UFC 100 was a pretty big deal for the league. Set in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay and celebrating one hundred pay-per-view events, this was an event that the UFC wanted to celebrate in style. As such, they assembled a pretty hefty roster of their finest fighters and highlighted it all with the rematch that fans had been waiting for with heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar squaring off against Frank Mir. The pay-per-view did well and fans were quite happy with the results, but this Blu-ray release does one better by providing quite a few preliminary matches that didn't make it to the televised version of the event.
The matches that make up the event are (no spoilers here - winners will not be noted):
Matt Grice Vs. Shannon Gugerty The event starts off with a lightweight bout, American versus American, in a match that starts off quickly and with some pretty impressive tenacity but which ends fairly quickly by submission in the first round.
CB Dollaway Vs. Tom Lawlor The middleweights are up next, in another match that squares two Americans off against one another. Lawlor looks more than a little crazy with his beard in full swing and he uses that craziness to his advantage right out of the starting gate. This is a pretty hard hitting match that also ends by submission in the first round though not before a fair share of hard hitting blows is dealt from both sides.
Dong Hyun Kim Vs. TJ Grant The welterweight belt pins Korean Dong Hyun Kim against burly Canadian TJ Grant. This match starts off looking like it's going to be a pretty even fight but after a minute or so it becomes pretty obvious who has the upper hand here. While the opponents are evenly matched in terms of size, it doesn't end well for the loser (as if it ever does). Without spoiling it, the winner flat out dominates in this match meaning that there's very little suspense, but a fair bit of ass whupping. This match goes three rounds before it's called.
Jon Jones Vs. Jake O'Brien This light heavyweight bout one again pits American against American in the octagon. Lasting almost two full rounds it's a good match with some spirited energy from both combatants with a lot more kicking and punching before eventually ending with a submission hold.
Mac Danzig Vs. Jim Miller The second lightweight bout of the card puts two Americans in the ring again for a grappling-heavy match that soon turns into a bloody mess. There's some really brutal pummeling here as it lasts a full three rounds before the judges have to call it. Definitely the nastiest match of the night, at least so far...
Mark Coleman Vs. Stephan Bonnar The last of the preliminaries is another light heavyweight bout, once again with two Americans in the ring. Lasting a full three rounds, this match gets the two into some heavy grappling against the sides of the octagon which looks pretty painful before it becomes more of an MMA show with some kicking, punching, throwing and the like. It too gets pretty bloody and is called after the third round.
Yoshihiro Akiyama Vs. Alan Belcher This middleweight bout puts a Japanese man in the ring with an American fighter in a fight that is great right from the start. There's as lot of energy in spirit here and these two really go at it. Blood is drawn in the first round but that doesn't slow them down in the second round one bit though it soon starts to become a little obvious who is going to take the win when the judges call it at the end of the third round - though the split decision shows how close it was.
Jon Fitch Vs. Paulo Thiago The welterweight main card pits American Jon Fitch against Brazilian behemoth Paulo Thiago. Lasting a full three rounds this one starts off just a little bit slow but soon gets pretty intense as the pair find their stride in the second of the three rounds until the judges finally call it. At one point it looks like a heavy duty submission hold is going to end the match in round two but surprisingly that doesn't happen.
Dan Henderson Vs. Michael Bisping This middleweight bout puts American Dan Henderson in the ring with British born Michael Bisping in the first main card fight to not last a full three rounds. There's some great action in here, although this is a carefully paced fight. You can see these two really watching one another's ever move and countering one another at pretty much every possible interval. The ending by knock out in the second round came as a surprise as they were pretty evenly matched and it seemed like this could very well go all the way.
Georges St-Pierre Vs. Thiago Alves The penultimate match in the welterweight division puts Canadian Georges St-Pierre against Brazilian Thiago Alves in a match that takes its time in the first round before really starting to hit hard in the second and third rounds. These two have pretty interesting fighting styles and its cool to watch them square off and again we see a lot of good dodging and parrying as they start hitting harder and harder. Five full rounds finish this one off when the judges call it and this turns out to be one of the more memorably matches of the night.
