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UFC 12

The UFC is back with its first event of 1997, UFC 12.  As I mentioned at the conclusion of the Ultimate Ultimate ’96, this looks like it will be a year of serious changes for the UFC.  Weight classes have been introduced and we will have two different four man tournaments.  We’ll also see a number of new fighters in this tournament with only two returning tournament participants.

Some things haven’t changed, including government pressure on the UFC.  Prior to UFC 12, United States Senator John McCain ramped up his efforts to have the UFC shut down by sending letters to each of the 50 U.S. governors asking them not to hold UFC events in their state.  This event was originally scheduled to be held in New York, but state legislators voted to ban mixed martial arts effective February 7, 1997, which happened to be the date of UFC 12.  This change forced the UFC to find a new location for the event at the last minute.

I won’t spend too much time going over the background, but Dave Meltzer wrote a really great piece about the event (spoilers within).  It’s awful to read about the state of MMA 14 years ago, but it’s true that the sport needed to make some changes to crossover from full blown freak show to legitimate sport.

It’s not all negative for UFC 12, since we’ll see Dan Severn return to defend his Superfight crown.  We already know that Don Frye won’t be the opponent and there’s only one logical choice to challenge Severn: Mark “The Hammer” Coleman.  Coleman has won all five of his UFC fights, including a victory over Frye in the UFC 10 finals.  The fight between Severn and Coleman will actually merge Severn’s Superfight Title with the new UFC Heavyweight Title with the winner becoming the inaugural champion.

It still remains to be seen if everything at this event will go smoothly given the last minute changes, but let’s cross our fingers and move on to the event.

UFC 12: Judgement Day – February 7, 1997

Previous Editions

It looks like the UFC had to make last minute changes to their opening montage, given numerous references to Niagara Falls in New York.  In a voice over, Bruce Beck says that this event is mired in a “torrent of controversy that runs deeper than Niagara Falls.”  The UFC is now in Dothan, Alabama, a city once considered the “Peanut Capital of the World.”  How exciting!!

Beck hypes the Superfight between Severn and Coleman and actually clarifies the new weight classes.  Heavyweights are fighters 200 pounds or over and light heavyweights are 199 pounds or less.  Jeff Blatnick calls the different weight classes “a great move for the UFC”, but doesn’t specifically say it’s great because the UFC might cease to exist without this new format.

The lightweight tournament features the returning Jerry Bohlander against Rainy Martinez, a wrestler with boxing and kickboxing experience.  Pancrase veteran Toshiki Takahashi will face Wallid Ismail, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with Vale Tudo experience.

We also have a single fighter returning in the heavyweight division in Scott Ferrozzo.  He’ll take on kickboxing champion Jerry Mullen.  The other two heavyweight newcomers are familiar names to many MMA fans: Vitor Belfort and Tra Telligman.  It’s exciting to see Vitor making his debut with the UFC, but we’ll have to wait and see how he fares in this tournament.

Here’s another UFC mainstay making his debut with the promotion: star of Newsradio and tae kwon do black belt Joe Rogan.  Joe will be doing interviews with fighters and he’ll preview fights later in the night.  Joe looks so young!  He also appears to be wearing an earring in his left ear, not a good look.

I thought that Ken Shamrock had already moved on to the WWE, but it seems that he’ll be joining the announcing team for the night.  He predicts that Dan Severn will be successful in the Superfight against Mark Coleman, but either way, that should be a good fight.

There were two unaired preliminary fights that occurred earlier in the evening, both lasting less than one minute.  Nick Sanzo defeated Jackie Lee by TKO in an alternate bout for the lightweight tournament.  Justin Martin submitted Eric Martin with a heel hook in 14 seconds, becoming the heavyweight tournament alternate.

Jerry Bohlander vs. Rainy Martinez will be the first light heavyweight fight of the evening.  Martinez expresses his comfort in utilizing a number of different styles, saying he would be willing to stand and strike or bring a fight to the mat.  Martinez was an Arizona state wrestling champion and is undefeated as an amateur kickboxer, so it seems like Martinez is a pretty capable fighter.

