Musclebound fighters all slick with sweat and Vaseline. Bruised and battered warriors raging on despite puffy welts and cramping legs. Bloody brows, cut lips -- the gasp of a knocked-out brawler struggling to get to his or her feet. There is something primal about watching a really good fistfight. Our rubbernecking hearts race with excitement and revulsion as we cheer a fighter on. Professional wrestling makes gazillions by feeding our lust for violence with choreographed brawls and larger-than-life antics. Wrestlemania's gaseous drama, à la Hulk Hogan and the Rock, has kept worshippers buying tickets and tuning in to the operatic shenanigans.
But if you want to experience the drama of a real mano a mano battle, without the screaming beer-bellied meatheads, check out Sudden Impact Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipsFriday night at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd.). Broadcast live on pay-per-view, the event features top martial artists and kickboxers in such great conditioning they can probably finish triathlons in their sleep. These guys combine the skills of Greco-Roman (Olympic-style) wrestling with Thai kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and more precision-strike kicks, holds, and punches than a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
The eight-bout card features some of the best fighters in the world -- including three undefeated champions -- battling in an octagonal-shaped ring. UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes of Hillsboro, Illinois, defends his belt for the fourth time in the main event against undefeated top contender Sean Sherk of Oak Grove, Minnesota. Also featured is the light-heavyweight battle of Floridian Rich Crunkilton and Hermes Franca, of Brazil and now living in Fort Lauderdale. Local Haitians have a fighter to cheer for as well. Middleweight David Loiseau, a take-down specialist born in Port-au-Prince and now living in Montreal, fights Mark Weir of the United Kingdom.
Ultimate fighters are free to use whichever combination combat styles he wants as long as no kicks or knees are pegged to groins. With such a variety of styles and uninhibited athleticism, it's no wonder ultimate fight fans call their sport the real deal.