The last time Zuffa put out a DVD focused purely on fights that ended with submissions was back in the far-off time before “The Ultimate Fighter” had hit the airwaves on Spike TV. To say the company was overdue for an updated release would be an understatement.
Luckily, hardcore UFC fans were greeted with “UFC: Ultimate Submissions” on DVD in 2010 (and on Blu-Ray last year), which showcased a slew of finishes via armbar, choke, leglock, and everything in between that brought viewers closer to modern times. We are taking back in the days when gloves and groin cups were optional, all the way up to the point where the sport had begun to branch out and begin to take on a life of its own in American households. Even with the greatness that is submissions, getting this DVD led to this ever-important question – was this DVD worth the lengthy wait, or should Zuffa have simply quit while they were ahead?
Hit the jump to read the full review!
“UFC: Ultimate Submissions” clocks in at an hour and eleven minutes total, with the main feature being a documentary style look at some of the top submissions from the UFC, ranging back to the earliest bare-knuckle days, all the way up to Brock Lesnar’s UFC debut against Frank Mir. Presented in widescreen format, the footage looks as glorious as ever, and is frankly the only way to watch fights.
Unlike the Ultimate Heavyweights DVD, the 30 bouts featured on this DVD are not necessarily shown in full. However, of this batch, 20 fights are indeed show in their complete format, so that is not such a bad thing. Some of the fights featured in this set include Anderson Silva’s fights against Dan Henderson and Travis Lutter, Frank Mir VS Brock Lesnar, Georges St Pierre VS Matt Hughes, BJ Penn VS Kenny Florian, Josh Koscheck VS Anthony Johnson, CB Dollaway VS Tom Lawlor, Nate Diaz VS Kurt Pellegrino, Frank Mir VS Tim Sylvia, and many, many more. Mike Goldberg narrates the feature, and sets up each fight with a quick history lesson on the importance and timeline of the match, as well as what to expect from each fighter and, in the case of clipped matches, what happened before we get to the part of the match where the submission occurs. Most of the full matches occur in the DVD extras, which you can read about below.
The bonus features on this DVD include a batch of “bonus submissions”, which includes ten additional submissions such as Tank Abbott VS Frank Mir, a bunch of BJ Penn fights, and a few other goodies that did not make the cut for the main feature. You also get a feature called “Submissions From The Vault” which includes submission wins from the SEG days of the UFC, including submission victories from Royce Gracie, Dan Severn, Oleg Taktarov, Marco Ruas, and Kazushi Sakuraba (yes, they actually mention and show Sakuraba in this from his only UFC appearance). lastly, there is a two-minute long feature of fighters that refused to tap out and just narrowly escaped what could have been a fight-ending hold. These additional features add an extra hour or so of footage to make for a much more encompassing view of the submission.
This DVD is a wonderful look back at the past, and I was very excited to see that they recognized the SEG days of the UFC with some of the historic submissions that helped separate the company from looking like a bunch of bar-brawling buffoons. There is a great selection of submissions here, and while some of the subs may not be the most technically awesome, the fights they showcase are fan favorites and are great based on how the fight unfolded, and the story told within the octagon. “UFC: Ultimate Submissions” is almost a history lesson of the company told with chokes and armlocks, from the very first UFC all the way through to the middle of 2010.
Watching this DVD left me yearning for more, but unfortunately, unlike their knockout DVDs that come out annually, these submission specials seem to only come out once every half-decade or so. Fans of subs will absolutely love this compilation and will not be disappointed, and any MMA can enjoy this as well. I give it a recommendation on the basis of my appreciation for the grappling arts, as well as using it as a teaching tool for newer fans of the sport that NEED to learn that the sport is not just Anderson Silva kicking people in the head.