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“UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann” and “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson” Results & Recap

Posted in Strikeforce, TV Reports, UFC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2011 by jaytan716

Photo Credits: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images (UFC); Esther Lin (Strikeforce)

This weekend, MMA fans were treated to live events from the UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator (debuting on its new MTV2 broadcast home).

Diego Sanchez (left) and Martin Kampmann fought to a controverisal unanimous decision.

The UFC’s third Versus event only accentuated the judging and scoring issues that came out of the BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch match at UFC 127 several days earlier. In the Versus 3 main event, the rebooted Diego ‘The Dream’ Sanchez beat Martin ‘The Hitman’ Kampmann by unanimous decision, off scores of 29-28 across the board. This was Sanchez’ return to the welterweight division.

The fight was a thrilling three-round slugfest which served as a case study in how a close striking match is judged, particularly as it regards otherwise-tiebreaker criteria, such as takedown attempts and overall damage.

The repackaged and rededicated Sanchez, who moved back to Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, NM and went so far to wash the negative demons out of his life that he flipped his nickname from ‘The Nightmare’ to ‘The Dream,’ is still a very intense and angry-looking young man. During the match itself, Sanchez kept shooting in for takedowns, but was unsuccessful in 12 attempts going into the third round. Kampmann attempted none thoughout the whole match.

The striking was closely-debated. Kampmann bloodied Sanchez in the first round, and made that nasty cut worse in the second. In the second, Sanchez stunned Kampmann, who wobbled on his feet, but never hit the floor. Sanchez opened Kampmann up in the third, but not to the same extent as the visual damage Sanchez took thoughout the whole match.

For me, the argument came down to a Kampmann’s striking accuracy and damage vs. Sanchez’ overwhelming onslaught of punches in bunches, which were fast and powerful, but didn’t do as much visual damage.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Sanchez. Most likely they gave Kampmann the first and Sanchez the second and third, though after the fight, fans, media, and experts alike continued to debate who won which round.

Sanchez vs. Kampmann highlights

In other action that night, Mark Munoz continued to build his stock in the middleweight division with a 54-second knockout of C.B. Dollaway, the teammate of Aaron Simpson, whom Munoz beat at UFC 123 last November. At 10-2, Munoz is not quite in the title picture yet, and if Anderson Silva is still the Chairman of the Board if / when Munoz does become a top contender, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Munoz and Silva are close training partners at Black House MMA. Manager Ed Soares has told me in the past that they wouldn’t prevent teammates from challenging teammates for titles. Munoz will likely need to test his meddle against strikers, or revisit his loss to Yushin Okami, but for now, the ‘Philippine Wrecking Machine’ (I think the original version of Munoz’ nickname) continues to show-and-prove.

UFC on Versus: Mark Munoz post-fight interview

Also at middleweight, UFC fans also were introduced to Chris Weidman, an undefeated young prospect out of Matt Serra and Ray Longo’s camp. Weidman, an NCAA All-American from New York’s Hofstra University, made his UFC debut with only four pro matches under his belt, bloodying up veteran Alessio Sakara in dominant fashion. Weidman had problems sticking takedowns early, charging in several times and missing at least three legitimate takedown shots, but he found his distance in round two and three, taking Sakara to the mat and painting a crimson mask on the man they call ‘Legionarius.’

UFC on Versus: Chris Weidman post-fight interview

Moreover, fans were treated to two swing bouts, Todd Brown vs. Igor Pokrajac and Shane Roller vs. Thiago Tavares, used to fill the Versus time slot. In that latter match, I think I expected to see a three-round kickboxing match that would showcase unexpected striking skills from Roller, ala Frankie Edgar x Sean Sherk from UFC 98. Perhaps Roller isn’t totally polished with his fists, reaching from afar and charging straight in, but he caught Tavares in the second with an overhand right that earned the KO finish.

Here’s how my predictions and reality turned out for UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann:

265 lbs. – Todd Brown x Igor Pokrajac
Prediction:
Pokrajac via TKO (round one)
Result: Pokrajac via TKO (round one)

185 lbs. – Dongi Yang x Rob Kimmons
Prediction: Kimmons by submission (round two)
Result: Yang via TKO (round two)

135 lbs. – Takeya Mizugaki x Reuben Duran
Prediction:
Mizugaki via unanimous decision
Result: Mizugaki via unanimous decision

155 lbs. – Shane Roller x Thiago Tavares
Prediction:
Roller via split decision
Result: Roller via KO (round two)

185 lbs. – Cyrille Diabate x Steve Cantwell
Prediction:
Diabate via submission (round two)
Result: Diabate via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Danny Castillo x Joe Stevenson
Prediction:
Castillo via TKO (round one) or Stevenson via decision
Result: Castillo via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Brian Bowles x Damacio Page
Prediction:
Page via unanimous decision
Result: Bowles via submission.

185 lbs. – Alessio Sakara x Chris Weidman
Prediction:
Sakara via TKO (round one)
Result: Weidman via unanimous decision

185 lbs. – CB Dolloway x Mark Munoz
Prediction:
Munoz via TKO or unanimous decision
Result: Munoz via TKO

170 lbs. – Diego Sanchez x Martin Kampmann
Prediction:
Sanchez via TKO (round three)
Result: Sanchez via unanimous decision

Dan 'Hendo' Henderson captured the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title from Rafael 'Feijao' Cavalcante with a second round KO.

Two nights later, Strikeforce continued its streak of outdoing itself with a night of exciting finishes and developing personalities. The past two events were the opening rounds of the promotion’s World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament followed by a Strikeforce Challengers events that featured Ryan Couture, the return of Carlo Prater, and an exciting main event of Lee Healy x Lyle Beerbohm.  The ratings for Feijao vs. Henderson will indicate how much traction the previous events offered for tonight, as well as how much this event might provide for Strikeforce’s next event (April 9th, headlined by Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley for the welterweight title), but for those who are looking for action and willing to give the Showtime product a chance, they’d do themselves right by catching the replays, starting on March 8th.

Previously, I said that this was a one-man show, with Henderson as the only star in casual fans’ eyes. Going into the event, that’s not an unreasonable assessment, but in retrospect, Strikeforce middleweight Tim Kennedy, women’s welterweight champion Marloes Coenen, and her challenger Liz ‘G-Rilla’ Carmouche gave dramatic in-cage performances and came across on the mic as fighters worth fans remembering and supporting.

In particular, Carmouche dominated Coenen for at least half the match, making the champ’s come-from-behind finish in round four one of Strikeforce’s best ‘Oh Shit’ moments of 2011, if not the promotion’s whole title history. Like Griffin-Bonnar I was for the UFC (not that I’m comparing the two matches directly), Strikeforce needs these moments to stick in casual fans’ minds and they need them to involve fighters other than the ones the public already knows.

Liz Carmouche post-fight press conference comments:

Marloes Coenen post-fight press conference comments:

Likewise, Kennedy had his hands full with Melvin Manhoef, an unforgettable swift-striking Dutch kickboxer whose walkout is as frenetic and exciting as his matches. Kennedy, a U.S. Army Green Beret with multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, is respectable, affable, and admirable, though he’s not stuck in most peoples’ minds as much more than ‘the army guy.’ Having defeated a memorable and accomplished fighter like Manhoef, Kennedy may have turned the corner in fans’ awareness, giving Strikeforce a homegrown star around which they can build.

