Thursday, April 28, 2011

ROC 36 Brings the Whammy

Lest we forget how awesome Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat can be, the promotion goes ahead and reminds us by putting together what looks to be an amazing and epic card for their June 17 show.  Granted, the event is almost two months away and the number of fights scheduled (19) exceeds the maximum allowed by federal law and zoning ordinance, but still, if we end up with even some of the following announced match-ups… wow.

  • Pete Sell vs. Kris McCray – It’s been a while since we’ve seen “Drago” in action, but if he’s still got that same willingness to throw down as before, then he and TUF runner-up McCray are sure to have a pretty decent scrap.
  • Al Iaquinta vs. Mikhail Malyutin – M-1 refugee Malyutin has been tearing it up here in the Northeast lately – if, by “tearing it up”, you mean counter-fighting like crazy and stealing decisions.  But if anyone can save us, it’s Iaquinta, who punches big, wrestles big, and likely won’t let Malyutin off the hook for his passive (but strangely effective) game.
  • Claudio Ledesma vs. Dustin Pague – Pague KO’d Steve DeAngelis to take the ROC 135-pound belt, while Ledesma has been kicking tail and taking names like… like… someone who kicks tail and takes names a lot.  I like this bout because it can end in a variety of ways, and all of them are ugly.
  • Mervin Rodriguez vs. Jason McLean – If you give him a chance to, McLean will wrestle you and grind you to death.  Lately, Rodriguez hasn’t been allowing anyone to do that to him, so what we’ll probably get in this pairing is two guys thumping each other in new and creative ways until time runs out.
  • Munah Holland vs. Ashley Nee – It’s good for a region to have at least one badass female fighter, and since Laura D’Auguste retired a few years ago to pursue her black belt in housewifery, Holland – who decisioned Kim Couture last year – is next in line.  Both she and Nee are coming off losses, but that should just make these ladies hungry.  Very, very hungry.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CFFC 8 To Feature the Return of Jay Coleman

After four years away from competition, Jay Coleman will return at the next installment of the Cage Fury Fighting Championship in May.  Remember him?  The guy with heavy hands and an uncanny sense of timing that enabled him to knock wrestlers silly?  In his pro debut back at a Reality Fighting in 2005, he put his hands on Mike Massenzio and Massenzio forever lost the ability to juggle, and a year later Coleman KO'd Dominic Dellagatta so bad at a Ring of Combat, the accomplished wrestler never competed in MMA again.  Of course, Coleman did have a weakness for submissions, as evidenced by his losses to Dan Miller and Phillipe Nover, but when he was focused, he was a beast (just ask BJJ black belt Leo Dalla, who fell to Coleman in the New Jersey native's third pro bout).  So what can we expect from Coleman in 2011?  Hey man, how should I know?  It's just good to see a familiar - and very talented - fighter return to action.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Latest at MMAConvert, Re: Judging and Jeff Blatnick

My view from cageside at Friday's UCC - "Judging Up Close: The Jeff Blatnick Experiment" - .

Friday, April 22, 2011

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Liveblog: UCC 4 Part 5

The heavyweights are on deck again, and it's Rolles Gracie vs. Braden Bice. This one is predictably quick, as Gracie misses with a kick but reverses Bice on the ground and slaps on the head/arm choke. The tap comes at 1:05 of Round 1. Last bout and it's TUF vet Andy Main and Gold Team rep Felipe Arantes for the 145 belt. This match-up is awesome on so many levels, and all those levels involve violence and carnage. Employing his unique brand of face-punching and a decent reach advantage, Main mixes it up nicely with the Brazilian. But things go south quickly when Arantes accidentally kicks Main in the chops when the American is on all fours. The doctor waives the bout off after examining Main, rendering the bout a "no contest" at 4:38 or Round 1. And we're done.

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Liveblog: UCC 4 Part 4

AMA FC stud bantamweight Sean Santella squares up against jiu-jitsu man Sedico Honorio for the UCC belt. It becomes readily apparent early on why they're fighting a championship belt, as these guys are skilled and dangerous at all ranges - with their kicks, with their counters,and with their frenetic ground games. Santella takes Round 1, but the pendulum swings the other way in Round 2, with Honorio landing more and effectively. The final frame is all Honorio, as the fading Santella can't seem to keep up with his foe's output. The judges disagree, though, and give the split decision to Santella.

