"Vendetta is Betta"
With the UFC having it's forth show in Las Vegas Nevada, they were ready to roll the dice by bringing one of the biggest names in the sport of MMA back to the Octagon for another kick at the can. Taking the gamble of spending the big bucks to get the big names back into the fold of the UFC was an argument argued many times over and they took a page out of their history book to so.
"Vendetta is Betta"
With the UFC having its forth show in Las Vegas Nevada, they were ready to roll the dice by bringing one of the biggest names in the sport of MMA back to the Octagon for another kick at the can. Taking the gamble of spending the big bucks to get the big names back into the fold of the UFC was an argument argued many times over and they took a page out of their history book to so. The leader of the world famous Lions Den was ready to take center stage once again and fight to reclaim what he had fought so long and hard for, respect from the toughest young Lion of them all, Tito Ortiz. The weight of the world was on the shoulders of this show and a slip up here could have meant the beginning of the end for the organization that had worked so hard and so long to bring the formerly dying UFC, back into the realm of the living. Every thing that could be done had been done, they had done their homework, spent the money, and painstakingly reviewed and re-reviewed the match-ups that would round out the card. All that was left, was for the fighters on the card to fight, and fight they did.
Fight 1 - Phillip Miller Vs Mark Weir
In the opening bout of the most important event in the history of the UFC, Phillip Miller and Mark Weir went to war. In the pre fight interview, Miller confidently predicted that " it wouldnt be a matter of if he would win, but when". Weir would have something to say about that and an early triangle attempt by Weir would visibly tire Miller, Weir was very active from the guard not content to simply wait to counter, he punched effectively from his back with his long arms and forced the issue with Phillip Miller at all times. It was only after a struggle that Miller would be able to escape the potentially deadly Triangle Choke by slamming him and going from there to the Full mount. Weir was better then advertised on the ground as he was able to escape the full mount against the accomplished wrestling skills of Miller on several occasions. After a stand up Weir was able to assert his formidable stand up skills and drove his left shin into Millers Chin not only dropping him but turning him over in the air! Weir was able to jump into the mount position and drive his fists into Millers face and chin hard but was unable to finish. Miller would eventually do as he promised to do and wore Weir down in the second round and after taking the mount he took Weirs back and sunk his forearms into Wiers neck forcing the tapout. Miller taints Weirs formerly undefeated record in an exciting first match of the night. This back and forth affair was the fight of the night for many fans and another reason that the fans should not miss the opportunity to watch the preliminary fights when they get the chance. Miller wins at 4:50 of the second round via Rear Naked Choke.
Fight 2 - Vladamir Matyushenko Vs Travis Wiuff
Wiuff would be stepping into the Octagon for the first time in his career on short notice for the injured Frank Mir. Matyushenko on the onther hand was stepping in for the third time and looked calm and collected upon entering the Octagon. Wiuffs big weight advantage was evident from the get go, but he would be unable to assert his size and The Janitor wouldbe the one to stuff his takedowns on the night and the rest of the night, doing what Janitors do best, clean up. Wiuffs size advantage was nullified by the swift sprawls of Matyushenko and Wiuffs inability to defend well from the fetal position where he spent much of his time. Matyushenko would be able to swivel from side to side against the defenseless Wiuff dropping hard shots to either side of his head at will. With the exception of stuffing a suplex attempt by the Janitor and escaping the mount there ws little to be happy about for Wiuff and he had no choince but to tap out. Matyushenko wins via Tapout at 4:10 of round one.
Fight 3 - Ian Freeman Vs Andrei Arlovski
In another first round stoppage, Ian the Machine Freeman was not able to duplicate his impressive effort against Mir a second time against the Wily Russian from Belarus. Arlovskys long reach advantage and pin point leg kicks would be the difference on the night as he used his leg kicks to set up the right left punch combinations that would dismantle the Machine before the night was out. Freeman would not have the answers for the Arlovski as he got knocked down first, then tripped by a leg kick and then dropped by the leg kick to punch combo that would unplug "The Machine". Arlovski wins via K.O at 1:25 of the first round.
Pay Per View
Fight 4 - Robbie Lawler Vs Tiki Ghosen
Tiki was aggressive from the get go doing as he promised and moving forward. Lawler was uncharacteristically patient to start the fight and ate a couple solid leg kicks while he backpedaled, but it would not be long before Lawler showed the crowd why he is considered by many to be the next big thing in the new UFC. He drove a looping right hand that looked like it hit Tiki in the temple and with that, it was the end for the tough stand up fighter from Team Punishment. Tiki was knocked out cold by the shot but Lawler drove one more hard right hand into Tikis face that cut his face open in two spots above and below his left eye, and sent the ref diving in to tackle lawler and protect the unconscious Tiki. Lawler wins via K.O at 1:29 of round 1.
Fight 5 - Carlos Newton Vs Pete Spratt
Pete Spratt was coming off an impressive win against the tough Wrestler Zach Light but he would be stepping into the Octagon against his toughest competition to date, the very slick moving Carlos Newton. Carlos knew what he had to do to win, and he would not wait long to do it. Afer checking a leg kick from Spratt he plunged in and took both Spratts legs from under him. Newton went straight to side control and took his time working his magic till the opportunity arose, the Kimura materialized out of nowwhere and forced the tap from Pete Spratt. Newton wins via tapout at 1:29 of the first round.
