Friday, February 19, 2010
The ROC welterweight title is up for grabs, and vying for it are Justin Haskins of Pellegrino MMA and Ryan LaFlare of Bellmore Kickboxing. Don't let the gym's name fool you: LaFlare is a skilled and aggressive grappler, so while Haskins is a wrestling stud, he might not have that much of an advantage on the ground. As if to prove that point, LaFlare comes out and nails a takedown, but Haskins gets back to his feet and scores a few takedowns of his own. LaFlare avoids trouble, and in Round 2 Haskins' takedowns never come, as LaFlare dodges them all to land a bout-ending left hook at 1:36 into the frame. A great performance by the Bellmore Kickboxing fighter, and he's now the man to beat. Last bout of the night and it's Gian Villante of Bellmore Kickboxing against American Kickboxing Academy's Mike Cook, with the ROC heavyweight championship on the line. How good is Villante? It takes him only 40 seconds to stun Cook with a punch, suplex him, and tap him out with a rear naked choke. Villante is now the ROC heavyweight champ. And that's it.
Next up: Brendan Barrett of Brutal MMA and Joe Abouata of Wilkie's Warriors in a heavyweight bout. Abouata is what you'd get if you crossed a human's DNA with a Harley Davidson, but Barrett's always been a tough, top-level guy. He comes out and establishes control early, getting the Wilkie Warrior down and grinding him throughout the first, and tapping him with a guillotine from mount in the second. The official time of the tap out is :45 of Round 2. The ever-popular Nabih Barakat of Serra/Longo takes to the cage to face the Armory's Edson Barboza. Yikes. Barboza is definitely some kind of ringer, as he wades in and clips Barakat with a right and follows him down with some hellacious leather. Barakat is so messed up, he's trying to work his guard even after the ref has pulled Barboza off, and Kevin Mulhall has to hold his ankles while Dr. Wulkan struggles to get him to snap out of it. The official time of the KO is 1:09 of the first round. It's time for Brazil vs. Brazil, with Vagner Fernandes of Gold Team taking on Andre Gusmao of Ricardo Almeida's School for Gifted Grapplers. As an aside, Gusmao is also a skilled capoeira practitioner, which enabled him to dominate when he fought in the IFL but availed him naught in his time in the UFC. It doesn't avail him much here, either, as Fernandes rocks him with a right and proceeds to use his face as a punching bag. Yet Gusmao is tough, and he gains dominate position on the ground, flattens Fernandes out, and drops the hammer until the ref steps in at 3:25 of Round 1.
Lennox Chance of AFC Kickboxing and Nick Pace of TSMMA enter the cage to do the dance. Some of you may remember Pace knocking out his opponent with a flying knee at a Bellator event last year. Well, I interviewed Pace after that and he informed me that, yes, he does actually know how to levitate, so we'll see if he repeats the feat tonight. And... the two waste no time engaging, with Pace scoring the takedown, working methodically into mount, taking Chance's back and getting the tap out at 1:37 of the first round. No levitation, but the TSMMA fighter gets the job done. Mike Medrano of AMA FC and Jose Viera of Team Greg Jackson are up. Medrano is a heavy-handed fireplug with a reputation for hard-fought wars, while Viera likes to catch rattlesnakes with his bare hands and eat them, so we'll see how this one goes. Round 1 has Medrano swinging for the fences as usual, but Viera has his reach deficit figured out quickly and manages to get him down and punish him. Viera gets docked a point in Round 2 for kneeing his foe in the dome when he's on the ground, yet Medrano edges ahead anyway with his punching and seals the deal with a guillotine at 1:37 of the third round.
