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Monday, May 29, 2006

Ultimate Cage Wars 4:

Ultimate Cage Wars 4:
Day Gets Controversial Stoppage Against Fontaine, Menjivar Rolls with Win Over Tavernini
By Kelsey Mowatt

Although the vast majority of the MMA world was transfixed on Los Angeles, California and UFC 60 this past Saturday night, approximately 2,000 fans packed into the Winnipeg Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba that same evening to take in Ultimate Cage Wars 4. Promoted by local fighter Krzysztof Soszynski, the event has come to be the province’s most notable MMA promotion, having drawn crowds for previous events as high as 4,000.

This card’s main event pitted Winnipeg fighter and former TKO Middleweight Champion Chris Fontaine against Canadian Martial Arts Centre fighter Jason Day in a light heavyweight battle. Day came into UCW 4 on a three-fight winning streak, while Fontaine was hoping to build off a recent win over Gerome Grady, having lost his previous two fights before that to Jason Macdonald and UFC veteran Gideon Ray. Despite the hometown support, Fontaine was unable to stifle Day’s ground-and-pound attack, giving the Lethbridge fighter the first round TKO victory and his fourth win in a row.

"Jason Day beating Chris Fontaine was the big upset of the night," says promoter and former Fontaine teammate Soszynksi. "Day controlled the fight from start to finish, very impressive, a controversial stoppage – some say he was okay and some thought the fight needed to be stopped."

With only seconds remaining in the opening round, the referee stopped the fight as Day punished Fontaine along the cage fence. Although Day himself thinks it was a legitimate stoppage, he understands why Fontaine’s trainers, Joe Doerksen and Rodrigo Munduruca might have thought Fontaine could have held on until the end of the round.

"Basically I had him pinned on the cage fence," Day tells FCF. "He swung in for an armbar so I stacked him up. I hurt him with two or three left elbows and then followed them up with several hard left hooks. I saw his eyes roll up into his head and he wasn’t really defending himself anymore. I think the referee recognized he was in trouble and stopped the fight. I think it was a legitimate stoppage, he’s a tough fighter and can take a beating, I know Joe and Rodrigo thought he could hold on until the rest of the round, but I don’t know if he could have taken many more shots for the last 13 seconds or so that were left."

Controversy aside, Day is ecstatic about defeating Fontaine, who is regarded across Canada for being an extremely resilient fighter and punishing striker. The win brings Day’s combined pro-am record to 8-5, while Fontaine’s drops to 11-10.

"I felt in control from the start of the fight," Day says. "I definitely knew that I didn’t want to stand him with him and exchange. I took him down and worked my ground game, that’s where I’m most comfortable. I never really felt like I was in any danger. He went for an armbar, but it was never really locked in, at no point did I really feel threatened. I really have to thank Lee Mein, he brought a lot more work into my training and our team has really come together."

Day’s teammate Justin Tavernini took on highly-regarded bantamweight Ivan Menjivar, who was fresh off a recent unanimous decision win over Taiyo Nakahara at K-1 Hero’s 5 on May 3. Despite being a huge underdog in the fight, Tavernini still managed to push Menjivar early on, nearly landing a high kick to the head that resulted in Menjivar taking the fight to the ground. From there, Menjivar demonstrated the skills that have earned the "Pride of El Salvador" an impressive 20-4 record, as the fighter, who currently resides in Montreal, submitted Tavernini with a triangle choke in the first round.

According to Soszynski, the card was highlighted with several impressive performances, in addition to the action that Day and Menjivar brought to Winnipeg Saturday night.

"Great performances form Dominick Blais and Aaron Tregear – this was the fight of the night," Soszynski recalls. "These guys had a stand-up war, each was close to finishing their opponent in the first round [Tregear won by TKO in round two]. Sutherland versus Hamzeh was another great fight, back and forth action. Hamzeh is an animal, and he has not fought in 14 months. [Hamzeh won by first round TKO). I was also impressed with Graydon Tannas, [who defeated Curt McKinnon by TKO in round one]. Tavernini, who took on one of the best fighters in the world at 145 in Ivan Menjivar, and Jesse Bongfeldt who had a lay off of nine months." [Bongfeldt came away with a first round TKO over Keith Sogla.]

The UCW is slated to hold its next card September 9 in Brandon, Manitoba, where the promotions bantamweight, lightweight, welterweight and heavyweight titles will be on the line.

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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