Fight 6 - Matt Hughes Vs Gil Castillo
Gil Castillo had his second title fight in three tries in the Octagon and whether he deserved the two title shots or not, the 37 year old Cesar Gracie student. would try not to let his opportunities pass him by. He needed to bring everything he had as Hughes was coming off two of the most impressive wins of his career taking out the top two guys in the division, Hayato Sakurai and Carlos Newton with relative ease. The heavy favorite from Iowa would do little to undermine the heavy betting line that was in his favor and controlled every aspect of the fight from front to back surprisingly including the boxing exchange. Hughes looked like he wanted to test his stand up in the fight and attempted the first kick that I have ever seen Matt Hughes throw. He worked the boxing as well looking steady and workmanlike on his feet, his wrestling dictated where the fight took place and after his brief stand up he laid the Ground and pound beating on Gil that every one expected to see. At one point Hughes stood up out of the guard and lunged in accidentally head Butting Gils eye, after the round ended he complained of the head butt, saying that he couldnt see out of one eye, that was all the referee needed to hear and he stopped the fight. After the fight was over a talk with Gil confirmed the head butt but he claims he told them about it expecting a five minute injury time to recover from the head Butt, instead the Ref stopped the contest and Gil looked disgusted at the decision. Matt Hughes wins as the Ref stops the fight at the end of round 1.
Fight 7 - Chuck The "Iceman" Liddell Vs Renato "Babalu" Sobral
Liddell is considered to be the true champion of the Light Heavyweight division by many fans of the game and he proved it once again by easily dispatching of a very tough competitor Renato Babalu Sobral. He again showed off the skills that he wants to show off to Tito Ortiz and ended Babalus night early in round one. A takedown attempt by Babalu was stuffed in characteristic Iceman style and he pounded his hands into Babalus face as he retreated back out of range of the kickboxing skills of Liddell. That would be the closest he got to Chuck as the next time he came inside Chuck had a devastating shin waiting just for him. The shin would send him reeling onto the mat and the requisite follow-up of punches would be all she wrote. Liddell wins at 2:59 of the first round via K.O
Main Event - Ken Shamrock Vs Tito Ortiz
Regardless of how good the preliminary fights and the "other" fights on the card were, if the highly touted main event failed to deliver, the card would be deemed a failure by the fans. Many fans and media types were quietly whispering that the main event had the markings of a boring match-up with both fighters wanting to win so badly that they would fight not to lose, instead of to win. The ghost of Ken Shamrock Vs Dan Severn II loomed in the shadows of the Octagon. Tito and Ken would prove everyone wrong and looked like ghostbusters exterminating the ghosts of Ken and Tito past, showing heart and determination when weakness and timidity were easier to be found. Early in the fight they exchanged blows and contrary to what many people believed Tito did well in the boxing exchanges clipping Ken several times and timing the punches to find his way into the clinch. In the Clinch Tito was too strong for Shamrock and he punished the ribs and face of Shamrock with very strong knees that found their mark early and often. Shamrock rocked Tito at one point with a very solid punch in round one that Tito himself later said stunned him but it was not enough. Shamrock could not finish him, and that would be the last and only opportunity he had to win the fight. The rest of the fight was more of the same as Tito came at Ken hard punishing him relentlessly with hard takedowns, knees from the clinch, and devastating punches and elbows from the guard. At the end of round three Shamrock was unable to continue and Ortiz took home the status that Shamrock once owned. Ortiz wins at the end of round 3 due to exhaustion.
A Look Back
Looking back at the show that was, UFC 40 was a gamble on many levels, and any number of things could have gone wrong. Tito or Ken could have got injured, the fans could have been unresponsive, The pyro could have gone haywire or worst of all, the fighters themselves could have left their fighting hearts at home. In the end the UFC hit the jackpot and by all accounts the show could not have gone any smoother. In fact the Event was almost full for the Preliminary fight, something that is an abnormality for the UFC, it is typical of the fans to show up as the three preliminary fights are long over and the PPV show is just under way.
The nightmares of match maker Joe Silva were for naught and in the end, after the never ending criticism he had shouldered from the media and the fans, he could now look the critics straight in the eye and wiggle his tongue. The worst thing that happened on the night was the mysterious no show by the hard rock metal rapper, Fred Durst, and it could be debated whether it was a blessing in disguise that he didnt make it. The UFC brass also had a surprise up their sleeves that shocked the media, the fans at the event and the Pay Per View audience by making the old new again and reintroducing one of the most popular figures in the history of the UFC back into the fold. David Abbot, better known as the "Tank" was back for round 2. Would he still be able to compete with the new breed of UFC warriors? Or would the showing of Ken Shamrock be a vision of things to come for the original "Shock Jock" of MMA. Whether or not he is still able to compete with the new and improved fighters of the UFC is still up in the air, but the UFC is willing to bet the fans will be willing to pay to find out. The greatest UFC in the history of the event has now come and gone. The polar opposite of the infamous UFC 33, had ever so entertainingly pounded its way into the minds of the fans of the UFC around the world. What do they do for an encore? Only the UFC knows for sure, but whatever fights they have lined up for us for us in the future, for the first time in a long
.. time, I have a feeling the UFC will have no problem if the event is going to "TANK".