A superstar match-up between Pellegrino MMA's Lester Caslow and AMA FC's Andy Main is on deck. Both guys are pure badass and capable of winning on the feet and on the ground, so hold onto your hats. Or beanies. Or whatever you wear on your head. Round 1 sees them trade kicks for about four minutes, with Caslow timing the delivery of a knuckle sandwich perfectly and sending Main to the canvas. The round ends with Caslow on top and punching. Round 2 is all about payback, as Main gets Caslow down, takes his back, and alternates between choke attempts and fists, so it's dead even going into the final round. Who wants it more? It seems like they both want it pretty bad, but after a bit of back and forth, the Pellegrino MMA rep and teen pop sensation settles into top position and just punishes Main. Caslow takes the unanimous decision in what is a very good fight. Now it's time for promoter Lou Neglia to call the special guests into the cage, and the list includes Miguel Torres, Donald Cerrone, Leonard Garcia and Cub Swanson (what the hell? Is there a WEC convention going on in town?), Dante Rivera, Jim Miller, Pete Sell, Chester Cheetah, Kurt Pellegrino, the Kool-Aid Man, Dr. Peter Venkman, Matt Serra and a giant inflatable beer can. The crowd cheers.
It's Ryan Vaccaro of BJJ Shore Academy and Adam Ward of Gilbert Grappling's turn to rumble, and the opening round is all about Vaccaro getting top position, dodging Ward's triangles and kimura attempts, and dropping leather. For those who don't know, BJJ Shore Academy is Bill Scott's school, and in addition to possessing a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Ricardo Almeida, Scott has a few hundred years of wrestling experience as well (Scott used to do freestyle and Greco-Roman with Jesus and the Apostles). Some of that has definitely rubbed off on Vaccaro, as he continues with the takedowns and ground-and-pound in Rounds 2 and 3. Ward, however, threatens with two Peruvian Necktie attempts, is active off his back, and starts sprawling effectively by the last round. It ain't enough. Vaccaro takes the unanimous decision when time runs out. Ready for some lightning-like striking? Fight Firm's Tuan Pham and TSMMA's Louis Gaudinot are up, and given their history of decapitating their foes, it's doubtful this one is going to be a lay-and-pray festival. Yeah, as predicted this is a stand-up scrap, with each wary of the other, each probing for openings, and Gaudinot finding one first. Pham eats a nasty series of punches and drops, and the TSMMA rep is victorious via KO at 1:09 of the first round.
MMA Journalist is here cageside for Ring of Combat 28, the roughest, toughest MMA show in the Northeast. How rough and tough is it? Tonight, all the losers will be taken behind the Tropicana Casino & Resort and shot. That's pretty damn rough and tough. Anyhoo, first bout of the evening is Dave McMahon of Xtreme MMA vs. Robert Cunane of LA Boxing, and boxing is pretty much all they're doing, with Cunane definitely getting the better of his opponent for the majority of the first round. Unfortunately for him, all it takes is one mistake, and McMahon has dropped him and is raining down punches for the TKO. Bout #2 and it's Craig Thieme of Pellegrino MMA against Adam Fearon. Fearon trains with AMA Fight Club now, but he used to rep Pitts Penn and his first two pro fights were ages ago against Lyman Good and Eddie Alvarez - two guys who went on to become world-beaters. Round 1 begins and Fearon catches Thieme in a tight guillotine - so tight, in fact, that referee Donnie Carolei pulls them apart without Thieme even tapping. The ensuing shitstorm has the officials restarting the bout, and for the next round and a half Thieme out-hustles Fearon to earn the majority decision. Ryan Castillo of Serra/Longo and Mike Murray of TSMMA enter the cage. Like Fearon, Murray first fought back when MMA was brand-spanking-new; unlike Fearon, Murray's blend of grappling and constant punching was enough to take out his first two opponents (Glenn Ortiz and a Russian fighter). Round 1 of Castillo/Murray is a back-and-forth submission battle, with Murray coming close with armbars and triangles and Castillo coming equally as close with a kneebar. Other than another close kneebar by Castillo, Round 2 is all Murray, with his superior gas tank enabling him to dominate position, deliver punches and sink the armbar at 3:46 of the round.