My experience with the UFC is more of a classic one. I remember watching various pay per views on DVD and VHS of the old matches back when they had 1 night tournaments and everybody was either talking about Gracie, Shamrock or Severn. Recently, I had started watching random fights on the Spike Network to pass the time when I wasn’t interested in WWE or TNA wrestling. However, the one thing that got me most interested in UFC or MMA as of late is one man. No, not Kimbo Slice. That man would be Brock Lesnar. The man who would came to UFC to prove he was a true fighter and put away of those rumors that existed about wrestlers and not really being able to compete. UFC 87 featured Brock vs Heath Herring and a Welterweight championship fight among 8 other matches on the card. Was it time for the “Next Big Thing”?
UFC 87 Seek & Destroy -August 9th, 2008. This event took place from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ten matches were on the card leading to a packed evening of fights. Many matches highlighted the card. In Lightweight action we had Kenny Florian against Roger Huerta. Huerta prior to the fight looked unstoppable and a force to be reckoned with. In heavyweight action we had Brock Lesnar who had suffered a loss to Frank Mir in a prior ppv due to mostly inexperience. He was facing the “Texas Crazy Horse” Heath Herring who had been coming off a victory against Cheick Kongo. Kongo incidentally was also on the card against Dan Evensen, fresh off some wins in BODOG.
In addition, we had the unbeaten Demian Maia taking on the very experienced Jason McDonald in the middleweight division. However, the true main event was for the UFC Welterweight Title. It pitted Jon Fitch against the title holder, Georges St. Pierre. Jon Fitch was going for an impressive nine wins in a row at UFC and even though he wasn’t the best fighter, he had the most heart. Georges St. Pierre had just won the belt back from Matt Serra and was setting out to prove that he could defend the belt and against a credible challenger.
At the end of the night, Georges St. Pierre was still champion, taking the unanimous decision against Jon Fitch. Fitch was clearly dominated and gets points for staying in there but doesn’t achieve the nine wins in a row. Brock Lesnar manhandled Heath Herring with a murderous punch that tore his world apart and then Brock proceeded to pound him for three straight rounds to take the easy decision. Some will criticize Brock’s inability to finish but one has to think that he was simply not trying to make the same mistakes he did against Frank Mir.
Kenny Florian surprised many critics as he kept Roger Huerta at bay to grab the decision. Huerta simply never got off the ground and never showed the skills that had brought him to the dance. That so called “zone” he had talked about in pre-match interviews never showed up. The most exciting fight of the night actually existed in the undercard where Demian Maia was finally able to get Jason McDonald to tap out half-way through the third round. The action was back and forth with many submission attempts and reversals by both parties. I think a rematch would not be out of consideration but then again what do I know.
The matches were incredibly solid and the low-lights were few and far between. In a battle of Ultimate Fighters, Rob Emerson turned out Manny Gamburyan’s lights out in a mere 12 seconds. I blinked and the fight was over. Cheick Kongo proved that Dan Evensen wasn’t quite ready for the big time with a TKO stoppage late in the first round. The two opening preliminary fights were mostly snooze fests with one man clearly outclassing the other to pick up the victory. Overall, even these fights had glimmers of excitement in what lead to a solid evening.
The action is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The fighters look good (not as good as the ring girls but I digress) and the action is clear. I really like the fact they went to widescreen here as it helped to display the quality of the mat work taking place. The octagon benefits from the extra aspect and there is nothing but good things taking place here.
However, for all of the wonderful things the video does; the audio does no favors. The audio is in 2.0 English and 2.0 Spanish. If it wasn’t for the brilliant Joe Rogan on color commentary, it would simply be an average broadcast. This is troubling to figure out since they obviously went the extra mile on the video portion of the broadcast. Still serviceable but I just feel that it needed that extra oomph.
- Automatic Trailers: UFC on Demand, UFC.com, UFC on DVD, UFC Breakfast Cereal(okay I made the last one up). Plenty of UFC promotional material here.
- Countdown Show 39:14: This basically went over the major matches at UFC 87. It also highlighted a lot of the back story like St. Pierre’s match against Matt Serra, Fitch’s eight wins in a row or the fact that Florian is a samurai. Or something like that.
- Weigh-In 14:36: Joe Rogan provides an excellent backdrop and makes an usually silly exercise into something a little more interesting. Good show of respect from all combatants. Brock is a big boy. Most interesting weigh-in, the battle of the nerds: Luke Commo and Tampan McCrory. Maybe I got a shot in the ring after all. Uhhh no.
- Behind the Scenes 44:20: A lot of pre and post fight information here. It also helps to provide an excellent history of the main event and the path that Georges St. Pierre took to become the best in the welterweight division including footage from many past UFC’s (50, 56, 58, and so forth).
- UFC.COM 41:10: This feature included interviews before and after all of the fights. The thing to like here is that they go over all of the fights, not just the main events and headliners. Even the prelimins are mentioned in full detail. Probably the strongest feature of the bunch.
Georges St. Pierre kept the welterweight belt. Brock kept his spot in the UFC heavyweight division with a decisive win over Heath Herring. Manny Gamburyan might have his faculties back by now, we’ll probably need to check. But seriously, UFC 87 was a great event top to bottom and a real showcase for those who may be new to the UFC fight scene. From the prelims to the main events, the low spots were few and the card was a treat to all of the fans that showed up. The dvd was a stellar double disc package with top notch video and presentation. The 2nd disc has over two hours of information and is overkill unless you are a hardcore MMA fan. Fans who care about all of the matches will probably just watch the UFC.com feature while those looking at the main events will just take a look at the Countdown show. Even though I’m a casual fan, based on this DVD, I can certainly see myself looking at other events as they become available on DVD. Go Brock, Go. Recommended for any fight fan.
Ben Saunders vs Ryan Thomas
Chris Wilson vs Steve Bruno
Andre Gusmao vs Jon Jones
Cheick Kongo vs Dan Evensen
Luke Commo vs Tampan McCrory
Jason McDonald vs Demian Maia
Kenny Florian vs Roger Huerta
Rob Emerson vs Manny Gamburyan
Brock Lesnar vs Heath Herring
UFC Welterweight Championship:Georges St. Pierre (champion) vs Jon Fitch