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Liveblog: UCC 4 Part 3

It's time for Pellegrino MMA stalwart Kevin Roddy and ATT's Chris Foster to do the dance. And by dance, I mean beat on each other for our perverse enjoyment. It's always a game of inches when Roddy fights - one inch one way and he's catching you in a sub. One inch another way and you're out-pointing him to get the decision. The latter is the case this time, as Foster manages to dodge an armbar and avoid Roddy's ground manhandling and rack up points one jab at a time. Foster takes the unanimous decision when time runs out. Glen Sandull of AMA FC and Mike Stewart of Bombsquad enter the cage for a heavyweight contest. The two go at it with some extended collar-tie love and dirty boxing. It's even in Round 1, but Stewart makes his presence felt in the second with repeated kicks to the leg. Things play out in almost identical fashion in the last round. That is, until Stewart's left finds Sandull's chin. The KO comes at 4:49.

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Liveblog: UCC 4 Part 2

First bout and it's Lucas Pimenta of Gold Team and Yusuf Yoldas of Eagle MMA. Despite a rocky start in his pro debut, Yoldas came into this bout having done his homework. Firing off kicks on the feet and threatening with a guillotine and a triangle, he met Pimentas aggressive takedowns and ground assault head on and kept it competitive. Pimenta began to edge ahead with his grappling in Round 2, although he screwed the pooch with an illegal knee to the face when Yoldas was down. Round 3 is a bit closer, with Yoldas going for a guillotine for about three minutes and Pimenta flurrying when on top. Pimenta takes the unanimous decision when time runs out. Next is Segio Da Silva of Team Vitor Shaolin against Aljamain Sterling of Bombsquad. From the outset Sterling establishes himself as the more dynamic of the two, striking almost at will, shrugging off takedown attempts with ease and pounding on Da Silva whenever there are openings. He even comes pretty close with a D'Arce choke, but to his credit, the BJJ fighter guts it out. Things get brutal in Round 2, though, as Sterling just mashes Da Silva with kicks and relentless violence on the ground. Round 3 is more of the same, and at the end Sterling takes the unanimous decision.

Liveblog: UCC 4 Part 1

MMA Journalist is here, freezing to death at the lovely Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, NJ, where a cage has been set up in the middle of an active hockey rink for the fourth edition of the Urban Conflict Championship. There are eight fights scheduled, although a couple fighters went out to check the cage pre-show and they lost toes to frostbite. Anyhoo, yeah, UCC. Woot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Most Amazing Thing About the UCC on Friday

Know what the most amazing thing about the Urban Conflict Championship event in Morristown, NJ on Friday is?  It's not the badass main event featuring TUF vet Andy Main vs. mean Brazilian Felipe Arantes.  Nor is it the fact that Rolles Gracie Jr., Sean Santella, Jamal Patterson, Mike Medrano and Kevin Roddy are all making the trek to North Jersey to fight.  No, the most amazing thing about this upcoming UCC show is that Scott Fairlamb - who was recently diagnosed with leukemia - is scheduled to fight.  Said Nick Lembo, "He has been medically cleared at this time for this fight by his own physician and the NJSACB doc."  Wow.  Win or lose, Fairlamb is one tough cat.  Competing with cancer... that right there is the very definition of "heart". 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

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Liveblog: CFFC Part 5

It's co-main event time, and Pellegrino MMA child prodigy Lester Caslow and Spa City BJJ sensei Eddie Fyvie enter to cage. Both men have been doing this a long time and are capable fighters everywhere, so this should be a good one. Round 1 has Fyvie scoring with a high-amplitude takedown and the two struggling to find either a sub or escape. Fyvie finds his groove in the second round, imposing his will a bit more with his jiu-jitsu and threating with a pair of guillotines and an arm-triangle. Fyvie takes Round 3 by virtue of a single takedown, and when time runs out there's no question he's earned the unanimous decision. Last bout and it's Andre Gusmao vs. Tim Williams. Gusmao was an unstoppable force with his striking in the IFL, but things didn't pan out in the UFC. Williams is an undefeated grappling machine. Who will win? Man, I ain't psychic. How should I know? Round 1 is all about Williams chasing his foe and boxing him into oblivion, while Gusmao backpedals waiting for an opening. Things even up in the second frame, as Gusmao starts landing more and snags two takedowns. Unfortunately, spilled ice on the canvas leads to Gusmao slipping face-first to the mat and Williams pounding him out. The official time of the regrettable TKO is :16 of Round 3. And I'm out.

