**This is the sixth post in a lengthy series lifted from my MMA blog. Be sure to check Fight Rankings for more in this series, which includes cumulative fight and fighter rankings from the first six UFC events.**
The sixth UFC event marks a bit of a shift in the promotion. The UFC was once a vehicle for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Royce Gracie, but Gracie is now gone from the UFC. UFC 5 was one of the poorer events to date. Dan Severn won the fifth tournament to some fanfare, but the botched Superfight between Gracie and Ken Shamrock left a bad taste in the mouths of fans.
The UFC has to come back strong with this event after a lackluster UFC 5. We'll see the return of the Superfight, now pitting Ken Shamrock against Dan Severn. The tournament will feature familiar fighters such as Oleg Taktarov, Dave Beneteau, and the returning Patrick Smith. From the tournament, a surprising fighter will almost instantly rival the popularity of Royce Gracie in a single fight. We go from a world-class BJJ practitioner to a bearded bully who taunts his victims, as Tank Abbott will be making his UFC debut. The face of the UFC is changing, so this should be quite the interesting event.
UFC 6: Clash of the Titans – July 14, 1995
The UFC has returned, now making its debut in...Casper, Wyoming? I'm not sure why Casper is the next destination for the UFC, but I'm sure there are a number of Wyoming residents who will completely eat this stuff up. It looks like a nice turnout in the Casper Events Center as Bruce Beck greets us once again to "the only real martial arts competition in the world."
Jeff Blatnick is back and he's here to show us how fence locks work! Actually, he's just trying to tell us how dangerous the octagon can be, using the outer fence latch to somehow illustrate this point. Jim Brown is back for his sixth consecutive event, but his awesome African style hat from the previous events is gone. Man, I don't know that I can handle all of these changes.
This bracket might be one of my favorites so far. Tank, Cal Worsham, Pat Smith, Dave Beneteau, and Oleg Taktarov make for one of the more notable UFC tournaments. Combine this tournament with the Superfight between Severn and Shamrock and we have a pretty fun card. Believe it or not, two active fighters from this event will be fighting each other tonight - in 2011! Dan Severn will take on Cal Worsham on February 20, 2011 for the Gladiator Challenge promotion. It's pretty crazy that both of these guys are still going, and even crazier that Dan Severn is nearing 100 MMA wins.
Anyway, back we go to 1995. As usual, there were a couple of preliminary fights prior to the tournament. We're only shown highlights, so the fights will not be included on the fight rankings. The fighters will individually be ranked based on the highlights and results. Joel Sutton defeated Jack McGlaughlin in what appeared to be a very ugly fight, but neither man will advance! Both men were apparently too injured to continue on, so Guy Mezger will be a reserve fighter. Anthony Macias defeated He-Man Gipson in the second preliminary fight. Yes, that's right - the gentleman's name is He-Man, and I'm very disappointed that he did not win.
This event will be the first to feature a rule change that is still in effect today. The referee has been granted the power to restart fighters if they've been inactive for an extended period of time. This would have come in handy for the last UFC Superfight, but it's good to know that we can never, ever be subjected to a fight like Gracie vs. Shamrock. Thank goodness for that.
The first fight of the night should be an interesting one, as Tank Abbott will fight John Matua. Tank declares that he will be the most athletic fighter in UFC history, but he looks more like a wall than an athlete. Tank is very thick and is, frankly, a frightening looking man. John Matua is a rather big guy himself, listed at 6'2" and 400 lbs. I'm not sure about that 400 lbs. number, as he looks closer to maybe 300 or 350. Hey, it could just be that black is a slimming color. Matua is also said to be a cousin of Akebono, the legendary Japanese sumo star.
Tonight also marks the first appearance in the UFC for a Buffer doing ring announcing - but it's Michael Buffer! I'm thinking that we'll be seeing his half-brother Bruce very soon, but it's nice to see the original Buffer make an Octagon appearance. It's amazing how the crowd reacts to Michael Buffer, as if he's presenting them all with gifts of cars and cash. I love Bruce Buffer and I think he adds so much to the UFC, but I'll be damned if there's a better fight announcer than Michael Buffer. I just have to learn how forgive him for once botching Bret "Hitman" Hart's last name during an introduction.