Brock Lesnar Vs. Frank Mir Last but not least is the heavyweight title unification bout where Americans Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir bring their all to the ring. After the grueling last match it's a bit of a disappointment to see this main event end in the second round but you can see almost immediately that these two really want it. The first round seems fairly even but once the second round starts the winner dominates resulting in a conclusion that maybe wasn't immediately evident but which, in hindsight, seemed inevitable. Ending by TKO, it comes to a quick but sufficiently bloody and nasty conclusion.
All in all, this is a pretty great selection of matches. While some might have seen the final main event match between Lesnar and Mir as a slight disappointment, it really is a pretty strong bout even if it doesn't last as long as fans had probably hoped it would given the intensity that these two can and do bring to their bouts. The rest of the matches, including the preliminaries, are all very strong as well and we're left with a whole bunch of very talented MMA fighters giving their all for one of the league's finest events thus far in its history. It's a lot to take in all in one sitting and you're probably better off splitting it up over two nights so you don't overdose on it all, but yeah, this is what it's all about. Good stuff.
The UFC 100 Blu-ray looks quite good here in this 1080i 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen VC-1 encoded transfer, at least when you compare it to a standard cable broadcast or the standard definition DVD release. There isn't as much crystal clear detail as there would be in a feature film but the picture quality is pretty strong when you consider the lighting conditions under which it was all shot - capturing the action at the Mandalay Bay arena is maybe a bit trickier than capturing it under ideal studio conditions. There are spots where skin tones look a little too pink but this just could be because everyone is sweaty. Crowd reaction shots also show a lot more detail than you'd probably expect, letting all of the facial reactions of those in the close-in seats be seen. Color reproduction is strong across the board and black levels look good. There are some mild compression artifacts if you want to look for them (there is 285 minutes worth of content here) but aside from that, the image is good. Not perfect, but very good.
The primary audio track on this disc is a 48kHz 640 kbps Dolby Digital Multi-Channel track that puts most of its emphasis on the front of the mix using the rears to play around with the score and some of the background and crowd noise. From the opening volley of fireworks toe the dialogue bits and commentary scattered throughout, this is a pretty well mixed track. There aren't any problems with hiss or distortion though some minor echo is present, which makes sense considering that this was recorded live inside and auditorium. An alternate Spanish language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is included, though there are no subtitle or closed captioning options provided.
There are two bonus featurettes included on this release, both presented in HD. The first is the twenty-one minute Behind The Scenes featurette which includes interviews with some of the fighters as well as some of the administration types who put this event together in the first place. Some of the combatants discuss their attitudes towards MMA fighting, to their opponents and how to stay sharp when inside the octagon. In addition, we see how intensive it is to put on an event of this magnitude and scale as we get to go behind the scenes and see how the event was recorded, mic'd and cut. It's a fairly interesting piece that gives as much attention to the technology behind the event as it does to the event itself.
The second featurette is Countdown, a forty-one minute piece where we learn what lead up to this milestone event in the league's history and how it's important not only because of the number behind it but because of the fighters involved in the various cards. Here we get little spotlight segments on Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar, Thiago Alves, Georges St-Pierre, Dan Henderson, and Michael Bisping, before we learn about some of the feuds and previous matches that lead up to this competition. This is worth checking out before watching the fights themselves as this provides a pretty good context for the various matches and also provides some interesting biographical information on the various participants (who knew Brock Lesner lived in the woods and only has a TV to watch hunting shows?).
Rounding out the extras are some BD Live bits you can access online, UFC website and DVD release promo spots, animated menus and chapter stops.
NOTE: Despite the fact that the packaging says this is a two-disc release, it's not, it's a single disc release.
Very strong audio and video quality alongside a decent selection of extras that provide some context and background information ensure that the disc is up to snuff, but it's the fight footage here that will sell fans on this release. Including eleven full matches, there's enough mixed martial arts action contained on this disc to satisfy any fight fan, and having it in high definition makes it all the more satisfying. Recommended.