The Official Scorecard - UFC VI - Clash of the Titans
At UFC VI Oleg Taktarov took home the tournament win in an epic final match and Ken Shamrock defeated Dan Severn to win the UFC Superfight Championship, a title that would eventually become the UFC Heavyweight Title, but the legacy of UFC VI is that it was the Tank Abbott show. If UFC VI was nothing else, it was the night that the legend of Tank Abbott was born.
“Tank” Abbott (0-0) vs. John Matua (0-0)
If you’d told the crowd in Casper, Wyoming that D. L. “Tank” Abbott, as announced by Michael Buffer, would end his career with a lousy 10-14 record, you’d be mocked the same way Tank mocked Matua after this twenty second fight stopped. In the fifteen years of fights since this event, this is still one of the most brutal KOs the UFC has ever seen. Matua, billed as six foot two and 400 pounds, was representing Hawaiian Bone Breaking as his martial art. I’ll believe the six foot two, but you can keep the 400lbs. and the bone-breaking. But hey, hype is hype, yes?
The fight starts, the two bulls rush each other, Tank lands some bombs, Matua smacks the canvas with the back of his skull, and Tank takes a free shot.
Tank Abbott wins via KO – Round 1, 0:20
Fight Score: 8 out of 10
Paul Varleans (0-0) vs. Cal Worsham (0-0)
Worsham entered the fight as a Tae Kwon Do blackbelt, while Varleans was a Trapfighter, an unknown art claimed to be an ambiguous hybrid style. This was a minute long rock ‘em, sock ‘em brawl with Worsham getting the better of the initial exchanges until Varleans made good use of his ten inch height advantage and dropped an elbow to the back of Worsham’s head, sending the scrappy Tae Kwon Do fighter face first into mat, ending this brawl and setting up a match with Abbott in the next round.
Paul Varleans wins via KO – Round 1, 1:02
Fight Score: 7 out of 10
Pat Smith (3-3) vs. Rudyard Moncayo (0-0)
After making it to the finals in UFC II, and a stop in K-1, Pat Smith returned to the Octagon for another shot at winning the tournament. Smith welcomed his opponent, Moncayo, a Kenpo stylist, to the UFC by sprinting across the cage and blasting him with a running front kick that gave Moncayo a fleeting moment of air time. Smith showed an quickly evolving MMA game by working for a standing guillotine, taking the full mount, and the ending the fight with a rear naked choke. It’s too bad that this marked Smith’s final fight in the UFC. Wait, you’re saying, he won, so he moves on to the next round. It’s been fifteen years, so I don’t mind throwing out a spoiler: Smith dropped out instead of facing Taktarov.
Pat Smith wins via submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Round 1, 1:08
Fight Score: 6 out of 10
Oleg Taktarov (3-1) vs. Dave Beneteau (2-1)
At UFC V, Dan Severn defeated both Taktarov and Beneteau en route to his tournament win. Going in, you had to suspect that the winner of this fight between the two grapplers, Sambo and Wrestling/Judo, respectively, was most likely going to be the tournament winner. Beneteau landed some good punches against the fence on Oleg, who made it through the storm long enough to catch Beneteau in a guillotine at just under the minute .
Oleg Taktarov wins via submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 1, 0:57
Fight Score: 7 out of 10
“Tank” Abbott (1-0) vs. Paul Varleans (1-0)
Varleans kept it real in this fight by wearing the same black shirt that was torn in his earlier fight with Worsham. Mid 90s, grunge was the rage, who am I to critique a man’s fashion? Tank had been a professional for less than a minute and the crowd was already chanting his name heading into this fight. Tank landed a right hand to start and pressed Varleans against the fence with a takedown. Now, when I say “pressed,” I mean Tank was actually trying to grind Varleans face into the chain link. Ever the showman, Tank looked up and smiled to what had become his crowd.
