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By: Brad Walker, MMATorch Contributor
The show opens with Tony Schiavello describing the beautiful weather in Hawaii, which I would kill to be enjoying at the moment. On commentary alongside Schiavello is Pat Miletich. After the cutscenes of Hawaii and the fighters, they show us the awful Hawaiian outfits that Tony and Pat are wearing, the colors and leis almost set my eyes on fire as soon as they popped on screen. A quick rundown of the fights and what the fighters are vulnerable to followed, with a shot of Kendall Groves locker room. They toted Kendall coming off of a 'big win' against Joe Riggs – avenging his loss in 2000, which to anyone here on earth is definitely not a big win for anyone but Grove himself. We will also be treated to McMann vs. Nakano and the final four of the heavyweight tournament.
Also worth noting; In ProElite as formerly with Strikeforce elbows to a downed opponent are illegal.
Writers note: This ring announcer is absolutely terrible. What the heck was that chick doing? I thought she didn't speak English for the first 30 seconds of her screaming introduction.
Fight #1: Kaleo Gambill (2-0) Vs. Brent Schermerhorn (4-1) (Middleweight)
Round One: Gambill has a 3 inch reach advantage coming into the cage; everything else is pretty much the same. Gambill throws a couple jabs, looking for a spot, Schermerhorn gets him with a great combo and drops him, but he's back up quickly. The back and forth striking continues. Schermerhorn is pushing the pace, and drops him with a huge left; Gambill is out cold and in Schiavello's words "stiff as a box of Viagra."
Winner by KO at 0:45 of Round 1 Brent Schermerhorn
Star Rating: (*+) – A great display of striking by Schermerhorn, Gambill never got a chance to mount any offense, and got put out cold for his trouble. Schermerhorn looks like a good prospect, but now only 6 fights into his career and having only seen his striking we can only assess that which we see. His hands are solid especially that left. Very quick fight, blink and you miss it, but also one sided.
Fight #2: Patrick Cummins (1-0) vs. Tasi Edwards (2-0) (Heavyweight)
Holy Crap, if I have to hear this ring announcer the rest of the night I'm going to go so remotely insane I might wake up with an imported beer in my hand while wearing a Packers jersey. She's truly awful.
Round One: We're up and moving, Edwards throws a couple jabs and a body kick all miss. He keeps throwing strikes from way out of range, Cummins shoots and has a single leg, gets the takedown. He's working to get out of the guard, but he's so far kept at bay. Tasi attempts some up kicks, and Cummins slides into side control. Cummins working some ground and pound and stands back up then drops back into side control. Cummins seems to be rushing his positions, and Edwards is getting his guard back. Cummins with a knee to the body, and takes Edwards back, now working for a rear naked choke, it's not fully sunk in. Edwards gets out of it, now Cummins is postured up in the mount firing rights. Edwards is trying to roll out, and does so successfully. Cummins jumps back into half guard, with knees to the body. Throwing great right hands from the top to the side of Edwards head, he moves for a choke but let's up, Edwards is back to his knees, and bleeding. Tasi has given up his back again; Cummins has his left hook in and is trying to push him forward into an arm triangle. Cummins locks it in, and Edwards taps out.
Winner by Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) At 4:01 of Round 1 - Patrick Cummins
Star Rating: 1 – Not a very exciting fight, Edwards threw a bunch of errant kicks and punches before getting taken down and essentially steamrolled by Cummins. Some good ground and pound from Cummins but he was very antsy in changing his position which led to him losing position a few times. All in all not a great fight, but a good submission.
Fight #3: Cody Griffin (5-2) Vs. Ryan Martinez (6-1) (Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals)
Round One: These guys are big heavyweights, and not in a necessarily good way - think Roy Nelson at 260. A feeling out process, both men are hesitant to step into the others power. Griffin feints a couple jabs, Martinez moves forward with some leg kicks. Griffin throws a wildly inaccurate jab, Martinez connects with a jab to Griffins face, Martinez rushes in and lands a flurry, but Griffin lands a counter and slips away. Griffin is bleeding from his right eye. Martinez lands a kick to the ribs and then moved in not landing anything damaging. Griffin is tentative, throwing fakes; Martinez is controlling the cage, and connects with a huge and very loud kick to the ribs. Martinez continues with his powerful leg kicks, Griffins leg looks like chewed meat. Martinez pushes forward again but gets pushed back by Griffin. Schiavello just let us know he's on the edge of his seat – I'm not. Little jabs and weak kicks end the round.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 Martinez. He was a lot more active, controlling the cage landing some incredibly powerful leg kicks and opening up that cut above Griffins eye. He was definitely the aggressor over the round, while Griffin has taken on the role of passive punching bag.
