Sure, technical fights are great to watch but sometimes, you want something else. While seeing Jose Aldo or Demetrious Johnson work their magic on someone is exciting, every now and then you need a little Mark Hunt to spice things up. This category is that extra spice to the days of Old School MMA.
Zane and I chose our favorite brawls from the early SEG UFC events and have set them up here for you to decide on which was your favorite. A brawl does not have to be short and sweet either, as some of these fights last a minute and one goes as long as fifteen.
Here are the nominees for Best Brawl:
Kevin Rosier VS Zane Frazier - Historically speaking, this was the first brawl that the UFC ever saw, and the crowd in attendance loved it. Two kickboxing champs were set to meet in the opening round, one a pudgy out-of-shape journeyman from New York named Kevin Rosier, and the other in much better physical form from California, Zane Frazier. What the people watching at home and in the audience got was not a technical bout that you might expect from two kickboxers, but a wild slugfest that ended with both fighters getting completely winded and practically falling on each other while beating each others faces. The finish came when Frazier hit the canvas and Rosier began stomping on him until his corner threw in the towel. It's still uncomfortable to watch to this day, and if you have not seen it in awhile, give this one a watch.
Paul Varelans VS Cal Worsham - What happens when you put a "trap fighter" nicknamed "The Polar Bear" against a former Marine and Tae Kwon Do black belt in the octagon together? Pain. Lots and lots of pain. At UFC 6, Paul Varelans and Cal Worsham faced each other in the first round of the tournament, and even though their fight was only a minute long, it was a pure slugfest with both men aiming for a knockout. Worsham ended up on the losers circle at this event, being KO'ed via elbow, but both men would find themselves returning to the UFC many more times to the delight of fans who loved their in-your-face fighting styles.
Mark Hall VS Harold Howard - I don't know how Harold Howard keeps popping up on this list, but he seems to get around. When the Canadian Karate & JuJitsu fighter returned at UFC 7 after his performance at UFC 3, he looked to be in the best shape he had been in awhile, and was ready to fight. So was his opponent, Moo Yea Do fighter Mark Hall.
While Howard has had brawls with nearly every opponent he met in the cage, his one with Hall was OSMMA Review's favorite. Despite Howard having a 50 lb. weight advantage over Hall, it did not mean Hall was afraid to go head-to-head with the mulleted Canadian. This fight saw dirty boxing, hair pulling, rolling around on the floor like a bad mud-wrestling match, and plenty of ground and pound. Big John stopped the fight once Howard was unable to defend any more of the punches from Hall and was left a bloody mess. While it may not have been as fast-paced as his fight at UFC 3 against Roland Payne, this fight was much more hard-hitting and vicious than his other brawls had been.
Tank Abbott VS Scott Ferrozzo -The only brawl on this list to nearly go the distance, it's amazing it still qualifies as a brawl, but that's what it was. Scott Ferrozzo had wanted a piece of Tank Abbott from the minute he was signed to the promotion, but it did not look like he would get it. At UFC 11, Ferrozzo came in as an alternate and literally dreamed that he would fight Tank in the semi-finals. Luck was on his side, as Jerry Bohlander was forced to pull out and Ferrozzo was able to step in.
The fight went the duration of the 15-minute time limit, with the pair of enormous men wrestling and slugging across the cage. When they were not pounding each others faces, they were trash-talking each other, making for a very exciting fight that most thought would end fast. Ferrozzo won by decision, but was too fatigued to continue into the finals. It did not matter for him, though, as all he wanted to do was beat Tank Abbott, and he did in one of the best brawls (and maybe even an upset) from the history of early UFC.
Gary Goodridge VS John Campatella - Campatella was a one-and-done fighter in the UFC. The incredibly muscle-bound biology teacher from Staten Island, Campatella had little fighting experience outside of Kenpo Karate but looked like a million bucks. Meanwhile, Gary Goodridge had already earned a reputation as a hard-hitter who was capable of destroying you with his hands or elbows, but was coming off of a disappointing loss to Mark Schultz at UFC 9. No one expected the fight between these two to last long, but few also thought Campatella would actually put up a fight.
The two bulls collided, with Campatella successfully scoring a fireman's carry on Goodridge, the same move that Paul Herrera tried at UFC 8 that led to his demise. Campatella matched Goodridge's strength and had him on dire straits, but Gary was able to turn things around by slowing the pace and eventually got on top of the New Yorker and finished him off with mounted punches. Few men in that era could muscle Goodridge around a cage, let alone take him down, and Campatella put on a crazy show that had everyone wondering if Goodridge would come out the winner or not.
Thanks to June M. Williams for our Awards graphics.
Place your vote by writing in the comments, and let us know why you made your decision. Best answers will get read during our OSMMA Review Award Show episode!
"The OSMMA Review Awards, Volume 1" only represents UFC 1 through Ultimate Ultimate 1996, so remember that when placing your vote, as anything other than what was listed in the categories will be ignored, and the voter shall be promptly flogged. Stay constantly vigilant as more categories become announced, or take a peek at the stream to make sure you placed your vote in all twelve categories!