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UFC 4: What happened when Royce Gracie met "The Beast" Dan Severn

Paul Benson
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Royce Gracie takes on Dan Severn in the UFC 4 final
Royce Gracie takes on Dan Severn in the UFC 4 final

Royce Gracie had to be carried out of the Octagon at UFC 3 after he was mauled in his opening round match versus Kimo Leopoldo despite earning the victory. At UFC 4, fittingly subtitled "Revenge of the Warriors", Gracie had his opportunity for redemption. 

Taking place in Oklahoma, Tulsa from Expo Square Pavillion, the fourth instalment of UFC events played host once again to an eight-man tournament.

The field was the strongest in UFC history up to that point. The field featured UFC 3 Champion, Steve Jennum, the aptly named "Giant Killer" Keith Hackney as well as the highly accomplished amateur wrestling champion, Dan "The Beast" Severn.

It was Severn who opened the show with a brutal submission of Anthony Macias in under two minutes.

UFC 3 winner, Steve Jennum had a point to prove after waves of criticism following his tournament victory after fighting just once to be crowned champion as an alternate for Ken Shamrock. He went some way to silencing the critics with a well fought submission victory over Melton Brown. It was unfortunate then, that Jennum was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to an injury sustained in the match.

Keith Hackney made a welcome return to the Octagon and was faced once again with a seemingly insurmountable challenge in Joe Son, who outweighed him by thirty pounds. In one of the most infamous finishes in UFC history, Hackney once again lived up to his "Giant Killer" reputation by forcing Son to release a headlock by inflicting repeated groin strikes upon him. This enabled Hackney to lock in a hand lock to earn the submission victory.

Two-time winner, Gracie eased into the tournament with a routine victory via rear naked choke over the 51-year-old, Ron van Clief.

With that, the semi-final brackets were set. Severn set his stall out once more, crushing alternate, Marcus Bossett in under a minute, which led to the much-anticipated bout between Gracie and Hackney. It lived up to the billing. Hackney showed considerable skill, blocking numerous takedown attempts by the Brazilian and landing plenty of punches. However, Gracie's superiority finally told as his perseverance finally enabled him to lock in an arm-bar which Hackney had no choice but to tap to.

Royce Gracie versus Dan Severn main-evented UFC 4 and was a mismatch in terms of size and strength. However, as Gracie had done so often in his UFC career, he overcame his larger foe. It was not without a fight, moreover. Severn fought Gracie for over fifteen minutes, controlling him for the most part in the guard. However, Gracie showed excellent powers of recovery to set up a triangle choke for the victory.


Gracie once again was the UFC tournament champion. His third victory in four events, with 11 consecutive wins. His victory over Severn, however, was his final win in the Octagon. 

Gracie would finally clash with Ken Shamrock once more at the next UFC event, a show which would also see the return of finalist, Dan Severn.