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By Rich Hansen, MMA Torch Columnist
MAY 25, 2012
LIVE FROM TAMPA, FLORIDA
FIGHT ONE: MARIUS ZAROMSKIS VS. WAACHIIM SPIRITWOLF
ROUND ONE: Troy Waugh is the third man in the cage for this trilogy fight. Zaromskis took the middle of the cage before the bell rang. Spiritwolf is trying to get inside early. A surprisingly long feeling out process to start the fight, given their history. So far just some Leonard Garcia-ing and some leg kicks. Zaromskis’ jab is starting to find a home. Zaromskis used the jab to set up a nice uppercut, and then he backs out again. Three minutes in, not a lot of action. Spiritwolf is looking to land a big left, but can’t find his range. One must have landed, because Zaromskis is bleeding from the left eye. Spiritwolf with a hook, which leaves the door open for a counter straight right by Zaromskis. Zaromskis is fighting a very technical fight, coming in behind every jab and then getting out before Spiritwolf can unload. Zaromskis lands a big knee near the end of the round. 10-9 Zaromskis
ROUND TWO: Zaromskis races to the middle as the opening bell rings again. Spiritwolf is throwing wild hooks, literally pirouetting as he misses. Spiritwolf landed the left hook. Spiritwolf is really looking for a one punch finish tonight. Spiritwolf shoots off of a right hand, but he got stuffed, and Zaromskis landed a bomb as he separated from the failed shot. Zaromskis is doing a much better job tonight of staying outside and controlling the range. Spritwolf is eating a lot of Zaromskis jabs when he misses with the wild left hook. Nice left to the body by Zaromskis. Zaromskis continues to go back to the body. Nice right by Spiritwolf, countered by another body punch by Zaromskis. Spiritwolf is getting frustrated, even though he’s landing his fair share as well. This fight is tedious. 10-9 Zaromskis, barely.
ROUND THREE: There’s been a lot of air getting punched really hard so far tonight. Kimmy Smith also has the fight 20-18, for what it’s worth. Spiritwolf just missed a left hook by a full yard. Not only does he not set them up, but they are slooooooooooow. Zaromskis isn’t taking the bait. Spiritwolf has spent a lot of the fight adjusting his right glove. Zaromskis is continuing the stick and move strategy this round. The pace has slowed, and Spiritwold is going backwards now. Nice right-left combo by Zaromskis, with the left landing very flush. Two minutes left, thankfully. Spiritwolf just punched the hell out of the air three feet away from Zaromskis’ head once again. Spiritwolf shoots a double, but got stuffed badly. The crowd is booing now. Finally. I kind of wish this were on my DVR so I could skip ahead. And by the way, Zaromskis is punching his fair share of air, too. Hey, that rhymes. One minute left. I wonder what is on HGTV. Zaromskis ducked under a right hand and grazed Spiritwolf with a head kick. Spiritwolf shoots again, and got stuffed yet again. 10-9 Zaromskis. 30-27 Zaromskis Yuck. God forbid there’s a bad decision here, leading to a fourth fight to make-good.
WINNER: Marius Zaromski by incomprehensible split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**) I’ve seen worse. Zaromskis wasn’t impressive, but he was certainly better than Spiritwolf. Zaromskis used to follow up his jab with kicks, he didn’t do that much tonight. If he gets into the next WW tournament, he’s going out in the first round. Neither guy are particularly good at fighting.
