Rings Usa Finalshoffman Comes Back Strong,horn Makes His Point
RINGS USA FINALS
Hoffman comes back strong,
Horn makes his point
MOLINE, Ill. — Team Extreme rose to the occasion Saturday, notching two tournament champions and three single match victories at the RINGS USA Finals at the Mark of the Quad Cities arena.
Bobby Hoffman and Jeremy Horn, who both competed in UFC 27 the week before, notched a pair of victories to claim tourney wins and the $10,000 first-place prizes.
After running out of gas and losing a close decision to Maurice Smith in his UFC debut a week earlier, Hoffman again was faced with a difficult situation.
Following a 10-minute battle with big 338-pound Eric Pele in the semifinals, the judges decided the bout needed to go to overtime, meaning Hoffman had to win the final five minutes to claim victory. This time, Hoffman dominated overtime, landing solid knees and winning the exchanges en route to winning a unanimous decision over the John Lewis trained fighter.
Then, after a rest period, he came back and defeated Aaron Brink in the finals by tap from punches to capture the first RINGS USA heavyweight tourney title.
"I wasn’t sure if I could go on," Hoffman said. "I was still hurting some from the Smith fight and Pele really took a lot out of me. But I decided if I was still standing then I had enough left to go on… I couldn’t lose again."
Brink surprised Tom Sauer in the first round, winning by TKO after getting a yellow card for an illegal punch on the ground. Brink could have gotten another yellow card for an earlier illegal knee, but referee Bart Guyer said he missed the infraction.
"I missed the first foul, then gave a warning on the second one," Guyer said. "Then, I gave him a yellow card on the next one. We know RINGS rules are different, so we try to give everybody a warning… but he went too far."
RINGS rules prohibit punching the head or knees of any kind on the ground. The yellow card takes a point away from the fighter, but Brink didn’t let the bout go to a decision, landing a couple solid blows that left Sauer on the mat where Guyer halted the action.
"I normally don’t complain, but that was three illegal blows," Sauer said. "The knee really hurt and I never recovered… I didn’t even defend against it because it was illegal. I can see one mistake, but with three I think he should have been disqualified."
There was no controversy in the 200-under tournament as Horn scored a pair of impressive submission victories. Horn, winner of four straight UFC bouts and a possible opponent for an upcoming UFC middleweight championship fight, used a knee bar to sideline Josh Hall of Shark Tank in the semifinals. Hall was fourth in the recent Olympic Trials for Greco Roman wrestling.
Then, in the finals, Horn caught Australian star Chris Haseman with an arm bar only 2:36 into the match. Haseman, a RINGS veteran, had advanced to the finals with an arm bar submission over Yasuhito Namekawa of Japan in the semis.
"It feels great to join Bobby as the first RINGS USA tournament champions," Horn said. "Haseman is a tough guy… I just kind of took my time and kept working for the arm until I got it."
The energetic Horn is back in the ring this week when he faces former UFC champion Randy Couture in the first round of the RINGS King of Kings tourney in Tokyo.
"I’m looking forward to facing Couture… he’s one of the best heavyweights in the sport," Horn said. "After this, I’d like to get a shot at Tito for the UFC title… I think he’s a great fighter, and I love to fight the best. I just hope SEG gives me the opportunity to show what I can do."
In single bouts, Team Extreme members went 3-0, giving the team a perfect 7-0 mark in the event.
RINGS USA Finals
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