Jerry Bohlander, fighting out of the Lion’s Den, has had success in the UFC going 2-1 in his previous fights.  Bohlander will clearly have a preference to bring this fight to the ground as he’s quite an adept submission practitioner  It will be interesting to see if Martinez has the skills to keep up with Bohlander’s submissions.

Manny Garcia is back announcing fights for the evening.  He has a pretty tough go of it, pronouncing Severn as “Severns.”  He also spends way, way too long describing the tournament format to a silenced crowd.  They’re either paying really good attention or falling asleep.

“Big” John McCarthy starts the fight and we’re under way.  Bohlander starts the fight with some leg kicks and then shoots for a takedown.  Martinez tries to defend the takedown, but Bohlander successfully pushes forward and moves into side control.  Martinez tries to hold onto his opponent’s head, but Bohlander continues to push forward while looking for a submission.

Martinez uses a nice looking bridge to roll Bohlander and reverse positions.  With both fighters on all fours, Bohlander quickly pushes forward and backs Martinez against the fence.  Martinez gives up his back while defending, but Bohlander takes advantage of Martinez’s mistake by sinking in a rear naked choke.  Martinez quickly taps out giving Bohlander a quick submission victory.

So I guess Don Frye is in Rainy Martinez’ corner, surprising since Frye was originally going to take on Severn in the Superfight.  This doesn’t look like the Don Frye I know, as he kisses Martinez on the forehead after the loss.  This may be the only tender moment in Frye’s life, though someone may have paid him to kiss Martinez as a joke.

Joe Rogan interviews Jerry Bohlander after the fight, which is perhaps the most boring interview in UFC history.  Bohlander breathlessly tells us how nice it is to fight guys closer to his size and that he had some jitters out there.  Rogan is unusually reassuring, just like a parent to a child while telling Bohlander, “Nah, man…you did great.”

The second lightweight tournament semifinal will be Yoshiki Takahashi vs. Wallid Ismail.  Both are UFC newcomers, but they’re also very skilled fighters with strong combat backgrounds.  Takahashi has already had 17 fights in Pancrase prior to making his UFC debut, so he’s no stranger to MMA.  Ismail is 4-0 in MMA and has been trained by Carlson Gracie in BJJ, so he’s definitely got the skills to keep up in the octagon.

Wallid Ismail tells a very frightened translator that this is a war to him, not a game.  Beck tells us that Ismail actually trains with Vitor Belfort, a competitor in tonight’s heavyweight tournament.  Ismail doesn’t enter the cage when his music plays, leading to Bruce Beck wondering out loud about Ismail’s whereabouts.  MAYBE HE WAS ATTACKED BACKSTAGE BY YOSHIKI TAKAHASHI!!  A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE!!  Oh wait, here he is.  That’s somewhat disappointing.

Takahashi, also through a translator, says that his biggest struggle will be to stay mentally in control.  Ken Shamrock, who defeated Yoshiki Takahashi in Pancrase on two occasions, says that Takahashi is a very, very tough fighter.  The crowd gives a nice hand to Wallid Ismail because he looks vaguely white and boos Takahashi because he’s Asian.  It seems like every MMA event features either “USA” chants or booing foreign fighters.  I think I even heard some “USA” chants at Bellator 45, though that event was also held in the south.  Not entirely surprising, I must say.

Bruce Beck calls this fight an “international slugfest”, perhaps ignoring the fact that in 21 MMA fights, these fighters have a combined two knockout victories, both of which belong to Takahashi.  Maybe Bruce knows something that we don’t.

The fight begins somewhat slow, though Ismail’s stance is notable.  He has what looks like an old-timey boxing stance, leading me to worry about Ismail’s well being when it comes to striking.  Takahashi is the aggressor early, landing some heavy punches and throwing Ismail to the mat.  Ismail grabs Takahashi’s leg and drives him to the fence, leading Takahashi to grab Ismail’s trunks and give him a wedgie.

Takahashi grabs Ismail’s head in a front facelock, but Ismail is working very hard to take Takahashi down.  Takahashi is very, very liberally grabbing the fence despite Big John’s warnings.  The fence grabbing definitely prevents Ismail from moving to a more advantageous position.  There’s a clear language barrier, but Big John makes it clearer by swatting Takahashi’s hands away from the cage.

