Archive for October 31, 2008

CXF holds inaugural “Thursday Night Fight Series” with MMA action

Posted in Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2008 by jaytan716

Some call the night before Halloween “Devil’s Night,” and there probably couldn’t have been a more appropriate name for CXF’s inaugural “Thursday Night Fight Series” which took place on October 30th at the El Monte Expo Center.  “Thursday Night Fight Series” is CXF’s new program of bringing various combat sports (boxing, Muay Thai / kickboxing, and mixed martial arts) to local fight fans on a monthly rotating basis, making CXF the only full-scale fight promotion in the state of California.  The debut event delivered no less than ten exciting mixed martial arts fights, drawing a packed house.

Match 1, 145 lbs. – Francisco Rivera vs. Chris Drumm (Team Wildman)

Drumm wins by TKO in the first round.

Match 2, 170 lbs. – R.J. Clifford vs. Dan Hernandez

R.J. Clifford uses ground-and-pound technique to win by TKO at 2:37 in the second round.

Match 3, 174 lbs. catch weight – Devin Howard (Combat Sports Wrestling) vs. Mano Taha (Team Diamond)

The first round saw Taha drop Howard early with a punch that almost ended the match, but Howard was able to hold on and survive.  In the second round, Howard controlled the action with clinch work and a takedown.  The third round delivered the most action, as Howard and Taha scrapped on the ground in a clash of dueling heel hooks.  Neither could get the submission, leading Howard to move into top control, directing the rest of the match with ground-and-pound combinations and an attempted rear naked choke.  Judges awarded the match to Devin Howard via unanimous decision.

Match 4, 145 lbs. – Angelo Catsoures (Subfighter MMA) vs. Ruben Vera (Chute Boxe)

These two submission experts came out trading blows, but eventually went to the ground when Vera scored a trip takedown.  However, Catsoures was able to transition and catch Vera with a triangle choke at 2:01 in the first round.

Match 5, 145 lbs. – Andrew Patlan vs. Brian Abram

Abram scored a takedown early in round one with a textbook hip toss, but Patlan was able to work his way to his feet.  In round two, Abram was in punching control, and again took Patlan down to the ground.  In round three, Patlan stuffed a takedown attempt, and then bulled Abram into a corner with a takedown attempt of his own.  The two nearly fell out of the ring before referee “Doc” Hamilton restarted the match.  Patlan and Abram continued to battle over a takedown and guillotine choke, respectively, to the end of the match.  Judges awarded the match to Brian Abrams by unanimous decision.

Match 6, 185 lbs. – Reggie Orr (Millennia Fight Team) vs. Fernando Bettega (Chute Boxe)

Round one saw Orr and Bettega jockey for position with a lot of clinch work.  At one point, Orr dropped Bettega with a right hook, but it was not enough to put the Brazilian away.  Bettega came out swinging in the second round.  Orr landed a solid body shot on Bettega, who shot in for a single leg takedown.  The third round saw more of the same, as Orr controlled the pace of the match and the center of the ring.  Bettega unsuccessfully shot for another takedown, but ended up on bottom with Orr in his guard until the clock ran out.  Judges scored the decision unanimously for Orr.

Match 7, 125 lbs. — Sofie Bagherdai (Millennia Fight Team) vs. Angela Hayes

In one of the more anticipated fights of the night, Angela Hayes came in from Colorado Springs, CO to challenge local fan favorite Sofie Bagherdai.  The two women used most of round one to feel each other out, with Bagherdai throwing a lot of high kicks that hit their mark, but didn’t seem to do much damage.  Hayes countered with a clinch and side headlock in the waning seconds of round one.  They continued trading kicks in round two, with Bagherdai opting to target low with kicks and follow up with two single leg attempts.  She continued her single leg campaign in round three, finally taking Hayes down and working ground-and-pound to the end of the match.  Judges awarded the match to Bagherdai via unanimous decision.

Match 8, 265+ lbs. – Tim Persey (No Limits) vs. Ross Clifton

This battle of superheavyweights was short-lived, as “Big Perm” Persey pushed “Grizzly” Clifton into the corner.  Clifton came out of the corner off-balance and caught a punch by Persey that put him to the mat.  Persey followed up with punches for a quick TKO win in 21 seconds of the first round.

Match 9, 155 lbs. – Toby Grear (True Warrior Fitness) vs. Anthony McDavitt (Gazza Academy)

In what many will point to as match of the night, Toby Grear and Anthony McDavitt fought a war which was clearly driven by personal drama as well as professional competition.  McDavitt attacked with several single leg takedown attempts, which Grear neutralized with overhooks and knees into the ropes.  McDavitt did drop Grear with an overhand right and got top position in Grear’s guard.  But from there, Grear pushed the action from the ground, landing elbows and almost escaping with au up-kick and roll-out.  After the first round ended, McDavitt shoved Grear away, fueling an already heated battle.   Round two saw McDavitt shoot in several times for takedowns, with Grear evading and countering with body kicks and low kicks.  In round three, Grear picked his shots selectively before dropping McDavitt with a hard straight left, then following up with a single kick to the midsection before the referee jumped in and stopped the fight.  Toby Grear wins by KO in the second round.