Round Two: Both fighters come out; Martinez takes the center while Griffin circles to the right. Martinez throws a leg kick that hit nothing but Griffins cup, ref gives them a break. That looked like it hurt, in fact I feel a sudden need to plug in Schiavellos line "shaking the John Smallies" were back, they touch gloves, more leg kicks from Martinez, Griffins allowing himself to be walked down, body kick by Martinez, jabs by Griffin with some showboating, Griffins chin is out far enough to make Jay Leno jealous. More feeling out as we move along here, a lot of circling and wide punches, Griffin has finally started checking those leg kicks. And as quick as he started, he has stopped checking them, allowing his lead leg to take more damage. Martinez is just lighting up Griffins legs, and has basically accounted for all of the relevant offense. Griffin feints in a couple times with jabs, to no avail. The ref is telling them to actually do something, which they are currently not obliging, Martinez lands a good right, now Griffin is pushing the pace chasing down Martinez, not all that successfully. Another body kick by Martinez, and he ends with a flurry with Griffins back to the cage.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 Martinez. Again almost all of the offense was from Martinez here, Cody Griffins lead leg looks absolutely awful, and he needs to start checking these kicks. Not a lot of punches landed that round, but Martinez controlled the pace for the majority of the round, Griffin hasn't shown much of anything thus far in the bout. Griffin is pushing forward again, showboating and trash talking; it doesn't seem to be doing much of anything so far. Martinez keeps landing those kicks and Griffin keeps landing a lot of nothing, Martinez just landed a huge right hook and Griffin was shaken, but back in the fight quickly. This round is just a beating upon Griffins legs, as he hasn't checked anything and is visibly limping. Martinez is moving in for more punches and leaving his hands down reminding Griffin that he gave up 15 minutes of chances, and they end in a less than incredible exchange that leads us to the final bell.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 Martinez – Griffin offered less than nothing this round, he took a beating to his legs to the point of limping, and Martinez just swept this fight bell to bell.
Winner by Unanimous Decision (30-27 30-27 29-28) - Ryan Martinez
Star Rating: (*-) This was not a very exciting fight, nor was it action packed. Cody Griffin was completely outmatched by Martinez's striking, and he definitely has a lot of potential in his game for bigger endeavors. His leg kicks were particularly brutal, but with this being a completely one sided fight, I can't give it even a full star. It felt like an eternity of leg kicks.
Fight #4 Richard Odoms (6-0) Vs. Jake Heun (2-1)
Dear ProElite – Never use this announcer lady again, she makes me want to pop my ear drums with one of my daughters pick up sticks.
Round One: Huen looks tiny next to Odoms, we're on and fighting. Huen absolutely slams Odoms to the ground and jumps straight to the mount. Holy moly that was a big slam on an even bigger man who has a 30 pound weight advantage. He works some ground and pound and Huen rolls for an arm bar, but Odoms uses his insane strength and power his way out and into Huens guard. Huens is attempting a sweep and gives Odoms his back, now Odoms is working for a choke but Huen works back to his feet and gets a muay thai clinch. He lands a high knee before Odoms moves him back to the cage. Nothing doing against the cage, Huen maneuvers and takes Odoms back down. And he takes Odoms back easily. Huen has one hook in pounding on Odoms, now Odoms powers out and gets Huen into his guard, but quickly Huen passes to side control, and Odoms rolls to give Huen his back again. Huens rolls for a leg lock after some punches to the head, Huen releases the leg lock and Odoms is going for a heel hook, Huen is pounding on Odoms now, Odoms is in trouble finally he trips Huen, Odoms has Huen in a knee bar, while Huen is working towards the heel hook on Odoms. Huen is trying to get back to his feet, but their stuck in this awkward scissor position. Finally the bell rings.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 Huen, with the explosive slams Huen barely took this round, it could have easily been 10-10 if he didn't pull those both off, Odoms had some explosive breaks free from the submission attempts and tried to lock in a few of his own.
Round Two: The fighters come out and Odoms takes the center, landing an inside leg kick. Huen gets a body lock and pushes Odoms to the cage, where Odoms lands some knees and manages to get Huen to the ground, before jumping back up himself, clinched against the cage now; Huens throws Odoms straight into side control. Huen is working to the mount, and now has it. He's slowly working some ground and pound; Odoms gives up his back again, and rolls Huen over and Odoms gets into his guard. Odoms takes Huen's back and locks in the submission, Huen taps!
