Monday, June 4, 2012

ROKO Postscript

With just four fights it was an abbreviated fight card, and the live bands made me extremely glad I had earplugs, but in the end Rock Out Knock Out was a fun time.  The Convention Hall in Asbury Park - heck, even Asbury Park itself - is a completely different place than it was when Ring of Combat used to hold shows there years ago, and getting to watch some local heroes throw down in exciting fashion made ROKO worth it.  Some thoughts on the fights:
  • Ryan Vaccaro was a huge threat and nearly finished Brian Kelleher in the opening minutes of their bout when he took the Bombsquad rep's back and went for the choke.  But Kelleher is tough as nails and skilled as hell, and after he extricated himself from trouble, that's when the punishment began.  The end came quickly in Round 2, as Kelleher countered Vaccaro's level-change and shoot with a knee right to the dome.  Vaccaro was out of it, and after turtling and flopping around a bit, he convinced the ref to step in.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: Aljamain Sterling is far and away at the top of the "little guy" heap, but right below him are guys like Kelleher, who can beat the vast majority of the lighter-weight fighters out there.
  • It was Kevin Roddy's thirtieth fight and he made it memorable, forcing Noe Quintanilla to play defense as K-Rod worked him over with a submission assault from his guard.  Eventually Roddy caught him - with a triangle choke at 1:53 of Round 1 - and seeing a nice guy like K-Rod get the win and then get showered with accolades by his countless friends and fans, well, it was a cool feel-good moment.
  • Michael Robinson is practically made of stone, and his sweeps and sub attempts from his guard were frequent and real.  But damn did Ryan Peterson lay a beatdown on him.  From his relentless ground and pound to his damaging stand-up, Peterson was large and in charge, and though the Long Island-based fighter couldn't manage to put Robinson away, he definitely put his stamp on the kid.  There was no question Peterson had done enough to warrant the unanimous decision when time ran out.
  • Phillip LeGrand wanted to stand and strike, and Desmond Green wanted to wrestle him to the canvas and bushwhack him, and because Green had superior wrestling, we got to see the latter happen.  Like Robinson, LeGrand was one resilient mofo.  And like with Robinson, it wasn't enough.  Green was the clear-cut winner when it went to the judges.