August 20, 2006
New episode of FCF Radio
In our latest broadcast,
Alessio Tops Serdyukov,
Banuelos Outwits Escovedo at WEC 23
Report by Loretta Hunt – Photos by Daisy Rosas
LEMOORE, Calif., Aug. 17 — It came ten fights deep in, almost four hours into the night, but Alex Serdyukov and John Alessio gave a fading WEC 23 crowd much to cheer about. The most talented pair of the card fighting at a 175-pound catch weight, Apex Jiu-Jitsu’s Serdyukov and Millenia Jiu-Jitsu’s Alessio were evenly-matched on the their feet from the outset, both demonstrating expert technique in both offense and defense, which made their first five minutes entangled a difficult one for the judges to call. When they spilled to the mat, Alessio worked into a rear-naked choke, but with out the benefits of his hooks and hips, Serdyukov eventually reversed.
In the second, a leader in this head-to-head race emerged in Serdyukov, but not before Alessio took him down in its opening seconds. Working a triangle attempt from his back, Serdyukov unintentionally up-kicked a kneeling Alessio afterwards, and referee Josh Rosenthal reprimanded the Russian before reconvening.
Off a beautiful scramble, Serdyukov connected with the first telling punch, then took Alessio down, moving to mount where he tried to pound out the stoppage. Although some shots hit their mark, Alessio rode it out to the bell.
Showing signs the former round had taken the best out of him, an exhausted Alessio came out in the third, while a buoyant Serdyukov seemed ready and able to finish the job. Looks can be deceiving. With a looping right hook, then a follow-up left, Alessio brought the Russian to his knees in the blink of an eye. Serdyukov bobbed back up, his legs underneath him wobbly, and Alessio muscled him down. In inspiring fashion, Serdyukov instinctually went for the armbar, then maneuvered out and onto his feet. In the transition, Alessio saw his opening and grabbed Serdyukov’s back, finishing this stellar fight with the rear-naked choke. Both displaying such tenacity and skill, they should be welcome at any promotion in the country.
In a featured WEC Bantamweight (135-pound) title fight, The Pit’s Antonio Banuelos used a little ingenuity to offset the extra six or so inches Cole Escovedo held over him. At first Escovedo kept his distance, landing kicks on wrestler Banuelos at will, who chose to stand with Escovedo.
As the fighters loosened, a bouncy Banuelos got bolder, closing the distance for a connecting combination that sent Escovedo to his backside. Flailing his legs and arms, Escovedo warded off the pitbull, but took a thudding body kick from Banuelos as he stood. Again, Banuelos floored Escovedo, this time off a counterpunch, and the Pacific Martial Arts fighter instinctually wrapped his long appendages around Banuelos in the shape of a triangle. Banuelos was ready. Just as fast, he backed out, and Escovedo was summoned to his feet. Banuelos would later incorporate his takedowns, punch Escovedo once, then stand right up again. It was an effective strategy.
Banuelos lost a bit of his bravado in the second, as Escovedo settled into an appropriate distance to land more kicks. Keeping Banuelos at bay for most the round (Banuelos did nail a takedown), Escovedo earned one of the judges’ nods, but likely did not score enough to garner the other two’s approval.
In the third, Escovedo connected with a kick, but then paid for it with a punishing slam. Venturing the most into Escovedo’s guard for this final set, Banuelos defended triangles and armbar set-ups galore, sprinkling enough shots in to take the round and the title.
In the main event, local Visalia favorite Doug Marshall had little contest from TUF 1 vet Lodune Sincaid. As with all of his fights of late, Sincaid offered little reply to Marshall’s attack of punches and kicks. The audience didn’t seem to mind, cheering Marshall on. Adding a little more power to his punches in the second, Marshall scored the knockout with a right to the body, then a left to the head 51 seconds in.
Even though Alex Karalexis’ body crashed to the mat past the third round bell, a broad smile formed across his face. He’d just fought a hearty three-round war with Thomas Denny, and both could appreciate that.
