Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Yeah, so, I was on a segment on Inside MMA that explored the underground fight scene in New York a bit, and though I don't have AXS TV (formerly HDNet Fights), I've been told I looked good getting interviewed. Anyhoo, Monday night was part one, and part two - which will feature footage from the last (horrifying and bloody) UCL event - airs next Monday. Check it out. And if you do watch it, please, tell me how I looked.
Monday, November 19, 2012
HDNet's Inside MMA came out to yesterday's installment of the Underground Combat League, and if they were hoping to capture some of the grittiest, nastiest, gnarliest fighting ever, they had to have been happy. There were TKOs and submissions, trash talk and bad blood, and in the main event - which took place under vale tudo rules (i.e., almost anything goes) - there were enough concussive headbutts to make former Senator John McCain's "human cockfighting" derogatory phrase seem like the understatement of the millennium. Highlights of the event included:
- The blazing battle between UCL vet Jerome Mickle and newcomer Jarro Israel. Though they seemed evenly matched at first, Mickle's fists began poking holes through Israel's defenses, until finally he dropped the rookie with a right and TKO'd him on the ground with another right.
- The no-nonsense Daniel Ramos, who handled his business with Jeet Kune Do stylist Justin Smith with a slam and choke at 21 seconds.
- The technical war between Nico Augusto and Matt Ward. Displaying a shitload of ability and heart, Ward escaped some seriously inescapable finishing holds. Eventually, though, Augusto caught him, with the end coming via rear naked choke in the second round.
- Donning his traditional gi and black belt for the marquee bout, promoter Peter Storm stepped into the ring to face veteran fighter Jonathan Rodriguez in a match-up that was colored with a ton of bad blood. Things got ugly and they got ugly quick, and they got even uglier when Storm started headbutting - a turn of events that prompted both men to exchange the taboo technique like Wall Street brokers trading stocks on the New York Stock Exchange floor. At the end of the first round Storm almost caught Rodriguez with a heelhook, but Round 2 saw things come to a violent conclusion, with Rodriguez stunning him with a headbutt and pounding him out for the TKO on the ground. Ten years of covering the UCL, and this one was clearly the nastiest bout of all time (accidental leg breaks aside).
Sunday, November 18, 2012
While y'all were taking in UFC 154 and the return of some bald Canuck named Georges St. Pierre, I was a dutiful soldier en route to an event called Elite Cage Challenge in Yonkers (Yonkers is 'hood just north of New York City limits). My expectations: amateur MMA, which in New Jersey means fighting with gloves and shinpads, and prohibitions against kicks to the head and ground and pound. Well, imagine my (pleasant) surprise when - within a cage set up in the middle of a gymnasium in a YMCA - fighters fought like pros. The lone discernible nod to their amateur status was the three-minute time limit on the rounds. Other than that, THEY WERE BANGING, BRO. Yeah, the inaugural Elite Cage Challenge rocked. And although the next one should be taking place under soon-to-be adopted New Jersey-esque amateur rules, hey, Elite Cage Challenge, at least we had last night. Highlights of the event included:
- Greg Styles of Westchester Martial Arts, who stole the show with a dominant 46-second TKO over Josh Santiago with three soul-crushing suplexes, one right after the other. It was simply amazing, and Styles' post-fight victory celebration included shouting "Who's the baddest?" and his corner responding with "Sho' nuff!" That right there redefines the phrase "full of win".
- The gutsy performance by MAK Fitness femme Carolina Lopez. Lopez got put on her butt in the opening exchange with Jess O'Brien, but she rallied back to whither O'Brien with punches at 2:40 of the first round.
- The human steamroller known as Dioego Machado of Jiu-Jitsu Concepts. It took a mere 33 seconds for him to get opponent Melton Savory down and put him away with punches from the mount. Good stuff. Very good stuff.
- The war between Dungeon Fight Club rep Cody Hogan and Juliano Zanetti of MAK Fitness. They battled into the third round, and after landing everything from knees to punches to a spinning backfist, Hogan was able to TKO Zanetti on the ground at 2:00 of Round 3.