So now I'm appropriately pumped up to see Tank's UFC debut and he absolutely does not disappoint. Tank is an absolute monster, using every second of this fight to throw massive shots to a stumbling Matua. The fight ends when Abbott, holding on to Matua's T-shirt, throws some killer right hands that knock Matua out cold. Matua is clearly concussed as his limbs stiffen up when he hits the mat.
"Big" John McCarthy wrestles Abbott off of his downed opponent and this fight is done. Tank proceeds to mock his downed opponent by pretending to have a seizure - classy move. The fight is all of 18 seconds, so feel free to check it out. Tank has definitely made a statement in this first fight, the statement likely being "I will punch you very hard". Tank Abbott has managed to completely win over this Wyoming crowd in a matter of 20 seconds.
Tank declares in his post-fight interview that his punching is just one dimension of his game and is the least impressive dimension of his abilities. In retrospect, I'd like to ask Tank what in the hell he's talking about. I don't know that Tank ever did anything more than punch. We're also treated to an interview with "Big" John, who explains some of the difficulties in refereeing fights like this. McCarthy confirms that the safety of the fighters is his number one priority in what I thought was fairly interesting. I'd love to hear more from referees like Josh Rosenthal and Herb Dean, but something tells me I'm the only one.
Cal Worsham will fight Paul Varelans in the second quarterfinal fight. Worsham confirms that he is here to "party in the octagon", so I worry that the goal of the Ultimate Fighting Championship wasn't appropriately described to him. Paul Varelans, who would later capitalize on his UFC notoriety by wrestling ECW's Taz, is massive. The guy is 6'8" and around 300 lbs., so he has a definite size advantage. He is also a scary looking man.
Worsham attempts some quick offense and throws some wild punches at Varelans. Worsham has his opponent by the shirt and is throwing punches and knees that appear to some damage. Varelans' offense is far less effective, as his wild swings are very off the mark. Worsham attempts a takedown, which appears to have been pointless given Varelans' size. Worsham might be tired, as now he appears to be covering up. Varelans throws a single elbow to the back of Worsham's head and effectively ends this fight. Cal Worsham gave great effort, but in the end, he was fighting a giant.
Jeff Blatnick interviews Varelans, who declares that he's not sure about what his strategy will be against Tank Abbott. Given how much offense Worsham was able to mount against Varelans, his strategy might be hit the mat and count the lights. I guess we'll have to wait and see about that.
The third quarterfinal match features the return of Patrick Smith as he takes on Rudyard Moncayo. Moncayo tells us, in perfect English no less, that the entire country of Ecuador is pulling for him. Did Ecuador even have pay-per-view in 1995? Is that question offensive? I'm guessing it's "yes" on both counts. Pat Smith's highlight video consists of him doing somersaults in a poorly lit outdoor scene. Smith appears to have aged about 15 years since his last UFC event. His head is completely shaved and he's wearing an ill-advised white singlet - not a good look. Smith barely resembles the fighter we saw at the first two UFC events.
The fight begins and Smith throws this lunging push kick that absolutely puts Moncayo on his ass. Smith grabs Moncayo's head and appears to be working a guillotine choke. Smith throws some elbows and punches to the back of Moncayo's head. Moncayo works to pull away from Smith, who ends up taking this fight to the ground and pulling full mount. Moncayo gives up his back and Smith sinks in a rear naked choke for the win.
Smith looked pretty good in this fight and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the tournament goes for him. Dave Beneteau or Oleg Taktarov would both be tough opponents. Pat Smith breathlessly recounts the fight, talking about striking the "nerves" of Moncayo. Smith doesn't appear to be answering Jeff Blatnick's questions and is more tired than he probably should be after a fight like that. Regardless, Smith moves on to the semifinals.
The last quarterfinal match will be between previous UFC competitors Oleg Taktarov and Dave Beneteau. Taktarov is doing without the gi in this event after having worn one in the previous UFC event. Beneteau has a nearly fifty pound weight advantage over Taktarov, so it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out.
We have another celebrity sighting, as David Hasselhoff is shown prior to this fourth quarterfinal match. It's nice to see "The Hoff" taking in some UFC action, though I wonder what the hell he's doing in Casper, Wyoming. Is that where they used to film Baywatch? Does Wyoming have a very large German population? This is strange to me, and though we're told that we'll get an interview with Hasselhoff later in the night, it never comes. I guess we'll never know what he was doing in Wyoming after all.
