UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir (2009) Blu-ray Review
'UFC 100' is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 with 1080i VC-1 coding.
Having watched many UFC bouts, on many different formats, I have to say that my eyes were really opened with this release. The most striking improvement to the picture quality is the detail evident in the crowd. Every face, right back to the upper tiers, is visible. This really is a stunning increase in clarity when compared to standard definition broadcasts and DVD releases. Facial close-ups are stunning and skin tones are absolutely spot on; with ruddy complexions, tattoos and facial hair/pores all clearly visible and well represented. The increase in the level of visible detail is phenomenal. Even the fabric joins and texture of the mat are visible, as is every rippling muscle on the fighters. The contrast ratio is very good indeed, as exemplified by the inky blacks of the backgrounds during the interview portions of the presentation. There was some digital noise noted in some of the darker crowd shots but nothing to be overly concerned about.
The colouring throughout is absolutely spot on. The bright spotlights illuminate Mandalay Bay with some very vibrant reds, greens, yellows, blues and purples. Inside the octagon, skin tonality of the various ethnic groups doing battle is very realsitic. As the bouts go on, damage becomes visible, much more visible than on SD broadcasts I have seen. There are a couple of bloody fights (the Danzig/Miller match up spilling the most claret) and everything, from deep, open gashes, to blood soaked bodies and faces is perfectly represented. There's a very fine layer of cinematic grain during the presentation, which adds texture and is pleasing on the eye. Overall this is a very good transfer and is the best that this fantastic sport has ever looked.
'UFC 100' comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track.
The opening UFC theme sounds good but is pretty much identical to the quality of televised broadcasts. The surround involvement of the crowd (I listened in DD PLIIx Movie mode) was good but never really that immersive. All of the fight action is clear, such as the dull impact of every punch and the sharp crack of every leg kick. You can even hear the fighters' feet sliding on the canvas. The commentary is audible throughout and is never drowned out at any stage by the crowd or the action inside the octagon.
The surrounds are used to some degree to create an enveloping soundstage but it's never overly convincing. The bass department has taken a vacation for this one, with only the odd slam and the title theme providing anything to wake the subwoofer up. While this one won't make it into the demo category, it's serviceable enough to get the job done. I suppose the fact that they left this as a stereo mix and didn't even try and upgrade to a 5.1 mix says it all really. Initially I was disappointed that this release didn't feature an uncompressed surround track but on reflection I really don't think that it would have made much of a difference to the overall audio presentation.
In a masterful move, this release includes all of the unaired preliminary fights from the main event; one of the best extras one could hope for on a release such as this one. There's also the countdown show and some behind the scenes footage. This disc also features BD touch, which offers connectivity with I-Phones and I-Touch media players. Some promotional content (for DVDs etc.) and a super cheesy ad for a protein beverage featuring Forest Griffin, are also included. I did feel that the inclusion of 'UFC 1' as an extra would have been a nice touch and would have exposed a little more of the history of the sport. A mini-documentary on the evolution of the UFC over the past sixteen years would have been another insightful extra but I suppose you can't have everything!
“Countdown to UFC 100” (1080i 40mins) - This feature takes a preliminary look at the build up to the landmark mixed martial art event. All of the fighters do some trash talking and give their opinions on how their respective fights will end. Stylishly shot and with some good content, this programme offers an exciting build up to the main event. MMA expert, Joe Rogan, and UFC President, Dana White, along with plenty of other MMA aficionados and trainers, offer their opinions on the fighters and the quality of the fight card. Well worth a watch and very interesting, especially the technical breakdown of the previous Mir/Lesnar fight.
“Behind the Scenes” (1080i 21mins) - This feature takes a look at the main event and features all of the individuals who made this event possible. Snippets from the pre-fight press conference are also included. Footage from the weigh-ins and some backstage banter are also included. The feature also takes a look at the arena preparation for the main event and footage from the event itself. Be warned though, this extra contains spoilers. Very interesting stuff, especially the post fight comments expressed by the fighters.
