UFC: Ultimate Heavyweights DVD Review
Posted by Dan Plunkett on 12.07.2010
UFC's Ultimate Heavyweights chronicles the growth of the heavyweight ranks over the past three years, but does it do justice to the stature of the division? 411's Dan Plunkett checks in with his full review!
DVD & Blu-ray Release Date: 12/7/2010
Running Time: 156 minutes Buy It Here
The UFC heavyweight division has never been better than it is today. With top fighters like Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar, Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin, Frank Mir, Minotauro Nogueira, Roy Nelson, and Mirko Cro Cop, the heavyweight division is stacked with talent. UFC: Ultimate Heavyweights takes a look at the best fights that make the division what it is today. This DVD, which was kindly provided for me to review free of cost, contains 30 full fights, with 10 being bonus fights. I’ll review the feature fights in their entirety and do an overview of the extras. Got it? Let’s get started then.
- The narrator puts over the heavyweights. Calling the UFC heavyweights “the giants of the sports world” and “the baddest men on the planet.” He says these are the fights that make the heavyweight division the most exciting in the UFC. I’d disagree with that, but okay.
- We get a brief background on Tim Sylvia vs. Frank Mir. All of Mir’s highlights prior to the fight get shown, while they don’t even mention Sylvia had already been champion and was looking to reclaim the belt he vacated due to a positive steroids test.
UFC 48: Tim Sylvia (16-0) vs. Frank Mir (7-1) for the UFC Heavyweight Championship
The fight: Right away its noticeable how much Mir’s striking has improved since this point in his career. Sylvia catches a kick and takes Mir to the ground. Mir uses the cage to lock on an armbar. Tim Sylvia’s arm breaks and Herb Dean stops the fight. Initially, the stoppage was controversial, but replays and subsequent x-rays showed Sylvia’s arm was badly broken. Winner: Frank Mir by first round submission.
- No mention that Mir was never able to defend his title due to injury. Instead, we fast forward nearly three years to UFC 70. They build up Cro Cop as a devastating striker and correctly state that he was supposed to at least contend for the title quickly in his UFC career.
UFC 70: Mirko Cro Cop (22-4-2) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (7-1)
The fight: The winner of this fight would go on to fight Randy Couture for the heavyweight title. Not much action until Cro Cop throws a left kick to the body that Gonzaga catches and uses to take Mirko to the ground. Mirko is being very defensive in the guard, but Gonzaga lands an elbow that cuts Mirko on the hairline. Gonzaga is trying to mount more offense from the top but can’t land any significant strikes. With thirty seconds left in the first round, referee Herb Dean stands the fighters up. Had the result been the other way around, this stand-up would have been very controversial. With ten seconds left in the round, Gonzaga throws a right head kick and knocks Cro Cop out cold. Everyone in the announce booth is shocked. Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga by first round knockout.
- I’m kind of disappointed they didn’t include Randy Couture’s title defense against Gonzaga on this set. Now the narrator gets to Frank Mir not being able to defend his title due to injury. No mention of Mir’s initial struggles upon his return, though. Brock Lesnar debut is called the most anticipated in UFC history.
UFC 81: Frank Mir (10-3) vs. Brock Lesnar (1-0)
The fight: Lesnar takes Mir down 6 seconds into the fight. He stands landing hammerfists until the referee halts the action due to Lesnar punching Mir in the back of the head. Lesnar is deducted a point. Back to fighting, Brock lands a straight right. Mir is either rocked and falls to the ground or slips. Lesnar is on top landing even more hammerfists. Frank Mir goes for an ambar that fails, but gets Lesnar inside his guard. Brock stands up, and Mir catches him in a kneebar causing Lesnar to tap. Winner: Frank Mir by first round submission.
- Shane Carwin’s UFC debut is up next. They show highlights of his fights in the WEC and mention Christian Wellisch was on a two fight win streak in the UFC.
UFC 84: Christian Wellisch (8-3) vs. Shane Carwin (8-0)
The fight: Carwin is throwing bombs early and is aggressively pushing forward. Forty seconds into the round Carwin lands a huge straight right hand that sends Willisch’s mouthpiece flying. The referee stops the fight. Winner: Shane Carwin by first round TKO.
- We move on to Fabricio Werdum taking on Junior dos Santos. The narrator does a good job of mentioning that Werdum was a big favorite going into this fight.
UFC 90: Junior dos Santos (6-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (11-3-1)
The fight: Werdum clearly isn’t in ideal shape for this fight. With a win here, the UFC would have been contractually obligated to give him a title shot. The first meaningful strike of the fight was a leg kick landed by Junior dos Santos. Then, JDS throws a huge uppercut and knocks out Fabricio Werdum. Werdum would be cut from the UFC after this fight. Winner: Junior dos Santos by first round knockout.
