Friday, September 11, 2009
The ROC lightweight belt is at stake now with champ Chris Liguori of Team Ricardo Almeida defending his title against Team Combat's Dwayne Shelton. Liguori opens by taking Shelton down and trying to improve position, and Shelton slows him down with a kimura. Scramble, scramble, scramble and one of the judges cries out in dismay at the prospect of having to score this round. In the second round Liguori masterfully escapes two close armbar attempts to edge ahead with his ground and pound, and though in the final round Shelton comes out ahead in the scrambles, it's not enough to sway the judges. Liguori keeps his belt with the unanimous decision. Last bout of the evening and it's Advanced Martial Art's Ricardo Romero against Motor City Boxing's Richie Lictawa for the USKBA heavyweight title. Round 1 is all Romero, as he takes Lictawa down and feeds him a barrage of leather artillery from the mount. Miraculously, Lictawa makes it to Round 2, but he still cannot stop Romero from taking him down, and the Advanced Martial Arts fighter nearly rips off his arm with a kimura at 2:14 of the second round. That's all she wrote.
Team Serra/Longo striking ace Costa Phillippou squares off against Team Vision/Walker MMA's Victor O'Donnell. At stake: the ROC middleweight belt, which O'Donnell took from Natal at the last show. O'Donnell has proven to be able to take punishment and dish it out, but Phillippou is deadly like a sniper, so we'll see if he can his mojo can take it. Well, it most certainly can in Round 1, as O'Donnell lets Phillippou know immediately that his stand-up cannot be trifled with by tagging him with a right to the chin. Phillippou gets the takedown, but O'Donnell more or less avoids any real punishment and eventually gains dominant position. Round 2 has the Team Serra/Longo rep immediately shooting for the takedown, and from his guard O'Donnell comes ridiculously close with a triangle choke. This round ends with them taking turns being on top. The momentum changes drastically in the final frame, as Phillippou rallies to score a pair of takedowns and keep his opponent on his back for the duration. The judges score the bout 29-28 in favor of Phillippou, but this one was closer than that, and O'Donnell - claiming he was eye-gouged at some point - leaves without the belt.
Peak Submission's Allan Weickert enters the cage to take on Team Renzo's Raphael Natal. Originally, Sean Salmon was supposed to be facing Natal, but Salmon had the brilliant idea of admitting online that he threw his last fight (which was against Weickert), so karma has the Peak Submission rep doing the dance in his place. Anyoo, they swing bolos until Natal gets it to the ground, where he works onto Weickert's back, snakes his arm around Weickert's neck and elicits the tap at 2:53 of Round 1. Bellmore Kickboxing monster Gian Villante is up next, taking on last-minute replacement Rob Wince of the Hammer House (yes, Mark Coleman's Den of Wrestling Madness). Surprisingly, despite the short notice, Wince seems pretty capable, threatening with takedowns and willing to stand and trade. Villante controls him on the ground, threatening with a choke at one point, but it's by no means a rape. No, that comes in Round 2, when Villante catches Wince leaning in and puts him away with a high kick to the head. The official time of the knockout is 1:25 of the second round.
The Armory's Ed Guedes takes to the cage to square off against Team Energy's John Salgado. Guedes has travelled all the way from Florida for this bout; meanwhile, Salgado has prepared himself by punching cars as they drive by on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The opening minutes have them trading punches and Guedes brings things to the ground with a takedown, where he eventually works into the mount and then back-mount. Time expires with Guedes dropping bombs from Salgado's back. Round 2 is almost an exact replay of Round 1 minus the stand-up exchanges, and sensing Salgado's inability to stop the takedown, Guedes keeps up with the same plan of action in the third. To his credit, Salgado is resilent and able to escape every submission attempt, but when time runs out there's no question Guedes has earned the unanimous decision. Bellmore Kickboxing stud "Crazy" Chris Schlesinger and Team Serra/Longo up-and-comer Nabih Barakat are up, a match-up of veteran against new blood. These guys waste no time mixing it up, clinching against the cage and trading knees until Barakat inadvertantly lands one in Schlesinger's jewels. A restart and Schlesinger nails the takedown, and for the rest of the round he does his best to punish his opponent below. Barakat gets taken down twice more in Round 2, and though he avoids most of the heat Crazy Chris is bringing, he can't muster much by way of offense. Round 3 sees Schlesinger slow from exhaustion, but he does manage an ankle pick, and with Barakat once more on his back, it's smooth sailing to Unanimous Decision Island for the Bellmore Kickboxing rep.
