Friday, February 20, 2009
A middleweight championship bout between Alexandre Moreno and Rafael Sapo is up next. Sadly, I have never seen either fighter fight nor heard of them, so I am unmoved that these guys are fighting for a championship belt in an organization I follow closely. However, for the sake of the sport, I will pretend to care. Woo! The one Brazilian just threw the other one! Now they're up again, fighting as if a plantation full of acai is up for grabs! They're back down again! Oh the humanity. Will someone please think of the children! Ooh, a close triangle choke attempt. Wait, the waiter is coming by with some delicious-looking meat on a sword, and as I ask for some the one Brazilian lands a right hook that stuns the other Brazilian and it's all over. Uh, the announcer says that it's Sapo who scored the KO. Wahoo! Ahem. Okay, now it's time for the heavyweight title bout between Joe Abouata of Alex Wilkie's Scary Motorcycle Gang against Bret Kohan of Ricardo Almeida's Den of Jiu-Jitsu. This bout I care about, as both Abouata and Kohan are very relevant. Yikes, Kohan is large and in charge from the get-go, landing a variety of strikes and finishing Abouata with a knee to the body that drains the life from Abouata almost instantly. That's all, folks.
Get ready for a striking war, as Aaron Meisner and Costa Phillippou are up. Meisner can run hot or cold sometimes - he's straight up slain opponents with his Muay Thai, and other times he's just been steamrolled (a bout in Mexico, his TUF 7 bout that would've gotten him into the TUF house). We'll see which one shows up tonight. Wow, okay, well, Phillippou threw one punch, a blazing right cross, at about the 15-second mark that sent Meisner to the canvas, and when Meisner rose up on autopilot, the Serra/Longo rep casually stepped behind him, pulled him down, and slapped on the rear naked choke. Meisner resisted for a while, but eventually tapped out 2:27 into the round. Phillippou threw one strike. One. And it was enough. Matt Makowski, one of the best fighters out of Daddis FC, against Ricardo Almeida-trained Sergio Vinagre is next. Round 1 has Makowski picking Vinagre apart like a Thanksgiving turkey in an orphanage, but for his part Vinagre is giving him hell, swinging wildly and often. Round 2 sees Vinagre on his back eating shin and Makowski ax-kicking him in the balls. After a restart, Makowski's Muay Thai clinic continues, and every strike in the book is thrown (and each one connects). The only way to describe this bout is "slaughter". However, Vinagre has more heart than anything, and he refuses to stay down for long. Round 3 ends with Makowski a million miles ahead on the scorecards, but damn did Vinagre show that he had heart. It's time for Brendan Barrett and Ricardo Romero to determine who gets to fight for the ROC 205-pound championship belt next. Ace reporter Eric Joza is reminding me that Glen Sandull is the ROC 205 champ, which he earned when Romero fought him and got DQ'd for an illegal kick on the ground. Ah yes, that must have happened while I was incarcerated. Round 1 has Romero imposing his will with takedowns and some positional dominance, but Barrett is all dangerous, all the time, and very capable of landing that one strike that would turn the tide. That strike never comes. In Round 2 Romero gets him down, takes his back, and muscles on the rear naked choke for the tap out. It's all over 44 seconds into the round. This was a very impressive win for Romero. Barrett is a tough, tough fighter.
Now for the long-awaited pro debut of Al Iaquinta, who amassed an amateur record of 11 billion wins and no losses before deciding to make the jump. His opponent: Rhino Fight Team's Mervin Rodriguez, who, uh, unless he has superpowers, might have some trouble ahead of him. Yeah, Iaquinta takes him down, softens him up with some heavy leather, then slaps on the Anaconda for the tap. It's all over at 1:05 of the first. Tyler Venice of BJJ Shore Academy is taking on Tiger Schulmann's MMA stud Jimmie Rivera next. I like Rivera's skillset - he can strike and he's got great positional control on the ground - but it sometimes seems like he's gunshy, like he could end fights sooner if he only believed in himself more. Anyway, Round 1 is pretty much all about Rivera delivering knees to Venice's body and out-scrambling the bejeezus out of the jiu-jitsu guy, and in Round 2, after Venice kicks him in the junk, Rivera gets him down, takes his back, and puts him to sleep with a rear naked choke. Venice is left unconscious at 1:13 of the round. Again, Rivera looked good, but he could be a stone-cold killer if he wanted to. It's Greg Soto and Shawn Forman's turn now. Soto is a bad, bad dude who can wrestle, submit fools and even throw some leather. Forman helped his uncle George develop a popular electric grill that can cook meat and chicken while the grease drains harmlessly off - an electric grill that cleans easily and stores easily. Round 1 almost ends quickly, and surprisingly, as Soto shoots and Forman comes perilously close with a deep guillotine attempt. But Soto escapes, and reverses from bottom position to top position halfway through the round. The bell rings with Soto standing over Forman, dodging upkicks. Round 2 sees Soto dominate with some ground and pound, and at 3:44 of the frame he passes Forman's guard and slaps on the Anaconda choke for the tap. Nice performance for Soto's first fight back after a lengthy hiatus.