- Brock Lesnar’s quick rise to a title shot is profiled, though it’s falsely stated that it was tough to see how Brock could defeat such a legend as Randy Couture. In reality, the fight was thought to be around 50/50 at the time. This was Couture’s first fight in more than a year.
UFC 91: Randy Couture (16-8) vs. Brock Lesnar (2-1) for the UFC Heavyweight Championship
The fight: Round one was a close battle. Brock scored two takedowns and landed good knees in the clinch, while Couture landed a nice right hook and threatened to take the challenger’s back. Couture tried very hard to get Brock on his back but was unsuccessful. Exciting first round, but it was a clear 10-9 for Lesnar. Early in round two Lesnar wobbled Couture with an elbow, but Couture regained his composure quickly. A minute into the round Lesnar lands a big knee but Couture answers with some punches of his own. One of Couture’s strikes cut Lesnar over the right eye. After a failed takedown by Couture, Lesnar clips the champion with a right hand. He follows up with numerous hammerfists and the referee stops it. Winner: Brock Lesnar by second round TKO.
- Minotauro Nogueira’s interim title win over Tim Sylvia is mentioned. The fight between Nogueira and Frank Mir was promoted as a battle of the two best heavyweight submission artists in MMA history.
UFC 92: Minotauro Nogueira (31-4-1-1NC) vs. Frank Mir (11-3) for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship
The fight: The first round was all Frank Mir. Mir took Nogueira down, dominated the striking, and knocked Minotauro down twice. Definitely a 10-8 round, if not 10-7 for Mir as he was completely dominant. Round two was more of the same initially, but this time when Mir knocked Nogueira down he finished him. This was the first time Minotauro had been finished in his illustrious career. Winner: Frank Mir by second round TKO.
- We skip forward three months to UFC 96. Shane Carwin was coming off two consecutive UFC wins, and Gabriel Gonzaga was looking to get back into title contention.
UFC 96: Gabriel Gonzaga (10-3) vs. Shane Carwin (10-0)
The fight: Carwin is very aggressive and chases Gonzaga around the Octagon. Gonzaga lands two big right hands that stun Carwin. “Napao” takes Carwin to the ground. Within about 15 seconds, Carwin makes it back to his feet and lands a powerful right hand that crumbles Gonzaga. Gonzaga is out and the fight is stopped. Winner: Shane Carwin by first round knockout.
- The biggest fight in UFC history, Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir is up next. The build-up to this fight was brilliant on Mir’s part. Lesnar was looking to avenge his only loss, and Mir wanted to become the undisputed champion once again.
UFC 100: Brock Lesnar (3-1) vs. Frank Mir (12-3) for the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Championship
The fight: It takes Brock about thirty seconds to go for a takedown this time. He gets it and is in half guard. Brock is far more patient than he was in the first fight. It takes a while for Brock to get going, but once he does it’s brutal. Lesnar controls Mir’s head and lands powerful punches that bust Mir open. This goes on sporadically for the remainder of the first round. 10-9 Lesnar after the first round. Frank Mir is busted up going into round two. Mir is much more aggressive standing to start the round. He lands some good shots including a jumping knee. Unfortunately for him, Brock takes him down again, this time against the cage. The crowd is chanting “stand them up.” Lesnar starts throwing more punches and Mir is hurt badly. Referee Herb Dean stops the fight. Unfortunately, they don’t show Lesnar’s post-fight antics. Winner: Brock Lesnar by second round TKO.
- Next up it Todd Duffee’s UFC debut against Tim Hague. They put over the size of both of the fighters.
UFC 102: Tim Hague (10-1) vs. Todd Duffee (5-0)
The fight: Duffee drops him with a jab and follows up with punches to end the fight in record time. 7 seconds in the official time and the new official UFC record (Bang Ludwig had a 4 second knockout, but a timing error caused it to clock in at 11 seconds). Winner: Todd Duffee by first round knockout.
- Handy Couture against Minotauro Nogueira is up next. This is the first fight following their losses to Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, respectively. Couture was the favorite to win this bout.