In his post-fight interview, Kennedy said: “Let’s hear it for the troops, you guys. We’re talking about people overseas that are watching these fights right now. You give me a little bit more time in here; I’ll be back in uniform doing the most important job in the whole world. That’s protecting your freedoms.”

What MMA fans aren’t going to get behind that?

Tim Kennedy post-fight press conference comments:

Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson was promoted in conjunction with The Arnold Sports Festival, an annual fitness and sports expo held in Columbus, OH. The UFC held similar events in 2007-2009, abandoning it in 2010. With Coker & Company taking the unofficial slot, they of course had booth presence at the event. And who should show up to make an appearance other than Arnold himself, MMA’s number one fan.

Uh-huh. Looks like the ex-Governator’s abilities haven’t changed a bit.

Here’s how my predictions and reality turned out for Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson:

170 lbs. – J.P. Felty x John Kuhner
Prediction:
Felty via TKO (round one)
Result: Kuhner via submission (round two)

185 lbs. – Marc Cofer x Mitch Whitesel
Prediction:
Whitesel via TKO (round one)
Result: Whitesel via submission (round one)

185 lbs. – Ian Rammel x Brian Rogers
Prediction:
Rogers via TKO (round one)
Result: Rogers via TKO (round one)

265 lbs. – Jason Riley vs. Jason “Jay” Freeman
Prediction:
Riley via TKO (round one)
Result: Freeman via submission (round one)

155 lbs. – Jorge Gurgel vs. Tyler Combs
Prediction:
Gurgel via submission (round three) or decision
Result: Gurgel via submission (round one)

170 lbs. – Roger Bowling vs. Josh Thornburg
Prediction:
Bowling via unanimous decision
Result: Bowling via unanimous decision

155 lbs. – Billy Evangelista vs. Jorge Masvidal
Prediction:
Evangelista via unanimous decision
Result: Masvidal via unanimous decision

185 lbs. – Tim Kennedy vs. Melvin Manhoef
Prediction:
Kennedy via submission (round one or two)
Result: Kennedy via submission (round one)

135 lbs. Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight Title – Marloes Coenen vs. Liz Carmouche
Prediction:
Coenen via submission (round two)
Result: Coenan via submission (round four)

205 lbs. Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Title – Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante vs. Dan Henderson
Prediction:
Cavalcante via TKO (round two)
Result: Henderson via TKO (round three)

The Finish

For me, both shows delivered in quality of matches. By all accounts, UFC on Versus 3 offered a competitive main event that had fans and experts debating the finish, and the show itself continued to build new faces for the future. Between the free prelim matches on Facebook and fitting in two swing bouts (untelevised matches that end up airing to fill up the broadcast time), fans benefit because they get early exposure to young fighters who are climbing the ranks, and fighters benefit because they can receive extra sponsorship money due to their matches make it to TV. Moreover, fighters are going to perform even better on the undercard because of the incentive to “earn” their fight onto a telecast.

Showtime would do themselves, Strikeforce, and those same fans and fighters a world of good by airing swing bouts after the main event for those very same reasons. Moreover, those swing bouts would theoretically lead to better establishing those same fighters for their Showtime Challengers series.

All that said, Strikeforce over-delivered. I was afraid that, with anything less than several great battles, Feijao vs. Henderson would get lost in the shuffle between the Grand Prix opening rounds and the next Nick Diaz fight. However, I think the event took great strides in building future stars like Kennedy and Coenan, and even Carmouche. Likewise, as the champion most likely (since 2008) to successfully defend the light heavyweight title, Henderson can give both Strikeforce and the 205 lb. weight class the credibility it needs to be taken seriously.

Dan Henderson post-fight press conference comments:

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Wrestling Weekend Overdose

Posted in Op-Ed, Pro Wrestling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by jaytan716

Between two nights of tremendous pro wrestling (thanks to WrestleReunion 2011) and one night of a curious, if not wasted, kickoff to the high season of sports entertainment (thanks to WWE), it’s been quite awhile since I took in so much wrestling. Surely, it’s that overdose, coupled with the vast contrasts in product and attitude, that draws me to wax poetic about what I saw and the impressions it made.

First, a one-time pitch of my background. I’ve worked behind the scenes in MMA for the past five years, though my heart and roots are firmly based in pro wrestling. I was trading tapes and reading the Wrestling Observer Newsletter before the internet, and had a very part-time exploration into the life of a pro wrestler, training and working less than a dozen matches in the early 2000’s. As an ex-wrestler, I consider myself more ‘ex’ than ‘wrestler,’ though I like to think that the experience of creating a gimmick and striving to work a logical, entertaining match for the few hundred fans that saw Kung Pow, the Howlin’ Shaolin Master of Disaster, offers me some credibility. Indeed, it’s a moment in my life I wouldn’t trade for anything.

To that end, WrestleReunion prove to be surprisingly enjoyable mix of old friends, older legends, and a strong dose of that good stuff which we all enjoy – fast-paced, high-impact, holy-shit memorable pro wrestling. Conversely, WWE’s inaugural PPV of 2011, the Royal Rumble, was another exercise of letdown and mild heartache – some fun new storylines and characters worth rallying for but denied the chance to make a meaningful impression on the few hundred thousand (and dwindling) households that tuned in to watch.

WrestleReunion – ROH and PWG Shows

For the past several years, West coast wrestling fans have read with envy about the conventions and fanfests in New Jersey, North Carolina, Chicago, Orlando, and Toronto. We yearned for that same experience here, and as Bill Apter and his team have delivered it twice now, fans have continued to bask in it such that Apter himself was able to confirm a 2012 edition on the second night of the show.

In a nutshell, the weekend was wrestling’s answer to Comic-Con and the annual Cauliflower Alley Convention in Las Vegas (though wrestling fans would do themselves justice to attend that one as well). The three-day event served several purposes: old school veterans got a chance to gather, laugh and reminisce about their adventures, aspiring and current talent got to interact with the OGs and show their skills over two fantastic shows, and younger fans got to meet both generations of wrestling stars.

To their credit (and nobody’s surprise), Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla both produced two tremendous shows on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Two important things stuck out to me over this weekend. First, it was great to see a forum where various generations of wrestlers and fans could engage so readily. I think it can’t be overstated how important it is that the pro wrestling community celebrates its legends and draws from the insight and perspective they offer. Not only is it just proper protocol to respect your elders, but in that people like “Superstar” Billy Graham, Jake Roberts, Terry Funk, Roddy Piper, and countless others (both attending and absent) built their fan base by simply getting over live and on weekly TV, without constant resources like YouTube, Twitter, DVDs and T-shirts, they offer a wealth of insight and wisdom from which independent wrestlers on the rise can build their own brands.

The other aspect of note for me was how much the talent on both nights put on their work boots and shot in with their best foot forward. Sure, ROH and PWG wrestlers aren’t known for calling it in, but in that WrestleReunion clearly was drawing an impressive roster of legends and a near-capacity crowd of fans, both squads seemed to recognize that if there was a time to bring their A-game, it was this weekend. It reminded me of how WrestleMania has come to be the night where wrestlers of all levels take more pride in having the best match possible than at any other point in the year. To that end, the ‘this is awesome’ chants and standing ovations were abundant on both nights, for the main events on down to the curtain-jerkers.

Hats go off to El Generico, for whom this must have been a special weekend. I’m not enough of an indie wrestling historian to know how often this has been done, but to headline back-to-back title matches certainly is a vote of confidence on behalf of the bookers. Likewise, kudos to Davey Richards, TJ Perkins and Low Ki, whose respective matches were my two personal favorites of each night. Richards x Perkins was a fantastic exercise in the brilliance of chain wrestling, while Richards x Low Ki took me on a match storyline ride that I haven’t enjoyed since the days of Japan in the early 90’s.