Ismail is successful with a takedown despite Takahashi again grabbing the fence.  Takahashi is easily able to stand out of the spot as he’s sitting up against the cage.  Takahashi lands a couple of punches forcing Ismail to attempt a quick takedown, but the attempt is quickly thwarted and both fighters are back on their feet.

Ismail pressures Takahashi with some wild punches, but Takahashi lands some big shots of his own.  Ismail drops to one knee and is back to his feet, but Takahashi thinks the fight should be stopped.  Ken Shamrock clarifies that in Pancrase, knock downs are given ten-counts similar to boxing.  Someone did a really poor job explaining these rules to Yoshiki Takahashi.

Despite Takahashi getting the best of the striking, Ismail is definitely not afraid to be aggressive.  Ismail’s offense consists of pushing forward with inaccurate punches while absorbing a handful of bigger punches from Takahashi.  It seems like Ismail is working to set up his takedowns, which thus far have been largely unsuccessful.  Ismail almost brings Takahashi to the mat around 5:30 into the fight, but Takahashi grabs the cage yet again!  Takahashi is shameless about using the fence to his advantage.

Takahashi is punching Ismail’s head while the Brazilian continues working for a takedown.  Ismail now starts grabbing the fence, perhaps realizing that Big John really won’t punish a fighter for this infraction.  We’re half way through the fight and Takahashi has grabbed the cage on maybe a dozen separate occasions.  Frankly, I think this is sufficient grounds for disqualification since there was no means to penalize a fighter on the scorecards.

Ismail pulls Takahashi away for the cage and goes for the takedown, but Takahashi scores an ankle pick and takes Ismail to the mat.  Takahashi moves to Ismail’s guard and utilizes the headbutt as his primary means of offense.  Takahashi is working to cradle Ismail’s head while landing the headbutts for some extra force.  Takahashi is throwing some punches and palm strikes while Ismail wildly tries to defend himself.  He manages to wriggle his way to the fence, but Takahashi is still in control while in Ismail’s guard.

Eleven minutes in and Takahashi is maintaining control.  Ismail attempts to land strikes from the bottom, but at one point, it looks like Ismail punches himself in the face at one point.  The twelve minute mark hits and regulation is complete.  Takahashi is celebrating like he won the fight, perhaps not knowing that the fight now goes to a three minute overtime.  Big John confirms with Takahashi that three minutes remain and gives one last warning about grabbing the fence.  Wallid Ismail looks very tired, but he will continue fighting.

As the overtime begins, Ismail’s hands are at his waist.  He motions for Takahashi to attack, so the Japanese fighter obliges with a big right hand.  Ismail is staggered, but for some reason, Takahashi asks Big John for a timeout.  The announcers speculate that Takahashi was poked in the eye, but I don’t see it.  Needless to say, Big John doesn’t halt the fight.

Ismail tries to move in, but is quickly assaulted by some big punches from Takahashi.  Ismail is downed and is kicked by Takahashi, an illegal move given Takahashi’s shoes.  Big John gives a warning and makes a note to the judges about the infraction.  Ismail seems to be out on his feet, walking forward like a zombie while getting pounded by Takahashi.  This is becoming brutal, Takahashi landing powerful punches to the face while Ismail is unable to defend himself.

Takahashi seems to back off a bit, perhaps not wanting to murder an opponent who is clearly lacking his senses.  The three minute overtime moves quickly, but it’s dominated by Takahashi which should likely give him the victory.  All three judges declare Takahashi the winner of the contest, allowing him to move on to fight Jerry Bohlander in the lightweight finals.

My favorite part of the event thus far happens while the judges reveal their decisions.  Just as the first judge holds up his scorecard for Takahashi, somebody yells out “HE WAS GRABBING THE FENCE THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME!!”  Needless to say, the judges aren’t swayed and Takahashi comes away as the winner.

Frankly, I’m glad this fight is done.  I can’t count the number of times I accidentally typed “Ismael” instead of “Ismail”, so I’m thankful to have such a confounding name out of the way.  Ken Shamrock is now done on commentary, but will be back later in the evening.

