by clawing at Delucia like a monster. If there’s one thing that these fighters aren’t, it’s graceful.
Delucia manages yet another reversal and accomplishes full mount. Delucia does absolutely nothing in mount and Baker winds up reversing positions yet again. Delucia works another unsuccessful triangle choke, but turns over into a mounted triangle. Delucia throws a few punches to the vulnerable Baker and this fight is over. I wish I was friends with a vulnerable baker because I’d totally get free pastries whenever I wanted just for listening.
That thankfully ends the streaming video portion of this review. I hope this is the last time I have to track down grainy UFC footage for one of these reviews, but something tells me I’ll have to keep at it. Hey, whatever it takes to get all of these fights reviewed. Onto the home video release for UFC 2!
We’re presented with a great early 1990′s montage of UFC 1, showing extended clips of pretty much every fight along with post-fight interviews. We even see some clips of the missing fight between Trent Jenkins and Jason Delucia…so that’s something.
Brian Kilmeade is now the main play-by-play man for the UFC and he can’t be any worse than Bill Wallace. Jim Brown is back and he informs us that those who can’t fight on the ground need not apply. Someone better let Johnny Rhodes and David Levicki know about that. Ben Perry, a stuntman, and Herb Perez round out the announce team.
Results from the previous seven fights are detailed. Brown calls Levicki and Rhodes “a great fight” and Kilmeade touts Alberto Cerro Leon as the enigma of the tournament. I guess there is something enigmatic about losing fighters. Why do they lose? What deficiencies within these men make them losers? Questions to think about.
The eight preliminary fight pits UFC 1 champion Royce Gracie and Minoki Ichihara, who is presented in another great early 90′s montage. Royce is introduced at 27 years old, despite looking closer to 40 than 30. Gracie lands a very quick takedown and Ichihara appears to have a seizure. That level of flailing proves to be ineffective.
Gracie lands some soft strikes to Ichihara’s sides and head and spents plenty of time mounted on Ichihara. For a full mount with by an experienced fighter, Gracie doesn’t seem to be very active. It might be the 5’7″ Asian man latched to his chest, I’m not sure.
Royce starts landing some more solid blows and locks Ichihara into a gi choke. As called by Ben Perry, “he tapped…it’s over. I think he choked him out, I couldn’t tell. Oh! He did! Armlock…he probably broke his arm.” I never thought I’d be missing Joe Rogan or Mike Goldberg, but here we are.
We’re told that Frank Hamaker has been injured and can’t continue so Fred Ettish will take his place. Highlights are shown from the preliminary fights while Kilmeade and Brown both express how ignorant they are about these fights. Lucky for them Ben Perry is around to misinform them about Gracie’s success with an “armbar.”
Now we’re forced to sit through video of fighters showing off their different disciplines. I’m all for further MMA education, but to hear about the five animals that guide the art of kung fu is a bit much for me. Not to mention that one of the categories is generically labeled “exotics.”
Back to the fights and the first quarterfinal fight is between mustachioed ninja Scott Morris and Pat Smith. I feel ashamed watching Scott Morris fight. I can’t help but think that if he wasn’t fighting Pat Smith in the octagon, he’d be beating up another black guy in a bar somewhere. Perhaps that’s a bit judgmental, but dude, just shave your creepy handlebar mustache.
It’s amazing how dated the old “tale of the tape” screens look for the UFC. I don’t know if this is more of a statement of the UFC itself or of technology, but I can’t help but feel like they could have done better.
Morris rushes in and is greeted by some big knees from Smith. Smith takes the mount and pounds Morris with some huge elbows and punches. By huge, I mean absolutely punishing. Smith turns Morris’ face into ground meat with massive punches. Once Morris is out, Smith throws a few uncontested elbows for good measure. The night is over for this ninja and I’m sure he’ll be dealing with some fun facial injuries for the next few weeks.