In all, the fact that old timers, fast risers, and fans of all ages got to rub shoulders so closely together affirmed for me that I was glad to be a part of this community. Pro wrestling deserves its Comic-Con, west coast fans deserve an annual event like this, and the legends of yesterday and indie stars of today and tomorrow deserve the chance to be celebrated as such.

WWE’s Royal Rumble

On the other hand, the Royal Rumble seemed content to underwhelm and fall short of delivering anything memorable.

In the first decade of this century, the Rumble grew beyond its own significance into also being the symbolic first step down the Road to WrestleMania, a three-month storyline and marketing campaign to build up the biggest night of the industry. As the tradition has developed, nowadays we watch the Rumble not only to see who wins, but also to get a sense of what we’ll see at the “Showcase of the Immortals.”

Given that, I was looking forward to seeing a continued build of the New Nexus and the Corre, both of whom intrigue me (notwithstanding Corre’s stupid name). Of course, Alberto Del Rio seems to have a booking rocket ship up his ass, so there was also the question about how he’d be handled (which we all know by now). Finally, I always enjoy seeing what compelling, creative finish the ‘producers’ would come up with, as there have been so many poignant and indelible Royal Rumble wins – Chris Benoit in 2004, Rey Misterio in 2006, and the Undertaker in 2007, to name a few.

I really liked how the Rumble started out, with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan getting an early chance to ply their trade with each other, and the steady entrance and subsequent domination by the New Nexus. This felt like a redux of Punk’s extended ‘Rumble control’ in 2010. And though the match itself started out with a brief Nexus x Corre, I was happy that angle was, for the most part, avoided.

However, things took a downturn midway through, and those angles seemed to have marred what was on its way to being another memorable (and story-building) battle royal.

First, as long as there is Primo, David Hart Smith, Trent Barretta, Joey Mercury, Darren Young, Goldust, the Usos, Skip Sheffield, or even Michael Tarver and his annoying snotrag, there is NO RELEVANT REASON to include Hornswaggle in this match. The end result was only a couple of comedy spots that contributed nothing to the already overbooked match.

Likewise, Booker T and Kevin Nash as surprise entries, while clearly a big hit with the fans, annoyed me. If they’re signed to longer-term deals, their appearances certainly were anti-climactic and forgettable, other than to say “hey guys, we’re back!” Are we to take these ‘legends’ seriously in the WWE Universe when both were quietly put to pasture within three minutes? Booker was eliminated by Mason Ryan, of all people – the guy who has less screen time than Michael Tarver’s snotrag.

I suppose I should be thankful that Punk and his Nexus got the screen time that they did, although their eliminations by Cena had no resonance and almost felt like quiet little feud blowoffs, leaving their control of the Rumble’s early minutes a seeming waste of focus.

The part that I’m most curious about is Santino Marella’s false longevity in the Rumble. Being one of Marella’s most ardent fans (I still think his IC title reign should have culminated in a match with Honky Tonk Man), I’m all for giving the guy some shine, but what really was the purpose of him lasting to the end? He continues to be a WWE tag team champion (as I write this part post-Raw) and is no more devious or heroically accomplished for being the 39th dump of the night. And if the goal is to build Alberto Del Rio into a WrestleMania headliner, you do so by having him survive the Cobra? I’m not salty that Del Rio is getting this push, but the fashion in which he won his WrestleMania title match was more than a little flat (as if April 3rd didn’t already feel that way).

The Finish

By 8pm Sunday evening, the weekend had reconfirmed a few things about the indie wrestling scene and the more mainstream sports entertainment product. The two still have their love-hate relationship, with a generation of young wrestlers toiling to excel in their craft while in pursuit of the big paycheck, while The Big Two continue to flirt with giving the reigns to talents like Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Low Ki, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and (hopefully eventually) Claudio Castignoli, though there’s still a reticence to fully pull the trigger. In the end, the struggle between art and commerce in pro wrestling continues, as perhaps it always will. Thankfully, however, we have the OGs of wrestling to give us perspective.

This entry was originally posted at FightingGeek.com

“Don’t Call It A Comeback!” – Legends performs memorably over Memorial Day weekend

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by jaytan716

Legends MMA won four out of five matches in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend.

It was going to be a tough weekend, with five fighters competing on two different cards, only 48 hours apart, but Chris Reilly, Eddie Bravo, and Conor Heun led Alan Jouban, Eugene Marenya, Christian Palencia, Tommy Gavin, and Chris “Boulevard” Brady to an impressive series of wins at Tuff-N-Uff’s two-day amateur MMA showcase this past weekend.

“We had a great weekend. We had great coaching, and it’s good to pay them back for all the work they’ve put in with us with some nice wins,” said Gavin, who turned two consecutive losses around with an impressive, heavy-handed TKO in the first round.

Jouban, Marenya, and Palencia fought on Friday, May 28th, while Gavin and Brady had matches on Sunday, May 30th. Overall, the team went 4-1, with the only loss, Palencia’s split decision to Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal), igniting a wave of controversy among fans, fighters, and even the promotion and sanctioning body officials who felt that Palencia deserved the victory.

“Christian had a great fight. That was just back and forth. . . And everyone here thought Christian won the first and the third, and gave the other guy the second,” commented Jouban.

As close as the match was, Palencia was able to see both sides of the coin, saying “to me, I was in offense. He was in survival mode when I had him in those guillotines. . . Also, when I was fighting him, it really felt like I was the one being the aggressor. But then, I guess, what can counter that is I guess him taking me down”

Always one to find the silver lining, for Palencia, even without his hand raised, the moral victory was his: “Overall, I felt pretty good about my performance. . . It’s been over a year since I fought, and [fighting in] the same month that I started training again and coming back from my injury – I feel good, coming back and still being able to perform. No fears or anything.”

Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA – Friday, May 28th

170 lbs. – Alan Jouban x Joden Sieders (Throwdown)

Alan Jouban finished off his opponent with this rear naked choke in the first round.

Jouban looked very composed for his second Tuff-N-Uff appearance, opening the round with a right kick and a flurry of punches, punctuated by a head kick that Sieders ducked. Sieders shot in for a clinch, but Jouban fended it off, slipping in a knee. From out of nowhere, Jouban landed a superman punch that immediately dropped Sieders. Jouban pounced, firing lefts and rights on the ground, before taking the back and sinking in a rear naked choke for the win.

Alan Jouban wins by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:16 of the first round.

“He’s already was really seasoned and composed. . . Everyone sees Alan being a Muay Thai fighter, but now he’s definitely an MMA fighter,” commented Palencia.

According to Jouban, the difference between this and his previous Tuff-N-Uff showings, despite them both being first round finishes, was vast: “I was so balled up in the first one. Just ready to explode. So much weight and pressure on me. And this one, I was very relaxed. I just remember going out there and seeing people in the crowd, and looking for my girl. I was just very aware of everything, and it had me a little bit worried that I was so relaxed.”

“Reilly said many times that it takes 10 fights to get to that level, before you go pro. And [I realized afterwards] that was my 10th fight. . . But I was told afterwards that people could see it in my body language – they said ‘you looked real relaxed. You were looking like you were trying to pick your shots, rather than just explode.’ So it felt great. I’m hoping that’s the feeling I get; Now that I’ve hit that level of certain fights.”