The first heavyweight semifinal match is between Scott Ferrozzo and Jim Mullen.  Jim Mullen talks just like he looks: timidly and boyishly.  Mullen is also confident, as he’s visualized himself winning this fight ten different times with the aid of a hypnotherapist.  I really wish I was making this up.

Scott Ferrozzo seems to have gotten a haircut and looks very different.  He looks more like a car salesman that he did at previous events.  Sadly, he’s not wearing a poncho and he doesn’t tear his shirt off like Hulk Hogan.  Instead, he’s just a fat guy in a track suit walking to the cage.  The UFC has also adorned Ferrozzo with the label of “pit fighter”, which Tank Abbott previously dismissed as total bullshit.

Speaking of Tank, he’ll be joining us on color commentary for the heavyweight fights.  Tank says that weight classes exist because the smaller fighters just can’t compete with the heavier fighters.  Tank predicts Ferrozzo as the winner of this fight, which is not very surprising.  Ferrozzo outweighs Mullen by more than one hundred pounds.  Apparently, the 215 pound Mullen didn’t see fit to cut the extra 15 pounds to make the lightweight tournament.  The kid’s got enough babyfat where he could have dropped down without an issue.

The fight starts with Ferrozzo putting on the pressure early.  Ferrozzo stumbles Mullen with some strikes and Ferrozzo pounces.  Mullen drops to all fours against the cage and Ferrozzo works to use his weight to keep Mullen down.  Ferrozzo throws some knees to his downed opponent’s body, but Mullen works back to his feet.  Ferrozzo maintains a front facelock while throwing knees to the body and punches to the head.

Ferrozzo releases the head and lands in combinations while Mullen is only able to slip in an occasional punch.  Ferrozzo grabs the front facelock again and takes Mullen to the mat despite Mullen’s attempts to grab the fence for control.  Ferrozzo has been dominant early on, as he’s now landing body shots and knees while Mullen is sitting against the cage.  Mullen works to escape, but Ferrozzo is more than strong enough to pin his opponent down.  Abbott suspects that Mullen does not have the “eye of the tiger” in this fight.

Ferrozzo’s offense is punishing as he’s throwing big knees to the head of his downed opponent.  Big John looks ready to stop the fight, but he decides against it.  Shortly after that, Mullen is able to work back to his feet but is slammed back down by Ferrozzo.  Mullen is in a better position with Ferrozzo in his guard, but it’s hard to be in any good position with a 300+ pound man on top of you.

As an aside, Tank says that he wants to fight Becky Levi, who happens to be the strength and conditioning coach for both Ferrozzo and Don Frye.  Tank is more specific and says he wants this fight to take place in a bedroom.  I’d be more excited to see that happen in the cage.  Becky is 6’1″ and weighed anywhere from 215 to 230 pounds when she fought.  That may have been a more even match than suspected unless Tank could convinced Marloes Coenen to teach him the flying arm bar.

Back to the fight, Jim Mullen is in a bad way.  He lands some punches of his own from the bottom, but Ferrozzo is landing heavy punches from side control.  It’s sad to watch Mullen try and struggle back to his feet with such a big guy on top of him.  It sounds like the same guy who shouted out during the Ismail/Takahashi decision is screaming unintelligibly at the fighters.  I think he says something about Mullen grabbing the fence, but I’m positive he’s calling someone a “son of a bitch.”

At 7:00, Ferrozzo continues to pound Mullen with big fat punches.  Ferrozzo looks to miss more than he hits and it’s possible that Ferrozzo is exhausted at this point.  Almost eight minutes in, Big John stands the fighters up so he can have the doctor look at a nasty cut that appears to be directly on his left eyelid.  It looks like it could even be a hematoma, as the injury appears to be swollen over Mullen’s eye.  The doctors spend significant time looking at the injury and say the fight can continue.  Big John warns Mullen to get busy and stay active during the fight or he’ll stop it.