Beneteau starts the fight with a quick takedown and ends up in Taktarov's guard. Beneteau has Taktarov up against the cage, but Oleg works back to his feet. Beneteau throws some heavy punches and Oleg looks to be in trouble. Taktarov tries a desperation takedown which Beneteau attempts to reverse, but Taktarov somehow manages to get a hold of Beneteau's head. Beneteau quickly taps out to the guillotine choke in a surprising turn of events. Taktarov weathered an early storm for a submission victory and will move on to the semifinals.
In his post-fight interview, Oleg struggles with his English badly. Jeff Blatnick somehow doesn't pick up on this and continues to ask questions. In the end, Taktarov simply states "I can do anything." After winning that last fight, I'm somewhat inclined to believe him.
Tank Abbott will now fight Paul Varelans in the first semifinal fight. I'm somewhat surprised that Varelans is out here, since he took a significant amount of damage against Cal Worsham. Given the two participants, I fear that we're going to see somebody die in this fight. It could come from an errant strike or exhaustion, but there could be a UFC death here.
Today, this would be considered a super heavyweight fight with Tank at 280 lbs. and Varelans at 300 lbs. Varelans tries a quick kick, but is punched by Abbott and shoved against the cage. Tank secures a quick single leg and I'm stunned! He actually scored a takedown and is now pressing all of his weight on Varelans' chest and head. Varelans tries to throw some strikes but does little damage. Tank starts to throw some ground and pound punches to Varelans' head and body, which appear to be effective.
Varelans tries to grab Tank's head for a potential choke, but Tank escapes and throws some more hard shots. Abbott manages to press his knee against Varelans' head, shoving him against the cage. Tank continues throwing punches at his largely defenseless opponent and Big John calls a stop to the fight. Varelans is pissed about it but I think that's a good call. Varelans was doing little to keep himself from being pounded and his face looked awful after the fight.
I really miss Tank Abbott since I don't think anyone gives a better interview in MMA than him. Tank said that he wanted to "tickle [Varelans'] brain" and that he couldn't watch the video of his victory since it was making him "sexually aroused". Tank says that the finals will be a "skill match" where he can display more of his skills, so this should be interesting. Jim Brown is stunned by Tank Abbott, saying that he's never seen anyone who could "talk the talk and back it up 100%". He also calls Abbott "evil", and it really seems like the UFC has a new superstar on their hands.
There's a delay before the second semifinal match, since Patrick Smith apparently has stomach cramps. The stomach cramps are bad enough to cause Patrick Smith to withdraw from the tournament, meaning Anthony Macias will fight Oleg Taktarov. Macias has apparently been working Taktarov's corner...which is odd. I guess this is a good opportunity for Macias, who we last saw get destroyed by Dan Severn at UFC 4. Friendship be damned, nothing will stop Anthony Macias from getting his novelty check from the UFC.
The fight begins, and within a matter of second, Taktarov scores a guillotine victory. Macias attempted a takedown but quickly had his head grabbed and was submitted by Taktarov. Now, lets breakdown this fight. Macias and Taktarov have the same trainer, who happened to choose Taktarov's corner. Macias tried to take down an opponent who is twenty pounds heavier with superb grappling, which he should know from training with the Russian. I'm not going to say this fight was fixed, but it doesn't seem 100% legitimate. The announcers speculate that perhaps this fight was not exactly fair.
The look on Oleg's face is not the look of a winner. It's the look of a man scared of being deported from America because he won a fixed fight. He is glaring at Macias after that victory and something doesn't look right. My guess is that Macias and their trainer assured Taktarov that this would be a legitimate fight. Macias tries for a crappy takedown and Taktarov wisely grabs his head. As they roll to the ground, Macias quickly taps despite no significant pressure being applied. Oleg knows he's not doing a lot of damage, so he knows that the tap was premeditated. Of course, it could just be that Macias sucks and Oleg feels bad for him. No matter, Taktarov will move on to fight Tank Abbott in the finals.