170 lbs. – Eugene Marenya x Mike Sutton (Fasi Sports / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu)

Eugene Marenya came close to finishing in the first round. He went on to win by split decision.

Round One: Sutton got a takedown early, but Marenya got to his feet with little problem, keeping the clinch and firing knees. After breaking apart, Sutton tried the stand-up game, but Marenya’s reach was too much. Sutton tried to take him to the ground with a clinch, but it was Marenya who ended up on top, punishing Sutton’s ribs with strong rights to the body. Marenya continued with the ground and pound to the round’s end.

Round Two: Again, Sutton charged in and tried for a trip takedown, but Marenya once more ended up on top, ground-and-pounding and passing guard. Sutton did spin around and get full mount in his own corner, landing some rights of his own, but Marenya eventually turned it around. They got into the ropes then fell into the corner, with Marenya on bottom. Marenya did get to his feet, but Sutton worked a guillotine choke to keep him grounded, and eventually took his back with hooks in, firing rights on Marenya from behind. If Marenya took the first round, this was definitely Sutton’s.

Round Three: Sutton went in for the takedown, and eventually did force a single leg, but Marenya got up and threw a knee to break it up. Marenya’s combos kept Sutton at bay. Another Sutton shot and another Marenya sprawl. Sutton tries to spin him to the ground, but Marenya was calm in defending. Sutton kept trying for takedowns, with shots and body clinches, but to no avail.

Eugene Marenya wins by split decision, off scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 28-29. All three judges were in agreement that Marenya won the first round, while Sutton took the second round. However, two judges awarded Marenya 10-8 scores in the first, while one gave a 10-9. The second round was 10-9 across the board, which still had Marenya ahead 19-18, 19-18, and 19-19 even. The same two judges who awarded 10-8s in the first gave 10-9s to Marenya for the third, while the final judge awarded Sutton the final round by 10-9.

“I felt that Eugene won because of his work to finish. I felt like he almost finished that fight a couple different times. . . And I also thought that the last 15 seconds of the first round was pretty ridiculous. He was sitting there pounding on that dude, and all the dude was doing was holding his hands up. And they let it go. I thought that fight should have been stopped then and there. Especially if they’re supposed to be stopping fights early,” said Brady.

“I think Eugene learned a lot in that fight. That he’s not always going to be able to use his strength and length and athleticism to his advantage. He’s gotta throw his technique in there. But we were all real proud of him. He toughed it out. It was a hard-fought fight. He pulled off the W and that’s all that matters,” said Jouban.

155 lbs. – Christian Palencia x Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal)

Christian Palencia made a tremendous comeback after a year-long hiatus.

Round One: Palencia looked more determined than he usually does, which, once the bell rings, is extremely focused. Spicuzza’s vocal fan base clearly confirmed the hometown boy’s popularity. Spicuzza caught a right kick early, dumping Palencia to the ground. Engaging on the feet, Palencia stalked Spicuzza from the center, keeping him against the ropes and forcing him into the corner. Spicuzza grounded Palencia with a high takedown, but Palencia threatened for several minutes with a tight guillotine choke. Spicuzza did eventually pop out, but was ineffective from the top. Palencia should have won this round with the guillotine and more aggressive striking.

Round Two: Spicuzza continued to circle while Palencia followed him from the center. Spicuzza scored a takedown and side control, but let Palencia up after getting nothing on the ground. Palencia with a right low kick, and later charged in. Spicuzza worked for a clinch takedown, but Palencia instead slipped in a standing guillotine and jumped guard before round’s end.

Round Three: Spicuzza caught another kick and tried to dump Palencia again, but doesn’t. Palencia, however, did get a takedown off a kick. Spicuzza held him in closed guard, but Palencia was able to stand over him and almost pass guard. Palencia ended up in closed guard again, ground-and-pounding to the end of the round.

Judges award the bout to Jimmy Spicuzza by split decision.

In the days after the match, Gavin suggested that the match could have been quite different with three-minute rounds: “it would have been nice to see Christian and Jimmy – they’re both Tuff-N-Uff veterans – get the three three-minute rounds for the main event. I think that would have showed even better. But with the shorter rounds, sometimes that takedown and getting on top, is real big to the judges.”

Heun likewise echoed the sentiment: “[Spicuzza] wasn’t able to do anything, but they score takedowns very highly out there. . . I thought [Palencia] did more damage. I thought he was trying to finish the fight. Would I like the judging criteria changed? Yes. I think the fights should be judged on a whole.”

According to the scorecards, the difference was in the first round, when two judges awarded Spicuzza the round, while one judge saw Palencia winning. All judges agreed that Spicuzza won the second round and Palencia the third. The end result was scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28 in favor of Spicuzza.

“I felt like I got the win. I think the judges just couldn’t tell how tight my guillotines were. The one in the first round, I thought I had that one. The one in the second round. . . it felt really tight, but when I dropped down, I somehow lost it. And then in the third round, I felt like I definitely controlled him on top, and was hitting him up on top. When he took me down, he wasn’t doing anything.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

140 lbs. – Joseph Viola (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Ramsen Merza (LA Boxing) via TKO, R3, 1:20.

160 lbs. – Lyle Rivera (Hard Knox) def. Carlos Caliso, Jr. (Team Spiritwolf) via split decision.

145 lbs. – Mac McNamara (Xtreme Couture) def. Johnny Parsons (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) via split decision.

185 lbs. – Chris Gates (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu)  def. PJ Dombrowski (Xtreme Couture) via TKO, R3, 1:37.

145 lbs. – Justin Vadnais (Vadnais Fight Team) def. Jovon Lorenzo (Freestyle) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage, R2.

155 lbs. – Dustin Bredwick (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Paul Blancaflor (Team Spiritwolf) via submission (rear naked choke), R3, 0:53.

155 lbs. – Jason Rivera (Wand Fight Team) def. Zac Chance (Xtreme Couture) via split decision.

160 lbs. – Chris Camacho Gameness Competition Team) def. Jon Gorton (Team Quest / Reign Training Center) via unanimous decision.

205 lbs. – Joseph Mengali (Team PFS) def. Tim Martyn (Freestyle) via TKO, R1, 1:10.

185 lbs. – Greg Gifford (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Weston Duschen (Xtreme Couture) via ?? R2, 0:51.

Tuff-N-Uff 115 lbs. Women’s Championship –Ashley Cummins def. Gabriella Lakoczky (Wand Fight Team) via unanimous decision.

Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA – Sunday, May 30th

Only 48 hours later, in the same ballroom at the Orleans, Tuff-N-Uff promoted twelve more matches, with fighters coming from as far as New Mexico (Jackson’s MMA) and Missouri (St. Louis MMA). Though the crowd was somewhat “hungover in enthusiasm” at the onset of the show, having watched as many as 23 fights since Friday evening, the ballroom filled up quickly for the show, and was as heated for the main event as just about any other previous Tuff-N-Uff show.

170 lbs. – Tommy Gavin x Lee Henry Lilly (Striking Unlimited)

Tommy Gavin got to showcase his striking stylings with a first round TKO.

