All Action;hooknshoot ‘revolution’ Delivers
HOOKnSHOOT ‘Revolution’ Delivers
By Joe Hall
Photography by Loretta Hunt
The revolution has come, but it has not gone. Women’s MMA was jumpstarted Saturday night as the first all-women’s mixed martial arts card in the U.S. successfully drew and entertained a substantial crowd. If anyone showed up anticipating a hair-pulling catfight or a series of slaps, trained competitors abruptly educated them. All of the punches were not straight and crisp; all of the submissions were not perfectly set up or flawlessly executed — but several were. There were sharp right hooks, smooth transitions, and shins that precisely drilled their targets. It was clear that plenty of work awaits women mixed martial artists, though there is no denying the skill and potential already present.
In the opening bout, 17-year-old Erica Montoya powerfully shot a double-leg takedown that put Ruth Mejia on her back. Montoya then patiently passed the guard and swiveled to an armbar from the mount for the win.
The show quickly moved to the next match, featuring the card’s two heaviest participants. Shannon Hooper, cornered by UFC Heayvweight Champion and boyfriend Josh Barnett, came out strong, snapping combinations at Olga Bakalopoulous. Looking in danger on the feet, Olga struggled to take the fight to the ground. Before she could get it there, however, she gained momentum by blasting Hooper with a right hand that landed squarely on the chin. Olga then worked the fight to the ground and finished Hooper with a key lock.
Jessica Ross dismantled Jennifer Irons in the third fight of the evening. After jumping to the guard, Ross transitioned from a triangle choke to an armbar and finally back to a triangle choke for the tap.
In the next match, Angela Wilson and Tanya Vlahac roused the crowd with a back-and-forth battle. Vlahac relentlessly fired right hands while Wilson used a variety of sweeps and throws to ground her adversary. On the mat, Wilson eventually tore through Vlahac’s defense with punches in the half guard to end the crowd-pleasing affair.
The action did not slow as Angela Restad and Mayra Conde brought fans to their feet in a fight that epitomized the sport — standing, there were knees, kicks, and punches, and when it went to the ground, a technical exhibition followed. Restad controlled the standup by grabbing the back of Conde’s neck and planting knees in every available opening. Conde courageously rallied in the latter part of the fight, just missing an armbar. In the end, a draw initially sparked boos from the crowd, although the catcalls soon turned to cheers in acknowledgement of the gutsy fighters.
In the sixth match of the evening, Tara LaRosa swept Shelby Walker from the clinch and dominated on the ground for the win. After being mounted, Walker launched her hips from the mat in an effort to buck her opponent off, but the maneuver did not even budge LaRosa. A pummeling by LaRosa ensued and Walker tapped from the bottom.
The main event began with both Debi Purcell and Christine Van Fleet marching out of their corners throwing right hand bombs. Van Fleet then thrust her hip into Purcell for a throw, but the move was reversed with Purcell landing in the mount. Steadily, Purcell pressured Van Fleet and created space with short punches. As Purcell opened up, Van Fleet turned to her stomach to evade the punishment. Purcell responded by quickly sinking her hooks in and working a choke. Van Fleet could defend the submission but not the barrage of punches Purcell pounded her with from the rear mount.
As the final bout closed somewhat methodically compared to the dramatic mid-card clashes, there was no roar from the crowd. Instead, the coliseum was filled with an air of understanding. After the strikes were thrown and the submissions were attempted; after the fighters were pushed against the wall and didn’t quit when they easily could have; those in attendance understood that women’s mixed martial arts is for real. They realized that the revolution has begun.
From the event’s promoter:
The Return of the Heavyweights!
The Biggest Tournament in History!
Huge heavyweight event begins to take shape
HONOLULU, Hawaii — What has 32 legs, 16 noses and weighs more than 4,000 pounds?
Answer: The tournament field for the upcoming Super Brawl 24: Return of the Heavyweights.
That’s right… the fighters in this year’s field for the mega 16-fighter tourney have an average weight of more than 275 pounds. And, they have combined to win more than 80% of their mixed martial arts matches.
Super Brawl 24: Return of the Heavyweights is sponsored by Full Contact Fighter and promises to be the most exciting event held in Hawaii in recent years. The two-day, 16-fighter tournament is scheduled April 26-27 at the Blaisdell Arena and boasts $20,000 in prize money and hopefully an opportunity for some fighters to point their careers toward the sport’s major organizations.
"There is no shortage of size… or talent in this tourney," said Super Brawl promoter T.Jay Thompson. "I haven’t been this excited for an event in a long time. I look at the field, and realistically we have at least a dozen guys who are expecting to make it to at least the semifinals."
Just over two years ago in the same arena, Super Brawl held what is considered to be the most successful heavyweight tournament in the sport’s history. Of the eight competitiors, six went on to compete in either UFC, Pride, or both. Advancing to UFC were: Josh Barnett, Bobby Hoffman, Travis Fulton and Ricco Rodriguez. Advancing to Pride were Heath Herring, John Marsh and Rodriguez.
Barnett, the newly crowned UFC champion and winner of the first tourney, will be on hand to personally put the belt on this year’s champion. Jens Pulver, the reigning UFC lightweight champion, also will be in attendance.
Half of the field for "Return of the Heavyweights" was selected through qualifying 8-man tournaments held earlier this year in Iowa and Utah. The rest, were selected from a long list of applicants asking to take part in the event.
"We have received more interest than we ever imagined," said Extreme Challenge promoter Monte Cox, who is co-promoting the event. "We are trying to discover stars… and have only accepted up-and-coming fighters who have no prior experience in the UFC or Pride. We’re looking to make some fighters’ dreams come true."
Ben Rothwell (11-1) of Milwaukee, Wis., won the Iowa event, while Tim Sylvia (10-0) of Bettendorf, Iowa, won the Utah event. As announced earlier, those fighters will be joined by local favorite Wes "Cabbage" Coreirra (12-3), who has become a Super Brawl standout.
Also competing will be muscular Travis Wiuff (5-1) of Minneapolis, Minn.; Kerry "Meat Truck" Schall (12-4) of Cincinnati, Ohio; Gabe Beauperthuy (6-3) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Bryan Stromberg (1-0) of Portland, Ore.
Stromberg represents Team Quest, which features former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture and Pride standout Dan Henderson.
All 16 fighters will compete in single bouts on April 26… reducing the field to eight fighters. On April 27, the eight will continue the tourney until one fighter wins three bouts (four over two days) and is crowned the champion.
A special priced ticket for both nights is available at the Blaisdell Center box office, all tickets plus outlets or online at http://www.ticketplushawaii.com/ Much more information is available at http://www.superbrawl.tv/
For additional information, email T.Jay Thompson at email@example.com or call (808) 524-6062.
Nogueira vs. Mezger
Word from inside the Guy Mezger camp is that although Mezger was originally supposed to fight on the April 28th Pride card (he’s been training under the premise that he would be fighting brawler Quinton Jackson), last-minute changes in his opponent make it "highly unlikely that he will be fighting in Pride 20."