The latest compilation release from the UFC, "Ultimate Heavyweights" is a shining example of why I don't bother with DVD releases from the company anymore. A collection of 20 fights, the set immediately raises red flags by containing fights solely from the years of 2007 to July of 2010, with one lone fight from 2004 kicking off the disc. Running almost two-and-a-half hours, the presentation itself is well handled, with a brief introduction to the fight, followed by the fight in its entirety.
My problem with the set is its obvious use as a marketing tool for current UFC fighters or past fighters in good standing. In fact, the entirety of Brock Lesnar's UFC career (save for his lightening fast debut and most recent fight) is on here as well as a good portion of Frank Mir's fight. While I don't argue their fights aren't exciting or worthy of inclusion (they all are), as a mild fan of UFC, I want to see appearances by old school fighters such as Bas Rutten, Dan Severn, or Ken Shamrock. Instead, fans are given five token fights "From the Vault" as a bonus feature. Anyone who has followed the UFC knows some fighters have drawn the ire of president Dana White, and the big names missing are likely those not in "good standing."
The end result is a satisfying but still disappointing collection of matches, with some fights lasting a matter of seconds, while others such as a great bout between Randy Couture and Minotauro Nogueria running the full 15-minutes and keeping viewers on their toes. If there is one positive to so many of the same fighters showing up in the selected fights, it's that viewers get a chance to become familiar with their fighting style and in the case of a frequent fighter like Frank Mir, by the time his last fight rolls around, you should be able to have a good idea how he's going to start things off.
"Ultimate Heavyweights" is not a great release by any means, but should still provide the hardcore UFC fan with a solid way to kill some time and relive some fights. I really hope one day, these UFC releases will break the cycle of ignoring the classic fights that built the company into the juggernaut it is today, even if that means including matches from the athletes that didn't leave on the best of terms. The fans should not be punished for behind-the-scenes feuds.
Tim Silvia vs. Frank Mir
Mirko Crop Crop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir
Christian Wellisch vs. Shane Carwin
Fabrico Werdum vs. Junior Dos Santos
Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar
Minotauro Nogueira vs. Frank Mir
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Carwin
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir
Tim Hague vs. Todd Duffee
Randy Couture vs. Minotauro Nogueira
Roy Nelson vs. Brendan Schaub
Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel
Minotauro Nogueira vs. Cain Velasquez
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin
Roy Nelson vs. Stean Struve
Mirko Cro Crop vs. Pat Barry
Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
The aspect ratio is presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The fights didn't suffer from the noticeable compression issues I've seen with other UFC releases, likely a result of the short runtime. There's the occasional color bleeding issue, especially with reds, but the quality is more than acceptable.
The stereo English audio track is perfectly actable for a sports presentation. The commentary is clear and solidly balanced with the sounds from the crowd, refs, corner men, and fighters themselves.
10 bonus matches are included, including five classic matches. Sadly these classic matches end up having their share of quick knockouts or stoppages and don't really highlight some of the epic battles of years past. The other five bonus fights are all post 2005 and feature two more appearances by Frank Mir.
Frank Mir vs. Brandon Vera
Frank Mir vs. Antoni Hardonk
Cain Velasquez vs. Jake O'Brien
Shane Carwin vs. Neil Wain
Brendan Schaub vs. Chase Gormley
Tank Abbot vs. John Matua
Don Frye vs. Thomas Ramirez
Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn
Randy Couture vs. Tony Halme
Vitor Belfort vs. Tank Abbot
A solid offering of modern fights, the "Ultimate" moniker is more than a little misleading. Current UFC fans will want to add this to their collection, provided they don't already have the fights on other discs, while classic or casual fans will want to consider a rental. Rent It.