Having fought his last three fights at 155, Gavin moved up a weight class for this event. Being a lifelong wrestler, one would think that he would be extra sensitive to the 15 pound difference, but in fact, Gavin felt very comfortable, noting “I’ve got the strength and power of a 170-pounder. So I think I could fight at either weight class pretty comfortably. . . Not having to do that weight cut was nice for this one, but I don’t know if I’m going to make my home at 170 or 155. I think I’d like to go back down. “

Gavin and Lilly didn’t hesitate in going toe-to-toe with each other, immediately throwing heavy combos to the head. Gavin tried to take control of the pace with a Muay Thai clinch, then underhooks, as they vied for position. Gavin went for the trip takedown, but Lilly broke away with a knee. Coming in with a jab, Gavin caught a left from Lilly that threw him to one knee, but was quick to recover and drop Lilly with an overhand right. Gavin pounced and nailed Lilly on the ground with three more left hooks before referee Jason Tevino stepped in and stopped the match.

Tommy Gavin wins by TKO, R1, 1:06

“We told him not to wrestle so much, to believe in his hands, and he believed enough to put a kid to sleep,” summerized Heun.

For teammate Chris Brady, Gavin’s win hit a personal note, explaining “it made me really happy to see him finish his fight definitively, because we both were on the same track, and he fought before me. . . We had really talked before about snapping that losing streak that we’d gotten on and getting back on track. Back to winning.”

135 lbs. – Chris Brady x Maurice Senters (Striking Unlimited)

Fans saw the new, improved ground game of Chris "Boulevard" Brady.

Round One: Neither fighter had any problem firing combos from the get-go. Senters forced Brady to the ground with a trip takedown, but was trapped in closed guard and soon stuck in an oma plata, which Brady rode on him until scrambling to the feet, where Brady threw knees, holding a front facelock. Breaking apart, Brady got a lot more liberal with his kicks, landing multiples to the legs and body. Senters, to his credit, didn’t shy away from the offense, shoving Brady to the ground when Senters was stuck eating knees in a Muay Thai clinch. Brady worked a closed guard, then oma plata as the round closed.

Round Two: Both men came out firing legs. Senters caught a right leg and scored a trip takedown, but Brady again worked mission control and an oma plata from the ground position. Eventually, Senters escaped, bringing the fight back to the feet, but Brady had answers there as well, keeping on the attack with combos punctuated by kicks. Senters scored another trip takedown off a kick, but Brady worked for a triangle choke for the remaining time.

Round Three: More kicks from both sides. Senters tripped Brady off another leg catch, but opted not to follow to the ground. Brady kept Senters on the defensive, attacking with combinations punctuated by leg and body kicks. Brady took the fight to the ground with a modified side headlock, spinning Senters down and passing guard. Senters worked to his knees, but Brady stayed with him, riding his back with wrestling legs and a body triangle. Senters eventually did reverse, caught in Brady’s closed guard as the bell ended the match.

“That was a turning point for me – coming up and performing that way. I think my conditioning was a lot better. I was in way better shape . . . the fights before, I had some personal issues and things that were going on at the time. But what you strive for as a professional is to be able to go in there and do your job and do the best you can every time. No matter what happens in your personal life. That’s your job.  So I chalk that one up as a learning experience to keep your mind focused on what’s going on. So that you can always perform at your best, no matter what,” reflected Brady.

For Jouban, Brady’s performance on the ground was a larger declaration of how the team has improved, explaining “the Legends guys – you have to fear them on the ground, finally. You don’t want to fuck with us on our feet, but then this guy didn’t want any part of Brady on the ground. So I was real proud of that. That Brady would get him in his guard and the guy would try to back out. He didn’t want to even try to pound.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that day:

185 lbs. – Cody Clunas (Freestyle) def. Matt Brisky (Freestyle) via submission (rear naked choke), R1, 1:15.

170 lbs. – Damian Jackson (Hard Knox) def. Justin Bonner (Throwdown) via TKO, R2, 0:41.

265 lbs. – Ahmed Sanchez (TapouT Training Center) def. Phillip Hernandez via TKO, R2, 1:17.

185 lbs. – Jarred Hopkins (Wand Fight Team) def. Sedrick Sweet (One Kick Nick) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Barry Prevost (Striking Unlimited) def. Zach Grossman (Wand Fight Team) via KO, R1, 0:14.

155 lbs. – Kalino Yap (Tapout Training Center) def. Alex Brooks (Hawaiian Fighting Arts) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Jace Crawford (TapouT Training Center) def. Rene Flores (Wand Fight Team) via TKO, R1, 1:40.

135 lbs. – Emily Peters-Kagen (Jackson’s MMA) def. Autumn Richardson (Team Quest) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage, R1, 0:23.

265 lbs. – Kevin Absher (TapouT Training Center) def. Chris Simmons via KO, R2, 1:13.

Perhaps the icing on the cake for this weekend of top performances was the lengths from which the team turned things around, having struggled through their previous Tuff-N-Uff event. In fact, until this weekend, the amateur team’s combined record was a difficult 1-8-1 in 2010. “That previous card, where we went 1-4, I thought we had a tougher training camp. Sometimes you just can’t get the W, even if you train your butt off. . . This one, I was working my ass off. People had different things going on. . . It was tough, but we were able to pull together, stick together as a team,” commented Jouban.

With Heun, a Strikeforce fighter, coming back next Wednesday from a year-long hiatus to face former EliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons, he looks to take the momentum and continue the turnaround: “I’ve been talking the talk to those guys for a long time.  And finally I’m going to be able to walk the walk, and let them see what I’m talking about. I think that spurred by the great victories last weekend at Tuff-N-Uff. And following my victory over KJ, I think it’s going to be the dawning of a new era for the Legends fight team.

Tuff-N-Uff returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino on July 2nd.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole, Melee Fight Gear, and MMA Elite.

No Shame in their Game: Legends fights tough battles in Edmonton, Las Vegas

Posted in Legends MMA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by jaytan716

The Legends MMA team stepped up in back-to-back pro and amateur battle, respectively, in the past week, and despite coming up short on hands raised, the team more than earned moral victories for their efforts and marked improvements.

Veteran pro fighter Matt “Sabretooth” Horwich, along with wife Kelly and Legends head trainer Chris Reilly, traveled up to the River Kree Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for Elaine McCarthy’s new “Lets Get It On” promotion, which debuted on April 24th. Horwich, a former IFL Grand Prix champion and UFC veteran, faced an old nemesis in Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald, another UFC alum.

Not only was this Horwich’s first bout of 2010, but also in many ways his first bout since joining Legends MMA. The Pacific Northwest native has been training at “The Brickhouse” since October, strengthening his cardio and technical skill sets. As such, this three-round rematch (from a first-round submission victory over MacDonald six years ago) was Horwich’s first chance since relocating to experiment with his new arsenal, and despite the decision, the recently-anointed “Sabretooth” was very pleased with the upgrades.

“I do feel really good about [getting new skills and strategies]. I was able to get some good clinch work. . . I was happy I got to work my rubber guard, and did a lot of good stuff in the fight. I went out of the fight feeling like a winner, even though I didn’t get paid like one,” he commented.