Winner by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) At 1:56 of Round 2 – Richard Odoms
Star Rating: (**+) Great display of grappling and submission skills in the first around along with some pretty intense slams. Round two was fitting to be the same but Huen was clearly gassed and Odoms took the opportunity to choke him out. Not a bad fight, quite exciting for the short time it lasted.
Fight 5: Hitomi Akano (18-8) Vs. Sarah McMann (4-0)
Round One: They take the center, McMann taking the center and throwing some strikes, Akano is hesitant to lock up with Sara. Sarah takes a double leg and is caught in a guillotine; she powers out and gets side control. Sarah is denying Akano any chance to break free of her grip. Shes landing some ground strikes to the body, and is now in half guard. Akano is holding onto her doing whatever she can to control poster and slow down the strikes to her body. McMann tries to posture up and loses position to the guard. Sara is working back to half guard, and makes it, but is quickly pushed back to guard, landing a couple right hands. Akano throws her legs up looking for a submission but Sara lands a punch in return. McMann is working the body really well, and now the ref stands them up. McMann has a huge reach advantage, 8 inches and is trying to use it. McMann side steps a leg kick and drops Akano on her back very hard, and into side control with some knees going to the body. She works to the full mount and winds up taking her back. Akano has good wrist control so far, McMann is trying to free her hands up now back to the mount and she's dropping punches at Akano, we get the bell for the end of the first round.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 McMann – she controlled the entire round with her wrestling, her skills on the ground are incredible, she showed some serious power with her slams and is downright scary to watch fight.
Round Two: We're back for round two, McMann and Akano both jump to the center, McMann slams Akano to the mat again, and gets half guard. Shes pounding on Akanos body, Akano rolled for an arm bar and wound up getting guard back. Akano has Sara's arm locked up really well and a very high guard, Sara powers out again, and Akano almost has a triangle in, she just needs to lock the feet, but Sara again uses her power to break free. Sara lands a short right to Akanos face, and Akano keeps working up that high guard, but to no avail. The ref stands them back up. Sara lands a huge right hand to Akano and rocks her, and follows her to the cage, Akano seems to have recovered, but is back peddling, McMann shows some inside leg kicks, and takes Akano down again. Akano is trying for a shoulder lock, but Sara is holding firm. Sara just picked her up with one arm and re-slammed her, and moves to take Akanos back, but winds up in her guard. McMann has taken a thumb to the eye, and they stand the fight back up. McMann immediately pancakes Akano back to the mat and lands in half guard, not a lot going on in this grappling war, Akano lands a number of shots to the top of McManns head as the round closes out.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 McMann – again she controlled the entire round, and landed some huge strikes, Akano offered very little in return and basically got tossed around like a ragdoll again. McMann is legitimately scary at 135 pounds.
Round Three: Coming out for round 3, McMann lands a kick and immediately gets the weirdest takedown I've ever seen, she just kind of jumped on her. Shes in full guard, with one butterfly in by Akano, but McMann's body shots are clearly hurting Akano. Good shots coming from McMann, to both the body and face. Akano is trying to raise her guard for a triangle or arm bar, but McMann is using her power to stall the position. Akano has McManns head and arm trapped, but McMann is fighting out of it, still stuck but working her way out of it while Akano lands strikes to the head, McMann is landing knees to the glutes, and finally breaks free and lands a big right hand to Akanos head. The ref stands them back up. McMann moves in with a big flurry and ties Akano up against the cage and slams her to the matt again like a ragdoll, her power is incredible. Half guard here for Akano, McMann working her way on top, and some ground and pound, now back to full guard. McMann is avoiding the high guard again from Akano, who is desperately trying to a submission; McMann just moves to the side and gets back into half guard. Akano stands back up and throws a great left into McManns head, but Sara picked her up and slammed her again. And that's the end of the fight.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 McMann - superior control, and some very powerful and scary slam from how Akano was landing. McMann is going to be a powerhouse in this division; Akano was beaten in every aspect of the game.
Winner by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x 3) - Sara McMann
Star Rating: (*+) The slams were really fun to watch while Sara absolutely dominated Akano, but other than that there wasn't a whole lot going on. Very impressive and dominant showing from McMann and she has a great future in the sport, especially if she stays in the 135 division, her wrestling is the best I've seen in a long time. Domination domination domination is all that I can say to describe the entirety of this fight.
