Fight Pass and Chill – Looking back at UFC 17

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Fight Pass and Chill is a new idea that was created due to being locked up in my house during these crazy times we’re living in. I made the decision to go back and watch some random UFC cards, beginning with UFC 17. After all, there are only so many times I can watch old Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen reruns before I needed to find something else to occupy my time. Don’t get me wrong, Tiger King was an amazing distraction as well, and if you haven’t seen it, you’d better get after it. That said, it was time to venture out and watch some old MMA events and give my thoughts on them here, beginning with UFC 17.

UFC 17 – May of 1998

This was before the days of Zuffa and SEG was running the show. The event took place in Mobile, Alabama. The fans were packed in and amped for a night of limited rule fighting madness. The event featured a middleweight tournament and three heavyweight super-fights. Jeremy Horn also fought Frank Shamrock, but the bout was taped for later broadcast in what is a total head-scratcher.  However, it is shown on the Fight Pass UFC 17 card.

Dan Henderson vs. Allan Goes

The show kicked off with what the first semifinal in the middleweight tournament. It featured Dan Henderson taking on a blast from the past, Allan Goes. What struck me is how young and lean Henderson looked. At that point, he was fighting out of Huntington Beach, California and was with Team RAW. Henderson and Goes went the distance in what was at times a pretty lackluster affair. Dan Henderson got dropped by a right hand in the early going but was never in any real danger. He utilized his wrestling and won a decision.

Carlos Newton vs. Bob Gilstrap 

It was genuinely surprising to see Carlos Newton making his debut here, as I didn’t remember him competing for this early in the UFC. That said, his athletism and submission skills were outstanding and he made very easy work of Bob Gilstrap, finishing him via Triangle Choke in under a minute. During the 52-second fight, Newton took Gilstrap down, mounted him, attempted armbars on both arms and locked on a choke. He had incredible transition ability.

Joe Pardo vs. Mike Van Arsdale

This was the first of three heavyweight “super-fights”, but to be honest, there wasn’t much super about this fight. Mike Van Arsdale utilized tremendous wrestling to control Joe Pardo, who was making his UFC debut. Pardo was able to land some strikes but nothing damaging. Arsdale also put some of his submission skills on display and was able to secure a kimura 11 minutes in. When the submission was locked in, Pardo was too exhausted to even stand. The fight wasn’t horrendous, but it is not necessary viewing by any stretch either.

Hugo Duarte vs. Tank Abbott 

Tank Abbot’s fights all had the elusive big fight atmosphere. You almost felt like you had to watch or you could potentially miss out on something amazing. Hugo Duarte talked trash before the fight, calling Tank unskilled. Duarte said he’d beat Tank Abbott badly. Well, live and learn I suppose. It only took 43 seconds for Duarte to learn his lesson as Tank blasted through him, like a hot knife through butter. Duarte was able to take Abbott down and had his back. However, Tank escaped and unloaded a series of shots to the back of Duarte’s head and that was a wrap. Unreal power shots from Abbott.

Dan Henderson vs. Carlos Newton (middleweight tournament final)

These two went at it for fifteen minutes and it was quite a lot of fun. Henderson got the best of the grappling, controlling the action for a large part of the first round. Carlos Newton had his moments, however, and did better of the two in the standup exchanges. Henderson was able to hold Newton down and utilized solid top control throughout the opening twelve-minute period. The OT period was crazy and Newton drilled Henderson with a short right that had Henderson on skates. Hendo’s legs were gone, and he was badly hurt. After a scramble, Henderson secured a desperation takedown. The fight ended and Newton had clearly won the OT round. The announcers seemed to feel Newton would win but Dan Henderson was awarded a split decision victory and was the middleweight tournament champion.

Mark Coleman vs. Pete Williams

This is one of those fights that lives on forever in highlight packages and recaps. We’ve all seen Mark Coleman taking the kick to the mouth a hundred times, but it’s still pretty crazy every time we see it. UFC 17 is remembered for this highlight. This fight was a battle Coleman who had a wrestling advantage and utilized throughout much of the first round but in the process wore himself out. Coleman had landed some big shots and out grappled Williams but by the eight-minute mark, Coleman was badly gassed. The two fighters stood for a few minutes at that point and Pete Williams used leg kicks to soften up Coleman who looked angry at the prospect of being kicked. Coleman landed some punches and scored a takedown but by the time the opening frame was over, Coleman was spent.

Coleman came into the overtime period basically unable to stand straight with his arms up. He was a sitting duck for Pete Williams and Pete took full advantage. He landed a couple of jabs, a punch and then the kick heard round the world. It was a full-force kick to the mouth, that dropped Coleman in a heap.

Frank Shamrock vs. Jeremy Horn – middleweight championship

This bout was originally taped to be broadcast on a later pay per view, but its shown on the Fight Pass card. Frank Shamrock was putting his title on the line against Jeremy Horn, in what looked to be a compelling bout. Horn had so much ability and for the most part he’s not really remembered as being as good as he was. He took Shamrock down early and actually had him mounted. This fight featured some excellent grappling and scrambles. Horn was able to control Shamrock on the canvas for the better part of eight minutes. Shamrock was able to sweep Horn and take the top position.

This was a pretty darn good fight but Shamrock was able to show off his crafty submissions in the first OT period. Shamrock stuffed a takedown and then held onto the fence to keep from being taken down a couple of times. It was, of course, legal at that time. Horn took Shamrock down, but Frank immediately grabbed Horn’s right leg and secured a kneebar and an immediate tap from Horn. Really good fight and a great win for the champion.

Fight of the Night: Frank Shamrock vs. Jeremy Horn

KO of the Night: Pete Williams kick heard round the world

Submission of the Night: Frank Shamrock kneebar against Horn

Another compelling note. This event featured the debut of one of the biggest stars in UFC history. Chuck Liddell faced Noe Hernandez, but the fight for whatever reason isn’t shown on the event. It’s only the debut of one of your biggest stars, why would fans want to see that? Sheesh.

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Dan has been covering and writing about MMA since 2001 when he started at Sherdog. He is a fan of all Bay Area sports teams and loves the San Francisco 49ers.

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