185 lbs. – Matt “Sabretooth” Horwich vs. Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald

Matt "Sabretooth" Horwich connects a left on Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald

The first round saw Horwich clinch up early, forcing MacDonald into the cage. MacDonald slipped some knees in and tried wresting control with a single-leg takedown, but Horwich kept it a standing match with balance and knees of his own. Horwich sprawled on a double-leg attempt, getting top position on the ground inside MacDonald’s guard. MacDonald held him with a high closed guard and worked for a kimura the last 20 seconds of the match, but Horwich was able to post up and maintain control from top position. In round two, both men threw combinations at the onset. MacDonald immediately went for the single-leg again, with Horwich pulling him back to the side off the age. Horwich eventually got out and threw more knees from the clinch. The two traded punches, and a high kick from Horwich, before MacDonald grabbed Horwich against the cage in a body clinch that, peppered with foot stomps, would compose most of the round. MacDonald briefly got the match to the ground, but it wasn’t long before Horwich was up again. Horwich then scored a trip takedown of his own, moving to side mount for the rest of the match. With seconds left in the round, Horwich tried to take the back, but MacDonald claimed top position right at the bell. MacDonald scored a takedown early in the third round, but Horwich dominated from the bottom with an uma plata for over a minute. MacDonald was able to eventually stand up, and fell into Horwich’s half-guard, where he would stay for the rest of the match,with a punch. MacDonald slipped some headshots in, but Horwich neutralized most of his offense with a tight collar tie-up. It could be argued that MacDonald was in top position for more of the third round, but Macdonald’s “half-mount” position and striking was much less threatening of a finish than Horwich’s uma plata submission earlier.

In a slight controversial decree, Jason MacDonald takes took the win by unanimous decision.

In his post-fight interview, Horwich told the crowd “Jason’s a great fighter. He did an awesome job. I think because I’m on my back in guard doesn’t necessarily mean I’m losing the fight.  But it’s an honor to fight him. It’s always awesome to be in Canada. Al the people are great, once I get through the customs.”

“It was such fuckin’ bullshit,” said Horwich’s wife, Kelly, of the judges’ scoring.

However, the Horwiches were complimentary of Elaine McCarthy’s first MMA production, noting “the promotion was excellent. They treated us really well. The motel was nice, food was good.”

(From Left): Ryan Lupkes, Jacob Rockymore, & Ben "Bird Dog" Sample, backstage at "Rising Stars of MMA"

Roughly one week later and 1,500 miles south of the Great White North, the trio of Benjamin “Bird Dog” Sample, Jacob Rockymore, and Ryan Lupkes fought on the second Las Vegas Mixed Martial Arts show, “Rising Stars of MMA,” on May 1st, at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

125 lbs. – Jacob Rockymore vs. T.J. Perez (Filipino MMA)

Although Perez scored several takedowns over three rounds, the majority of the match was spent on the feet, where Rockymore continually attacked with rapid fire combinations that pushed Perez backwards.  The first round was a back-and-forth battle, which proved to be the overriding theme of the match. Perez scored a takedown in the second and came close to a choke and armbar at separate times, but Rockymore was able to escape without serious threat. In the final round, Perez again forced a takedown, but Rockymore trapped him with rubber guard, and was working for an uma plata before getting stood up.  He went into combination overdrive in the last ten seconds of the match, forcing him into the corner as the bell rang.

T.J. Perez was awarded the match via split decision.

“It was like a street fight, but with more skills than a street fight. It was real fun. Can’t wait to get back in there,” Rockymore commented the next day.

“Jacob really impressed me. He’s a brawler,” said Sample. “I was surprised, because he’s so small. He’s 125 lbs, and I could see the anger in his punches. I could see he was really trying to take the guy out. He caught the guy with a couple shots and I’m like ‘whoa, that was a hard shot. Where’d that come from?’”

150 lbs. Ben Sample vs. Jonny Parsons (Fasi Sports)

The newly-anointed “Bird Dog” was on the hunt for avenging his debut, in which he came up on the short end of a unanimous decision.  He opened the first round with a high kick, baiting Parson into throwing a wild combination before Sample dropped him with a left hook. Sample pounced and got his hooks in on the ground, but chose to keep it standing, when he was unable to flatten Parsons out. Parsons returned the striking favor, dropping Sample fast with a left hook of his own, but the Bird Dog recovered swiftly back to his feet. Sample opened the second round with another high kick, keeping distance with additional right kicks and a spot-on body shot. Parsons scored two takedowns in the round, the second of which Sample reversed. Early in the third round, Sample shot in under a Parsons combination, but in doing so, caught a high kick to the head, which immediately put him out.

Jonny Parsons was awarded the match by KO, R3, 0:11.

Spirits barely dashed and hardly deterred, Sample spoke confidently about the outcome and the prospects for his future fights: “They say ‘champions aren’t born, they’re created.’ So it may take me a little more time. . . I feel like any given night, one of us could have knocked each other out. Had it been the following weekend, I may have got the best of him. The weekend after, he may have got the best of me. But I definitely can’t wait for the next fight.”

“Ben was real explosive,” said teammate Lupkes the next day. “They were just coming forward, full speed ahead, and just going at it. But Ben was definitely on top of the exchanges . . .He’s a bad motherfucker.”

175. lbs. – Ryan Lupkes vs. Jesse Bowler (Vadnais Fight Team)

With Bowler’s trademark hiptoss-neck crank combination well-scouted, the first round was largely a feeling out period for Lupkes.  The match did go to the ground after a Bowler bodylock, but Lupkes was able to scramble and gain top positio, in guard.  From there, Lupkes threw ground-and-pound and worked to pass guard. Round two saw Lukpes land a head kick, but Bowler was also later able to catch him on the ground with a head-and-arm choke. Lupkes was able to hold on, and get a restart in the middle of the ring. In the final stage, Lupkes claimed top position and worked to pass, but Bowler powered a reversal and took side control. After a referee’s stand-up, the two clinched, with Lupkes again ending up on top just before the match ended.

In a very close call, judges awarded Jesse Bowler the match via majority decision.

“I feel like if I had another 30 seconds, I would have won. I was on top twice, but he was on top for the majority of the rounds, so I can’t really argue.  It depends on how you want to look at it,” said Lupkes after the match.

Despite the losses, all three protégés were in high spirits in the aftermath, speaking with confidence about the lessons learned and the trainers that stood beside them.

“Conor [Heun] is really in touch with how you relate to the environment, and how to summon your inner strength. That really helps during a fight. And Reilly, he’s totally kick-back. ‘Hey man, just get out there, have some fun, give 110%. Make it do what it do.’ Working with both of them is really good. I couldn’t ask for better coaches – striking coach and wrestling coach. It’s just a matter of me getting in there and implementing what they want me to do,” praised the Bird Dog.

For Lupkes, Reilly’s Muay Thai tradition spoke to the young fighter and helped flip the ‘on’ switch right before going into battle: ”Right before we were about to go, he just grabbed my hands and put them together, Thai style. We just put our heads together. I can’t remember – it was like a mantra; he kept saying something like ‘Ryan, go win this fight’ or ‘Ryan’s a great fighter.’ Right in that moment, it totally focused me. It was like ‘let’s do this shit, man!’”

In other Las Vegas MMA action that night:

150 lbs. – Bashir Saber (Summa Sports) def. Mike Robinson (Fight Capital) via doctor’s stoppage due to cut, R1.

145 lbs. – Wes Clinton (Excel / Throwdown Utah) def. Abraham Duenes (Team Wand) via submission, R1.

185 lbs. – Raul Rivera (Team Mayhem) def. Joe Carpenter (Barry’s Boxing) via TKO, R1.

160 lbs. – Craig Jackson (Team Thompkins) def. Cale Errigo (Siege MMA) via submission (guillotine), R1.

160 lbs. – Randy Rodriguez (Excel / Rising Sun Judo) def. Jimmy Like (independent) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Tony Martinez (Freestyle) def. Josh Smith (independent) via submission (choke), R2.

170 lbs. – Grant Hankinson (Aiki Jiu Jitsu) def. John Allsup (Excel) via submission (armbar), R1.

