Saturday, February 12, 2011
Ready for a KO? Then hold onto your hats, 'cause here come Sergei Kharitonov and Andrei Arlovski, ready to die for you. Things go as you'd imagine: the two heavyweights slug it out, and though the ex-UFC champ has got some strong movement, Kharitonov just walks him down and blasts him. Arlovski ends up in a crumpled heap, unconscious at 2:49 of Round 1. Last bout and it's the one everyone's been waiting for, with the Last Emperor squaring off against Bigfoot. At Fedor's entrance, the crowd goes wild. The opening round sees the Russian throw a serious amount of leather at the Brazilian - and the Brazilian give it back in kind. The advantage goes to Fedor by virtue of the damage he delivers when on top. Round 2, however, is a complete reversal of fortune, as Bigfoot immediately gets his foe down and beats on him mercilessly. Fedor survives, but his eye is a swollen mess, and the doctors waive off the bout before the third round can begin. And that all, folks.
Chad Griggs and Gian Villante make their way to the cage, and of course the local star gets a nice, loud pop from the crowd. Yikes, these two engage in a complete slugfest, each rocking the other with a wealth of punches, kicks and knees. Griggs ends up getting the better of it, though, and sends Villante to the canvas for the TKO win at 2:49 of Round 1. Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson are up, and they too engage in a pretty decent scrap. It's pretty even on the feet - both men rocking the other - but the tide shifts dramatically when Del Rosario takes Johnson down and gets on top. First punches from the mount, then a smooth transition into an armbar, and Johnson taps at 4:31 of Round 1.
Last prelim bout and it's John Cholish vs. Marc Stevens. Cholish comes out like a runaway freight train in Round 1, tossing Stevens around, kicking him in the face, and pounding on him on the ground. Stevens has even less success in the second round, absorbing more kicks and falling to a sweet rolling kneebar at 3:57 of the frame. Main card time, and the first pairing is Valentijn Overeem taking on Ray Sefo. I interviewed Overeem back when he was facing Aaron Brink in the WFA (circa 2002 or so), and he was more into doing pro wrestling than mixed martial arts. Let's see if he's since changed his mind. And... it looks like he gives a crap. Although he stands with Sefo and trades a bit, it doesn't take long for the Dutchman to realize his fortune will be found on the mat. So he takes the K-1 vet down and slips on a neck crank from side-control. Sefo taps at 1:37 of Round 1.
Don Carlo-Clauss and Sam Oropeza enter the cage for their prelim match-up. Oropeza brings a rock-solid submission game and deadly head-kicks to the table, while Carlo-Clauss brings an excessive amount of hair on his head and chin - which translates into a first round of Oropeza repeatedly throwing high-kicks and eventually catching Carlo-Clauss with one. The ensuing storm of strikes on the ground has Carlo-Clauss verbally submitting at 4:10 of Round 1. Now it's time for Igor Gracie and John Salgado to do their thang. The opening round has Gracie affixing himself to Salgado's back like a barnacle, and Salgado gamely avoiding the rear naked choke for the duration. Gracie eases into the driver's seat once more in Round 2, this time staying in top and methodically working his way into a head/arm choke. Salgado goes to sleep at 3:04 of the second round.
MMA Journalist is here at the IZOD Center in New Jersey for Strikeforce's "Fedor vs. Silva" extravaganza, which will feature two bouts from the eagerly-anticipated heavyweight tournament. Right now the first preliminary fight is underway, with Pellegrino MMA rep Kevin Roddy mixing it up with Jay McLean. Round 1 is just about all stand-up, each feeling the other out with single kicks and punches, and each scoring a takedown. McLean takes it up a notch in the second round, though, catching K-Rod with a flurry that briefly has the taller, lankier fighter on Queer Street. Roddy, resilient as ever, survives, and comes out in Round 3 to take McLean down and tie him in knots. Time expires with McLean on top but inches away from falling prey to an armbar. The split decision goes to McLean when time runs out - a robbery if there ever was one. Next up: Anthony Leone vs. Josh LaBerge. LaBerge spends the first part of Round 1 blasting his opponent in the chops and getting him nice and bloody. Leone finally gets him down in the latter half of the frame and pounds on him. But the damage is done, and the in between rounds the doctor takes one look at Leone's mug and says "no mas".