UFC 102: Randy Couture (16-9) vs. Minotauro Nogueira (31-5-1-1NC)
The fight: This fight took place in Portland, so the crowd is on Randy’s side here. The first round of this fight was an absolute war. Both fighters landed big combinations, they stayed in the pocket and exchanged, and they had a great dirty boxing sequence. However, Minotauro dropped Couture and came very close to submitting him shortly thereafter, so the round goes to him. If you haven’t seen this round, go out and do so immediately. It was one of the best rounds of the year. Round two saw Couture end up on top after a failed submission attempt by Minotauro, only for Minotauro to sweep him into mount soon thereafter. Nogueira couldn’t get the finish, and Couture scrambled to his feet with a minute left. From there, they had fairly even exchanges to the bell. Nogueira is up 20-18 going into the final round. The third round saw Minotauro drop Couture yet again. He couldn’t finish with follow up punches, but he did end up passing to half guard. As Randy tried to get back to his feet, Nogueira took his back but couldn’t get the last hook in. With little over a minute left, Couture reversed and got up on top of Nogueira. As the bell rang, Minotauro swept Couture yet again into mount. Great fight, but after the first round it was fairly one-sided. Winner: Minotauro Nogueira by unanimous decision.
- We take a brief look at the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Unfortunately, Kimbo Slice is not featured on this DVD.
The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale: Roy Nelson (13-4) vs. Brendan Schaub (4-0)
The fight: Nelson looks for a takedown early, but once he can’t get it Schaub unloads on his with a series of punches. After regaining his composure, Nelson clinches with Schaub and drags him to the ground. “Big Country” passes to side control, but Brendan is able to get back to his feet. There’s a wild exchange that Brendan gets the better of. With around two minutes left in the round Roy lands a nice right hand. Nelson then lands an overhand right that clips Schaub behind the ear and knocks out Schaub. Winner: Roy Nelson by first round knockout.
- Frank Mir bulked up to 265 for his fight with Cheick Kongo in response to big heavyweights such as Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.
UFC 107: Frank Mir (12-4) vs. Cheick Kongo (14-5-1)
The fight: Not much happens until Frank Mir drops Kongo with a big left hand about 45 seconds into the fight. He swarms on him, grabs a hold of a guillotine choke and the Frenchman goes to sleep. Winner: Frank Mir by first round technical submission.
- We jump right into Junior dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel. This was Yvel’s UFC debut.
UFC 108: Junior dos Santos (9-1) vs. Gilbert Yvel (36-13-1-1NC)
The fight: Yvel looks for a spinning back kick but it doesn’t connect. Dos Santos is very aggressive and is pressing forward landing bombs. With two minutes left in the round JDS lands a huge left hook that started at the floor. He drops Yvel and swarms. Referee Herb Dean stops the bout. Winner: Junior dos Santos by first round TKO.
- The rise of Cain Velasquez is profiled. Minotauro Nogueira was coming off the win over Couture and the winner of this fight would be guaranteed a title shot.
UFC 110: Minotauro Nogueira (32-5-1-1NC) vs. Cain Velasquez (7-0)
The fight: Velasquez throws very effective kicks early. Nogueira comes in and Velasquez lands a combination before Minotauro can get a single punch off. Another combination from Velasquez finished with a leg kick. Cain lands a knee to Nogueira’s face in the clinch. Minotauro throws a jab and Velasquez answers with a combination that drops Nogueira. Five more follow up punches are all it takes for the fight to be stopped. Great performance from Velasquez. Winner: Cain Velasquez by first round knockout.
- Junior dos Santos is featured again, this time against Gabriel Gonzaga.
UFC on Versus: Junior dos Santos (10-1) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4)
The fight: Long feeling out process early. Gonzaga throws a leg kick that throws JDS off balance for a second. He shoots in for a takedown and has “Cigano” down, but Junior is right back up to his feet. Gonzaga throws a big headkick but he aimed too high. Dos Santos throws two big right hands that land on “Napao,” but it doesn’t seem to faze him. Gonzaga comes in and JDS lands a left hook that puts Gabriel down. He follows up and knocks Gonzaga out. Winner: Junior dos Santos by first round knockout.
- They go through the circumstances surrounding the interim title fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
UFC 111: Frank Mir (13-4) vs. Shane Carwin (11-0)
The fight: Carwin grabs a hold of Mir early, but can’t take him down. Instead, he chooses to push Mir up against the fence. Carwin is landing a knee to the thigh followed by a right hand to the face. The referee separates the fighters and we’re back to striking distance. Mir comes in and they exchange blows; they clinch and Carwin presses Mir against the cage again. Carwin lands a furious combination of uppercuts that drops from Mir. Mir does his best to survive but Carwin is unrelenting and Mir goes out. Winner: Shane Carwin by round 1 knockout.
- Roy Nelson wants to be the heavyweight champion, and his first obstacle to getting there was Stefan Struve.
