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UFC 5: What happened in the long anticipated rematch between Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie?

Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock square off in their long awaited rematch
Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock square off in their
long awaited
rematch

At UFC 5 on April 7, 1995, 18 months after their first clash, the UFC finally devised a way in which they could pit Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie against each other once again. The Superfight.

The idea was to crown a Superfight Champion, who would face the winners of the UFC one-night tournaments. It was a sound idea and one which led to the development of UFC title belts, which were introduced for different weight classes a few short years later.

The first Superfight lasted an interminable 36 minutes; the longest fight in UFC history to this day. With no judges and the referee, at that point, unable to stand the fighters up, it led to a situation where Shamrock pinned Gracie to the mat for almost its entire duration.

For once, Gracie was unable to work from his back to place his opponent in a submission. Shamrock, well aware of Gracie's skill on the ground following his defeat to him at UFC 1, ensured he kept little distance between himself and Gracie which made sure he would not lose but gave himself little opportunity to win.

Shamrock, for his part, did inflict some considerable damage to Gracie, whose face was bloodied and bruised at the conclusion. But the most marquee match in UFC history at that point was massively underwhelming.

With no winner likely and no judges, the fight was declared a draw, though Shamrock was by far the happier of the two fighters. He had completely neutered Gracie. The first man to have done so.

This fight also marked Gracie's final match in the promotion for over a decade, as his brother, Rorion who promoted the events with his partner Art Davie, sold their interest to Semaphore Entertainment Group.

The tournament at UFC 5 was also underwhelming. Without talents like Shamrock and Gracie, the field was relatively clear for the "Beast" Dan Severn to take the crown. The UFC were so convinced Severn would win that they marketed the event around him, naming the show- "Return of the Beast."

And the name was apt. Severn steamrolled Joe Charles in the first round before defeating the only other man who had a chance to win the tournament proper, Oleg Taktarov in the semi-final. However, Severn would display his superiority over the Russian as well. As Taktarov kept attempting to pull Severn into guard, he was blasted by knees from the "Beast" which cut Taktarov open badly. Taktarov had no answer to the brutal assault and had to be attended to by medics as Severn moved onto the final.

Another Severn match. Another mis-match. The "Beast" destroyed alternate, Dave Beneteau, locking in a keylock for the submission win in under three minutes.

Dan Severn was the UFC 5 tournament champion, winning in impressive style.

Dan Severn wins the UFC 5 tournament final
Dan Severn wins the UFC 5 tournament final

The following event, UFC 6 would usher in a new era; one without Gracie family involvement and a with Ken Shamrock now firmly established as its major star. UFC 6 would also, belatedly, see a Superfight Champion crowned as Shamrock and Severn would clash for the first time.

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Edited by Riju Dasgupta
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