Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shalorus Captures King of Kombat Welterweight Title

By Jason Tiefel, Editor

Austin, TX, April 5 – World Class Cage Fighting hosted their third fight card, one that was full of action and first round finishes.

In the main event, Kamal Shalorus captured the King of Kombat welterweight title in a quick domination of Oklahoma’s Jeff Davis. The difference in strength and explosiveness was clear from the outset, as Relson Gracie student Shalorus backed Davis up with several quick combinations. A missed kick from Team Elite’s Davis gave Shalorus the opportunity to take the fight to the ground, where he proceeded to drop several punishing shots from top position. The referee decided to save Davis from further punishment and called a stop to the bout at 1:06 in the first.

In the only heavyweight bout of the night (or superheavyweight, as the WCCF prefers to call it) Austin’s Mathew Thompson lost a plodding split decision to Amarillo’s experienced Chris Guillen. Rounds 1 and 2 played out in a similar fashion, with Guillen putting Thompson on his back early while the South Austin Gym fighter worked for submissions from the bottom. Thompson was able to take round 3 by taking Guillen’s back, landing some strikes, and eventually rolling for a heel hook/kneebar. Time ran out on the Austin fighter and Guillen was awarded a 29-28 victory on two of the judges’ score cards.

In somewhat of an upset, veteran fighter Brandon McDowell succumbed to strikes from Grappler’s Lair fighter Patrick Miller at 4:13 in the first round. McDowell scored a takedown early in the round but was reversed by Miller, who was able to maintain top position throughout the fight. Miller, a US Army soldier who just returned from Iraq, landed several hard shots to the left side of McDowell’s head, forcing him to tapout. As McDowell rose, the source of his demise became clear: his left ear, exhibiting the typical cauliflower effect found in many fighters, had swollen to 2-3 times its normal size.

In perhaps the most competitive bout of the night, Grappler’s Domain fighter Duece King defeated Death Row MMA’s Lane Yarbrough via unanimous decision. Yarbrough came out strong in the first, attempting a flying knee that missed and quickly taking Deuce’s back. Duece then grabbed his opponent’s head and flipped him to the mat. After several minutes of groundwork, the fighters returned to the feet where Duece landed the better of the strikes. Yarbrough was able to rally late in the round, slamming his opponent to the mat and taking his back. He worked for a rear naked choke that never came as the first stanza came to a close.

Round 2 belonged to Duece as he landed heavy strikes that kept his opponent on the defensive. He landed a stiff left jab that dropped Yarbrough, but after a sloppy armbar attempt by Duece his opponent was able to recover. Yarbrough began to look gassed as he continued to take punishment on the feet for the duration of the second.

Yarbrough regrouped and was more methodical in round 3, where he picked his shots and landed several high kicks and solid body shots, but it was too little too late. Duece did not offer much in this round, but had already pulled far enough ahead on the judges’ scorecards to be granted a 29-28 unanimous decision.

Duece’s post-fight interview setup a future bout with well-established local fighter Nick “the Ghost” Gonzalez. There has been trash talking back and forth between these two for a while and Gonzalez took the opportunity to enter the cage and challenge Duece. This fight is currently scheduled for the June King of Kombat show and should be a barn-burner.

Relson Gracie Academy’s Ryan Larson needed only 1:03 to dispatch his opponent, the tough Maxwell Smith out of Denver. Smith tossed Larson to the canvas only to find himself on the business end of a well-executed triangle choke. Larson improves his record to 4-0 and establishes himself as a solid local prospect.

Oklahoma’s Jared Hess may be a talented wrestler, but he showcased some solid striking skills in his defeat of Chief Flores. These two came to bang and threw some heavy leather at the starting bell. Hess landed a stiff left jab and some solid knees from the clinch before taking his opponent to the mat. The ref stepped in at the sight of blood and halted the bout to give the doctor a chance to evaluate Flores. The bout continued but Flores again found himself on the bottom of Hess, who delivered enough damage from the top for the ref to stop the fight at 1:52 in the first.

If there was a theme to tonight’s card, it was that Relson Gracie students know how to apply a triangle choke. The academy’s Randy Vera submitted San Antonio’s Adrian Sanchez by applying a very quick triangle that forced his opponent to tap at 1:58 in the first.

Corpus Christi’s Conan Cano submitted his opponent Ryan Carranza by armbar in just 42 seconds, giving the Austin crowd yet another quick finish. Carranza, fighting out of Solidarity MMA in San Marcos, was a late replacement for Chidi Njokunani (whose name was still on the event schedules handed out at the event).

No fight card is complete without some controversy, and tonight’s came courtesy of Dallas’ Ralph Calvillo. His opponent, Selma’s Chris Kuntschik, came out swinging and attempted a double leg takedown that was stuffed by Calvillo. The Dallas fighter applied a standing guillotine choke and Kuntschik dropped to guard, which only served to make the choke tighter. He was able to weather the storm and regain the standing position, but a heated exchange resulted in an accidental thumb in the eye that sent him doubled over against the cage. The ref did not see the infraction and Calvillo swarmed his opponent with punches until the bout was stopped at 1:49 in the first. In response to his opponent’s protests, Calvillo (the self proclaimed “most hated man in Texas MMA”) called for a rematch, so look for these two to meet again in upcoming events.

Grappler’s Domain fighter Garrette Bennette kicked the night off with a dominating performance over Waco’s Louis Sims Jr. Sims’ only moment came with an early right hand that did not seem to faze Bennette as he took his opponent down with a transition from a single to a double leg takedown. Bennette’s attempt at a kimura from half guard did not result in a submission, but he was able to use it to transition to mount. From there he landed enough strikes to force his opponent to tap at 2:51 of round one.

With this event, WCCF is quickly establishing a reputation for putting on quality fight cards. The show had solid production values, a good turnout and all of the athletes were impressive in both victory and defeat. No doubt the Relson Gracie Academy made the strongest showing, with all three of their fighters ending their bouts quickly. New champions were crowned and fans got to experience how great the local MMA scene in Texas has become.


Samuel said...

Thanks for the writeup, I think most of it is spot on. Certainly your analysis of the main event. Whenever those two guys started going, you could tell a pretty quick difference from most of the rest of the bouts of the evening.

I think the event went fairly well aside from some logistical and organizational problems.

Starting an hour late, long lines for entry and bathrooms, and too long intermissions for the shorter fights. It would also have been nice if the microphones had worked (we couldn't hear anything the announcer or fighters said).

I was pretty pleased to see the size of the crowd, these seem to be getting a lot more traction since I started attending local events a few years back. Hopefully the promoters can step up and learn from the small mistakes and start putting on really top notch events that will keep people coming back.

Editor said...

Thanks for the feedback, Samuel. I agree about the late start and long bathroom lines...if attendance keeps up this event will quickly outgrow the Crockett Center. While one intermission would have been fine, I feel that the second intermission was unnecessary. I think it's great that the kids are involved in martial arts and they have a lot of guts to get up there and perform, but I don't think that their type of performance is a good fit for a live MMA event. It's only KoK's third show and they've shown a lot of improvement, so I expect good things to come.