Wec 4:rumble Under The Sun Results
Rumble Under The Sun Results
By Loretta Hunt
Photography by Keith Mills
In its fourth show to date, World Extreme Cagefighting made it’s East Coast premiere at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut last night. Hampered by some obstacles along the way including ticket sales (the WEC claims tickets.com mistakenly posted the show as sold out for a month) and a dropped featherweight title bout (opponent Renat Myrzabekov did not sufficiently make the tribal commission’s medical requirements, leaving a ready Cole Escovedo to watch the show from the audience), the WEC seemed determined to get past it all and entertain a game crowd in the art of MMA. With an arena of approximately 7,500 seats, the show filled to about half its capacity, with the crowd checkered throughout the sections of seats. The nine remaining bouts hosted a range of talent from first-timer to seasoned professional, which led to a mixed bag of fight quality and excitement. With an East Coast versus west coast vendetta in effect for seven of the fights, it seems the East Coast edged out the west with a tally of 4-3. Here’s a brief breakdown:
It’s back to the drawing board for Aaron Brink, who last night joined a long list of competitors that have fallen at the hands of the Miletich Fighting Systems fighter Jeremy Horn. In this main event heavyweight bout, both fighters had come onboard to face one another with relatively short notice, when an earlier bout pitting Frank Shamrock against Ricardo Almeida fell through. At the bell, Brink came in with a strong left jab, but Horn wouldn’t have any of it. He immediately shot in for the takedown, pushing Brink against the cage, and finally down to the ground. Brink landed sideways against the cage and immediately tried to recover to standing, giving his back to Horn in the process. With Horn not heralded as a "master ground technician" for nothing, he easily slapped on the rear naked choke and had Brink tapping at :54 seconds into the match.
In a featured bout, Miletich Martial Art’s and UFC veteran Tony "the Freak" Fryklund met up with another UFC vet, Team Punishment’s Zach Light. Light scored two separate takedowns early on while Fryklund utilized his time on his feet to institute some "dirty boxing" and his signature right hook. Following another Light takedown, Fryklund was able to maneuver a Kimura lock to Light’s left arm from the guard, while his [Light’s] other arm lay pinned underneath his body. In what continued to be a confusing night of referee behavior, official Mike Stalk appeared to halt the match upon Fryklund’s instruction that Light was verbally submitting from the top. However, when Light and Fryklund were separated, Light denied he had submitted at all. Fryklund got the victory at 4:06 into the first round.
AKA standout Rich Crunkilton was an early favorite for tonight’s card, and he didn’t disappoint when he met up with opponent Luciano Oliveira, of New England Jiu-Jitsu/Joao Amaral Team. Crunkilton got things going with a strong right kick that had Oliveira shooting in for the takedown. Crunkilton quickly got to his feet and came back with a takedown of his own to half guard. Oliveira was able to work free and once to his feet, scored another takedown that left Crunkilton exposing his back as he tried to stabilize. Not taking this opportunity to capitalize, Oliveira instead focused on trying to keep the rising Crunkilton down. But it was Crunkilton who showed the true skill there, as he worked from guard through positions till he had the inevitable triangle choke employed. Oliveria tapped out at 1:55 into the round.
In the title match for the WEC Lightweight title, Kurt Pellegrino (Team Renzo Gracie) and Mac Danzig (rAw) met for the second time in their careers to settle an old score. Their first outing had ended in a referee stoppage in Pellegrino’s favor, but Danzig was unwilling to acknowledge the bout as a loss. Tonight was much more decisive, as Pellegrino dominated much of all three rounds of this lackluster fight to garner the unanimous decision and the lightweight title.
In an interesting heavyweight match-up, AKA’s Christian Wellisch came from behind to dominate Renzo Gracie student Jay White late in the third round. White had shown confidence with his standup game and had the chance to finish Wellisch in the first round with his striking. At one point, White unleashed a right hook that floored Wellisch to a turtling position and had his back to finish the job, only to be separated by the referee and then restarted again (a move that seemed to puzzle spectators and was left unanswered). In the second round White tapped all his energies delivering standup punishment to an already exhausted and somewhat sloppy Wellisch, and although his hits were accurate, they had little power to finish the contest. At this point, conditioning had become a major factor for the two. With round three "do or die" for Wellisch, he finally got the single leg takedown, half mount, and then mount where he unloaded on an undefending White till he tapped out at 3:42 into the third round. White was taken from the arena via a stretcher.