Monday, November 12, 2012
TakeOn returned to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, and with the kickboxing promotion came a 13-bout event, 2,862 screaming fans,and all sorts of Muay Thai goodness. With the Northeast's recent weather troubles forcing the postponement of CFFC and ROC's shows in New Jersey, a healthy dose of combat sports was just what the doctor ordered - and just what Muay Thai at the Mecca II provided. Highlights of the night included:
- The war of attrition between Westchester MMA's Sean Fagan and Mushin MMA's Joey Hernandez. Hernandez was rock solid early on, but Fagan wore him down, and when the fifth round rolled around he ended Hernandez's campaign for the 145-pound title with a dominant TKO.
- Team Renzo's Elijah Clarke, who employed a monstrous reach and a world of confidence to cruise to a unanimous decision over Team Kamikaze's Angel Flores.
- The unwavering onslaught of Team Renzo's Steve Hernandez. Challenging champ Ariel Abreu of Camp Undefeated for the belt, Hernandez resisted being drawn into a brawl - which is Abreu's bread and butter. Instead, he remained calm and crisp, and took the clear-cut decision when time expired.
- Sitan stud Jay Matias, who ran right through Janjira Muay Thai's Cody Moberly like Moberly wasn't even there, and ended it all with a KO via flying knee.
- If a slobberknocker can be considered technical, then that's what Italy's Angelo Campoli and Sitan's Eddie Martinez had. For five rounds the two went back and forth, and though Martinez racked up the points to garner the unanimous decision, Campoli sure as hell didn't make it easy for him.
- Tarek Rached's quick and sudden finish over UFC vet Ryan Madigan. The Sitan rep seemed unfazed by Madigan's star status, and wasted no time nailing him with a kick that took out Madigan's knee right at the bell at the end of the first. Good stuff.
There was another installment of Manup Standup on Saturday, and the event - which blends raw and unsanctioned combat with some heavy kung fu/Wu-Tang Clan flavor - had no shortage of up-close and personal violence. New York's recent weather woes seemed to have thinned out the audience, but everyone who stepped up to fight was game, so it was definitely worthwhile. Highlights of the event included:
- Jerry from Utah, who repped some form of kung fu but ultimately was all about wrestling and slams. He took out Paul the ninja (seriously, a ninja) in his first fight, then went on to take the decision over Wendell the Humble Buddha later.
- The scrap between Yahuda and the White Taoist. Sporting full robes while he fought, Yahuda seemed to meet every fistic challenge the White Taoist put before him with skill and determination, and after a significant amount of groundfighting, the White Taoist fell in the second round.
- MUSU champ DJ (real name: Darrell Johnson), who faced Mike from Harlem in a rematch and beat him more convincingly this time around thanks to a tap out via guillotine. Thus far, every time I've seen DJ fight he's won, so I asked him afterwards when he plans on trying out MMA competition. His answer: the next UCL. Oh hells yeah.
Friday, November 9, 2012
This just in from the Department of "Dang!": The fourth annual MMA World Expo that was slated to take place at the Javits Center the first weekend of December has been rescheduled for February 16 and 17. Blame the hurricane, blame the Fates, blame whoever you want - the sad truth is that this move postpones the amateur MMA tournaments that were supposed to go down. And that bums me out.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Yeah, so, hurricane, clobbered New York and especially New Jersey. My Internet was down for a week, while many other lost their homes and worldly possessions and whatnot. Not that my situation even compares, but it definitely sucked all around (and still does for most). Anyway, here's some ripple-effect from the storm:
- The Cage Fury Fighting Championships event that was supposed to take place at the Borgata in Atlantic City on Saturday, November 3, was moved to November 24. In theory. We'll see how much Atlantic City recovers between now and then.
- The Ring of Combat scheduled for November 16 in Atlantic City has been moved to January. The amateur MMA show Lou Neglia was going to do in Rahway on November 17 has been rescheduled for December 8.
- UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman lost his home on Long Island.
- The Aggressive Combat Championships show that was slated for November 3 on Long Island was postponed to December 1.
- Veteran kickboxer Chris Romulo's Muay Thai gym in the Rockaways did not fare well in the storm. It needs to be rebuilt.