Demonstrating those stone fists that earned him a spot on "The Ultimate Fighter’s" first season, Boston-native-turned-Las Vegas-resident Karalexis had Denny off-balance a few seconds in. Denny stabilized and shot for the takedown. Karalexis wouldn’t budge. Later, Karalexis landed again — a crushing left hook that again coaxed Denny in for the shoot. Karalexis stuffed the takedown and pushed Denny to the fence, getting the better of their exchanges there.
Denny came back in the second with a takedown of his own, pulling his head out of a guillotine before moving to Karalexis’ back for the rear-naked choke. When that failed, Denny made it to mount, then later latched on an armbar. Karalexis responded by raising his appendage with Denny in tow; Denny complained to the referee when Karalexis spiked him down, but the fight continued.
A knee to his face had Karalexis bleeding heavily from his nose in the final round, so he crashed Denny to the mat, escaping a guillotine once they settled. From there, Karalexis landed the requisite punches he needed to take the decision, although both should be merited for a compelling performance.
Officially taking the leap from novelty to bona fide fighter, Poppies "the Tacit Kid" Martinez showed a plethora of finishing moves to eventually take out last-minute challenger Gigo Jara. Some of them were not quite realized, like the standing rear-naked choke Martinez latched on opponent Gigo Jara in the first without the benefit of hooks and his hips, but Martinez marched on. Taking Jara to the mat, Martinez had to quickly defend a heelhook, but he persevered, then eventually reversed to mount. Martinez couldn’t find the finish before the bell. With the crowds looking for a good ‘ole brawl, Martinez obliged in the second portion, throwing swipes with abandon with Jara hardly protesting. Again adjourning to the canvas, Martinez paused, then took mount and an armbar off Jara’s side. When he wouldn’t tap, Martinez switched to the heelhook, then back to mount, passing up another armbar for a rear-naked choke finish. The pro-Poppies contingent went wild.
Light heavyweight Fernando Gonzalez said it was the fight of his career, and in a lot of ways, he was correct. From a head crushing flying knee, the unknown Fight Lab fighter floored the world-renowned Alex Stiebling in the bout’s opening seconds. The jarred PRIDE veteran took guard, shaking his head to regain his senses. Then Stiebling rose to his feet and pushed Gonzalez against the fence. Looking for his opening to drop levels, Stiebling caught a knee to the body and Gonzalez twirled him around and to the mat. Seconds later, an elbow split Stiebling open, red streams flowing freely down from all angles. The doctor’s stoppage was imminent, and another WEC upset was officially logged into the books.
Stiebling was taken to a local hospital; three sets of 10 stitches each later marked a trio of vertical cuts spanning across his forehead.
Last-minute replacement Mario Rivera (A 207-pound James Irvin missed his designated 195-pound catch weight) couldn’t break rising middleweight Kenny Ento’s momentum. From the clinch, Visalia native Ento nailed the takedown to mount, and his heavy hands persuaded Rivera to seek refuge by flipping to his stomach. Locking in his hooks, Ento continued to punch, later shifting into an impressive reverse triangle to a fight-ending armbar 2:44 in. The now 5-1 Ento is one to watch.
As a local draw, Fresno State wrestling Casey Olson continues to, well, draw. As a fighter conquering his third career bout here tonight in Lemoore, Olson is not progressing as much with his arsenal. That’s not to say he won’t. With Chuck Liddell and others in his corner, he has the resources and it’s obvious the will is there. But without the power to finish his opponent, Olson spent most of the three rounds in opponent Chris Solomon’s guard looking for the ground-and-pound finish for a non-intriguing match-up.
Jeremy Freitag just didn’t look to want to fight tonight and Team Voodoo’s Anthony Ruiz took advantage. The Capital City Fighting Alliance rep mistepped with an early throw and Ruiz fell on top of him, the beginning of a series of disadvantageous positions that had Freitag on the receiving end of Ruiz’s punches. Freitag survived the first round mostly turtled, while Ruiz relentlessly tagged the sides of his head. With Freitag unable to find his rhythm, the referee intervened on his behalf halfway through the second round.
Chicago upstart Clay Guida prevailed over the always-improving Joe Martin after three rounds with his wrestling, but couldn’t finish the Lion’s Den fighter who flowed from submission attempt to attempt to keep the proceedings interesting.
