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By Brian Sweet, MMATorch DVD Specialist
Hello and welcome to the first week of my "DVD World" series of articles. My name is Brian Sweet and I am an avid collector MMA memorabilia and DVDs. It is my goal to provide viewers with a collection of MMA DVD reviews of MMA events that are widely available for purchase on the net and at local retailers. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding all things DVD and MMA related. I own a complete Pride and UFC DVD library so please contact me if you have a specific disc in mind that you would like me to review. This week we will be looking at "UFC 43: Meltdown." This event was historic in that it produced the first ever UFC champion in two different weight divisions. So let's get down to business.
We will look at one fight each day, and not only review the fight itself, but tell you what the ramifications of the fight were from today's perspective looking back. I hope you enjoy reading this new daily feature as much as I enjoyed writing it.
UFC 43: MELTDOWN
JUNE 6, 2003
LAS VEGAS, NEV. AT THE THOMAS & MACK CENTER
Yves Edwards vs. Eddie Ruiz
Edwards headed into UFC 43 looking to establish himself as a top contender in the lightweight division. This was a strange time for the lightweight division as a whole, mainly due to the BJ Penn/Caol Uno situation that occurred at UFC 41 when neither man claimed the vacant championship. The lightweight title would remain unclaimed until UFC 64, which was still nearly three years away at this time. In any case, Edwards began tearing through the division after suffering back to back losses at the hands of Matt Serra and Caol Uno inside the octagon. His road to redemption began when Edwards dispatched Joao Marcos Pierini and Rich Clementi respectively. Enter Eddie Ruiz; a relative unknown in the sport and presumably a hand picked opponent for the one of the UFC's fastest rising up and comers. It appeared to most that Yves would be victorious in quick fashion and go on to bigger and better things inside the octagon. One click of the play button, and away we go.
Round 1: Nelson Hamilton is our referee and the action begins. The fight begins with both guys sizing each other up. Ruiz shoots in for the takedown but Edwards evades. Ruiz shoots again but Yves sprawls. Ruiz pulls guard and Edwards scores a sweet reversal and ends up in mount briefly. Ruiz rolls and gives up his back and Edwards locks in a body triangle. Ruiz is showing good defense from his back here but Yves is relentless with his attack. Edwards lands some good punches and bloodies the nose of his opponent. Ruiz works his way back to his feet and they reset after a brief check by the ringside doctor. Yves jumps in with a flying knee and barely misses. For the first time in the fight, Ruiz gets guard position and works some sloppy ground and pound. Good round for Yves Edwards.
Round 2: The round begins with Edwards looking to work his muai thai skills. Eddie shoots but gets stuffed and shortly thereafter Edwards lands a vicious left high kick to the face of Ruiz. Ruiz takes the shot well and dives into the guard of Edwards. Yves works for a triangle but loses it. Edwards gets back to a standing position and lands some vicious knees to the midsection of Ruiz in the clinch. Ruiz is getting desperate now and shoots in but Edwards evades and lands a few punches from the open guard of Ruiz. The action slows as a clinch war ensues with Yves clearly getting the upper hand. Ruiz looks very tired now. Edwards lands a beautiful knee to the face of Eddie after securing a muai thai plum. Ruiz has a great chin and has taken some massive blows this round. The round ends as Edwards looks to land some more bombs.
Round 3: Ruiz fakes a straight left punch and shoots in but gets denied yet again. Ruiz is not presenting a threat at all standing and seems relegated to just keep shooting in over and over again. Ruiz shoots again and again Yves sprawls. Ruiz works hard for it and eventually gets the takedown after grabbing a single. Yves rolls through and Ruiz finds himself with back side control for the first time in the fight and lands a few punches to the head of Yves Edwards. They get back to their feet and again Ruiz shoots in and secures a quick takedown, but Yves locks in a tight triangle choke. Ruiz finds a way out and they trade blows in the clinch. Edwards lands knees and punches but can't finish the fight. All three judges give the fight to Edwards by way of 30-27 scores. Very impressive victory for Yves Edwards.
Yves Edwards: Yves Edwards is a very exciting fighter to watch and this fight was no exception. At this point in his career, he had been fighting for over six years. He came into the UFC and lost his first two fights against Matt Serra and Caol Uno, but then scored two dominate victories inside the octagon and was beginning to get noticed as a potential star. He has remained inconsistent throughout the years but he has the skills to compete with some of the best fighters in the lightweight division. Although he never won a championship title within Pride or the UFC, he has some quality wins on his resume, including a flying head kick knockout victory over josh Thomson at UFC 49. He also owns two victories over former UFC lightweight title challenger Hermes Franca. Without a doubt, Edwards helps solidify the lightweight division as a true force to be reckoned with in the UFC and certainly deserves the respect of anyone who faces him. Although he may be best remembered by newer fans of the sport for his bloody brawl with Joe Stevenson in a losing effort at UFC 61, Edwards is a very skilled muai thai fighter and is capable of beating nearly anyone he fights.
Eddie Ruiz: Eddie Ruiz came into this fight after having only one pro fight to his credit. For unknown reasons he never fought professionally again after this loss. That being said, he did display a great chin and never quit being in the fight. Aside from a few failed takedown attempts and being thoroughly outclassed standing, there really isn't anything else to say about Ruiz. He came to fight but lost, and that is all.
Check back every day for our continued march through this DVD. Here's the schedule...
MONDAY: Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo vs. Tra "Trauma" Telligma
YESTERDAY - FIGHT 2: Matt "The Law" Lindland vs. Falaniko Vitale
TODAY - FIGHT 3: Yves Edwards vs. Eddie Ruiz
TOMORROW - FIGHT 4: Wes "The Project" Sims vs. Frank Mir
FRIDAY - FIGHT 5: Vernon "The Tiger" White vs. Ian "The Machine" Freeman
SATURDAY - FIGHT 6: Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort vs Marvin "The Beastman" Eastman
SUNDAY - FIGHT 7: Tank Abbott vs. Kimo Leopoldo
MONDAY - FIGHT 7: Randy "The Natural" Couture vs. Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell
And then stay tuned next Monday for the start of another full DVD review.
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