UFC Fight Night: Roy Nelson (14-4) vs. Stefan Struve (19-3)
The fight: Nelson is the aggressor, and he lands an overhand right to the chin that drops Struve. Struve covers up and the fight is stopped. Winner: Roy Nelson by round 1 TKO.
- Pat Barry’s kickboxing is put over. Barry was set to take on his idol Mirko Cro Cop. Let’s see how it went down.
UFC 115: Mirko Cro Cop (26-7-2-1NC) vs. Pat Barry (5-1)
The fight: The first round was all Pat Barry. With both fighters being kickboxers, there was some sort of understanding about keeping the fight standing. When Barry knocked down Cro Cop twice in the round, the thought of trying to finish him didn’t even seem to enter his mind. I have it 10-8 for Pat Barry. Cro Cop had a much better round two. Barry was noticeably slowed down, and Cro Cop took advantage. The Croatian took his opponent down and had his back near the end of the round. I score it 10-9 in favor of Cro Cop. In the third and final round, Barry clearly wasn’t the same fighter he was in the first round. Cro Cop landed his best combination in years that dropped Barry, and he finished the fight with a rear naked choke without any hooks in. Fun fight, especially if you’re a Cro Cop fan. Winner: Mirko Cro Cop by third round submission.
- The final fight of the main feature is the heavyweight title clash between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. This was Lesnar’s first fight in nearly a year due to illness. Carwin was undefeated and had never been out of the first round. Brock was riding a three fight win streak and looked unstoppable in his second fight with Frank Mir. Also, considering Fedor Emelianenko’s loss a week earlier, this fight would determine the new consensus #1 heavyweight in the world.
UFC 116: Brock Lesnar (4-1) vs. Shane Carwin (12-0) for the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Championship
The fight: Shane Carwin completely dominated the first round. Lesnar was unable to take Shane to the ground, and Carwin capitalized by landing a big uppercut on Lesnar. A knee and more strikes later Lesnar was on his back and “The Engineer” was swarming. For nearly two minutes Carwin would continuously try to finish, and after that he attacked sporadically. With a minute left in the round, Lesnar got back to his feet but the round was already lost. That round was an easy 10-8 for Shane Carwin. At the start of the first round two of Carwin’s career, he had clearly lost a step or two. Lesnar shot in for a takedown 50 seconds into the round and was successful. Brock locked in an arm triangle from half guard and moved over to side control to finish it. Carwin taps and the fight is over. Winner: Brock Lesnar by second round submission.
- To close the main feature, the narrator puts over the UFC heavyweight division once again.
There are two main sections of extras. The first section features recent heavyweight fights, all from within the past 4 years or so. They are:
Frank Mir vs. Brandon Vera from UFC 65
Frank Mir vs. Antoni Hardonk from UFC 74
Cain Velasquez vs. Jake O’Brien from UFC Fight Night
Shane Carwin vs. Neil Wain from UFC 89
Brendan Schaub vs. Chase Gormley from UFC on Versus
I have no problem with this selection of fights. All involve either current or future contenders, and all are first round finishes. Also, it’s nice to see Shane Carwin’s entire UFC career is on this DVD.
The second section is called “Heavyweights from the Vault,” featuring classic heavyweight fights. They are as follows:
Tank Abbott vs. John Matua from UFC 6
Don Frye vs. Thomas Ramirez from UFC 8
Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn from UFC 12
Randy Couture vs. Tony Halme from UFC 13
Vitor Belfort vs. Tank Abbott from UFC 13
I have no problem with these fights either. Tank Abbott’s debut is a notable event, especially for how it turned out. Then there’s Don Frye’s record setting knockout, the first heavyweight title fight in company history, Randy Couture’s UFC debut, and the fight that made Vitor Belfort a pretty big deal.
The 411: For the most part, this DVD was what it promised to be; a look at the best and most notable fights in the recent history of the UFC heavyweight division. At some points the UFC didn't provide a great historical context for the viewer, but overall it was good. There are a few notable exclusions, namely Randy Couture's title defense against Gabriel Gonzaga and Minotauro Nogueira's title victory over Tim Sylvia. The extras are fine, but they could have been better. Ken Shamrock's first fight with Dan Severn, despite being held at an open-weight, should have been featured due to it being the crowning of the first Super Fight Champion, the precursor to the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Overall, there's not much wrong with the DVD. It was meant to highlight the recent history of the division, and it did so very well. If you're a fan of the heavyweights, or MMA in general, and haven't seen or don't own most of these fights, I'd recommend you get your hands on it.