An aggressive Rafael del Real crowded Lion’s Den fighter Dan Molina to the fence, unintentionally kneeing him to the face after Molina went down in the shuffle. Molina kept his composure though, leaning back with an ankle for a Ken Shamrock-inspired heelhook. Del Real tapped out 43 seconds in.
In earlier action, Pat Murphy rode out wrestler Josh McDonald’s takedowns to turn the table with punches and kicks in the third that had the Jake Shields-trained fighter’s face battered, bruised, cut, and bleeding. However, McDonald had clearly taken rounds one and two – along with the majority decision.
In the night’s opener, Poppies Martinez’s younger brother Andrew drew with his sibling’s former archrival Robert Breslin a mostly non-committal stand-up affair.
WEC 23 "Hot August Fights" Results
D’Auguste Retains Belt,
Issues Challenge to Tara LaRosa
at Ring of Combat XI
By Jim Genia
(August 18th, Atlantic City, New Jersey) It ended with a fractured forearm, most likely the result of a failed throw but indicative of a dominant performance nonetheless. One round was all it took for Team Tiger Schulmann superstar Laura D’Auguste to stave off Japanese challenger and SmackGirl fighter Megumi Yabushita — just one round to punish and counter almost everything, and show she still has the skills to be top dog. And while Ring of Combat 11 saw a number of exciting bouts end in dramatic fashion here at the Tropicana Casino, it was really all about the best female fighter in the world defending her belt against the only woman willing to step up. Other highlights of the night included:
McLaughlin and Gordon Win Big at Sportfighting 4
By Jim Genia
(August 19th, Morristown, New Jersey) A featherweight belt changed hands, while a lightweight and light-heavyweight champ were crowned. Sportfighting 4 came to the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, New Jersey promising action, and with 13 bouts, it really delivered. Highlights of the night included:
PRIDE Digs into U.S. Soil with Fireworks Presser;
Emelianenko-Coleman 2, Rua-Randleman Announced for Oct. 21 Las Vegas Event
By Loretta Hunt
IRVINE, Calif., August 19 — Maybe Mark Coleman voiced it best as some few hundred rabid fans squeezed against the stage at an elaborate PRIDE press conference held tonight at the FOX Sports Grill. "This is f’in cool," the veteran fighter gushed, his participation confirmed for October 21′s "The Real Deal" at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada – the Japanese power promotion’s first foray onto U.S. soil since its 1997 inception.
Jovial looking opponent Fedor Emelianenko (who received the loudest ovation of all the fighters attending) quietly sat beside Coleman as it was announced that the former UFC champion was the only fighter that would take a bout with the current PRIDE heavyweight champion.
"That’s what it’s about," an animated Coleman conveyed of his pending rematch of his April 2004 loss to the 23-1 fighter. With fans hording outside and hugging the restaurant’s front windows to get a peak inside after it closed its doors once it reached its legal capacity, Coleman said with conviction: "I’m gonna find a way, I have to find a way to beat this guy."
Neither Coleman nor PRIDE officials asked could confirm or deny the bout will be for the title, but that didn’t damper Coleman’s zeal in pushing the bout for spectators. Sharing a few intimate words with Emelianenko when they stared each other down for the cameras, the usually stoic Emelianenko uncharacteristically mumbled a few words back to Coleman. Seconds later, the boisterous American wrestler mouthed off and gestured repeatedly to a spectator that informed him that his February win against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua wasn’t a victory at all.
Coleman seemed to relish in the theatrical aspects of the proceedings. "Obviously they know PRIDE more than we thought," he said of the strong turnout. "You can only fool people for so long."
Coleman was not the only fighter to voice his confidence in PRIDE and its talent pool. With PRIDE producer Jerry Millen asking him to explain the differences between the UFC and PRIDE, Open-Weight Grand Prix semifinalist Josh Barnett – who meets Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on September 10, then possibly Wanderlei Silva or Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic later in the same night – told the enthusiastic audience he had to go to PRIDE to "fight the best in the world." The articulate former UFC champion, who made no bones about which promotion he believed superior to the other, was well received by the crowd.
