Abbott Ko Tops Packed Card At Strikeforce 3
Abbott KO Tops Packed Card at Strikeforce 3
Report by Keith Mills – Photography by Daisy Rosas
(October 7th, Fresno, California) You know we have reached a pinnacle in the sport when people complain a card is ravaged and "only" six UFC vets remain on the card. That is what happened at Strikeforce 3 in Fresno Saturday night when due to "Cabbage" Correira and Bobby Southworth falling off the card it was "left" with two fights of UFC vets facing each other and two more UFC vets facing experienced or top team trained up-and-comers. Overall this was a stellar card with top-notch production values witnessed by a disappointing turnout.
Ever since their inception Strikeforce has walked the line between UFC feeder show and direct competition with most people considering Strikeforce the number 1 feeder show. Most fans probably remember for their first show, which was also the first sanctioned MMA event in California, Strikeforce drew a crowd of 18,265 at thw HP Pavilion in San Jose. This third Strikeforce was held at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, about two-and-a-half hours inland from their San Jose roots between the markets established by WEC to the south and Gladiator Challenge to the north. Maybe it was a result of the distance from San Jose and San Francisco and maybe it was competition with WEC keeping bigger draw local fighters off the card but the estimated 15,400 seat hall was only about half full by the time headliners Tank Abbott and Paul Buentello took to the cage. Production levels were roughly at the level of KOTC pay-per-views from their heyday three years ago with nothing to even nitpick about. All that is nice but what really matters is the fight card and Strikeforce definitely delivered.
The headline fight between UFC vets Paul Buentello and Tank Abbott was entertaining but held no surprises. Both fighters came out on fire with Tank forcing Buentello against the cage where he unloaded just about all his energy in a flurry of punches. Tank’s problem was once they broke apart Tank’s tank appeared empty while Buentello was warming up. Tank has never been known to keep his hands up protecting his face and this fight he did the same mistake, catching a straight right that dropped him to the canvas. Paul followed up with one more right and one knee to the prone Abbott before the referee pulled him off and declared a KO win for Buentello.
Ludwig/Thomson was the real news of the card with both fighters being considered in the top of the Lightweight division before the UFC initially dropped that class. Pre-fight hype said Ludwig was working on his ground with Jeremy Horn and he even had Team Quest’s Ryan Schultz in his corner while Thomson’s heart was in question considering this fight was one week after the death of his father. Ludwig’s ground definitely showed improvement but Thomson proved unstoppable with his takedowns and control, getting the guillotine choke near the end of round 2 after a dominating performance.
The final two UFC vets persevered over tough competition as Trevor Prangley defeated experienced regional fighter Anthony Ruiz and TUF vet Jason Von Flue took on AKA’s Eric Wray. Prangley himself seemed disappointed the referee stopped his fight when Prangley had a not-quite secured armbar with eighteen seconds left in the round, a move immediately booed by the crowd to the point Trevor’s post-fight in the cage was drowned out. There was no such controversy with Von Flue’s fight as Eric Wray tapped to the submission but the AKA up-and-comer deserves credit for stepping up and taking Von Flue into the second round.
The obvious angle for the card as a whole would be AKA’s successes but a pleasantly surprising angle was the amount of Lightweights as four of the seven fights on the main card were at Lightweight while two were Heavyweight and one Welterweight. The next Strikeforce takes place December 8th with the return on Cung Lee and Gilbert Melendez. Look for full details on all of this in an upcoming issue of Full Contact Fighter.
X-1 Battlegrounds 5: Xtreme Fighting
Report by Chris Onzuka – Photos by Aaron Meyer
(October 6th, Honolulu, Hawaii) X-1 returned with a card filled with MMA veterans taking on Hawaii’s local talent. X-1 has always been known to bring in a ton of "name" fighters and give Hawaii’s local boys a shot at them and see where they stand and tonight was no different. As with many events, there were a few changes in the card due to injuries, but promoter Mike Miller did his best to keep his card intact.
Ed Newalu and Dave Moreno was the fight of the night. Newalu is the Hawaii’s top ground and pounder at 135lbs. This time, he would be fighting at a more comfortable 145lbs and against a tough fighter from the big island of Hawaii. "Dirty" Dave Moreno is an accomplished striker and aggressive grappler. Moreno didn’t get off many punches or kicks, but he constantly attacked with Kimura key locks, hip heists and guillotines. Newalu has excellent submission defense, but the aggressiveness of Moreno prevented Newalu from teeing off on Moreno for the first two rounds. In the third round, Newalu started landing punches, but Moreno kept attacking until the end of the fight. Newalu’s ground control won him the decision, but Dave Moreno introduced himself as a contender in the 145lbs division.
"Big" Eric Pele made a triumphant return to Hawaii to spark up the Super heavyweight class and was pitted against journeyman fighter Vince Lucero. Pele and Lucero’s fight was far from action packed and Pele apologized for that and promised a better fight next time. MMA veteran Adam Lynn capitalized on the Achilles heel of the current X-1 Welterweight champ, Mark Moreno, by taking him to the ground, controlling position, and pounding on Moreno for the decision victory. Adam Lynn called for their next match to be for Moreno’s X-1 title. Niko Vitale returned to the ring after three hard losses to test his hand at his original fighting weight of 205lbs. Vitale previously said that, it was very difficult for him to make 185lbs and he looked forward to fighting at the more comfortable weight. Vitale showed that he can bounce back after the losses and showcase the skills that loyal fans have come to know him for.
The main event pitted two fighters with more than decorated pasts and presents for that matter. Kimo is coming off of two losses, the last devastating loss occurring just one week ago. Wes Sims is not known for mincing words and fighting anyone put in front of him, often coming up on the short end of the stick against top-ranked talent, Sims has rebounded from his highly public loss to Daniel Gracie in the IFL with three victories. Two of the victories came just last month. No one knew what to expect in this match up, but you got the feeling that it would be "interesting." Kimo started off the match rushing in for a takedown, getting the reluctant Sims to the ground, but paying a hefty price. As Kimo started punching Sims from the guard, he was also covering Sims with blood. The fight was stopped to check Kimo’s nose and it looked like his nose was broken. After a long delay, the match was restarted only to be stopped again to check Kimo’s nose. It looked like either the doctor or Kimo chose to end the match, so Sims started taking off his gloves and Kimo was shaking Wes Sims’ father’s hand. Then, in a strange turn of events, the fight was restarted. This time Sims ended up in Kimo’s guard and Kimo had the triangle position, but did not lock it in, while Sims pounded Kimo’s nose as Kimo winced in pain. This time the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Everyone in attendance was in a state of shock because Kimo looked to be close to securing a triangle and then the match was stopped with Sims declared the winner. Either way, a strange series of events by two of the strangest fighters in MMA.
X-1 Battlegrounds 5: Xtreme Fighting
October 6, 2006
Neal Blaisdell Arena – Honolulu, Hawaii