After the restart, Mullen lands a left and dances away from Ferrozzo.  As Mullen nears the cage, he attempts a spinning back first but is dropped by Ferrozzo who follows up with knees to Mullen’s head.  Big John very quickly stops the fight before any further damage is done.  These weight classes don’t really mean anything when there are still 100 pound differences in weight.  Mullen spend most of this fight on defense due to Ferrozzo’s size and he would have surely had more of a chance against a smaller fighter.

Moving on, the second heavyweight semifinal is between Vitor Belfort and Tra Telligman.  Telligman says he’s seen good fighters lose in the UFC on account of a single mistake and he vows that he won’t be one of those fighters.  For those of you who have never seen Telligman, he’s missing his entire right pectoral muscle due to a childhood car accident.  It’s a very gruesome looking injury, but it doesn’t seem like it impacts his fighting ability.

For some odd reason, highlights of Royce Gracie vs. Kimo are shown from UFC 3.  Vitor may have been trained by Carlson Gracie, but he certainly doesn’t fit the mold of a typical Gracie fighter.  Fans expecting to see someone fighting like Royce Gracie might be very disappointed…

Or not.  Belfort’s entire MMA debut is shown as a highlight, appropriate since Belfort pulverizes UFC veteran Jon Hess in 12 seconds, a frightening prospect for Tra Telligman.  Forget Royce Gracie, I want to see more of Vitor Belfort.

Belfort’s weight is a ridiculous 205 pounds since the cut off for lightweight is a mere six pounds away.  I wonder if the UFC had originally scheduled an eight man tournament as usual but changed it to current two tournament format.  Given the smaller fighters at heavyweight, I think this might be the case.  Telligman isn’t too much bigger at 233 pounds.

The fight starts with Belfort as the clear aggressor.  Belfort is circling a tentative opponent and starts to throw lightning fast punches.  He lands some serious combinations and ends up knocking Telligman to the ground.  Tank says that Vitor has “good punching”, perhaps the biggest understatement of the night.

Belfort throws Telligman’s legs aside and assumes side control.  Belfort throws some huge elbows to Telligman’s head and his shots are going uncontested causing Big John to stop the fight.  It appears that Telligman taps out due to the strikes, but it isn’t 100% clear based on what we were able to see.  Nonetheless, Belfort wins in dominating fashion after only 1:17.

Jeff Blatnick says Belfort by far has the quickest hands in the UFC to date, something I certainly can’t argue with.  Tank seems reservedly impressed with Belfort, but makes some nonsensical analogy about straw against steel.  I’m not sure what he’s trying to say.  Jared Diamond’s Germs, Guns, and Steel wasn’t published for another month, so I don’t think he’s referencing that unless Tank assisted Diamond in his studies.  Tank doesn’t really seem like the intellectual type so I’ll go ahead and rule that out.

A comprehensive highlight video is shown for Mark Coleman in anticipation of his fight with Dan Severn later in the evening.  Bruce Beck then cuts to Joe Rogan, who announces that Yoshiki Takahashi broke his hand and that he’ll be replaced by Nick Sanzo, who won his alternate fight earlier in the evening.

So the lightweight finals are now Nick Sanzo vs. Jerry Bohlander.  Bohlander made quick work of Rainy Martinez earlier in the evening so he should be well rested.  Sanzo is a BJJ practitioner with a tattoo of the Punisher logo on his shoulder.  I don’t think you need to know anything else about this man.

Bohlander opens this fight with a quick leg kick, but Sanzo attempts a quick takedown.  Bohlander motions as if he’s going for a spladle, but gives that up.  Sanzo continues to push forward with a takedown and gets kneed in the head.  It looks like Bohlander could try to sink in a guillotine, but actually sinks in a double underhook and throws Sanzo to the mat.  Bohlander has a crucifix submission hold locked in, which is torquing Sanzo’s neck forward with significant pressure.  Nick Sanzo is forced to tap out to the hold, making Jerry Bohlander the winner of the first lightweight tournament!