Fight #6: Minowaman (51-32-8) Vs. Kendall "Da Spyder" Grove (13-9) (Middleweight)
Round One: Grove has B.J. Penn in his corner. Minowaman has the weirdest entrance I've ever seen. No touch of the gloves. Grove comes out using his kicks to establish distance. Minowaman throws a very wild overhand right and misses, Grove walks him down and throws a big right. Leg kick from Minowaman, whose name to type is really awkward. Grove lands a couple punches and misses on a head kick. Minowaman does a somersault to get away from the cage –very odd. Grove doesn't find it funny; he's stepping up the leg kicks. Grove lands a good front kick, Minowaman throws his hands up and Kendall obliges with a front kick to the chest. Minowaman drives Grove up against the cage, stalling here and he gets Grove down with a single leg. Grove is trying to wall walk back up, but Minowaman grabs onto a double leg to keep him down. Full guard now from Grove, and has him very well tied up, trying to roll over for an arm bar with the cages assistance which didn't work out, Grove can't seem to get off of his back, but seems to be in no imminent danger. That's the end of the round.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 Minowaman – Once he got Grove to the ground, he kept him there very well, he didn't do any real damage on the ground but controlling the round for that long gave him the advantage. Grove needs to keep it on the feet.
Round Two: Grove looks amped taking the center immediately. He chases down Minowaman with kicks and punches but eventually gives up chase. Grove controlling the pace, Minowaman fakes a takedown, and Grove is back to walking him down. Minowaman shoots for a single leg but gets stuffed and rolls onto his back scooting after Grove on the ground. Ref stands him back up, and Grove seems irritated by Minowamans antics, Minowaman drives through on a double leg but the cage saves Grove who drops on top of Minowaman in half guard. Some decent ground and pound with his fists by Grove, and some elbows to the body. Hammer fists are dropping and Grove goes for a D'arce choke, but Minowaman breaks free. Grove takes his back and locks in a body triangle; Minowaman is in trouble Kendall is working to break his hands free of Minowamans grip. Grove lands a couple of punches to Minowamans head from the back and loses the body triangle, but keeps his hooks. Now he is moving for a mount, but winds up on the back still landing punches and locks in a not very deep choke as the bell rings.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-9 Grove – he dominated from bell to bell in that round, stuffing the takedowns and maneuvering to his back as well as the attempted D'arce choke, I have it one round apiece so Round 3 may be the great deciding factor.
Round Three: Grove immediately takes the center and backs Minowaman to the cage, Minowaman comes forward with a jumping overhand right but misses, shoots for a single leg, and grove drops to his knees to hold him in place and stop the takedown. Kendall is dropping hammer fist bombs on Minow's head. Kendall sprawls out and takes the back, and puts in both hooks and rolls over Minowaman. One hook falls out but as they roll Grove lands in full mounts. He's using a very high mount and Minowaman gives up his back gain, while Grove works for a submission. Grove locks the body triangle back in, and is landing short shots to free up his hands, Grove almost had a rear naked choke but the arm wasn't completely under the neck. Grove keeps working for the submission but Minowaman has great wrist control. The body triangle has been broken as Minowaman rolls over and Grove continues to hold on. This is a war for the rear naked choke. Minowaman is defending with what little energy he has left as Grove continues to work for the choke and locks in the body triangle on the half-standing Minowaman who looks completely gassed. The final bell rings as Grove releases the body triangle.
Brad's Scorecard: 10-8 Grove, he controlled that round better than I would have ever imagined. He had the back most of the round, and absolutely made Minowaman fight for every extra second of the fight. Many shots at a choke but none were successful, and Minowaman just put up nothing at all.
Winner by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3) - Kendall Grove
Star Rating: (*+) -This was not an incredible exciting fight, Minowaman's tactics that go over in Japan with pro-wrestling like maneuvers were just kind of hokey and don't belong in the cage. Grove should have had a submission somewhere in this fight and somehow didn't even come close. Grove doesn't look like a better fighter than he was when UFC let him go, I don't expect to see him on a large stage anytime soon. As for Minowaman I would rather not see him fight again... ever.
This card was lackluster in all aspects. The fights that went to decision were one sided for the most part. Sara McMann provided some excitement with her throws and hard slams that were very impressive. The heavyweights provided a finish, but nothing that was worth going back to watch. Schermerhorns knockout in the very first fight was the only really exciting moment of the whole card. It was an improvement from ProElite 2, but still not something the casual MMA fan is going to sit and watch without wanting to mash the fast-forward button just to get past all the irrelevant crap going on in the background. The matchups were poor, the fighters were unimpressive (minus McMann) and nothing is worth trying to watch. Do yourself a favor and don't go out of your way to watch this card.
I'm going to go sneeze and immediately forget this card, because it is more forgettable than anything else I've watched in the last few months. A strip tease by Cabbage Carreira would have been less painful to watch.
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Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
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