FIGHT TWO: TIM CARPENTER VS. TRAVIS WIUFF
ROUND ONE: James Warring is the referee. Two bald, pale white guys with bad ink. This won’t be easy for me. Big right by Wiuff. Wiuff lands another and has Carpenter hurt. Wiuff pushes him into the cage, in order to let Carpenter recover. Oh well. Foot stomps by Carpenter. Carpenter is trying to work the body, and he’s landing low. More than one low blow, and Wiuff crumples. Fight is being paused. Warring just gave a ‘second warning’ to Carpenter. Two minutes later we restart, but Wiuff wasn’t given back his dominant position. Wiuff with a takedown off of a kick, in the middle of the cage. Carpenter is comfortable off his back. Closed guard, trying to work a high guard. Carpenter is throwing a high volume of short lefts from the bottom. Herb Dean would have stood them up three times by now. He would have stood them up, sat them back down, and stood them up again. Which is my professional way of saying there’s no action here. Carpenter still has a high guard, but hasn’t gotten close to a triangle or armbar from the bottom. Wiuff is doing nothing on top other than short hammerfists. To be fair, this is what Wiuff wants. I mean, there are no fight of the night bonuses in Bellator for him to lose out on. 10-9 Wiuff
ROUND TWO: Wiuff got the takedown about 3 seconds into round 2. Wiuff doing what he wants, which is to spend most of each round on top and grind out a decision. 90 seconds in, Carpenter has snaked his way to the fence, hoping to get into position to wallwalk. Carpenter has been warned twice about Carpenter grabbing the fence. Warring orders a standup at the 2:30 mark. He gave Wiuff more than two minutes to do something, which I think is fair. Upon the restomp, Wiuff pushed Carpenter into the cage. Wiuff picked Carpenter up, carried him across the diameter of the cage, and slammed him into the base of the fence in his own corner. Well done by Wiuff. Warring stood them up 30 seconds later. That’s how you do it. Give them ample time the first time, and less time from there on out. I like this ref James Warring. Clinch in the middle of the cage. Wiuff presses Carpenter into the cage, and is working the body. Carpenter looks for a standing guillotine. Pulls guard, but slipped off and Wiuff is on top with fifteen seconds left. Wiuff lands one notable right hand. 10-9 Wiuff
ROUND THREE: Wiuff gets inside, pushed Carpenter into the cage, drops for a double, switched to a single, and gets the takedown to closed guard. James Warring is a really good referee. After the nutshot in the first, he let Wiuff know he had 5 minutes, but then backed off and got out of his face. He came over every 30 seconds to tell him to take his time, but then got out. Well done. And then he gave Wiuff a lot of time to get some action going, but eventually stood them up. Once Wiuff went comatose on top for 30 seconds after the next takedown, Warring gave him less rope and stood him up much faster that time. Anyhow, back to the fight. Closed guard, Wiuff is landing short lefts, Carpenter can’t get a triangle, and that’s that. Apparently, Wiuff is talking to Jimmy Smith while in top position. That’s kind of bad-ass. 10-9 Wiuff. 30-27 Wiuff
WINNER: Travis Wiuff by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**) I gave this the same rating as the Zaromskis fight, but I liked this much more. If you’re going to make me choose between tedious standup, tedious cage clinch fighting, or tedious ground fighting, I’m taking the ground fight every time. I’m tired of sloppy kickboxing. That said, this was tedious and unimaginative. The highlight of the fight (WARNING – DAMNING WITH FAINT PRAISE TO COMMENCE IN 3, 2, 1) was the performance of referee James Warring. He recognized that even though the fight was dull, Wiuff was active (although dull. And dull.) from the top, and even Carpenter was active on the bottom. He gave Wiuff a lot of time to work, but once Wiuff got inactive enough to be stood up once, Warring didn’t give Wiuff nearly the same amount of time to go limp ever again. His competent officiating kept the fighters active.
- Just so you know, Gentle Reader, I was in the process of making an amaretto sour with bourbon when the Vegh fight went to ring intros, so it’s just sitting in a mixer because I wanted to make sure to stay live. I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I make for you children.
FIGHT THREE: EMANUEL NEWTON VS. ATTILA VEGH
ROUND ONE: Newton wants to clinch, Vegh wants to strike from the outside. Newton misses with a couple of feeler leg kicks. Vegh throwing out a couple of jabs. Vegh initiates an exchange, and gets the last shot, a nice body kick to the hip of Newton. Newton flashing the jab to keep Vegh’s eyes busy. Vegh comes in to clinch, surprisingly, and eats about 4 quick uppercuts. Whoops. Newton grabs Vegh and presses Vegh into the cage. Nothing comes of it as they disengage. Newton with a leg kick, to no effect. Newton’s trying to let his hands go a little more than one would expect. Vegh misses an uppercut. Newton is the busier fighter here so far, but that’s not saying much. Newton grabs a clinch in the middle, eats a knee, gets a takedown, but Vegh got back up immediately. 40 seconds left. 10-9 Newton the fight is being fought where Vegh wants it, but Newton is winning a close one so far.
