|Available at Amazon.com|
Being a professional wrestling fan for over two decades, it is a completely different ballpark when stepping into the realm of Ultimate Fighting. WWE has the traditional four-sided ring while TNA has gone a different route and has a six-sided ring. UFC has an eight-sided caged in The Octagon. These men fight with no scripts, no storylines, and absolutely no mercy. Some of them are pure brawlers. Others are submission specialists. Some are masters of the martial arts. No matter what their specialties may be, they step into that octagon for one reason and one reason only. Validation.
On November 17, 2007, a first-time event in the history of UFC would be taking place. The main event would consist of two participants that were not only undefeated, but had both won The Ultimate Fighter reality show. The series takes wannabe fighters who are looking to get into the sport of ultimate fighting and pits them through training and against each other to eliminate their opponents. Michael Bisping and Rashad Evans both won their respective seasons and have moved up the ranks to appear in the main event.
This wasn’t my first experience with UFC, but it is the first time I’ve seen an entire event from start to finish and I was incredibly impressed. For years the wrestlers have impressed me with how they risk their bodies in order to entertain the fans. Here the fighters are looking to entertain but also hoping to win and they get no help in doing so. Some of the shots are simply brutal and almost every submission makes me cringe as to how much pain I know they are inflicting on their opponents. Hands down, UFC is a seriously violent and exciting sport and Validation was a great way for me to see it all happen first hand and then some.
~ Tamdan McCrory Vs. Akihiro Gono – McCrory has a huge height and reach advantage here for our first battle and uses it to his advantage early on. Not much of an opener as it is rather slow, but this is Gono’s debut in UFC as he has come over from the PRIDE organization in Japan. Not a bad match, but rather slow at times.
~ Marcus Aurelio Vs. Luke Caudillo – Aurelio seems to be more of a grappler while Caudillo seems to be a big time striker. A few minutes into the match, Aurelio gets a nice takedown that is recovered quickly by Caudillo who then gets up and sticks his tongue out at his opponent. Nice. This was a much quicker paced and better match then the opener that got the crowd into it big time.
~ Joe Lauzon Vs. Jason Reinhardt – Our first match of the night involving two Americans, and Reinhardt has fifteen years on the younger Lauzon. This match goes to show you how good some of these UFC fighters can be because they come out swinging and it does not take long at all for it to be all over.
~ Thiago Alves Vs. Chris Lytle – A welterweight bout that has two fighters which are very similar in size and reach, but Lytle is nine years older. These two jump right into it with all guns blasting as it takes less then a minute for some blood to flow. You won’t see a bunch of grapples and takedowns here as both men are throwing punches and countless kicks to work down the body of their opponent. A horrible ending to this match though stops what was a damn fine fight.
~ Spencer Fisher Vs. Frank Edgar – Another fight that is pretty even except for Fisher being five years older. The crowd is into Edgar with huge chants of “Frankie” filling the arena. A lot of grappling takes the pace of this match down considerably, but Edgar keeps the fists flying as much as he can. This match is rather one-sided throughout as Edgar takes Fisher down time and time again, but he just can’t be put away.
~ Ed Herman Vs. Joe Doerksen – This is a rematch between these two with Doerksen having taken the first match. Herman takes advantage early with some nice strikes and has the upper-hand for most of the first round. Here is a match that also shows how quickly things can end in UFC as Doerksen takes a serious beating and keeps hanging in there and then all of a sudden the fight is over.
~ Karo Parisyan Vs. Ryo Chonan – Chonan is making his UFC debut here and the two fighters are rather evenly matched. The fight is very close and actually kind of slow at times, but still a brutal fight between both competitors.
~ Houston Alexander Vs. Thiago Silva – Maybe not the best fight of the night, but possibly my favorite. It is very quick and barely gets a chance to get going before it is over, but I loved every short second of it. Silva looks a bit smaller then Alexander who is put bluntly as “one intimidating looking dude.” Just watching someone pound mercilessly on another person gives me such a good feeling knowing I don’t have to take it.
~ Michael Bisping Vs. Rashad Evans – Neither guy is very big even though they are in the lightweight division. From a simple bystander standpoint, it looks as if Evans would just demolish Bisping, but the guy from England knows how to sue those feet big time. The fight was rather calm and very back and forth with each competitor seeming to take one of each of the first two rounds. They were very tired by the end of round three, but both guys gave everything they had throughout.
The event is shown in 16:9 Widescreen format and it looks really good, but it’s not like it did when it first aired either. Everything can be seen cleanly and the transfer to DVD is flawless.
The event is heard in Stereo Sound and it is also more then adequate. All the promos are done nicely, and the music and crowd noise can be heard at good levels.
New York City, Behind The Scenes – This is a thirty-one minute feature that takes a look at some of the fighters in their days leading up to the event and also right before their matches. It is a nice candid look at them touring New York City and checking out the sights. Michael Bisping even eats his pizza like me and dips the crust in ketchup. It’s cool then watching the fighters interact before the fights and watching them get pumped up before going out to the octagon. It is definitely worth checking out.
With this being the first ever full length UFC event I’ve seen, I was pleased. Some very good match-ups made for some awesome bouts which all lead into the main event that was just fantastic. It amazes me watching these men put their bodies on the line and just get totally pummeled but be able to come back or even just stand up for the decision at the end of the fight. Some great lightweight and welterweight matches make up this card, and they deliver hits just as hard as the big boys in the heavyweight division do. The special features are very limited considering there is only one, but it’s a good one. I mean, how much else can you really expect from this DVD except the fights anyway? Perhaps fans would recommend other DVDs that have better fights and such, but I’d recommend this one too. It is an enjoyable and very thrilling ride so be sure to check out all the ultimate fighting you can.
First Look presents UFC 78 – Validation. Featuring: Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans, Houston Alexander, Thiago Silva, Karo Parisyan, Ryo Chonan, and many more. Running time: 170 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: February 26, 2008. Available at Amazon.com