Friday, April 8, 2011
With a ROC lightweight belt up for grabs, Tong Dragon's Liam Kerrigan and Pellegrino MMA's Justin Haskins square off. This one is all about Haskins' superior wrestling, which he uses to get Kerrigan down against the fence and rain down punches. He gets the TKO - and the belt - at 3:52 of Round 1. Next is a superfight between Ricardo Almeida student Chris Liguori and M-1 exponent Mikhail Malyutin. Rounds 1 and 2 are a boxing match, with both men content to chip away at each other and the Russian wobbling the American twice. Liguori adds some effective kicking into the mix in the third, but when time runs out Malyutin takes the split decision. Last bout and it's Gold Metal Grappling's Elijah Harshbarger and Pellegrino MMA's George Sullivan for the welterweight belt. Round 1 sees Harshbarger on Sullivan like white on rice, albeit a very aggression white on a dangerous grain of rice. Wrestlemania Harshbarger continues in Round 2, and in the final frame he affixes himself to Sullivan's back and stays there until the bell. Credit to Sullivan for surviving, but it's Unanimous Decision City, population Harshbarger. The end.
Xtreme MMA/ATT rep Evan Chmielski and BJJ Shore Academy fighter Ryan Vaccaro are up next. Hey, you want a nice, fast-paced fight? Chmielski and Vaccaro got you covered, as they mix it up in high-gear in what proves to be a pretty even pairing. The boxing advantage goes to Chmielski and the wrestling advantage goes to Vaccaro, but they capable at both, so Round 1 is tough to score. But Round 2 is made easy once Chmielski figures out Vaccaro's timing with his takedowns, as the Xtreme MMA rep blasts him with a knee right at the level-change. Vaccaro winds up stunned, and the ensuing leather lovin' has the ref stepping in at 3:35 of frame. Next: TSMMA middleweight monster Uriah Hall vs. Crazy 88 Muay Thai instructor Aung La Nsang. So what did Hall learn from his bout against Costa Phillipou? That his ground and pound is potent, apparently, 'cause he wastes no time using it to beat the stuffing out of his opponent in the first round. The second frame is a bit more competitive, with Nsang neutralizing things on the ground and the two trading kicks on the feet. But it's all over at 1:44 of the third, as Hall puts a well-timed right hand to Nsang's chin to score the knockout.
The big boys are on deck, and it's Team Endgame's JA Dudley vs. Wilkie Warrior Joe Abouata. After seeing these two fight about eleventy-billion times, you kind of know what to expect. For Dudley, it's takedowns and ground-and-pound. For Abouata, it's weathering the storm and laying on the punishment late. Well, that's what we got this time, with the Team Endgame heavyweight putting out two rounds of punishment early and Abouata laying down the law in the final frame. Dudley takes the unanimous decision, but he's a bloody mess. Ricardo Almeida-trained Tom DeBlass takes to the cage to face Sean Salmon. DeBlass has been on fire lately, so this should be a good test. Yikes, this one's over in 57 seconds, with Salmon getting the takedown and DeBlass slapping on the figure-four toehold. Damn good showing.
Main card time, and first at bat is Bellmore Kickboxing's Tom English vs. Rhino Fight Team's Mike Prokop (who will herein be referred to as "Porkchop", as that what his fans call him. Why? Because when he bleeds, he bleeds applesauce.) Round 1 sees English get the takedown and get stifled in Porkchop's guard, while Porkchop returns the favor with a pair of takedowns and some top game of his own. Porkchop makes the most of the final round, though, working hard to get his foe down and nearly nailing the rear naked choke when time expires. He takes the unanimous decision. Mike LaDuke of Empire Martial Arts - total old schooler who used compete at Brian Cimins' Sportfighting back in the day - returns to face a very promising up-and-comer in Gracie Denville's Claudio Ledesma. Round 1 is so back-and-forth, the judge sitting next to me has tears in his eyes. Thankfully, Ledesma makes it easier in the second round, finding his groove with repeated takedowns and a rear naked choke of doom at 3:17. Admittedly, this was a tough comeback fight for LaDuke, so props to both men.
First bout of the evening and it's Anthony Facchini of Team Oliveira against Bellmore Kickboxing's Mike Benoit. After a brief hugging period against the cage, the Bellmore Kickboxing rep starts flexing his wrestling muscle with some double-leg love and a knuckle shower. But when Benoit goes for his second takedown he leaves his neck exposed - a fatal mistake that Facchini seizes upon. That tapout via guillotine comes at 3:04 of Round 1. Next up is Brian Smiley of Wreck Room and Donnie DeFilippis of BJJ Shore Academy. DeFilippis has apparently been studying his "Gracie in Action" tapes, as he does a textbook takedown-to-side control-to-back control-to-rear naked choke. Smiley taps at 1:52 of Round 1.
MMA Journalist is here at the Tropicana in Atlantic City for Ring of Combat's 35th installment, which promises to provide 11 essential vitamins and minerals and enough wholesome goodness to kill a yak. UFC vet Chris Liguori is slated to clash with M-1 vet Mikhail Malyutin, Tom DeBlass is set to crush UFC vet Sean Salmon, and Uriah Hall returns to face Aung La Nsang. It should be a solid night of fights, and fun for the entire family - even your dog and goldfish.