Apparently, there was an internet survey to determine who fans think will win the Superfight with Severn taking 55% of the vote. I'm stunned that the internet was utilized in concert with this pay-per-view event. 1995 was still when the internet was in an infancy, so I'm guessing maybe 40-50 people actually voted in this poll. We're also introduced to Marco Ruas, who will debut in the UFC at the very next event. It looks like they're posturing to get another Brazilian star, so we'll have to see how fares at UFC 7.
Now it's time for the Superfight between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn. I don't see this fight being anything like the last Superfight, as Severn and Shamrock are going to look to end this fight. Severn is such a mild-mannered guy and he honestly doesn't seem very comfortable talking. I worry about him having an aneurysm during one of these pre-taped interviews. The UFC should have forgotten about these interviews with Dan Severn. Just let him go out to the octagon and quietly throw guys around.
Anyway, it seems like Severn is very popular with the Wyoming crowd. I'm not sure that this will phase Shamrock, since he's enough of a sociopath to do damage regardless of public opinion. The crowd absolutely loses it when Michael Buffer asks that we get ready to rumble. Some may consider it hokey, but "let's get ready to rumble" is a really awesome catch phrase. You have to get goosebumps when you hear Buffer shout that out. We see the tale of the tape, with the notable number being the 55 pound weight advantage held by Severn.
The fight begins with Shamrock attempting a takedown to no avail. Severn hits a nice sprawl and both men are back on their feet. Severn is quick to grab a hold of Shamrock, unsurprising giving his wrestling background. His Greco Roman wrestling will especially be useful in the above position, as that style of wrestling is very throw-heavy. Severn goes to grab Shamrock's arms, but Shamrock throws a quick knee. Severn backs off, as he wants no part of Shamrock's striking.
Shamrock goes for some palm strikes, but Severn grasps Shamrock yet again. Shamrock tries a takedown and Severn attempts to reverse that with a cradle, but to no avail. Shamrock tries for a guillotine that proves to be unsuccessful and both me work back to their feet. Severn forces Shamrock against the cage, but Shamrock is able to sink in another guillotine. Severn won't escape this one as he's forced to tap out. That was a very competitive match, though Shamrock appeared to be in control for the majority. Shamrock confirms in the postfight interview that he knew Severn would leave his head open for the choke, so this win wasn't a shock to him. With that victory, Shamrock becomes the very first UFC Superfight Champion.
And from here, we move on to the tournament finals with Oleg Taktarov and Tank Abbott. This should be a very interesting styles clash, given Abbott's destructive punches and Taktarov's grappling ability. In a very rare treat, we get a second "let's get ready to rumble" from Michael Buffer. However, this time he changes it up and tells us to get ready for the ultimate rumble. That just goes to show you how versatile of an announcer Michael Buffer was. It's very important that, as a public speaker, you can say the right words for the right situation. Incredible work.
The crowd is very behind Tank Abbott, but they've not been very good at picking winners tonight. Taktarov goes for a takedown, but Tank manages to reverse position and lets Taktarov back to his feet. Tank is throwing wildly and Taktarov is extremely uncomfortable. Oleg doesn't look happy to exchange with Tank and he tries to hold onto Tank, who is just too strong. Tank keeps throwing but Oleg is able to avoid getting put on his back. Abbott appears to be tiring very quickly and Oleg tries to sink in a guillotine. Taktarov brings Tank to the mat, but Tank is able to escape the choke.
Tank looks absolutely gassed as he seems perfectly content to lay on top of Taktarov while in his guard. Big John warns both fighters to be active or he'll restart the fight. Abbott looks out of it, as none of his strikes have anything behind them. Tank postures up for no real reason, throwing maybe one punch while on top of Taktarov. Oleg attempts some punches of his own, but Tank is keeping his head down and doesn't seem to be an easy target at this point. Oleg attempts a triangle choke, but Abbott stands out of it and moves back to Taktarov's guard.
Taktarov tries an unsuccessful armbar, but Tank stands out of it and now both men are back to their feet. They exchange a bit and it's very obvious that Tank has very little left in him. Oleg is able to throw some unanswered shots, which shouldn't be possible against such an aggressive puncher. Taktarov works for a takedown, but Abbott shoves him back to the mat and ends up in Oleg's guard yet again. Taktarov continues to work for submissions, but Tank is able to do just enough to escape.
