UFC 5: Return of the Beast

A Night of Grappling and Controversy

On December 16, 1994, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned with its fifth event, UFC 5: Return of the Beast, held at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event marked a turning point in the UFC’s history, introducing a new superfight format and showcasing the growing dominance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

The Superfight and Controversy

The main event of UFC 5 featured a highly anticipated superfight between Ken Shamrock, a former UFC tournament winner, and Royce Gracie, the undefeated champion from UFC 1, UFC 2, UFC 3, and UFC 4. The fight was billed as a clash of styles, with Shamrock’s wrestling prowess facing off against Gracie’s BJJ expertise.

The superfight, however, turned into a controversial affair. The bout, which lasted over 36 minutes, consisted primarily of grappling with minimal striking. The lack of action drew criticism from some fans and commentators, who felt the fight did not live up to the hype.

Grappling Dominance and Tournament Results

Despite the controversy surrounding the superfight, UFC 5 showcased the growing dominance of BJJ. Gracie’s grappling skills were on full display, as he submitted his three tournament opponents, including seasoned fighters like Dan Severn and Oleg Taktarov.

The event also featured a 16-man tournament with fighters competing in three weight classes: heavyweight, middleweight, and lightweight. The tournament produced several memorable matchups and highlighted the rising stars of MMA.

Match Results

Here are the official match results of UFC 5:

  • Superfight: Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie (Draw)
  • Heavyweight Tournament:
    • Dan Severn def. Dave Beneteau via submission (keylock)
    • Oleg Taktarov def. Ernie Verdicia via TKO (retirement)
    • Dan Severn def. Oleg Taktarov via TKO (cut)
    • Dan Severn def. Dave Beneteau via submission (keylock)
  • Middleweight Tournament:
    • Joe Charles def. Anthony Macias via submission (rear-naked choke)
    • Guy Mezger def. John Dowdy via TKO (referee stoppage)
    • Joe Charles def. Guy Mezger via submission (armbar)
    • Jason Godsey def. Joe Charles via TKO (referee stoppage)
  • Lightweight Tournament:
    • Dave Beneteau def. Asbel Cancio via submission (rear-naked choke)
    • Todd Medina def. Maurice Smith via submission (rear-naked choke)
    • Dave Beneteau def. Todd Medina via submission (armbar)
    • Steve Jennum def. Dave Beneteau via KO (punch)

Legacy of UFC 5

UFC 5 remains a significant chapter in MMA history, showcasing the growing influence of BJJ and highlighting the sport’s evolving nature. While the superfight drew criticism for its lack of action, it also demonstrated the effectiveness of grappling techniques and the importance of strategic fighting.

The event also solidified the UFC’s position as the premier MMA organization, attracting a larger audience and attracting new fighters to the sport. Today, UFC 5 is remembered for its grappling showcase, the rise of BJJ, and the continued evolution of MMA as a competitive and spectator-worthy sport.


Leave a Reply