Match 10, 205 lbs. – Jaime Fletcher (Combat Sports Wrestling) vs. Nick Braker (West Coast Jiu-Jitsu)

In the main event, Braker and Fletcher fought another war of attrition, as each vied for control against the other in the clinch and in whizzer position that seemed to travel all over the ring.  At one point, Braker tripped to the mat, but Fletcher wasn’t able to capitalize on the potential takedown.  The clash for control continued in round two, as Braker and Fletcher continued in the clinch.  There was a lot of respect going on, as both were very cautious in throwing knees, and even more guarded in blocking them.  Braker finally forced the takedown.  As round two ends, Braker is going for a takedown and Fletcher is working for a guillotine choke.  In round three, Fletcher came out swinging, and at one point almost dropped Braker, who continued to fight for the single leg.  Braker spent tons of energy trying for the takedown, but doesn’t seem fatigued.  Fletcher worked  knees from the corner and eventually pulled Braker into his guard for a guillotine choke, ending the match by submission at 2:41 of the third round.

On November 13th,  CXF returns to the El Monte Expo Center with more “Thursday Night Fight Series” action with a full card of boxing.  This event features the boxing return of former EliteXC Lightweight MMA champion Karl “K.J.” Noons (7-1, 5 KOs), who squares off against Ontario’s Alex Bogarin (8-6-3, 2 KOs).  Also in action will be the hometown heavyweight Javier “Monster” Mora (21-4-1, 17 KOs), stepping into battle with Jonathan “Too Sweet” Williams (7-5-1, 6 KOs).

Tickets for this event are available at www.californiaxtremefighting.com.  For more information, call 949-716-2557 or email Craig@mezsports.com.

M-1 Challenge TV Report: Team USA vs. Team France

Posted in M-1 Challenge, TV Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2008 by jaytan716

Tonight, Group A is the battleground, as Team France squares off against Team USA.  Victory for Team USA, who is currently in last place, would put them in a 1-1 three-way tie with Team Red Devil and, ironically enough, Team France.  If victorious, Team France will jump to first or second place (depending on individual match records) with a 2-0 record.

This meet originally took place on July 17th of this year at the internationally-renowned Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.  On the mic to call the match action are M-1 Challenge’s English announcers Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith.

Lightweight Division:  David Gardner (Team USA) vs. Samuel Judes (Team France)

David Gardner (14-8-1) is a journeyman fighter who now is based with Team Quest.  Samuel Judes (3-1) is a judo expert.

Round One:  Gardner has an obvious height advantage, probably by four inches.  He drops Judes with a solid right hand and takes the Frenchman’s back on the mat.  Judes turtles up and waits, but eventually gets up again.  Judes shoots in for a single leg in the corner, which Gardner uses to work for a standing kimura, eventually taking the fight to the ground.  Gardner is throwing punches from Judes’ guard.  Judes tries to use the ropes for leverage, seemingly unaware that this is illegal.  Judes escapes and goes for another single leg, but Gardner stuffs it and takes back control, dropping short right hammerfists.  Gardner is happy punishing Judes with strikes, but isn’t making much progress.  Referee Daisuke Noguchi restarts the match in the middle.  Gardner continues his assault until Judes flattens out and goes limp with his head under the ropes.  Noguchi stops the match at 3:38 in the first round,

Team U.S. chalks up the first win, 1-0.

Welterweight Division:  Jake Ellenberger (Team USA) vs. Farouk Lakebir (Team France)

Jake Ellenberger is another gun-for-hire fighter who’s enjoyed some high profile notoriety with matches in the IFL and BodogFIGHT.  Jake went 12-0 after his 2005 debut before losing a close decision to Jay Hieron in 2006.  Since then, Jake has earned TKO victories over the likes of Zach Light, Ryan Stout, Gil Castillo, and even a KO of Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons in November 2007.

One inherent disadvantage for Team France is that MMA is not yet legal in their country, forcing aspiring fighters to train and get matches outside their homeland.  This probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise, given France’s reputation as “the Country of Human Rights.”  As such, Lakebir, nicknamed “Paco,” has made Holland his home base for training.

