Saturday, July 17, 2010
Thus far there have been zero stoppages, just decisions. Will Team Renzo's Elijah Clarke and 5 Point's Gaius Ebratt remedy that? Ebratt comes close in the opening round, landing frequently and catching Clarke with a meaty hook to the floating rib at the bell. It's only a few seconds into Round 2 when Ebratt drops him again with a kick to the liver, and the rest of the frame is spent with Ebratt hunting that same sweet spot and Clarke protecting it like crazy. Clarke goes down in Round 3 once again, and when the fourth knockdown comes in Round 4, that's all she wrote. Ebratt via TKO. Next bout is a non-tournament rematch between Jay Matias of Sitan and Mohammed Lemjerdine of CT's Finest. It's pretty even in the first round, as an expressionless Matias moves forward landing punches and Lemjerdine battles back with kicks and knees. It's the same in Rounds 2, 3 and 4, and Lemjerdine seems to grow more and more frustrated that Matias keeps following him with a fist to the jaw and a cold look in his eye. Round 5 is no different, and when time runs out the judges tally up the points and give Lemjerdine the majority decision. Last bout and it's the tournament final between Ahmed and Hill. MMA fighter "Crazy" Chris Schlesinger - who's present as a teammate of Hill's - informs me that Ahmed is Hill's only loss as an amateur, so we'll see if this pro rematch will provide some vengeance. Round 1 is fast and furious, Hill blazing away with his fists and Ahmed pegging him with kicks. The action doesn't let up in the second round, although one telling thing is how many of Ahmed's high-kicks just barely graze the top of Hill's head. Round 3 is ridiculously close, as Ahmed starts out-boxing Hill and Hill starts beating Ahmed on kicks. Time runs out, and the judges decree Ahmed the winner. And that's it.
Time for another non-tournament bout, and it's Marcus Fisher of Pittsburgh Muay Thai taking on Sitan's King Opaku. (Yes, he is actually a king, and his servants carry him in on his throne.) Round 1 has Opaku scoring a knockdown and Fisher trying to find an opening. That opening comes in Round 2, although it ends up being a knee right into 0paku's junk. They resume after the Sitan fighter takes some much-needed time to recover. The king is still very much in the fight, however, and towards the end of Round 3, when the two clinch, he lands a short hook to completely stuns and disorients Fisher and puts him on the canvas. Round 4 is pure slugfest, and in the final round Fisher just comes out and bangs Opaku up. Is it enough to convince the judges? Well, it's enough to convince the judges the bout is a draw. A semifinal bout is on deck, and it's Ahmed against Gulati. Based on their earlier performances, I'd have to give the edge to Ahmed - he's a slightly more concise striker, and seems just as dynamic as Gulati. The opening round is all about Ahmed stalking Gulati like a predator and the Sitan rep scoring in the exchanges, while in Round 2 Ahmed punishes the hell out of Gulati's lead leg and sweeps him repeatedly. Round 3 is more of the same, and when the ten-second clapper sounds, they don't even bother continuing, as Gulati's knows who the better fighter is. Instead, Gulati bows, and Ahmed takes the unanimous decision. Semifinal #2 is Hasanov vs. Hill, and I give the edge in speed and hands to the Bellmore Kickboxing rep. True to form, Hill comes out and overwhelms Hasanov with a flurry in the corner. Hasanov recovers after a standing-eight count, but he gets dropped again in similar fashion in Round 2. Hasanov just cannot match Hill's speed and accuracy, and after he gets dropped yet again in the third, it's clear who's meeting Ahmed in the finals. Hill takes the unanimous decision.
Tourny bout #3 is Sheldon Gaines of MTA facing Strout Fight Team's Turan Hasanov. Yikes. Gaines comes out moving at about three speeds faster than Hasanov, and wastes no time blooding him and laying into his ribs with knees. Showing a lot of heart, Hasanov comes out in Round 2 and keeps working, eventually catching Gaines in a corner and showering him with fists. Gaines survives, though, and it's a scrap in the final frame that has both men hurting the other. In the end, the majority decision goes to Hasanov. Last of the quarterfinal tournament bouts and it's Bellmore Kickboxing's Terrence Hill against Gabriel Varga of Varga Muay Thai. If there's one thing a Bellmore Kickboxing rep knows, it's how to throw a punch, and Hill comes out a starts lighting up Varga like a Christmas tree. But Varga sports a height advantage, which he uses to repeatedly clinch and throw Hill to the canvas. Round 2 sees Varga land more kicks and open a cut over Hill's eye with another trip to the floor. The final round is brutal - neither man is keen on slowing down and they simply tear into each other. When time runs out, Hill is awarded the unanimous decision, which doesn't sit well with the crowd despite Hill being a local guy. Oh well. Never leave it in the hands of the judges. Anyhow, Varga talks a stroll around the ring and gets an ovation, so that's got to count for something. Next up is a non-tournament bout between Aby Rulloda of World Team USA and Sitan's Peelo Deonarain. Deonarain starts off chasing Rulloda and walking into punches, and that behind continues into Round 2, with Rulloda feeding her the same right cross over and over again. To her credit, Deonarain never goes down, but she never stops that cross from tagging her, and when the final bell sounds Rulloda is given the unanimous decision.
UFC pioneer Guy Mezger is here, relaxing in a VIP couch. Meanwhile, the venue has filled up nicely. The first bout of evening is upon us, and it's a female pairing between Sitan's Jessica Ng and Chok Sabai's Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu. Round 1 sees Duuglas-Ittu walking forward and throwing leather at her opponent's head and Ng kicking her body like it was a banana bag. They continue battering each other in the second round, and Duuglas-Ittu times a couple right crosses that catch Ng off balance and put her on her butt. The pace barely slows in Round 3, and though Ng gets some good licks in, it isn't enough to sway the judges. Duuglas-Ittu takes the unanimous decision. Next is the first bout of the tournament, and it's Marc Deluca of Pittsburgh Muay Thai against Omar Ahmed of Sitan. From the outset it's clear these guys ascribe to the "stand and bang" school of combat, as they take positions about an inch out of each other's range and pick at any openings with an assortment of attacks. Ahmed lands more and lands harder in the first, and keeps the pressure up in the second. Sensing he's behind on the scorecards, Deluca attempts to turn Round 3 into a boxing match - but Ahmed gets the better of him there, and when time runs out the Sitan fighter is awarded the unanimous decision. Tournament bout number two and it's Vishnu Gulati of World Team USA vs. Kevin Molina of Molina MMA. Almost zero combos are thrown in the first round, but as the individual kicks go, Gulati seems to land the more effective ones. I guess in between rounds these guys ingest some TNT in their corners, as they beging exploding in Round 2, going from stationary to a blur and back to stationary. It's hard to gauge who takes Rounds 2 and 3, as both throw wildly and miss wildly, but the judges come to their inevitable conclusion, giving the unanimous decision to Gulati.
MMA Journalist is here in Flushing Chinatown for Take-On Productions' eight-man Muay Thai tournament, which, as the winner must win three times tonight, will certainly crown the baddest stand-up fighter in town. Some of the best kickboxing camps are being represented here, including Sitan Gym, 5 Points Academy, Bellmore Kickboxing and MAS Thai Boxing. Even Team Renzo has someone competing - although it's likely going to get awkward when homeboy goes for his first takedown.