If there was a theme to UFC VI, it was that Tank reminded everyone that someone could get seriously hurt in there. Five UFCs were in the record books, and there was a sense that some of the danger of that first event, the unknown, the potential that someone could get killed had subsided a bit, but Tank was a reminder that indeed, we were still in the wild west.
Tank Abbott wins via TKO – Round 1, 1:53
Fight Score: 7.5 out of 10
Oleg Taktarov (5-1) vs. Anthony Macias (1-1)
This was supposed to be Pat Smith vs. Taktarov, but Smith succumbed to stomach pains backstage. Yeah, I don’t buy it either. Joel Sutton was to be the first alternate to step in, but was unable to continue after his prelim match, so the task fell to Anthony Macias, who was victorious in the second prelim bout of the evening. Now here’s where things get, let’s say, hmmm, dicey.
You see, Macias and Taktarov trained together with the Lion’s Den, and while Macias was a Muay Thai fighter, he immediately shot in for a single leg on Oleg, who was the much more well-versed submission fighter. Keep in mind that Taktarov would later say that winning this tournament would mean that he could stay in the US and bring his family over here, and while I’m not saying his training partner gave him a free pass to the finals, I’m also not scoring this fight very high at all.
Oleg Taktarov wins via submission (Guillotine) – Round 1, :09
Fight Grade: 2 out of 10
Ken Shamrock (17-4-1) vs. Dan Severn (5-1)
This was a superfight between the two biggest names in the UFC following the departure of Royce Gracie after his draw with Shamrock at UFC V. Severn was coming in hot on the heels of winning the tournament at UFC V, and Shamrock had amassed a wealth of experience fighting in Japan in Pancrase. The winner of this fight would be declared the first “Superfight” Champion, and would defend the title against the winner of Taktarov vs. Tank.
In just over two minutes, Shamrock sunk in a guillotine (a theme for the night) and finally won the “big” fight in the UFC after his draw with Gracie, a draw which Ken would have won if judges were utilized, to become essentially the first UFC heavyweight champion.
Ken Shamrock win via submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 1, 2:14
Fight Score: 6 out of 10 – Sorry, I know it was a title fight, but Severn fights never do it for me.
Oleg Taktarov (6-1) David Abbott (2-0)
UFC VI Tournament Final
It was East vs. West. It was Rocky IV for a new generation. The Cold War continued on in this fight… Okay, it wasn’t really any of those, but it was USA vs. Russia for all the marbles in a fantastic match that amazingly went on for nearly eighteen minutes. After two rounds of quick KOs and submissions, it looked like Tank was on his way to another quick win, but Taktarov took Tank’s best and kept working for that submission when everyone in the building knew that Tank was one punch away from the win. The longer the fight went on, the longer it was clear that Oleg was in this fight as much as Tank was.
After a grueling battle, where they were fighting the altitude as much as one another, Oleg took advantage of a gassed and prone Tank and took the win with a rear naked choke. Neither fighter could get off the mat after it was over though Tank was able to get to his feet first and walked out of the cage before Oleg, who needed oxygen and had to be held up by his corner as he was announced the winner.
Oleg Taktarov wins via submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 17:45
Fight Score: 10 out of 10
Total: 53.5 out of 80
Average Fight Score: 6.68
Certainly, the Taktarov vs. Macias fight hurt the overall score, but with Tank’s debut, the crowning of the first Superfight Champion in Shamrock, and Oleg Taktarov winning the tournament in the great final fight, UFC VI falls into the must own category. Get this DVD if you don’t have it already!
It’s unfair to compare these older events to modern MMA shows, but I’ll stand by a grade of “A” for this event.
65% and above = A
60-65% = B
55-60% = C
50-55% = D
Under 50% = F
Note: The first prelim bouts pitting Joel Sutton vs. Jack McGlaughlin and Anthony Macias vs. He-Man Ali Gipson (a 10 for the name alone) were not shown, nor were they scored here.