Bohlander is interviewed after the fight by Joe Rogan.  Bohlander, who appears to be a naturally boring person, says almost nothing of note.  He would have liked to have fought Takahashi and says he’ll be looking for that fight in the future.  Ken Shamrock seems pleased that one of his Lion’s Den disciples has won the first lightweight tournament, but laments about the loss of another one of his fighters in Tra Telligman.  Shamrock

We’re now treated to the entire fight between Dan Severn and Oleg Taktarov from UFC 5.  Nothing like showing clips of old fights instead of either of the two preliminary fights.  I’m not sure if this is necessary to hype Dan Severn – everyone knows how good he is at this point.  A video highlighting Severn is also shown.  And now they show the entire Mark Coleman vs. Moti Horenstein fight from UFC 10.  It’s pretty amazing how much of these older cards are comprised of filler.

We’ll now move on to the heavyweight tournament finals between Scott Ferrozzo and Vitor Belfort.  Tank Abbott is back with some more of his own brand of wisdom.  Abbott calls Belfort “Victor Gracie”, but doesn’t commit to either Belfort or Ferrozzo to win the fight.  Ferrozzo once again outweighs his opponent by more than 100 pounds, but Belfort is the much fresher man in this fight having defeated Telligman in under 90 seconds.

Big John starts the fight with his customary “let’s get it on” and this fight is underway.  Ferrozzo seems to taunt Belfort before the action begins, gesturing for Vitor to give him his best shot.  After about 15 seconds of feeling out, Vitor obliges Ferrozzo with a couple of huge left hands.  The second left drops Ferrozzo to the mat and Vitor pounces.  He pounds on Ferrozzo’s head with some more punches, but Ferrozzo gives up his back.  Vitor flattens Ferrozzo out and throws a flurry of punches at Ferrozzo’s head, prompting Big John to stop the fight!

Even after the stoppage, Ferrozzo continues fighting and lifts Belfort off the mat!  Ferrozzo has no idea that the fight is done, but thankfully, another official comes in the cage to keep Ferrozzo from doing any more damage.  Vitor Belfort has taken his second TKO victory in the evening and has won the UFC heavyweight tournament.

Vitor gives a fairly unintelligible interview after the fight, but he says he’s interested in fighting the winner of the Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn fight.  Through a translator, Carlson Gracie says he wants Belfort to be the most famous fighter in the world.

Bruce Beck asks Tank some questions before Tank is done for the night, specifically addressing a potential fight with Ken Shamrock.  Tank calls Shamrock “Glammy” and says Shamrock should try to win a tournament for once.  He also calls Ken a fake and a sham.  He alludes to the UFC of playing favorites and not allowing Tank to fight Shamrock, but as with anything else Tank says, you have to take it with a grain of salt.

It’s now time for the final fight of evening and it is Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn for the new UFC Heavyweight Title.  For some reason, a flashback is shown of Don Frye vs. Mark Hall, and Frye will be joining Beck and Blatnick on commentary.  Frye clarifies that he was unable to fight Dan Severn due to a broken hand he suffered at the Ultimate Ultimate 1996.  Frye claims he would have been able to fight, but he says that the New York State Athletic Commission stopped the fight from taking place.

The size difference between Coleman isn’t very significant.  Severn is an inch taller and twenty pounds heavier, but we know that Mark Coleman is as strong a fighter as there is in the UFC.  His neck is still the size of a tree trunk, so it’s good to know that something like that doesn’t just go away.

Severn hasn’t fought in the UFC since his fairly uneventful contest against Ken Shamrock, and now Severn will look to unify his Superfight Championship with the UFC Heavyweight Title.  Big John asks Severn if he as any questions, prompting Severn to rattle off some kind of nonsensical math problem.  Big John no-sells the question and simply wishes Severn luck in his fight.

Big John starts this fight and here we go!  Severn is the first man to take action, trying for a takedown on a sprawling Coleman, who grabs Severn in a front facelock.  Severn frees himself, but Coleman responds with some pretty big punches to the face of Severn.  “The Beast” shoots again, but Coleman sprawls and ends up on top of Severn.  Coleman takes Severn’s back and is punching Severn in the head, but the strikes don’t look very powerful.  Severn rolls to his back, but unfortunately for him, Coleman ends up in full mount.

