January 24, 2007
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Ultimate Fight Night 8 Preview:
Evans Takes on Salmon to Headline Event
By Dustin Lee DePue
Ultimate Fight Night returns this Thursday with its eighth installment on Spike TV, a card that will be broadcast live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida. Part of a cavalcade of UFC programming set to run throughout the evening, UFN 8 features undefeated light-heavyweight Rashad Evans, an exciting lightweight match-up between Hermes Franca and Spencer Fischer, a middleweight match-up between top contenders Nathan Marquardt and Dean Lister and, of course, the UFC debut of Heath "The Texas Crazy Horse" Herring.
In the main event, Rashad Evans puts his undefeated record on the line against Wisconsin fighter Sean Salmon. Evans, the winner of TUF season two, is coming off a knockout victory over the tough Jason Lambert. He continues moving forward in his "Sherman’s March to the Belt" getting ever closer to Chuck Liddell and his light-heavyweight title. While a victory over a UFC newcomer may not bring him much closer, it does offer Evans the chance to further prove his knockout power and win over those remaining fans who still see him as a one-trick, decision-addled bore.
For Salmon, a chance to take out a big name fighter in his UFC debut should give him all the motivation necessary to come fully prepared. If the fight ends up on the mat, which it most likely will at some point, Salmon will no doubt be looking for his bread and butter submission, the key lock, which he has used to finish in four of his six submission victories.
While hardcore MMA fans are still wiping the drool from their chins in anticipation of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic’s first UFC appearance, UFN 8 marks the debut of another Pride veteran in Heath "The Texas Crazy horse" Herring. Fighting on American soil for the first time in seven years, Herring is a credible and exciting addition to the UFC’s long-ailing heavyweight division. New fans of the sport may not recognize the name or the inevitable crazy hair-style, but expect a lot of new "Texas Crazy Horse" fans by nights end.
His opponent, Jake O’Brien, is undefeated in his relatively short MMA career, with two victories in the UFC against Kristof Midoux and Josh Shockman who have a combined record of six wins and seven losses.
For O’Brien, Herring represents a mountain of experience he’ll have to overcome. Forged in the hellish pits of Fedor’s mauling ground and pound; Cro Cop’s deadly left high kick (and liver kick); and Nogueira’s submission prowess, Herring has been in there with the best and beaten the rest. With convincing victories over Tom Erikson, Mark Kerr and Igor Vovchanchyn, Herring has all the tools to become a huge success here in the States. Look for him to come out throwing those big tree-trunk leg kicks of his and lord help O’Brien if Herring gets a chance to use those new toys (think left and right elbows).
Hermes Franca versus Spencer Fischer has the potential to be the most exciting fight on the card. For one, you’ve got two fighters with a ton of experience who both know how to end a fight at a moments notice. Fischer has a ridiculous eighteen of nineteen victories ending before the final bell. He’s bounced back from a tough split decision loss to Sam Stout with two TKO victories at UFC 60 and 64. He’s hungry, well-rounded and composed, and meeting one of the toughest lightweights in the UFC.
Somewhere amidst the legal mumbo-jumbo of the UFC’s contract with Hermes Franca there must be a clause that states, "Thou shalt not participate in a boring match lest ye be stricken with fever blisters and debilitating jungle rot." How else can you explain all of his great battles? Whatever the reason, Franca will no doubt be ready to dazzle fans (and the "King" Fisher if he’s not careful) with his multifaceted submission attack and tremendous heart.
The swing bout offers up an intriguing and important match-up between middleweight contenders Nathan Marquardt and Dean Lister. Marquardt, the former King of Pancrase, is 3-0 in the UFC and has shown a solid all-around game anchored by his strength and ability to control the pace of a fight.