Carlton Haselrig is off the card. He was supposed to fight Gian Villante, but he suddenly realized he had very little talent and ability and Villante would've killed him, so Haselrig bailed. Carlos Brooks was scheduled to fight Lorenzo Hood, but Hood bailed as well, apparently having taken a fight elsewhere. Now it's time for Rhino Fight Team's Jose Sulsona and Bellmore Kickboxing's Ryan LaFlare. LaFlare tends to fight with about 110% pure aggression, which in this instance has him bullying Sulsona to the ground and all over him like white on rice. Sulsona has his moments, though, threatening with a few subs and a particularly close heelhook attempt. The round ends with LaFlare working to extend an arm for the armbar. Round 2 is more of the same, only this time LaFlare gets Sulsona's back and snags the armbar from there. The official time is 2:18 of the second round. Sean Santella of AMA FC and Jose Villanueva of TSMMA take to the cage next. This the third time these two have met, with Villanueva getting the decision when they were amateurs and their first pro pairing ending in a draw. Hopefully this bout will resolve it all, otherwise these men are perilously close to being considered married under current New Jersey statutes. Though pretty evenly matched, Santella has the edge in wrestling and Villanueva the edge in striking, and when Santella nearly lands a flying triangle the TSMMA fighter makes him pay with some hellacious ground and pound. Round 2 begins and Santella nails the lightning-fast takedown, moves to side-mount then transitions into an armbar - a flawless display of grappling that forces Villanueva to tap at the two-minute mark.
It's time for the main card, and the first pairing sees TSMMA 125-pound mass murderer Louis Gaudinot against Daddis FC's Jeff Cressman. As usual, Gaudinot sports bright green hair - a tribute to those he's decapitated in the cage with spinning backfists. The first round begins and the two clinch against the cage, with Gaudinot landing a short hook that stuns Cressman and sends him stumbling to the mat. Gaudinot keeps up the pressure, dropping bombs and bloodying his foe while Cressman keeps in it with a few submission attempts. Round 1 ends but the minute rest isn't enough to clear the cobwebs from Cressman's head, and Gaudinot resumes beating on him until the Daddis FC fighter falls and curls up into a ball. The ref steps in at :24 of Round 2, giving Gaudinot the TKO win. Pretty dominant performance. Next is Matt McMannmon of Modern Martial Arts against Lester "Savior of the Universe" Caslow of Pellegrino MMA. McMannmon is rocking the Evan Tanner Crazy Beard, while Caslow has recently had a flavor of Axe Body Spray named after him. The two come out going kick for kick, then trading Anaconda and guillotine attempts, but when McMannmon gets top position he gets sloppy, and Caslow is there with the armbar from the guard. McMannmon taps out at 3:20 and Caslow is showered with an assortment of panties from the audience.
MMA Journalist is here cageside for Ring of Combat 26 in Atlantic City, the Northeast's top regional show and a great place to see some of the area's best fighters punch each other silly and break limbs. There are 13 bouts scheduled, with three title fights at the tail-end of the card. First up is the prelims, with AMA FC's rising star Andy Main against Daddis FC's Jackson Galka. Main's got insanely heavy hands, which kind of sets him apart from the other 145-pounders in his division. Galka, however, seems to have some sharp as hell Muay Thai skills, and after avoiding an opening flurry, the Daddis FC rep peppers Main with knees and works his ground and pound when they hit the canvas. Round 2 sees Main mix in kicks with his punching, which gives his opponent pause, but one misstep and Galka takes his back and pulls him down, and Main is forced to defend a rear naked choke for a significant portion of the round. The split decision goes to Main when time runs out, but this one was insanely close, and Main likely edged it out because of his damaging punches. Next is Tong Dragon's Liam Kerrigan vs. jiu-jitsu brown belt Roger Mamedov. Kerrigan is making the transition from amateur fighter to pro in this one, while Mamedov runs a BJJ school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is probably some kind of hipster, so we'll see how it goes. They come out swinging hard and Mamedov lands a throw that Kerrigan instantly reverses to secure top position. The Tong Dragon rep punishes him a bit before Mamedov can tie him up, and after a referee stand-up they continue to blast each other. In between rounds Mamedov sips some kind of coffee latte while he and cornerman Dante Rivera discuss art and politics, then in Round 2 the striking war continues interspersed with Mamedov's takedowns. Time runs out with Kerrigan fighting off a guillotine, and when the judges' scorecards are read it's declared a majority draw. Good showing by both men.