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UFC: Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights

Other // Unrated // November 10, 2009
List Price: $99.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Nick Hartel | posted November 30, 2009 | E-mail the Author

I can still vividly remember watching my first UFC event. It was the summer of 1995 and the sixth PPV event for the young and very controversial sport. At this time, the UFC wasn't divided into weight classes and fights weren't promoted like boxing matches over months. Instead, fighters of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds entered a one-night tournament to declare a victor. There were three rounds of matches in all and in a way, the final two men, were more unlucky than the opponents they defeated because they both had one more brutal battle left ahead. The competitors that made it to the finals that night were polar opposites. David "Tank" Abbot was a brawler, who impressively knocked out the martial arts trained giant, John Matua in less than twenty seconds. Oleg Taktarov was a technically sound fighter who had ended both his previous fights in less than a minute with a ferocious choke out. The two battles for almost twenty minutes, taking each other to their physical limits and while Taktarov finally slapped that choke on Abbot, both men were worthy of praise for their intense and exciting battle.

When I cracked open the eight disc, UFC: Ultiamte 100 Greatest Fights box set and took a look at the list of matches waiting for me to check out, I was honestly shocked to see this great battle from UFC VI was nowhere to be found. Even further, I noticed a lot of names from those early days of the UFC MIA. In their place were a large number of matches from this past decade, where the sport has undergone a large change. Gone are the days of the one-night tournament. Now there are multiple weight divisions, heavily promoted fights, and a roster of fighters who train in a much different way than the pioneers of the sport did in the mid 90s. I'm still a fan of the UFC to this day and while I haven't followed it very heavily, I still very much appreciated this collection of fights despite the controversy surrounding it.

Hardcore MMA fans are going to notice some fighters who were huge successes in the UFC either absent or highlighted in one of their few, less than stellar performances. Tito Ortiz, who was actually banned from a UFC fan event a few months back, makes four appearances on the list, but all of them are losses. His great fight with Frank Shamrock at UFC 22 is gone, as Frank Shamrock, a man undefeated in the UFC makes no appearances here. The cause is most likely both had bad blood with UFC president Dana White. Now, I'm not telling White how to run his company, as the man deserves all the praise in the world for bringing the company to the level it is today, but I find it hard to believe that a longtime UFC fan wouldn't have Frank on their top 100 list. The same goes for Bas Rutten's victorious, but career ending fight at UFC 20 with Kevin Randleman. I don't know how these matches were selected or voted on, but it's quite obvious, fighters who had a falling out with the company didn't get a fair shake.

The question remains though, despite the iffy match selection, how does this set fare? The answer is quite solidly. The last fight on the list pulls viewers (both new and old) into what the sport is all about. English fighters Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor have a knockdown, drag out that personifies the heart and soul of the UFC. Towards the end of the fight at one of the round breaks, both men, hug each other before returning to their respective corners, showing the respect they have for themselves and the sport. The set jumps around from more recent fights to some older ones through the course of its nearly 27 hour runtime and viewers get treated to some stars both in their prime, such as Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock's first epic encounter at UFC I to fights in their career where they showed, despite their age, they still were very competent fighters. Gracie's fight against the much younger Matt Hughes is amazing if solely for Gracie's icy resolve while locked in a very brutal armbar at the hands of Hughes.

It was not all gold however, as fighters who I don't care for show up, namely BJ Penn. Penn is without a doubt a great fighter and he personifies talent in his matches, especially against Caol Uno and Jens Pulver. His matches against Georges St-Pierre are standouts despite them all being defeats, however St-Pierre is no slouch, making numerous appearances on the list and justifiably so with a record of 19-2. Brock Lesnar's inclusion may also sit wrong with some fans, especially with his not so shocking defeat at the hands of Frank Mir entering the top five. Lesnar, the current Heavyweight champ is a huge draw for the sport, so I can understand why the company would want him highlighted here, but it's high ranking does seem a bit suspicious. The same goes for the top fight in the set, Stephen Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin from the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter. Many fans and critics point to this fight as a huge moment in the sport that really helped its mainstream appeal. I don't argue this point, but I do argue its spot as greatest fight of all time. It belongs in this set, but I could point to at least three or four fights in the top ten that deserve the top honor more.

So who is this set for? Longtime fans and collectors are likely able to pass, since the UFC releases all it's PPVs on DVD and this is merely a compilation set. New fans might not want to take the plunge, given the high price point, despite the fact there are 100 complete fights here. The middle of the road, more casual fan such as myself is really the target audience here. I was thoroughly impressed with the matches, many I had seen before and many I hadn't. I can see myself revisiting quite a few of these fights in the future and find the set a much more practical alternative to tracking down full PPVs just for one or two matches.