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Liveblog: CFFC Part 4

Crowd-favorite Anthony Dagostino of SPMMA enters to face Bill Bontcue of Balance. Yikes, this one is a bloody mess from the opening seconds. First, Bontcue pegs Dagostino with a knee that opens a cut on his scalp. They wrestle for a bit, and then Dagostino slams a knee into Bontcue's nose. There is, literally, blood spilled everywhere. Round 2 sees Dagostino dish out more punishment than he takes, and Bontcue - complaining that he can't see - doesn't answer the bell for Round 3. Dave Church of Pellegrino MMA and Neil Johnson of MASE Training square off, with Church another big fan favorite. Round 1 has these two slugging, then Johnson gets Church down and batters him like a fish fillet. Round 2 is all brawl, and though Church manages to ding Johnson and send him to a knee, he gets the worst of it by far and winds up with a swelling eye that has the doctor calling it before Round 3 can begin.

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Liveblog: CFFC Part 3

Main card time and it's Mtume Goodrum of Bullpen against Andres Jeudi of Sityodtong. Round 1 is a sad, tentative kickboxing bout, with neither man willing to commit to anything other than the occasional kick and one-two. Emboldened by the Muay Thai fight he's losing, Goodrum manages a takedown and scrambles briefly into back-mount in Round 2, but there's no such action in Round 3, and time expires in unsatisfying fashion. Jeudi takes the unanimous decision. Striker Ariel Sepulveda of Next Evolution MMA and Kyle Cerminara of Balance square off next. Cerminara makes it clear from the outset he wants this one on the ground, and he's successful for the most part, punishing Sepulveda from top position. But the second Sepulveda gets to his feet again he nails his foe with a knee that knocks out Cerminara's tooth - proving that no matter what, he's still in the fight. Round 2 is all about Cerminara keeping Sepulveda down and beating on him, and Round 3 is just Cerminara lying on top. He takes the unanimous decision when time expires.

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Liveblog: CFFC Part 2

First up is Steve Perez and Rich Ostrum. I know absolutely nothing about these guys, so I shall speculate wildly. Uh, Ostrum looks to be a fantastic dancer, and based on his array of tattooes, is a big fan of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Perez once killed a man for snoring too loudly. Also, these guys are featherweights, and this is Ricardo Almeida's first bout as judge. The first round begins and Perez wastes no time getting his opponent down and pounding on him. Ostrum proves to be resilient, though, and for most of the round he's working to escape - ultimately to no avail, but he tries nonetheless. The rear naked choke by Perez comes at 4:22 of the round. Next: James Funaro of Vamos BJJ vs. Billy Dee Williams of AMA FC. This one is quick, as Funaro jumps to guard, Williams slams him, and Funaro sinks the guillotine. The official time of the tap out is 1:12 of Round 1, and Funaro punctuates his victory by screaming "Suck my dick, bitch!" at his twin brother Joe through the cage. Heh, sibling rivalry.

Liveblog: CFFC Part 1

MMA Journalist is here, baby, and he still loves you. Yeah, writing for MMA Convert has been taking a lot of my time, but you know I still love you, don't you? You know you're my one and only, don't you baby? I mean, that's why I'm here at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City for the latest installment of the Cage Fury Fighting Championship, just so I can report on it for you. UFC vet Andre Gusmao is taking on the undefeated Tim Williams, Lester Caslow is facing Eddie Fyvie, and experienced amateurs James Funaro and Billy Dee Williams are making their pro debut. And I'm here, baby, liveblogging about it because - and I mean this - I love you. So we cool? Yeah? Good, now go make me a sandwich.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Since Everyone is Talking About Press Credentials...

Yeah, so, Zuffa took over Strikeforce's media relations, and SURPRISE!  People who were formerly credentialed by the Scott Coker promotion are now suddenly getting the same cold shoulder they always get when they attempt to get a press pass for a UFC event.  Boo-freaking-hoo, right?  After all, Sherdog get's no love from Dana White but they still manage to cover shows, so what's the big deal?  Beats me.  But here's some discussion on the topic: http://bit.ly/hbxPVq, http://www.fightopinion.com/2011/04/12/loretta-hunt-cbs-sports-ufc/, and http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jeff_wagenheim/04/13/credentials/index.html.  Note Jeff Wagenheim of Sports Illustrated, taking the UFC to task and risking his own future credentialing opportunities.  You've got cojones, Jeff.  Maybe we can watch the UFC - from a sports bar - together sometime.

Friday, April 8, 2011

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