Johnny Rhodes and alternate Fred Ettish will be the second quarterfinal match. And wow, Fred Ettish might give Scott Morris a run for his money in the creepy white guy department. Ettish throws some quick kicks while looking as stiff as wood. Rhodes looks a bit more fluid throwing some punches that hurt Ettish. Ettish makes some weak up-kicks and Rhodes lays some hard punches to his downed opponent.
Rhodes follows up with knees as Ettish tries to get back to his feet. Ettish is bleeding and he’s not looking good. Rhodes appears to fall into mount, which is unusual, and then takes Ettish’s back. Rhodes puts Ettish in a choke that resembles a side headlock and Ettish weakly taps out. This would be Ettish’s last MMA fight until 15 years later, where he would fight the now 0-9 Kyle Fletcher. This is a true competitor, ladies and gentlemen. Rhodes, meanwhile, will move on to fight Pat Smith.
During Rhodes’ post-fight interview, Ettish stands in the background giving the world an opportunity to see his creepy, battered face one more time. We’re treated to some ring girls in tiny bikinis and these are the other pioneers of the octagon. Britney Palmer and Ariany Celeste have these ladies to thank for paving the way for eye candy in MMA.
Remco Pardoel takes on Orlando Weit in the third quarterfinal match. In his pre-fight video package, Pardoel declares he is here for “the first prize.” That’s the spirit! I’m anxious to see how that translates into this fight. Pardoel outweighs Weit by about 90 pounds, so that seems to be an advantage. Pardoel throws Weit and ends up in an awkward position. He falls back on top of Weit, who attempts to control the larger fighter.
Weit attempts some kicks to the head of his opponent. Ben Perry feels like Weit will be out of this position very soon, which certainly is reassuring. Then this happens.
It seems that Remco Pardoel turned Orlando Weit’s head into mush. So much for getting out of that position. Pardoel reveals in a post-interview that he didn’t think he would win, and that in his next fight, he will try to win. Such refreshing honesty from a man who may or may not understand English.
In the final quarterfinal fight, Jason Delucia will lose to Royce Gracie. Okay, I’m sorry, but does anybody really think Jason Delcuia wins this fight? His opponent is Royce Gracie, who is anywhere from 40 to 500 times better than every other fighter in this tournament. Gracie pulls Delucia into his guard and quickly reverses positions and pulls mount. Royce Gracie locks Delucia in an armbar and gets the submission victory. Surprised? You better not be, this is Royce Gracie. Also, I spoiled the outcome. Gracie and Pardoel will be the second semifinal fight…any guesses how that fight will go?
The semifinals quickly begin with Pat Smith vs. Johnny Rhodes, two fighters who managed to devastate outclassed faux-ninjas in their quarterfinal contests. In case you were wondering, ring announcer Rich “G-Man” Goins has been appropriately obnoxious throughout all of these fights. Take that as a given prior to all of these contests.
The fight begins with both men sizing each other up. Rhodes lands a clean right on Smith, who barely reacts. Both men throw some tentative punches before Smith pins Rhodes against the cage. Smith lands a headbutt and then grabs the guillotine. It appears that Rhodes taps out by literally tapping his foot against the mat. His corner thankfully throws in the towel and Pat Smith advances to the finals!
Pat Smith declares his victories are not due to his own skills, but rather, because he’s fighting easy opponents. He points out that his loss at UFC 1 was to Ken Shamrock, the world’s top shoot fighter, and that he was here for redemption. I’m confused by Smith’s optimism, unless he was somehow able to slip some brass knuckles to Remco Pardoel.
And it will be Pardoel vs. Gracie in the last semifinal match. Pardoel has another 90 pound weight advantage over his opponent. The only problem is that Royce Gracie is now his opponent and not Orlando Weit. This might not go as well as his previous fight.
Pardoel’s strategy appears to be stand still and hope Royce doesn’t notice him. Gracie, somehow, doesn’t fall for it and manages to take down his much heavier foe. Gracie goes for another gi choke and appears to have it secured. Ben Perry declares that Pardoel looks fine and the Dutchman proceeds to tap out. Gracie moves on to the finals and appears to be unstoppable.