At 6’5", rAw Training Center’s Jason Jones towered over his adversary Randy Rowe, a 4-day last minute replacement and Connecticut Dog Pound representative. Rowe showed a lot of raw talent and ingenuity early on by shaking off his giant of a foe with foot stomps "a la Marco Ruas" as they clinched at the fence. Rowe then impressively scooped up his hefty opponent and slammed him to the ground. Once in Jones’ guard, Rowe had less to offer and as he worked his adversary to the fence for a "ground and pound" opportunity, Jones was able to secure a tight triangle choke. However, the bell sounded seconds later and the two men were separated. Rowe, on the ground, looked as if he could not continue, but it didn’t matter. In a perplexing development, Jones rushed towards him and got in another hit before the two men were again separated. Jones was handed a disqualification for hitting a downed opponent after the bell had sounded and Rowe was given the win as he was helped back up the fighters’ ramp and backstage.
Weight and experience seemed to be two factors in effect for the match-up between heavyweights Eric Mainiai, of AKA, and Team Renzo Gracie’s John Rallo. Rallo had weighed in the day before 254 pounds, while Mainiai was 226 pounds. An almost thirty pound advantage, coupled with a lack of experience (this was Mainiai’s very first MMA fight) proved to much for west coaster. Rallo was confident and started off with a clean left-right combo that had the gun-shy Mainiai retreating to the corner. Although Mainiai showed some promise on the ground, the fight inevitably ended up back on its feet, and unable to withstand the barrage of strikes Rallo was unleashing, Mainiai verbally submitted at 3:06 into the first round.
Team Renzo Gracie fighter James Gabert continued to surprise the crowd by not taking his bout with AKA’s Mike Swick to the ground once. With a strong boxing and kickboxing background, Gabert showed a consistent persistence on his feet, even though his opponent had a substantial reach advantage that he readily used. Swick’s lanky legs continuously landed right high kicks to Gabert’s left side and every time Gabert would close the distance Swick was there with some devastating knees in the clinch. A deep gash opened up on Gabert’s scalp in the first round and began to bleed, but Gabert showed no signs of stopping. With a quick pep talk from his mentor Renzo Gracie in the corner, Gabert came out in the second round more conscientious of guarding his left side, as Swick continued to fire off one right kick after another. Gabert got in some nice combos as well, but it would be Swick to get the majority decision after scoring the most hits.
Featherweight Jeff Curran, of Pedro Sauer Jiu-jitsu, made a strong showing for himself tonight as packed on a few extra pounds to take on Next Generation’s Bao Quach in the night’s first lightweight preliminary bout. Although Quach seemed the leader early on with a takedown and the subsequent mount that eventually followed, Curran finished the round strong with a beautiful reversal to half guard just as the bell sounded. With Quach noticeably slowing down in the second round, Curran took over with a series of kicks, highlighted by an effective front kick to his opponent’s mid section and a body slam seconds later. In the third round, Quach effectively got the takedown to side mount, then half guard, but with pressure from the crowd to keep it standing, both men moved the action back upstairs. With the last minutes of the fight looming, both fighters turned up the heat with kicks and punching combinations, but it would be Curran to take the majority decision.
The Results (in order of appearance)
Jeff Curran (Pedro Sauer Jiu-Jitsu) def. Bao Quach (Next Generation)- Majority Decision
Mike Swick (AKA) def. James Gabert (Team Renzo Gracie)- Majority Decision
Randy Rowe (Dog Pound) def. Jason Jones (rAw Training Center)- Disqualification
John Rallo (Renzo Gracie) def. Eric Mainai (AKA)- 3:06 Rd 1 Referee stoppage due to verbal submission
Christian Wellisch (AKA) def. Jay White (Renzo Gracie)- 3:42 Rd 1- Referee stoppage due to tapout
Tony Fryklund (Miletich Martial Arts) def. Zach Light (Team Punishment)- 4:06 Rd 1 Referee stoppage due to verbal submission
Kurt Pellegrino (Renzo Gracie) def. Mac Danzig (rAw)- Unanimous Decision
Rich Crunkilton (AKA) def. Luciano Oliveira (New England BJJ/Joao Amaral)- 1:55 Rd 1 Triangle Choke
Jeremy Horn (Miletich Martial Arts) def. Aaron Brink (Team Punishment)- :54 Rd 1 Rear Naked Choke