Hey, guess what? There was an installment of the Underground Combat League today in New York City, and as unsanctioned vale tudo events go, this one pretty much rocked. How much did it rock? Every fight delivered in one way or another, a ManupStandup champ fought an old school UCL veteran, and the main event - which pitted a rising superstar in Chad Hernandez (a.k.a. "Fighter X") against an ultra-experienced ex-Asylum Fight League champ in Kenny Rivera - was an absolute barnburner. Adding to the "coolness" factor was a rep from National Geographic and the production crew filming the action for what will likely be a reality TV show on the underground scene. Some thoughts on the bouts:
-With impeccable jiu-jitsu and boundless aggression, Hernandez has been completely slaying dudes since he started fighting this past year, so it was only fitting that his biggest test came in the form of Rivera, who's racked up a sizable record of wins outside of the UCL in amateur leagues in New Jersey, Florida and Virginia. This one was hotly contested from the get-go, and when Hernandez wasn't threatening his opponent whenever the fight went to the ground, Rivera was blasting (and rocking) him repeatedly on the feet. When time ran out it all came down to a split decision - which, along with a shiny new UCL 155-pound championship belt, was awarded to Rivera. It realy could have gone either way, and both men should be proud for putting forth fantastic performances.
-Old school veteran Richie Torres stepped into the ring for a kickboxing match against ManupStandup champ Will Cavali, and for three full rounds we were treated to a ton of leather being thrown nonstop with insanely bad intentions. Torres ended up doing more damage, and for his efforts, he was awarded the unanimous decision.
-Melvin the Wolf (he's actually a human, not a wolf) wasted no time getting Ty Nazaria to the canvas and raining down punches, which soon had Nazaria tapping out. It was an impressive performance by the promising young fighter.
-UCL vet Rashad Clarke returned to the ring after a long layoff and seemed to be every bit the dangerous striker he was in the past. Opponent Thiago Chaves was willing to trade with him, and got in a few decent licks, but Clarke wore him down with hard punches before dropping him with a knee to the grill. Clarke came away with the TKO in what was a very satisfying scuffle.
-Nico Agosto wasted no time capitalizing on Dennis Murray's stuffed takedown attempt by taking his back, and for almost all of the first round he had Murray in trouble. The Team Rios fighter was game, however, and wouldn't give up easily, so Agosto had to really pour it on in the final seconds to manage to get the tap with a rear naked choke.
-Ken Wilson of Team Animal came out swinging for the fences and Justin Soto willingly obliged him by trading blows. Unfortunately, a few minutes in Soto's knee buckled and that was all she wrote, with Wilson getting the TKO via injury.