Along with Barnett, other attendees included Phil Baroni, Vitor Belfort, and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. All were mentioned to tentatively participate on October 21. Only Rua’s opponent was officially announced as Kevin Randleman, who did not attend, but was represented by a video montage playing on a slew of video screens throughout the establishment.
"I’m not worried about his speed or his wrestling," Rua said of the ultra-athletic Randleman through fellow Chute Boxe (USA) teammate Jorge Oliveira. Out of competition all year recovering from a fractured elbow he sustained in his bout with Coleman last February, Rua added: "I’m 100%. I’m ready for the strongest competitor to fight me."
Another Brazilian had anticipated meeting Randleman in Vitor Belfort, who says he was informed two days ago his opponent would be switched. Belfort speculated his October 21 opponent might be Hidehiko Yoshida prottégé and Japanese star Kazuhiro Nakamura.
An added surprise to the proceedings, boxing icon Mike Tyson also made his way to the stage for some mostly inaudible comments regarding his "troubles" in Brazil and his admiration of PRIDE and its fighters. "It is the one true promotion with the one true future," he shared with a now shrieking audience. It was not made clear by Tyson or PRIDE what his involvement with the organization will be for now except that of a cheerleader. "I’m just happy to be here," Tyson told FCF twice before PRIDE president Nobuyuki Sakakibara intervened with a "No comment," and whisked the boxer off to a private room.
Budo Reality Fight Series:
Canada’s Newest Event to Showcase Up and Coming Talent
By Kelsey Mowatt
The sport of MMA continues to grow at an astounding rate in Canada, and with the announcement from Monkey King Productions that the new MMA promotion will hold its first event in September, Canadian MMA fans can look forward to an incredible month of fights. The Budo Reality Fight Series will hold its first event September 9, in Calgary, Alberta, at the Ogden Legion, joining the Maximum Fighting Championships, TKO, King of the Cage Canada, and Ultimate Cage Wars – all that are holding events next month across the Nation. Budo- RFS Promoter Grant Guenther is keenly aware of the sports growth across Canada, and is hoping to promote grassroots MMA and up and comer fighters, rather than compete with some of the countries’ larger promotions.
"I’m not trying to compete with King of the Cage," says the 26-year-old Guenther in laying out his plans for Budo-RFS. "I want to give fighters a start who can’t necessarily get on the bigger cards right now, or so that their first opportunity fighting isn’t too intimidating. There is a fan base out here in Calgary and the sport is really growing; the Boxing Commission is very accepting of the sport as well so when I was choosing a city I went with Calgary."
The sport has been sanctioned in the city now for several years, a working relationship with the Boxing Commission that has lead to several successful KOTC shows, furthering fan awareness, media and business support.
"We have some great sponsors that are really behind the sport," says Guenther of the Calgary business community. "Our major sponsor is the Northgate Gold’s Gym; this business actually has an Octagon cage there, they do a lot to promote MMA, the Calgary Sun, they’ve been behind our organization and they always get behind local sports here."
The event will be held at the Ogden Legion in the South East part of the city, and the venue fits perfectly inline with Guenther’s plans for the promotion.
"The Legion has a capacity of 800," Guenther tells FCF. "That’s about the maximum size we’re looking for right now. I’d like to grow to about 1,200 people, but I don’t want to go much bigger than that; we’re not trying to be a bigger show."
The promotion’s debut main event will feature two well-known western Canadian fighters in Jesse Bongfeldt (12-6) and Jason St.Louis (10-5). Veteran St. Louis was involved in promoting the Alliance Fighting Championship in Calgary several years ago and was an instructor in the region for sometime, while Bongfeldt trains out of another southern Alberta city Lethbridge, and as a result, will likely also have some support in the crowd come September 9.
"I think it’s going to be a great fight," Guenther says of the main event. "I’m really looking forward to it, they both have similar styles, can fight standing and on the ground. The whole event should be good."
The undercard, as mentioned, will feature relatively inexperienced fighters, but Guenther is confident that many of the start-up athletes will put on a great display of MMA action for the fans in attendance.
