Fighting For A Memory:stiebling, Sims, Olson Victoriousin Bennett Charity Event
Fighting for a Memory:
Stiebling, Sims, Olson Victorious
in Bennett Charity Event
Report by Loretta Hunt – Photography by Daisy Rosas
LEMOORE, Calif., July 28 — Whether the fights be good or bad, MMA events are almost always a whirlwind of commotion and deafening sound. Tonight, the mood was somber, a usually hyper central Californian crowd tamed and polite in reflection. As Tonya Bennett cried softly to a video tribute of her late husband Ryan, a healthy crowd around 3,000 spectators sat silently, their attendance a tribute to the commentator and announcer who once graced a cageside seat of the WEC cage.
Taken from the MMA community much earlier than it ever would have liked, Ryan Bennett passed away in May from a fatal car crash in his home state of Utah. With wife Tonya and his four children in the car with Bennett at the time, WEC promoters Reed Harris and Scott Adams were one of the first to respond to the family’s needs.
All proceeds from WEC 22’s "The Hitman" would go to the Bennett family and many of tonight’s staff volunteered their services to keep production costs down. 22 fighters — most of them local newcomers hungry for the experience and exposure – answered the call for a one hundred dollar payday. The WEC requested the results be for exhibition only.
The most seasoned of the card, a polished and well-conditioned Alex Stiebling utilized excellent footwork and crisp left jabs to get the better of Midwesterner Jason Guida in the earlier moments of what would become a rambling 15-minute affair. When Stiebling upgraded to combos, Guida decided to shoot on the former PRIDE fighter, pressing him against the cage. Stiebling held his ground, eventually breaking away to reset in the center for some more trading.
A tiring Guida’s hunt for the takedown continued into round two, where he finally succeeded in getting the Utah fighter down. Stiebling turned his attention to an appendage, but it was only a ruse to get to his knees and back up to his feet. Guida struggled to connect as Stiebling floated at a distance, often eating a combination off his single-punch attempts.
In the final set, Stiebling’s left jab returned, Guida’s brown locks matting with blood against his puffy face. Desperate, Guida threw off a flying knee and Stiebling scooped him up and crashed the Gilbert Grappling fighter to the mat. His knee on Guida’s belly, Stiebling turned his back to go for a leglock, now mounted in North-South position. Guida grabbed a foot and began to torque, resorting to an ill-received "wedgie" attempt when the submission didn’t take. Stiebling deservedly earned the unanimous decision.
For the gesture of gestures, the usually villainous Wes Sims took on the role of hero for the crowds. Choosing to turn down a $30,000 paycheck from a last-minute offer to meet Bas Rutten in the WFA last Saturday, Sims instead kept a commitment to lend his talents to the fundraiser. He was rewarded with a short, but sweet victory that started a missed Karate Kid sidekick that sent him to his back. Opponent Joel Surprenant followed into Sims’ guard and the triangle, which ended the festivities a mere 28 seconds in.
The Pit’s Glover Teixeira was all business against overwhelmed adversary Jack Morrison. The Bullet NHB Fight Team rep couldn’t stop the takedown, nor the punches "The Brazilian Pit Bull" rained down from half guard. With the referee too slow to respond, Morrison tapped himself out.
Lightweight Casey Olson, also from The Pit, was billed the headliner for the evening. A Fresno State wrestling star, Olson’s impulsive and frenetic style is quickly molding him into a favorite in the area. Taking down opponent Alvan Cacdus easily, Olson pinned him into the cage’s corner and unloaded a ground-and-pound onslaught Cacdus could not answer. The referee stoppage followed.
Quelling a local rivalry, Lemoore’s own Poppies "The Tachi Kid" Martinez nailed a gorgeous trip on Visalia’s Troy Miller, then tossed him down again with a suplex when Miller rose to his feet. Taking Miller’s back, Martinez isolated an arm for the speedy under-a-minute tap out. Flanked by Capital City Fighting Alliance’s Urijah Faber (who he trained with for two months in Sacramento), Martinez showed signs that he’s taking his MMA career much more seriously these days.
To opponent Mario Rivera’s credit, it took Yakima Freestyle Fighting rep JJ Mix a few minutes to finally unveil his solid right high kick. The wrestler in Rivera kept Mix pinned down for much of the first round, but when the pair was stood for inactivity, Mix unloaded a barrage of punches and knees that had Rivera on the run. Wearing Rivera down with a slew of high kicks in rounds one and two, Mix brought the bout to a grinding halt with a rear-naked choke finale 3:47 into the third round.
Nor Cal Fight Factory’s Drew Dimanlig got a challenge in Oregon veteran JT Taylor, who always seemed a step ahead of the newcomer. Dimanlig scored the takedown, but couldn’t keep his hold as Taylor rolled free and spun into an armbar attempt. Dimanlig escaped to his feet from Taylor’s subsequent heelhook attempt and Taylor began to score with upkicks from his back as Dimanlig struggled to figure out his next move. Moving into Taylor’s guard, Dimanlig fell into the triangle choke, which Taylor modified to an armbar for the tap out.
What started as an even match-up quickly wilted when wrestler Joel Thomas lost his steam in the second round against Pacific Martial Art’s Pat Murphy. Murphy’s outside kicks coaxed Thomas to shoot in repeatedly, and when Thomas’ stamina failed him, his takedowns became his sole offensive weapon. Unable to complete his submission attempts on the mats though, Murphy had to settle for the unanimous decision.
Bantamweight Kale Bradford fought a race against time as Trevor Harris unloaded a solid right in their initial clash, ripping a sizable gash under his right eye that drew blood immediately. Bradford bullrushed for the takedown and the pair waged some feverish scrambles for control on the canvas. A calm and collected Harris prevailed with a rear-naked choke 2:19 in.
Fighting the heat more than others who came later in the card, lightweights Mike Joy and Robert Densley opened the show with a valiant effort. Joy secured the early trip takedown, quickly unleashing his "jump for joy," a Kazuki Sakuraba-inspired leaping punch into Densley’s guard. Though it didn’t connect, the crowd was appreciative, and Joy fed off it. Spinning into a Kimura attempt from his back, Joy then transitioned to the first of numerous armbar attempts from guard. From the look of Joy’s bruising face, Densley did his job in mounting his own offensive from top. Joy persisted though, landing the fight-ending armbar with just two seconds left on the clock.
The numbers didn’t lie for 0-0 Jeff Terry and 4-2 WEC staple Doug Marshall. NHB Bullet vet Terry speedily found his back touching his mat with Marshall resting on his chest in mount from a failed standing guillotine. After a few connecting elbows and fists from "the Rhino," referee Nelson Hamilton stepped in to end the mauling 1:50 in.
WEC 22 "The Hitman" Results