Review for UFC 112: Invincible
Let's cut straight to the chase. After what happened at UFC 112: Invincible, the premier MMA organisation's first visit to the United Arab Emirates, you would think the Dana White and the Fertitta brothers would have a hard time giving this DVD away, never mind selling it.
But here it is available in it's almost five and a half hours worth of glory. If you don't understand why I am using such a condescending tone, or what actually happened at UFC 112 then you are a) not an MMA fan or b) have been living in some sort of cave for the past few months.
If you don't know what happened then here it is. Anderson Silva happened.
The UFC's middleweight champion is something of an enigma. At his best Silva is a modern day Ali. A masterpiece of a fighter able to knockout or submit his opponent at will. Silva can end a fight without so much of a bruise or breaking a sweat.
However there is a flip side to the Silva coin. 'The Spider' has been known to coast through title defences when it is thought that he does not consider his opponent worthy of being in the cage with him. Instead of going out and destroying the "unworthy" opponent, Silva often toys with them like a cat would with a mouse. That's all well and good, except nobody pays good money to watch a cat and mouse.
In Abu Dhabi the ugly side of Silva reared it's head. The first couple of rounds where vintage Silva, he toyed with jiu-jitsu ace Damian Maia and landed strikes at will. Then something clicked. Maia went for it and Silva ran away, quite literally.
It culminated into the UFC President, Dana White, walking on on a main event for the first time in the history of the UFC. The crowd also turned on Silva chanting 'Maia' before chanting the name of welterweight champion George St. Pierre.
It stood to ruin what was, before then, an very good event.
Video is presented in 4:3 PAL and, as ever, is another well produced event. You will notice that this was the first ever open air UFC event and it creates a much lighter Octagon.
Dolby Digital 2.0 provides the audio, listen out for a very vocal crowd. One of the great things about when the UFC arrives in different destinations is that the crowd is often very up for the event. This means that the atmosphere is excellent right throughout, even on the undercard. Mostapha Al Turk has never been so popular.
Most noticeable about the extras here is the presence of the post fight press conference. This could well be included so that viewers can hear Dana White's explanation and apology for the main event.
The second disc has both the extras and the preliminary fights on it, rather than the entire card on the first disc. The usual behind the scenes segment pins the focus on the two defending champions, Silva and BJ Penn plus former welterweight champion Matt Hughes. All men appear humble, entertaining and energetic outside the Octagon. We hear them talk about their travels as part of the UFC and we get to see what they eat and do to prepare for their fights.
Hughes in particular looks back on his career and talks a lot about his family, for somebody with somewhat of a reputation as a bully Hughes sure comes across as a down to earth family man. His segment feels a little like a winding up of his career.
The fighter interviews feature is also here as well as the countdown show. Both are interesting additions to the extras. Interestingly the distributors obviously believed Paul Kelly's scouse accent warranted subtitles, although judging by the interpretation they may have struggled a little themselves.
There is no weigh-in show here, which is usually a permanent fixture on these DVDs.
It is difficult to recommend a DVD when it is really ruined by a very underwhelming main event. Silva's actions deserved the condemnation that they received because it spoilt what was, before that, a very decent event.
Not only were Silva's actions disrespectful to his opponent, Maia, but they were disrespectful to White, the Fertittas, the fans, every other fighter on the card and most of all himself. He is capable of so much more and as White puts it in the post fight presser, we'd rather complain because he beats these guys in seconds than showboat and abuse his own ability.
Frankie Edgar went to war with BJ Penn and gave him the competition that he has lacked at the 155lbs weight. In what turned out to be a battle of attrition the fight went to a razor close decision which will still be disputed until the two meet again.
Matt Hughes's battle with Renzo Gracie lacked a little in pace, but it was a chance to see two legends get it on and the respect between the two is a breath of fresh air.
The fight of the night, however, was by far the clash between Mark Munoz and Kendall Grove. This clash was a back and forth bloody battle, both men had chances to get the victory in what is really a must see fight.
On the undercard there are some interesting clashes, for the pick of the bunch it is a toss up between DaMarques Johnson's war with Brad Blackburn and Paul Kelly's bloodbath with Matt Veach.
If the UFC could have produced this DVD without the main event then they would probably have a better time selling it. The rest of the card is strong and entertainment for fight fans, but for somebody with the ability of Silva it is such a shame that he cannot produce it and provide the fans with the excitement they crave, and deserve.