At certain points, Tank seems like he's ready to take a nap on top of Taktarov. There have been some gassed fighters in the UFC, but I think few have been more tired than Tank Abbott during this fight. He was exhausted after 90 seconds, and with no break for rounds, there's not a lot left that Tank can do. Taktarov isn't a lot better off, but he's at least making an effort to do some damage and end the fight. Abbott seems to catch a second wind and throws some punches from the top, but it's a short burst that doesn't do any significant damage.
Tank is working to put more weight on Taktarov, leaning his forearm against his opponent's throat. Tank continues to posture up, but again, does very little. Tank is pulling out all of the tricks, fish-hooking Oleg's mouth and gouging and pulling at his ears. Tank postures up with one hand across Taktarov's throat and throws some big left hands, but instantly slumps back down. Big John has had enough and restarts the fighters on their feet.
Tank throws some punches right away and backs Taktarov against the cage. Oleg goes for a takedown causing Tank to drop to his knees, which then allows Taktarov to sink in a guillotine choke. They drop down to the mat, but Tank slips out of the hold. Abbott is on all fours and is completely winded, which allows Taktarov to pull off a rear naked choke for the win. Almost 18 minutes into the fight, Taktarov becomes the sixth UFC tournament champion.
Both men are completely exhausted, which is exacerbated by the high altitudes of Wyoming. Taktarov looks more like the loser of the fight, laying on the mat with an oxygen mask while Tank is up and walking. Though this wasn't a technical masterpiece, this was a great fight by early UFC standards. It doesn't help that both men were sucking air about six or seven minutes into the fight, but both fighters worked to the greatest extent that their bodies would allow. Tank Abbott and Oleg Taktarov were a complete styles clash, and in the end, it was Taktarov's grappling and superior conditioning (superior to Tank Abbott doesn't say a whole lot) that got him the win.
UFC 6 was a great event and did a good job of allowing fans to forget about the UFC 5 disaster. We had an exciting Superfight between Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie, while Tank Abbott and Oleg Taktarov have emerged as bona fide stars (though for very different reasons.) This event sets up a Superfight for UFC 7 between Oleg Taktarov and reigning Superfight Champion Ken Shamrock. The UFC 7 tournament will also feature some very familiar faces, including the return of one of the legendary faces of the early UFC's. I'll just say this: if you'll be coming on to read the post for UFC 7...then come on!!
Greatest Fights of UFC 6
- Oleg Taktarov vs. Tank Abbott
- Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn
- Oleg Taktarov vs. Dave Beneteau
- Paul Varelans vs. Cal Worsham
- Tank Abbott vs. Paul Varelans
- Patrick Smith vs. Rudyard Mancayo
- Tank Abbott vs. John Matua
- Oleg Taktarov vs. Anthony Macias
Top Ten Fights Through UFC 6
- Royce Gracie vs. Kimo Leopoldo - UFC 3
- Royce Gracie vs. Dan Severn - UFC 4
- Royce Gracie vs. Keith Hackney - UFC 4
- Oleg Taktarov vs. Tank Abbott - UFC 6
- Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock - UFC 1
- Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn - UFC 6
- Ken Shamrock vs. Christophe Leininger - UFC 3
- Ken Shamrock vs. Patrick Smith - UFC 1
- Dan Severn vs. Oleg Taktarov - UFC 5
- Kevin Rosier vs. Zane Frasier - UFC 1
Greatest Fighters of UFC 6
- Oleg Taktarov (3-0)
- Ken Shamrock (1-0)
- Tank Abbott (2-1)
- Patrick Smith (1-0)
- Dave Beneteau (0-1)
- Dan Severn (0-1)
- Paul Varelans (1-1)
- Joel Sutton (1-0)
- Anthony Macias (1-1)
- Cal Worsham (0-1)
- He-Man Gipson (0-1)
- Jack McGlaughlin (0-1)
- Rudyard Mancayo (0-1)
- John Matua (0-1)
Top Ten Fighters Through UFC 6
- Royce Gracie (11-1-1)
- Ken Shamrock (4-1-1)
- Dan Severn (5-2)
- Oleg Taktarov (4-1)
- Patrick Smith (4-2)
- Tank Abbott (2-1)
- Keith Hackney (2-1)
- Steve Jennum (2-0)
- Gerard Gordeau (2-1)
- Dave Beneteau (2-2)