Saturday, October 23, 2010
TSMMA boxing ace Munah Holland is up next, making her MMA debut against Kim Couture, formerly of the Las Vegas Coutures. Round 1 is spent with Holland pressing Couture against the fence, bloodying her with a short punch but not really dominating. They exchange a bit more in Round 2 when both grow more comfortable and confident, and Round 3 turns into a real slugfest - that is, until Couture fails a throw, which allows Holland to get on top and plaster her. Holland takes the unanimous decision when time runs out. Last bout and it's John Cholish of Team Renzo vs. Rich Moskowitz of Wai Kru for the ROC 155-pound belt (yes, the belt actually weighs 155 pounds). These guys are pretty evenly matched, as evidenced by each taking a turn on top in Round 1 to work their ground-and-pound mojo. Despite having to scramble out of some close guillotines, Cholish manages to edge ahead in Round 2 when he gets on top and let's loose with some fury. Cholish and Moskowitz let it all hang out in the home stretch, and after knocking each other silly, Cholish locks in the reverse-triangle at 3:05 of the round. Adios!
Marc Berrocal of BJJ Shore Academy and Rob Connor of MMA Institute are up next, Berrocal a pretty salty veteran and finalist when ROC did an eight-man tournament eons ago. Unfortunately, this night belongs to the young buck, as Connor shoulder-throws Berrocal to the canvas, gets on top, and when Berrocal gives up his back Connor sinks in the rear naked choke. The official time of the tap out is 2:10 of Round 1. Now it's time for Team Serra/Longo star precision striker Costa Philippou to take on Marcus Finch. Round 1 is a lot of wall-and-stall, with the only notable exchange ending with Finch land a hook that puts Philippou on his butt. Philippou can seem to stop kicking Finch in the junk, however, and when he does it in Round 2 Finch literally needs a break and a doctor consultation before he says he can't continue. It's ruled a no contest at 2:47 of Round 2.
Brendan Barrett and Randy Smith are up in a heavyweight match-up that has no shortage of bad blood attached to it. Mindful of Smith's size and reach advantage, Barrett takes his opponent down about a minute in and batters him without mercy. Smith survives the round, though, and he's able to keep it on the feet and put his hands on Barrett much more throughout the second frame. It's just a complete dogfight in the third round - each blasting the other until they're too exhausted to care. When time runs out the judges call it a draw, and it's hard to disagree with that. Josh Key and Russian Erik Oganov (of Alpha Omega MMA) take to the cage for a welterweight bout. Well, this one is a letdown. The two go at it hard for about a minute, and when Key is turtled Oganov lands an unintentional hammerfist to the back of his head. He can't continue, and at 1:01 of Round 1 the bout is declared a no contest.
Liam Kerrigan of Tong Dragon returns after a hard loss to Ed Guedes, and his foe is Evan Chmielski of Xtreme MMA. Kerrigan is like a runaway locomotive for this one, meeting Chmielski head on in an attempt to wrestle him to the ground. Though he winds up on bottom, the Tong Dragon rep slips on the omoplata, and when Chmielski defly work out of it, Kerrigan has the triangle locked tight. Chmielski goes to sleep at 1:51 of the first round. TSMMA's Mike Murray enters the cage to take on North Jersey MMA's Claudio Ledesma. Murray winds up on the bottom early, and though Ledesma lands some hard punches from above, the TSMMA bantamweight comes insanely close with a deep armbar and deep triangle. But Ledesma wisely stays out of submission range in Round 2, choosing instead to stand within Murray's guard and drop leather. Round 3 plays out in similar fashion, and though Murray manages to snake out onto Ledesma's back in the dying seconds of the fight, the North Jersey MMA rep escapes and takes the unanimous decision. AMA FC's Tim Troxell and MMA Institute's George Sheppard are now squaring off for a lightweight contest. These guys are content to strike and it's pretty even for about the first two and a half minutes. But Sheppard lands a right cross that stuns Troxell, and the ensuing follow up of fists has the ref stepping in at 2:33 or Round 1.
First up at bat is TSMMA rep Melissa Bopp, who's making her MMA debut against Ashley Nee of Top Notch. Is she top notch? Or is Bopp going to bop her and she goes down? People, these jokes practically write themselves. Round 1 is mostly a Muay Thai battle as the two clinch and trade knees. But Bopp edges ahead with a lateral drop and some ground and pound. Round 2 is a carbon copy of the first, and it becomes evident that Bopp's biggest advantage is her takedowns and ability to punish from above. She continues with the ground assault in the third and easily cruises to a unanimous decision win. Next up is Chris Connor of MMA Institute vs. Giedrius Karavackas of LINK. When last we Karavackas he was getting laid out by red-hot prospect Chris Wing, but he's since won the Bellator tryouts, so we'll see if his momentum is truly angling towards the "win" zone. Round 1 is all about Karavackas throwing a kick and slipping and Connor seizing the opportunity to get on top. Time runs out with the two more or less stalemated on the ground. Karavackas makes no such mistake in the second though, and after some furious scrambling Karavackas gets on top and completely brutalizes Connor's ribs with punches and elbows. To his credit, Connor comes out swinging in Round 3, but it's the Karavackas Show, and the Lithuanian throws him to the canvas, beats on him, and secures an armbar with his legs at 2:46 of the round. A very dominant win.
MMA Journalist is here at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City for ROC 32 - a bastion of legitimate martial competition in a sea of kung fu, body building and what I think is a tanning contest. That's right, folks, there's some sort of expo going on here, so for every skilled true believer in the MMA way strolling by, there's about six lunatics who think their chi or a well-timed flex of their glutes will stop a takedown. In short, it's marvelous. Anyway, hold tight for 11 MMA bouts featuring the likes of John Cholish, Tim Troxell, Munah Holland and Melissa Bopp (and then maybe a post-show brawl where 22 MMA fighters kill a thousand kung fu dudes).