Surprisingly, Coleman moves from mount and cinches in a headlock on Dan Severn.  Coleman has one of Severn’s arms trapped and this is looking close to a choke.  Severn has his hands clasped around Coleman’s head in an attempt to defend, but it’s doing no good.  Severn starts to punch Coleman in the head, but the headlock is getting tighter.  It looks like Severn is gouging Coleman’s eyes and face, but Big John warns Severn to stop.  With nowhere to go, Severn taps out just three minutes into the fight!

Mark Coleman just ran through Dan Severn, completely thwarting his offense and submitting one of the top fighters in UFC history.  We knew this fight would likely be a grappling battle, but we had no clue how dominating Mark Coleman could be.  In just two minutes and fifty-seven seconds, Mark Coleman has become the first ever UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Don Frye is talking about fighting Coleman at UFC 13, but we know that doesn’t end up happening – very sad, as I would love to see a rematch between Frye and Coleman.  Joe Rogan is back to interview Coleman, who says he considers himself more of a wrestler than an MMA fighter, or rather, “reality combat athlete.”  Coleman says he’ll fight Frye, Tank, or anyone else the UFC puts in front of him.  He makes no mention of a potential surgery to repair his upper body, which closely resembles a school bus.

With that, UFC 12 is in the books.  I was pretty underwhelmed by this card, though I like the separate weight classes.  Vitor Belfort also appears to be a rising star in the UFC and I would love to see more of him in action at the next UFC event.  The UFC also seems to have tapped the international talent pool more now than ever, bringing in Pancrase’s Yoshiki Takahashi and Vale Tudo’s Wallid Ismail.  I’m hopeful we’ll see more MMA stars from around the world at the next event.

Looking forward, we have UFC 13 scheduled for May 30, 1997.  I wonder what will come from the UFC’s increasing political opposition, including the difficulty to find a location for this event.  The commotion in New York is a serious blow for the UFC, but the promotion has been able to bounce back from and even thrive on controversy during the last four years.  Who knows how that might change in the coming UFC events.

Greatest Fights of UFC 12

  1. Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn
  2. Yoshiki Takahashi vs. Wallid Ismail
  3. Jerry Bohlander vs. Rainy Martinez
  4. Vitor Belfort vs. Tra Telligman
  5. Vitor Belfort vs. Scott Ferrozzo
  6. Scott Ferrozzo vs. Jim Mullen
  7. Jerry Bohlander vs. Nick Sanzo

Top Ten Fights Through UFC 12

  1. Royce Gracie vs. Kimo Leopoldo – UFC 3
  2. Don Frye vs. Tank Abbott – UU96
  3. Royce Gracie vs. Dan Severn – UFC 4
  4. Royce Gracie vs. Keith Hackney – UFC 4
  5. Oleg Taktarov vs. Tank Abbott – UFC 6
  6. Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock – UFC 1
  7. Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn – UFC 6
  8. Marco Ruas vs. Paul Varelans – UFC 7
  9. Don Frye vs. Brian Johnston – UFC 10
  10. Ken Shamrock vs. Christophe Leininger – UFC 3

Greatest Fighters of UFC 12

  1. Mark Coleman (1-0)
  2. Vitor Belfort (2-0)
  3. Jerry Bohlander (2-0)
  4. Justin Martin (1-0)
  5. Yoshiki Takahashi (1-0)
  6. Scott Ferrozzo (1-1)
  7. Nick Sanzo (1-1)
  8. Dan Severn (0-1)
  9. Wallid Ismail (0-1)
  10. Rainy Martinez (0-1)
  11. Tra Telligman (0-1)
  12. Jim Mullen (0-1)
  13. Jackie Lee (0-1)
  14. Eric Martin (0-1)

Top Ten Fighters Through UFC 12

  1. Royce Gracie (11-1-1)
  2. Mark Coleman (6-0)
  3. Dan Severn (9-3)
  4. Ken Shamrock (6-2-2)
  5. Don Frye (9-1)
  6. Oleg Taktarov (6-2-1)
  7. Marco Ruas (4-1)
  8. Tank Abbott (6-4)
  9. Jerry Bohlander (4-1)
  10. Patrick Smith (4-2)
Categories: Ranking the UFC
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