155 lbs. – David Jorden (Fight Capital) def. Joey Carroll (Team Mayhem) via submission (rear naked choke), R1.

190 lbs. – Christopher Gates (Fasi Sports) def. Danny Pena (Team Mayhem) via TKO, R1.

160 lbs. – Johnathan Rodeffer (Tapout Training Center) def. Michael Sutton (Fasi Sports) via split decision.

265 lbs. – Keven Absher (Tapout Training Center) def. Matt Heinstein (Siege MMA) via KO, R1.

205 lbs. – Mike Florio (Excel) def. Brandon Maynard (Aoki Jiu Jitsu) via submission (rear naked choke), R1.

155 lbs. – Shane Larsen (Vadnais Fight Team) def. Tim Gidley (Lion’s Den) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Joey Angelo (Tapout Training Center) def. Rodney Thomas (Team Mayhem) via TKO, R1.

Sample and Rockymore will return to training after their respective medical suspensions, while Lupkes anticipates fighting as early as the end of May or sometime in June. Matt Horwich is wasting no time getting back to action, as he faces Tom “Kong” Watson on May 15th at the LG Arena in Birmingham, UK, for the vacant British Association of Mixed Marital Arts (BAMMA) middleweight 185 lb. title.

CAMO Event Round Up for 4.21.10 to 4.25.10

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by jaytan716

No Limits to Where MMA Can Go

Certainly, combat sports are among the last types of entertainment one would expect to see at a country club mid-week, but that didn’t stop the Shady Canyon Golf Club and No Limits MMA from teaming up on April 21st for a four-match Pankration event, which was held right in the club’s main banquet hall.

“The country club was looking for some type of excitement to bring their members together and kick start the season’s events and golfing tournament,“ explained No Limits head trainer / matchmaker Juliano Prado.  “I feel it was a great experience. The event gave an opportunity for the fighters to experience MMA in a safe and controlled environment. I feel like the crowd was pleased,” he added.

In fact, this was the second go-round for the two unlikely groups. Last year, No Limits brought a five-match amateur boxing card to kick off 2010 Talon Cup Golf Tournament, which is hosted at the club annually.

However, this was the first venture into Pankration for Prado, a noted Jiu Jitsu master with a 4-2-0 pro MMA record, according to Sherdog.com.  With each match featuring a No Limits amateur fighter, the team went 2-2 in competition.

“I coached guys in the UFC before, and I’ve been to PRIDE before, and done numerous Jiu Jitsu tournaments, but I’ve never been to a Pankration event. So I would approach the striking as a very different manner. So as a coach, it was also a new experience for me and I was glad to be a part of it.”

Match results from No Limits 4/21/10 Pankration at Shady Canyon Country Club are as follows:

196 lbs. (catch weight) – Andre “Priest” Holmes def. Nolan Newbury via split decision.

130 lbs. – Ronald Henderson def. Anthony Cendejas via submission, R1, 0:47. Henderson was medically suspended, contingent on a subsequent medical check-up.

175 lbs. – Tim Leach def. Fred Cheatham via submission, R3, 0:55.

155 lbs. – Ivan Arevalo def. Kurtiss Neilsen via submission, R1, 0:52.

In the wake of his event, Prado is even more convinced that Pankration, like Jiu Jitsu, is a valuable part of the early training process for any aspiring MMA fighter

“I think the way to go is jiu jitsu tournaments, which would be the first step, because it doesn’t have any type of striking. Then you can move on to Pankration style of fighting. Then you can go to amateur MMA and pro MMA. I think that either that or doing [an exhibition] – kickboxing, would be, depending on your background, would be the natural and safe way to go.”

International Fight Showdown (IFS) kicks off 16-man lightweight tournament

That same weekend, Red Scorpion Promotions, known for their Muay Thai events, held the opening round of their 2010 International Fight Showdown, a 16-man lightweight (155 lbs.) MMA tournament that continues bi-monthly throughout the year.

“Everything was in order and well organized.  The fighters were focused and were very professional and respectful in our IFS event. . . Everyone at the event was happy with the quality of the matches as well,” said Red Scorpion promoter Master Shawn Shilati in an email reply.

The group is also promoting a lightweight Muay Thai tournament on alternating months.

Shilati was particularly impressed with the wide array of faces and martial arts schools that participated, noting several school representatives inquired about participating in future IFS events.

“A well deserved thank you to Gloria Casella, Event Manager of IFS.  We have been working together for the past 8 years and she is a wonderful asset.  I also would like to thank our wonderful volunteers and IFS staff for putting their amount of time and effort to make this IFS events possible. . . We are looking forward to the better and bigger IFS shows,” he added.

Match results from IFS tournament quarterfinals 4/21/10 event at Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel are as follows:

155 lbs. – Christopher Fajardo def. Evan Richards via TKO, R1, 0:57.

155 lbs. – Richie Placencia def. Nick Kim via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Reshan Sabaratnam def. Albert “Beto” Rodriguez via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Sergio Guerrero def. Morgan Ramirez via submission (choke), R2, 0:57.

155 lbs. – Takayuki Hirano def. Chad Conte via TKO, R2, 1:04.

155 lbs. – Ron Scolesdang def. Jimmy Chavez via split decision.

165 lbs. (non-tournament match) – Brad Kirk def. Robert Anderson via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Richard King def. Alex Castellanos via TKO, R2, 1:07

Quarterfinal pairings are expected to be made public imminently, According to Shilati, should any of the eight quarterfinalists be unable to continue in the tournament, a losing fighter from this weekend’s event will be selected to return, based on the fighter’s record and previous IFS performance.  Likewise, replacements for a semifinalist will be drawn from the pool of losing quarterfinal fighters.

County Cage Fighting in Yucaipa

On that same night, a mini-show dubbed “Country Cage Fighting” took place at Angie’s Roadhouse in Yucaipa.

Match results from County Cage Fighting 4/24/10 in Yucaipa are as follows:

145 lbs. – Ben Weilein def. Jacobo Martinez via submission, R2, 1:41.

170 lbs. – John Blandi def. Frank Zaragoza via submission, R2, 1:23. Zaragoza was suspended for 180 days.

180 lbs. – Brock Paggan def. Bill Burley via submission, R1, 1:30. Burley was suspended for 60 days.

The quarterfinals of the International Fight Showdown are scheduled for June 5th, with the semi-finals on August 28th and the finals on October 23rd. No Limits will also be promoting an all-amateur MMA event on June 5th, at the No Limits Martial Arts & Fitness Center in Irvine.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit http://www.camo-mma.org/events.

CAMO Event Round Up for 4/7/10 to 4/11/10

Posted in CAMO, Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by jaytan716

“Fight Night to the Mansion” by way of San Diego

MMA fans were privy to some mid-week excitement in San Diego when Undisputed Promotions held a mixed kickboxing and MMA event at the On-Broadway Events Center.  All MMA fighters were making their CAMO debut.

“It’s an out-of-body experience when you’re inside the ring,” said Sample about the night. “Try to embrace this time. I’ll never get it back. My first MMA fight experience. Just try to soak it all up, let it all in,“ he lamented.

Titled “Fight Night to the Playboy Mansion,” the evening’s matches were part of the annual National Indian Gaming Association conference and trade show.  The semi-private event consisted of three MMA and four kickboxing matches, and featured a ring girl competition and guest Playboy Bunnies.