Ellenberger and Lakebir burst out of the gate swinging.  Ellenberger gets rocked with a powerful overhand right, but he buys some recovery time with a clinch and high knees to the body.  The two fall to the ground and get up again in the clinch.  Very exciting first round action.  Ellenberger imposes his will on Lakebir with a clinch in the corner and high knees.  Lakebir unsuccessfully tries to counter with a single leg.  Ellenberger takes it to the ground with a spinning armdrag takedown.  Lakebir has no answers at this point and is simply holding on, hoping for a stand-up.  Sure enough, they’re back on their feet, but Ellenberger scores another takedown just as quickly and keeps the pressure on Lakebir to the round’s end.

Round Two:  Both fighters are clearly aware of who won the first round, as Ellenberger is composed, while Lakebir looks rabidly for an opening.  They trade leg strikes.  There’s not a lot of power behind Lakebir’s shots, but they’re far more prevalent.  Ellenberger catches Lakebir with an effective knee to the chin, but isn’t able to finish him off, and accepts half-guard control.  Referee Noichi Takamura orders a stand-up, which gives us some more leg kicks and punch combinations, but once again, Ellenberger takes it to the mat.  Lakebir shows some submission skills for the first time with a kimura.  He gains top control and is working ground-and-pound combinations and a rear naked choke, but it’s too little too late, as round two ends with the bell.  Judges award the match to Ellenberger via majority decision, with one judge calling it a draw

Team U.S. is up 2-0.

Middleweight Division:  Mike Dolce (Team USA) vs. Karl Amoussou (Team France)

The theme of this match is age vs. experience, as both these men come in with the same number of matches, but Amoussou has a ten-year youth advantage over Dolce (who, in his own right, is the strength and conditioning coach for Team Quest).  Amoussou, nicknamed “Psycho,” is a fan of head games, as he stars Dolce down with a homicidal stare ala Wanderlei Silva.  This is gonna be good.

It’s firsts of fury from the get-go as Amoussou drops Dolce with a wicked combination and goes for the kill with heavy ground-and-pound assault.  The ground fighting gets caught in the ropes several times, leading to restarts in the middle.  Finally, the fight resumes on its feet, and once again, Dolce and Amoussou swing for the fences.  Dolce scores a double-leg takedown, which results in another restart in the middle.  Amoussou goes for a triangle choke, but Dolce escapes and keeps the pressure on with steady ground-and-pound.  Another stand-up restart.  By now, Amoussou is clearly fatigued.  Both fighters are more selective with their shots, but Dolce still has gas in his tank.  Amoussou trips Dolce a few times with some low kicks, but doesn’t capitalize on them.  Ding.

Round Two:  Amoussou is squinting in his left eye, indicating some vision problems, but he doesn’t shy away from attacking with high kicks.  Amoussou scores a solid right kick to the body, which Dolce instinctively no-sells.  Seconds later, the pain kicks in, as Dolce turns his back and waves the Frenchman away.  Amoussou, unsure if the paperwork is fully signed on this match, pounces on Dolce with punches, but the ref jumps in quickly and ends the match.

Team France gets on the board with their first win of the night.

Light Heavyweight Division:  Barry Guerin (Team USA) vs. Christian M’Pumbu (Team France)

M’Pumbu, a Zaire native who was raised in France, comes in with an impressive 9-1 record, with six of those wins by submission.  He made his debut in mid-2004 and didn’t fight again until March 2006, but has been on a tear since then.  Barry Guerin is a Detroit native who now resides fulltime in Tokyo.  He teaches from his extensive background in martial arts, including taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, and pankration.

Round One:  Guerin is jumpy from the start, possibly in part because of the M’Pumbu’s huge height and reach advantage.  Guerin overcommits to an overhand right that misses by a mile.  The momentum sends him spinning to the mat.  M’Pumbu jumps on Guerin and throws ground-and-pound flurries until the expat American taps out at 32 seconds into the first round.

With the meet tied at 2-2, the meet victory comes down to the heavyweights.

Heavyweight Division: James Jack (Team USA) vs. Malick N’diaye (Team France)

Between weight and win-loss records, this looks to be a fairly even match.  James Jack is an MMA rookie in 2008, but he’s kept a very busy pace, going into this match with a 2-1 record.  N’diaye (1-1), is building his MMA record on the lower-level circuit in Japan, although both of his previous matches were in 2006.  Both are hovering around the 265 lb. heavyweight limit, with Jack at 263 lbs. and N’diaye at 271.

Round One:  Jack shoots for, and scores, a takedown, but N’diaye is quick to try for a  guillotine.  Jacks gets side mount and works for a keylock.  Unsuccessful, he moves to the side mount and drops hammerfists and elbows.  N’diaye doesn’t have an answer from bottom, but he does escape to his feet.  Jack shoots for takedowns several times, but N’diaye ends up on top each time.  Finally. N’diaye falls into half-mount and sinks in an Americana for the tap at 3:54 in the first round.

Team France snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, 3-2.