Unaired Preliminaries (1080i mins) - This is the best extra on the disc and offers six juicy additional fights, which were not aired on the night of the main event. The fights are as follows:
Matt Grice Vs. Shannon Gugerty - The first fight on the card, these two agile lightweights put on a good show. Both are well schooled in the ground game and come out swinging. Grappling ensues and it's a quick submission victory which ends the bout.
C.B. Dollaway Vs. Tom Lawlor - Dollaway, a finalist from season seven on The Ulimate Fighter (TUF) reality television show, takes on Tom Lawlor (a TUF season eight competitor) in a middle weight bout. Dollaway had being enjoying some success in the UFC but this is his toughest fight to date, facing up against a much bigger opponent in Lawlor. Another good fight, which ends with another submission victory.
Dong Hyun Kim Vs. TJ Grant - Kim, a new UFC fighter from Korea and Judo practitioner, takes on wrestler Grant in this welter-weight bout. There's some explosive punching in this one but ultimately this one dwells in the region of ground and pound (and those all important elbows). It goes the distance but there's a clear winner in the conclusion to this exciting fight.
Jon Jones Vs. Jake O'Brien - This was one fight that I was looking forward to seeing, largely for the antics of Jones. He is one of the most exciting and promising young fighters in the UFC, with an incredible unorthodox and dynamic style (and he's only twenty one years old). O'Brien is a large light-heavyweight, having previously competed successfully at heavyweight before dropping down. Both fighters are initially cautious but gradually loosen up and start to bang. An exciting performance is given by both fighters, with the fight ending, once again, in a submission victory.
Mac Danzig Vs. Jim Miller - Danzig, one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC takes on fellow lightweight, Miller. Both men come out strong, with a savage cut to one of the forehead of Danzig casting doubt on whether the fight would continue. Luckily it did and both fighters put on a great show and go the distance in one the bloodiest UFC bouts I have seen in recent years. Awesome!
Mark Coleman Vs. Stephan Bonner - Now this is a fight that truly deserved a spot at UFC 100 and it's a crying shame that this fight did not make it onto the main card. Bonner was a finalist on TUF 1 and was involved in the most exciting UFC bout of all time, against Forrest Griffin. This fight really served to catapult the UFC into the limelight. Griffen, the victor in their encounter, went on to become the light-heavyweight champion, with Bonnar struggling over the past couple of years to break into the upper echelons of competition. Coleman is one of the pioneers of the sport and the inventor of “ground and pound”. A former UFC champion (UFC 10), Coleman is one of the true legends of sport and has the heart of a lion. This is a very good fight, a bit lacklustre but there's some more bloodshed to keep the fight fans happy. This one goes the distance and is a very entertaining bout overall.
UFC 100 was filmed in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, in July of this year (2009). The UFC is a mixed martial arts competition, with two competitors facing off against one another in an octagon shaped cage. The sport is rapidly evolving and is also gaining in popularity. This event has some stellar match-ups including; Frank Mir Vs. Brock Lesnar, George St. Pierre Vs. Thiago Alves and Dan Henderson Vs. Michael Bisping. Counting the unaired preliminary matches, there are eleven fights included here for your viewing pleasure. I'm sure that seasoned UFC/MMA fans will have seen this already but the inclusion of all the unaired preliminaries (which feature some really good fights) may be enough to tempt a purchase. For new fans to the greatest sport on the planet, this release offers a very worthy starting point to your MMA education!
The video presentation offers a very significant upgrade from SD DVD releases/televised broadcasts. The increase in the level of detail is very impressive indeed; with every face in the crowd visible. The audio presentation is a bit lacklustre, offering only a DD stereo audio mix. It's serviceable nonetheless and, to be honest, I'm not too sure if an uncompressed mix would have sounded any better. The extras portion of the disc, bolstered by the excellent decision to include all the unaired preliminaries, is well packed and offers some interesting insight into the event. Overall this is a very worthy package and come highly recommended to all MMA fans.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.58
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