Garrett Carmody from Pitts Penn is now taking on Anthony Abatelli of Serra/Longo. Carmody is one tough hombre, and though fighting for the first time at welterweight, is definitely one of the better guys coming out of Pitts Penn, whereas Abatelli is making his pro debut, lost an underground fight to James Funaro, is a Sagittarius and likes long walks on the beach. Credit to Abatelli for taking on someone of Carmody's caliber. Round 1 sees them come out and wail on each other, until Abatelli scores a takedown and tries his best to punish Carmody below him. Carmody has a close armbar attempt that Abatelli has to slam his way out of, but nothing much else happens, although in Round 2 Abatelli gets Carmody down early and keeps him there - and this time around his ground and pound efforts are a little more successful. Round 3 plays out like Round 2, and when time runs out there's no question Abatelli has taken the unanimous decision. Now it's time for Jeff Lentz vs. Jay Isip. Lentz just got his purple belt from Carmine Zocchi, while Kurt Pellegrino has been feeding Isip a steady diet of raw meat and 1,000 volts of electricity, so we'll see how this one goes. Round 1 is all Isip, as he gets on top and methodically picks and chooses his punches for the entire period. Round 2 sees Isip pick Lentz up and slam him, but after a referee stand-up Lentz puts his hands around Isip's head and pulls it down into his knee. Isip goes down and is too stunned to recover, and the ref waves the bout off. Tough loss for Isip - he was winning that one until the stand-up. Jeff Pender is in the cage now ready to take on Roger Mamedov. Mamedov has Ricardo Almeida and some Gracie in his corner, so I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Mamedov might be inclined to grapple. Yup, I'm right. Mamedov gets him down, mounts him, and rains down punches until the ref steps in at :55 of Round 1.
First bout of the evening is a prelim match between Jim Tomczuk of Ricardo Almeida's Den of Jiu-Jitsu and Howard Longus of Alex Wilkie's Scary Motorcycle Gang. As predicted, Longus seems more than capable of taking his opponent's head off with punches, while Tomczuk seems more than capable of getting it to the ground and forcing a tap out via rear naked choke in about a minute. Reubens Lopes of Gold Team Fighters and Chris Weidman of Serra/Longo are next in the cage. Lopes is another one of those Brazilian ringers who have been popping up lately here in New Jersey, but Weidman has got something very few Brazilians have an answer for: a monster Greco-Roman lateral drop, which he uses to send Lopes flying. Weidman's subsequent kimura ends it at 1:05 of the first round. Now it's time for Randy Durant to take on Bellmore Kickboxing's Gian Villante. Those out there with any sort of memory (or access to Sherdog's fighter database) might know Durant as a dude who's been fighting since the age of the dinosaur, but he's more experienced than that. He actually trained with Cain before Cain's biblical bout against Abel. Unfortunately, Durant seems to have peaked about 1,800 years ago, and Villante needs only 35 seconds to toss Durant around and bloody him the heck up for the TKO.
MMA Journalist is cageside for Ring of Combat 23 here at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. The card is set at 14 bouts and it's reportedly a sold-out show, so already the night is shaping up nicely. As Dan Miragliotta and Kevin Mullhall are off to officiate the UFC in London tomorrow, Ohio-based ref Mark Matheny has been brought in, and he's been instructed by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board that all bouts on the main card are to the death. So, yeah, tonight should definitely be interesting. In attendance are East Coast MMA alumni Pete "Drago" Sell and Kurt Pellegrino, Jay Silva (wearing a Gold Team Fighters shirt - I guess as a consolation prize for that decision that he was robbed of two weeks ago), Long Island bad boy Chris Schlesinger and the usual collection of Jersey Shore ruffians and bandits (Tom Gallicchio, Steve DeAngelis, Kevin Roddy, Lester Caslow). Lyman Good is here, too, and apparently his Bellator FC fight may be in the second week of April - and it could be held locally. The cafeteria features fried chicken that looks like it was cooked three days ago, boiled potatoes, some potentially deadly pasta and mixed vegetables.