Best Match**: Mike Dolce vs. Karl Amoussou

Worst Match**: Barry Guerin vs. Christian M’Pumbu

** (based on footage aired)

It was a good night for Team France, who came back from a 0-2 individual match deficit to win their second team victory 3-2, subsequently moving them into second place in Group A.  Ironically enough, Team USA’s two individual match victories for the night push them out of last place, leapfrogging over Team Korea.  However, this moral victory could be short-lived, as the Koreans still have another team meet before the standings are truly even.  Similarly, top-ranked Team Finland has an artificial advantage over their Group A compatriots, as they are the only team with three meets under their belts.

Next week, Team Holland vs. Team Japan.

Verbal Sparring: Tony Lopez (King of the Cage Double Champion)

Posted in Interviews, King of the Cage with tags , , , , on October 31, 2008 by jaytan716

JT:  You’ve had quite a year.  You won the KOTC Heavyweight title in July in Wisconsin, and now the Light Heavyweight title three months later.  How does it feel to be a double champion?

TL:  It’s kinda weird, because I don’t feel it until I talk to people.  Or when they find out I got the [Light Heavyweight title], they’re like “you got two belts?”  So then I have to tell everybody about the fight and I start feeling it the more I say it – “I got two belts.”  And it feels good.  Every time I say something or talk about it, it starts kicking in more and more.  But it’s a good feeling.

JT:  You join a very select group.  You and Dan Henderson are the only people to win two titles in larger, more recognized organizations?  It says something about you and King of the Cage.

TL:  Yeah, it’s awesome.  I was hoping Terry would give me this opportunity, to try and get both, and I’m just so grateful that he did.  So now it’s time to show my face by giving better shows and upping my performance.  [To] go out there and make it more brutal and bang hard.

JT:  More brutal than your match with Joey Beltran?

TL:  A lot more!  Because it was good way to finish it, but there wasn’t enough action before that.  I was disappointed in that.  Not enough exchanges of blows and blood.  I want more of that.

JT:  Do you feel added pressure to perform as a fighter?

TL:  I’ve always put the same pressure on myself, whether I have a belt or not.  I gotta go out there and bang.  Now that I have the belt, I want to put on matches that reflect the prestige [the belt] deserves.  I gotta make my wins a lot cleaner and smoother.  I’ve got to make it look effortless.  I gotta show what a champ’s all about.  A double champ!

JT:  How will making weight for two different weight classes affect your training & diet?  Will you monitor your walk around weight differently?

TL:  My normal weight is about 214 lbs.  That’s normal for a light heavyweight because you normally drop about ten pounds or so [prior to weigh-ins].  I drop weight to 205; its nothing.  Now for a heavyweight, I just do what I normally do, weigh in at 214, and take care of business [laughs].

JT:  Would you bulk up if you faced guys closer to the super heavyweight range?

TL:  No, because normally, the guys that I fight are anywhere from 240 to 265.  I always weigh the same.  I think it’s going to make it easier for me when I go down to 205 because I’m used to bigger guys with 30-40 pounds on me.

JT:  Which weight class do you think is going to give you a tougher roster of opponents?

TL:  I don’t really look at the guys in my weight class because I don’t like to know about them.  Because it messes with my mind and my training.  As a matter of fact, with this last fight with Fernando [Gonzalez], I knew he had cornered Jon Brock, whom I fought in January, but I didn’t really know who he was.   I’d seen a few pictures of him, but in my head, I built him up to be this six foot tall . . . just a monstrous body on him, everything I could think of.  So that way, when I saw him and he was nothing like what I saw in my head, it made it a lot easier for me.

JT:  How do you want your defense schedule to play out?

TL:  I’d like to go back and forth.  It doesn’t matter which one comes first.

JT:  Over the past few matches, we’ve seen you bring your “Kryptonite” character to life.  Tell us a bit more what that’s about.

TL:  I want to create a character that people can see and think “he’s not from here; he just goes out there and whoops ass.  I don’t know how he does it or what he’s gonna do, but he does it.”  I’m trying to say Kryptonite is here – he’s gonna whip on anybody.  He’s like the monster from another planet . . . When he gets hit, he gets mad, stronger, and more vicious.  That’s when you don’t want to be in the cage with [Kryptonite].  There ain’t nobody you can put in there who’s gonna defeat him. 

JT:  Do you know when you’re fighting next?

TL:  Hopefully by mid-November, I’ll have an idea of what weight I’m fighting and with whom.

One more thing I wanted to say is that for this last fight, I was fit about five weeks out prior to it.  From that point up until the fight, I think I trained maybe only five or six times;  I was moving to a new area, a lot of things just came up, and didn’t have a place to go [to train].  The night before the fight, I got a fever and my voice was just sapped.  So that night, the fans all saw Kryptonite at his weakest point.

JT:  And he still came away with the gold.

TL:  The next time I come in [and defend the title], you’re gonna see a different fighter.  You’re going to see more quickness, more movement.