Lister is an Abu-Dhabi champion who brings with him a very advanced submission game to the UFC’s middleweight division. 2-0 in the UFC, Lister looks to do what Ivan Salaverry and Joe Doerkson couldn’t: overcome Marquardt’s smothering ground control and finish with the submission. A win for either fighter would put him in prime position for a title shot at some point in the near future.
Main Card Bouts
Main card airs live on Spike TV on Thursday, January 25 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (ET/PT)
Bocek Defeats Mahlow at King of the Cage-Freedom Fight
One of Canada’s leading Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, Mark Bocek, defeated John Mahlow this past weekend at Saturday night’s, King of the Cage-Freedom Fight event, which was held in Gatineau, Quebec. Bocek submitted Mahlow at 4:09 of the first round with an arm-bar, dropping the veteran’s record to 7-7. The win for the lightweight fighter and 2006 ADCC North American Trials Champion Bocek, extends his MMA record to 3-0.
"John Mahlow is a tough opponent," says Bocek in recalling his latest victory. "I have a lot of respect for him and I never overlooked him. I noticed that he was more of a wrestler, BJJ guy who didn’t mind mixing it up with strikes, so my game plan was to get it to the ground, once I was there I used some ground and pound, eventually got his back and applied a triangle, armlock. It was a fast paced first round. This has been my toughest MMA test so far, John is a seasoned veteran. However I’m always looking for ways to improve my game and I’m awaiting the next challenge, nothing signed yet, but now more people will know who I’ am and know what to expect from me."
The win for Bocek is another victory for him against reputable opposition, as the BJJ instructor also submitted Kevin Manderson in the first round at last October’s Apex "Night of Champions" event. Bocek, who has been training in BJJ now for over a decade, has also been cross-training in striking and wrestling now for quite some time, to prepare himself for his still relatively new MMA career.
"I have cross trained in all the other arts for the last 6 years," says Bocek. "I train wrestling with members of the Canadian National team, boxing with a former Olympic coach and Muay Thai with guys that have fought in Thailand. I always try to stay as well rounded as possible and I always keep an open mind with no ego. I want to fight as much as possible and remain active. I have Abu-Dhabi in May but I would like to have one more MMA fight before that and as soon as Abu-Dhabi is over, right back to MMA. That is the reason I originally got into BJJ for and that is what BJJ was initially designed for, fighting not sport."
Saturday’s event was the first card co-promoted by King of the Cage Canada and Freedom Fight, and Bocek is looking forward to competing again for the two organizations.
"King of the Cage, Freedom Fight was a very well run and professional event that I was glad to be a part of," Bocek tells FCF. "This was their first show in Quebec so that is a big step forward for them. I have always wanted to fight in KOTC and I’m looking forward to the next one. Also the exposure on TSN is good too. I would like to thank everyone who helped me get ready for this fight."
Also that evening, KOTC Canada’s Lightheavyweight Champion Travis Galbraith, successfully defended his title against Craig "Farmer" Brown, stopping the Ontario fighter at 22 seconds of round two. The win for Galbraith pushes the champion’s record to 11-4, while Brown’s drops to 3-1. In other action from KOTC, Freedom Fight, TJ Grant submitted Nicholas Portieous with a first round arm bar, Chester Post tapped out Markhaile Wedderburn at 4:18 of round two with a guillotine choke, and Brett Portieous got the first round TKO win over Jean-Marc Lalonde. All in all, KOTC Canada promoter Ken Kupsch was very happy with the event, the company’s first venture into Eastern Canada.
"Brett Portieous versus Jean-Marc Lalonde was the most exciting fight of the night," says Kupsch when asked to give his personal highlight of the evening. "These guys exchanged shot after shot and kept standing. Unbelievable! Pete Rodley (Freedom Fight promoter) really did an awesome job of putting this all together and I think you’ll see another KOTC in the east very soon. We had 1,800 fans which sold out the area. We would like to book a bigger one next time as I hate to see people turned away. The fans were really into the fighting and seemed to know exactly what the fighters were doing at all times."
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