100. Paul Kelly vs. Paul Taylor (UFC 80)
99. Pat Miletich vs. Carlos Newton (UFC 31)
98. Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon (UFN 13)
97. Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon (UFN 8)
96. Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 60)
95. Tyson Griffin vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 90)
94. B.J. Penn vs. Din Thomas (UFC 32)
93. Thiago Alves vs. Chris Lytle (UFC 78)
92. B.J. Penn vs. Matt Serra (UFC 39)
91. Rich Franklin vs. Ken Shamrock (TUF 1 Finale)

90. B.J. Penn vs. Caol Uno II (UFC 41)
89. Forrest Griffin vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 66)
88. Frankie Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin (UFC 67)
87. Jeremy Horn vs. Chuck Liddell (UFC 54)
86. Phil Baroni vs. Evan Tanner (UFC 45)
85. Nick Diaz vs. Karo Parisyan (UFC 49)
84. Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo (UFC 30)
83. Chuck Liddell vs. Vernon White (UFC 49)
82. Georges St. Pierre vs. Frank Trigg (UFC 54)
81. Jon Koppenhaver vs. Jared Rollins (TUF 6 Finale)

80. Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner I (UFC 42)
79. Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre I (UFC 69)
78. Keith Jardine vs. Chuck Liddell (UFC 76)
77. James Irvin vs. Anderson Silva (UFN 14)
76. Matt Hughes vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 42)
75. Gerard Gordeau vs. Royce Gracie (UFC 1)
74. Rich Franklin vs. David Loiseau (UFC 58)
73. Jason Miller vs. Georges St. Pierre (UFC 52)
72. Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 92)
71. Tank Abbott vs. Don Frye (UFC Ultimate Ultimate 1996)

70. Mark Coleman vs. Pete Williams (UFC 17)
69. B.J. Penn vs. Caol Uno I (UFC 34)
68. Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz (UFC 84)
67. Shonie Carter vs. Matt Serra (UFC 31)
66. B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre II (UFC 94)
65. Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout II (UFN 10)
64. Chuck Liddell vs. Renato 'Babalu' Sobral II (UFC 62)
63. Matt Hughes vs. Georges St. Pierre I (UFC 50)
62. Tyson Griffin vs. Clay Guida (UFC 72)
61. B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson (UFC 80)

60. Karo Parisyan vs. Georges St. Pierre (UFC 46)
59. Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar (UFC 91)
58. Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton II (UFC 38)
57. Leonard Garcia vs. Roger Huerta (UFC 69)
56. Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner II (UFC 53)
55. Rashad Evans vs. Forrest Griffin (UFC 92)
54. Chris Leben vs. Anderson Silva (UFN 1)
53. Kenny Florian vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 64)
52. Chuck Liddell vs. Renato 'Babalu' Sobral I (UFC 40)
51. Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell (UFC 88)

50. Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva (UFC 92)
49. Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 71)
48. B.J. Penn vs. Jens Pulver I (UFC 35)
47. Chuck Liddell vs. Kevin Randleman (UFC 31)
46. Quinton Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell (UFC 71)
45. Pete Sell vs. Scott Smith (TUF4 Finale)
44. Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre II (UFC 83)
43. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg I (UFC 45)
42. Sean Sherk vs. Georges St. Pierre (UFC 56)
41. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 81)

40. Vitor Belfort vs. Randy Couture (UFC 15)
39. Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva (UFC 84)
38. Randy Couture vs. Pedro Rizzo I (UFC 31)
37. Royce Gracie vs. Kimo Leopoldo (UFC 3)
36. Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell II (UFC 52)
35. Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 48)
34. B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 84)
33. Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn II (UFC 63)
32. Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC 74)
31. Dan Henderson vs. Quinton Jackson (UFC 75)

30. Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn I (UFC 46)
29. Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC 98)
28. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II (UFC 66)
27. Randy Couture vs. Tito Ortiz (UFC 44)
26. Jon Fitch vs. Georges St. Pierre (UFC 87)
25. Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell III (UFC 57)
24. Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock I (UFC 1)
23. Matt Hughes vs. Georges St. Pierre II (UFC 65)
22. Clay Guida vs. Roger Huerta (TUF 6 Finale)
21. Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell I (UFC 43)

20. Matt Hughes vs. Georges St. Pierre III (UFC 79)
19. Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva (UFC 82)
18. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz I (UFC 47)
17. Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 68)
16. Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout I (UFC 58)
15. Thiago Alves vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 85)
14. Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton I (UFC 34)
13. Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez (TUF 9 Finale)
12. Nick Diaz vs. Diego Sanchez (TUF 2 Finale)
11. Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson (UFC 86)

10. Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua (UFC 76)
9. Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC 70)
8. Karo Parisyan vs. Diego Sanchez (UFN 6)
7. Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva II (UFC 77)
6. Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva I (UFC 64)
5. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir I (UFC 81)
4. B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre I (UFC 58)
3. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II (UFC 52)
2. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva (UFC 79)
1. Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin I (TUF 1 Finale)


The Video

The aspect ratio on this set varies from 1.33:1 to 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen depending on when the fight was filmed. The more recent matches show up in widescreen, while the older stuff was originally full frame. Video quality is not spectacular with the oldest fights looking like the video transfers they likely were. The newer fights however, showed some noticeable compression at points and while above television quality, could have looked better.

The Audio

The stereo English audio track is perfectly acceptable for a sports presentation. The commentary is clear and solidly balanced with the sounds from the crowd, refs, corner men, and fighters themselves.

The Extras


Final Thoughts

UFC Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights is a great collection for a non-hardcore fan. While I do question how the list was compiled and the lack of the real "old-school" stuff, the collection of fights are great representations of what the variety the sport has to offer. Recommended.

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