"You got to look at Trevor Schmit and Brent Smith," says Guenther. "That will be a great fight between two heavyweights, Danny Valimaki, Danny Miller, people will like Matt Zorzetti, he’s a very explosive fighter and should be exciting to watch. There are a lot of great young fighters to watch."
Guenther, who fought professionally in Australia winning a fight by unanimous decision at Spartan 14 last October, knows firsthand how fighters expect to be treated by promotions and was one of the motivating factors behind him joining the promoter ranks.
"I’m a fighter myself," Guenther tells FCF. "I trained with Joe Doerksen, then went down to Australia and trained with Elvis Sinosic, fought there in Spartan. Now I train at BDB Martial Arts in Calgary with Brad Bird and Nick Ring, I’m hopefully going to make my Canadian debut soon. I’ve been planning on doing my own show for about three years now, I just want to help fighters out, I know how they expect to be treated, and every guy on our card will get paid."
From the event’s promoter:
RENZO GRACIE VS. PAT MILETICH SUPERFIGHT HIGHLIGHTS INTERNATIONAL FIGHT LEAGUE WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS IN MOLINE SEPT. 23
Gracie’s Pitbulls Battle Miletich’s Silverbacks; New Dragons, Razorclaws Debut As Rosters Announced For World Team Championship Quarterfinals
NEW YORK, August 18, 2006 — The highly-anticipated Renzo Gracie vs. Pat Miletich Superfight tops an exciting night of fighting at the International Fight League World Team Championships at The MARK of the Quad Cities in Moline, Ill. on September 23, beginning at 8 p.m. The Pitbulls team, coached by Gracie and based in New York, takes on Miletich’s host Silverbacks, who won the inaugural World Team title in June. Two new squads, both recent additions to the IFL, will battle in the other quarterfinal, as Frank Shamrock’s Razorclaws of San Jose and Carlos Newton’s Dragons, based in Toronto, square off.
The card is scheduled to include many of the top IFL performers. For the Pitbulls, Marcio Feitosa (Brazil), Andre Gusmao (Brazil), Delson Heleno (Brazil) Bryan Vitell (Jamaica, NY) and one fighter to be determined will battle the likes of the Silverbacks’ Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.), Rory Markham (Bettendorf, Iowa), Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa), Bart Palaszewski (Wonderlake, Ill.) and Ben Rothwell (Kenosha, Wis.)
The event will also feature the first IFL fights for the Razorclaws’ Dwayne Compton (Tucson, Ariz.), Raphael Davis (Torrance, Calif.), Brian Ebersole (San Jose, Calif.), Josh Odom (San Jose, Calif.) and Ray Steinbeiss (Tempe, Ariz.), as well as the Dragons’ Brent Beauparlant (Montreal, Quebec), Rob Di Censo (Woodbridge, Ontario), Joe Doerksen (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Wojtek Kaszowski (Toronto, Ontario) and Claude Patrick (Mississauga, Ontario).
"As we gear up for our full Championship season in 2007, the IFL World Team Championship event at The Mark is an outstanding showcase of two of our founding teams as well as two new squads," said Gareb Shamus, IFL president. "Pat Miletich and Renzo Gracie are two of the biggest names in the history of mixed martial arts, and I know fans are excited to see them in the ring next month."
The winning teams will advance to the semifinals, where they will take on the squads which emerge victorious in the other World Team Championship quarterfinal matches in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 9. The date and location of the semifinal matches will be announced shortly.
Tickets for the Moline event retail from $28.50 to $148.50 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at (563) 326-1111, and The MARK of the Quad Cities Box Office.
Founded in 2006 by Kurt Otto, a highly successful real estate investor and a life-long martial arts participant and Gareb Shamus, chairman of the comics empire Wizard Entertainment Group, the International Fight LeagueTM (IFL) and Pure SportTM were created to establish a centralized and structured organization that brings the power and influence of the mixed martial arts industry together. For more information and action, go to www.IFL.tv.
IFL World Team Championships, The MARK of the Quad Cities, Moline, Ill., Sept. 23, 2006