Ken Shamrock is here! I wish he was fighting, but being interviewed in a tacky shirt and chain is just as good. Shamrock picks Royce to win this tournament and he looks forward to a rematch with Gracie. Shamrock reveals that he has a secret that will allow him to defeat Gracie, which should be…interesting.
As much as I hate to say it, Brian Kilmeade has not been terrible during this event. He admittedly doesn’t know much about the sport and doesn’t embarrass himself like Bill Wallace did at UFC 1. Kilmeade would go on to legitimate journalism, despite his own best efforts to sabotage his career. He’s apparently made some controversial remarks about Swedes having pure genes and that whites in America keep marrying and breeding with “ethnics.” He would apologize for this, but later went on to state that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” Enlightenment, thy name is Brian Kilmeade.
Patrick Smith and Royce Gracie are the two combatants in the finals, which should make for an interesting fight. It seems like the hometown fighter is far less popular than the dominant Brazilian, which isn’t very surprising. I’m not sure if Coloradans are prone to self hate, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Rich Goins insists on calling Denver “the fighting city,” which I think is based solely on the reputation of Pat Smith, I’m not sure. The name doesn’t seem to fit.
Both men begin by feeling each other out. Smith lunges in for a kick and Gracie pulls his opponent in tight. Smith attempts a throw which Gracie blocks, bringing both men to the mat. Gracie quickly pulls full mount and takes this opportunity to punch his opponent in the face. It looks like Smith verbally taps around the same time his corner throws in the towel and Royce Gracie has won his second consecutive UFC tournament!
Gracie celebrates the win with his family, who likely all would have been able to win the tournament in Royce’s stead. That includes Helio, who probably would have fared just as well as Royce. Gracie is presented yet another novelty check, this one for $60,000. The check from UFC 1 was made out to “The Ultimate Fighter!!” which I’m guessing was difficult to cash. Luckily, this one is made out to Royce. Gracie declares that he will return to the octagon for future UFC competitions. Gracie makes a very transparent plea for better fighters to participate in UFC 3.
This event proves without a shadow of a doubt that Royce Gracie is the greatest mixed martial artist of his time. He’s won seven consecutive UFC fights in winning two different tournaments. Even with tougher opponents like Ken Shamrock and Pat Smith, Royce has barely been challenged and has had an easy time winning at these first events. It will be interesting to see the level of competition Royce will face in the next UFC events.
My rankings for the best fights and fighters this event are as follows. I have integrated these rankings with UFC 1 under the MMA Lists tab, so check out the comprehensive rankings for both UFC events to date.
Greatest Fights of UFC 2
- Royce Gracie vs. Minoki Ichihara
- Thaddeus Luster vs. Frank Hamaker
- Orlando Weit vs. Roberto Lucarelli
- Jason Delucia vs. Scott Baker
- Remco Pardoel vs. Orlando Weit
- Royce Gracie vs. Patrick Smith
- Patrick Smith vs. Scott Morris
- Johnny Rhodes vs. Fred Ettish
- Remco Pardoel vs. Alberto Cerro Leon
- Royce Gracie vs. Remco Pardoel
- Patrick Smith vs. Johnny Rhodes
- Royce Gracie vs. Jason Delucia
- Patrick Smith vs. Ray Wizard
- Scott Morris vs. Sean Daugherty
- Johnny Rhodes vs. David Levicki
Greatest Fighters of UFC 2
- Royce Gracie (4-0)
- Patrick Smith (3-1)
- Remco Pardoel (2-1)
- Johnny Rhodes (2-1)
- Orlando Weit (1-1)
- Jason Delucia (1-1)
- Frank Hamaker (1-0)
- Scott Baker (0-1)
- Scott Morris (1-1)
- Alberto Cerro Leon (0-1)
- Minoki Ichihara (0-1)
- Thaddeus Luster (0-1)
- Roberto Lucarelli (0-1)
- David Levicki (0-1)
- Fred Ettish (0-1)
- Ray Wizard (0-1)
- Sean Daugherty (0-1)