The Playboy-branded “Fight Night to the Mansion” series is a traveling pro-am MMA and kickboxing event which tours throughout the Western U.S. and Canada.  Winners on these traveling shows are earmarked by the promoters to appear on a fight card at the Playboy Mansion later this year.

Match results from “Fight Night to the Playboy Mansion” on 4/7/10 are as follows:

165 lbs. – Paul Blancaflor def. Eugene Marenya via TKO, R3, 0:38.

155 lbs. – Carlos Caliso Jr. def. Ben Sample via unanimous decision.

205 lbs. – Donny Camp def. Eddie Mendoza via TKO, R1, 0:32.

Return of the Dragon in San Francisco

Later that weekend, Nor Cal was treated to a hot night of competitive combat when Dragon House MMA held their second event, a 12-bout full-amateur card that, according to promoter / matchmaker Zhong Luo, exceeded the fight standards set by the previous show.

“The skill level was definitely much higher than the last show. Guys were much more prepared,” noted Luo.

Among the back-and-forth standouts were Stacie Seidner vs. Jaimelene Nievera, which almost stole the show, and Sasha Montgomery vs. Bryan Cook.  In the main event, Greg Ulatowski, traditionally a ground specialist, tested his striking skills against Cody Orrison, reputed to be tricky striker with a very unorthodox style.

But the highlight reel moment of the night was Lamar Gosey’s 13-second TKO of Leon Big Leggins, which Luo described as being one of the most shocking fights he’d ever seen. Especially given his experience level (four months), Gosey’s aptitude was apparent.

“He came out and performed better than a lot of pros, honestly. He came in, dominated with really fast speed, really quick hands, and was very aggressive,” said Luo.

Match results from Dragon House MMA on 4/10/10 are as follows:

135 lbs. – Jordan Felix def. Miguel Castillo via TKO, R2, 0:12.

155 lbs. – Christian Safranek def. Patrick Jernigan via unanimous decision.

140 lbs. – Andrew Hansen def. Brian Liu via unanimous decision.

140 lbs. – Chris Buron-Navarro def. Christopher Spencer via unanimous decision.

185 lbs. – Sasha Montgomery def. Bryan Cook via split decision.

160 lbs. – Frank Flores def. Tauheed Safi via TKO, R1, 1:18.

265 lbs. – Timothy Palengat def. Tim Miller via TKO, R2, 1:58.

130 lbs. – Stacie Seidner def. Jaimelene Nievera via unanimous decision.

205 lbs. – Lamar Gosey def. Leon Big Leggins via TKO, R1, 0:13.

210 lbs. – Justin Vizcarra def. Steven McGough via unanimous decision.

160 lbs. – Antonio Amaya def. Pardaise Vaovasa via TKO, R1, 1:14.

170 lbs. – Greg Ulatowski def. Cody Orrison via unanimous decision.

With nine matches on the previous event and twelve matches on this night, Dragon House MMA intends to create a promotion whose philosophy towards working with regional gyms is “the more the merrier.” Luo himself explained that his open-arms approach is partially to offer experience opportunities to fighters, but also to foster a camaraderie among coaches and trainers that might otherwise never develop.

“A lot of schools really isolate themselves. Regardless of competition between schools in the same town, coming to an event like this brings all the schools closer to each other. And coaches get to know each other. The more competition like this, you just get the skill level much higher. Amateur fighters need practice much more,” he noted.

Of course, the issues of ticket sales is of paramount concern for any promoter, which underlines the notion that cooperation and inclusion fuels the show, the fans, and the fighters. “The schools help to sell tickets. I couldn’t do this without all the teachers, and different gyms. All the schools have been really supportive. They always fill up the weight classes and help me to put up a good show.”

Among the teams  that competed on this show were Team USA, El Nino Training Center,  Charles Gracie, as well as gyms in Union City, San Jose, and Humboldt, whose team endured a seven-hour drive to participate.

Playboy’s “Fight Night to the Mansion” returns to California, and on June 26th, Dragon House MMA expands their show to the larger Kezar Pavillion in San Francisco. According to Luo, two female matches will be among the highlights of the event.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit http://www.camo-mma.org/events.

CAMO Event Round Up for 4.16.10 to 4.18.10

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by jaytan716

Total Fighting Alliance expands to amateur ranks

With the floodgates of amateur MMA in California wide open and flowing freely, it’s ironic that one of California’s most senior officially-licensed promotions, Todd Meacham’s Total Fighting Alliance (TFA), didn’t hold their first amateur MMA event until this past weekend.

But TFA 17, which took place at the Hawthorne Athletic Exchange (HAX) at Hawthorne Airport, marked another milestone for the three-year old regional promotion, as it creates a breeding ground from which Meacham can nurture talent for his pro shows.

“This was the easiest show I’ve ever done, and I’m gonna do more of them because of that,” beamed TFA matchmaker Todd Meacham, adding “you might not see me pay $1,000 to hold my license for the pro level anymore. All’s I might do is CAMO shows, period. And watch what I do with it. I’ll blow the UFC out of the water.”

The nine-match amateur MMA show was highlighted by furious heavyweight action.  The last match of the night, Danish strongman Jens Grau vs. Danny Radovic was a frantic battle of behemoths, but it was Jesse Escobedo and Kipeni Luto who claimed credit as showstealers of the night.  Their wild back-and-forth clash, which went halfway into the third before Escobedo caught Luto by submission, was touted by fans as the match of the night.

“They were both trying to showcase their skills, but at the same time, they were both going back to what they knew, and that’s street fighting. . .  I thought that roof was going to come down in that building, because of so much excitement,” Meacham lamented.

One pairing that Meacham will likely look to rematch is Rocky Bice vs. Michael Morrow, which ended rather abruptly. What was expected to be a knock-down-drag-out battle concluded 23 seconds into the first round, when Morrow slipped on the mat, giving Bice the window to pounce and earn a TKO victory.

In the days following the fight, an article on the TFA website suggested plans for a rematch, which Meacham, who strongly believes in Bice’s abilities and star power, confirmed as a possibility, saying “I feel that they need to fight again. I don’t think that Michael Morrow got to do what he’s capable of . . . I think that they can a have a back-and-forth fight.”

Match results from TFA 17 on 4/17/10 are as follows:

165 lbs. – Joey Guevara def. Justin Rodriguez via decision.

160 lbs. – Jason Gonzales def. Brian Jimenez via TKO, R1, 0:32.

145 lbs. – Craig Cook def. Juan Estrada via TKO, R1, 1:53.

158 lbs. (catch weight) – James Distler def. Edward Chavez via split decision.

170 lbs. – Bradley Crihfield def. Ryan Escobedo via submission, R1, 1:43.

240 lbs. (catch weight) – Jesse Escobedo def. Kipeni Lutu via submission, R3, 0:54.

160 lbs. – Brandon Anderson def. Shane Watts via submission, R3, 0:54.

195 lbs . (catch weight – Rocky Bice def. Michael Morrow via TKO, R1, 0:23.

235 lbs. (catch weight) – Jens Grau def. Danny Radovcic via TKO, R1, 1:09.

Although his website lists June 19th as the next TFA date, Meacham also suggested doing a co-promote show with his previous promotion, sometime in July.  Regardless, Bice and Grau, dubbed ‘Todd’s Golden Boys of TFA,’ are confirmed to be featured attractions.

“They sell a lot of tickets, they put on a good show, people like to see them, they’re both successful businessmen, and those are the people I like to sell tickets to,” he explained.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit http://www.camo-mma.org/events.