ROUND TWO: Newton is doing a good job landing lots of leg kicks. Vegh is trying to walk through them. Vegh is staying on the outside, but doing very little so far. Vegh has Newton close to the fence, but he isn’t attacking. Strange. Newton clinches and presses Vegh into the cage. He’s got double underhooks, and just landed a nice knee to the jaw of Vegh. He’s got a full body lock, and is pushing Vegh’s head down to throw more high knees. Newton drops low for the takedown, but Vegh shoves him off and we’re back to the middle. Newton connects partially with a spinning back kick, he’s getting very comfortable. Vegh refuses to come forward at all, and it’s costing him. He must be scared of the clinch something fierce.Newton is fighting the fight at Vegh’s range, and winning. Nice side kick to the body by Newton. Vegh comes in with a good four punch combo, but that doesn’t seem to have hurt Newton at all. Overhand right and body kick from Newton. 10-9 Newton
ROUND THREE: Newton follows up a leg kick with a clinch. Nothing comes up it. Newton presses forward again. Vegh is landing equally during the flurries, but they are always flurries initiated by Newton. Newton catches a leg kick and gets Vegh’s back and takes him down, but Vegh pops up. Big knee by Vegh, followed by a body kick. But then Vegh retreats while Newton was stunned. Strange. Newton keeps coming forward, and generally gets the last shot during these exchanges. Vegh’s doing a better job in this round, but it’s not enough. Both guys are flicking the jab. Nice left uppercut by Vegh, but then he backs off. Again. Newton follows up a straight right by pressing Vegh into the fence. Another high knee by Newton. Newton just missed a foot stomp. That was funny. They disengage, and back to the middle. Newton comes forward with a right hand. Body kick by Newton. Side kick to the body by Newton. Big leg kick by Vegh, checked. Spinning back kick by Newton. 10-9 Newton. 30-27 Newton Vegh looked tentative throughout the entire fight. Nice fight for Newton, winning at Vegh’s game, as well as his own.
WINNER: Atitla Vegh by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**+) That was a good fight, ruined by a crap decision. That was a disgusting decision. The fifteen fans in attendance that care are booing. That said, the fight itself was a lot of fun. Their styles meshed well, and Newton had Vegh confused, passive, and on the defensive a good amount of time. Vegh didn't fight poorly, I could think of a dozen worse decisions, but it was totally unjust. I'm looking forward to seeing Newton more than I want to see Vegh again.
FIGHT FOUR: RUDY BEARS VS. PAUL DALEY
ROUND ONE: Troy Waugh is the third man in the cage tonight. Daley opens with a couple kicks, the first of which was high. Both missed. Bears needs to avoid the left hook and get this into the third round. Daley flicking the jab from distance, and lands a nice leg kick once Bears got hypnotized by it. Bears with a low kick of his own. Daley lands a lunging jab, but Bears was in no position to counter it. Daley missed a head kick, but it backed Bears up. Bears charges in, Daley grabs the thai clinch and lands a couple knees before being pushed into the cage. Bears drops down, trying to get a takedown, but Daley’s got good head control and isn’t going anywhere. Nice hips by Daley, too. Daley presses forward and lands a nice knee which has Bears scrambling for a desperation takedown. Left hook to the body, and this fight is over. Bears crumpled, landed one standing shot to Bears who was on all fours, and Waugh stopped the fight. Violent left hook by Paul Daley, go figure. On further review, that hook might have clipped Bears on the chin, not the body. Hard to tell for sure, basedon the camera angle, and Bears being bent over as the hook was being thrown. Either way, Daley wins easily.
WINNER: Paul Daley by TKO at 2:45 of round one.
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**+) No one has ever doubted Daley’s entertainment value. Just get him in the ring with Douglas Lima already!
- On further review, the hook was to the chin. But the strike after that was directly to the back of Bears’ head. Mario Yamasaki would have awarded the fight to Carlo Prater.
- They aired Ben Saunders’ prelim victory over Brian Warren. Saunders landed a standing knee, got the plum, landed seven knees from the clinch, Warren collapsed, Saunders finished him off on the ground. Saunders in 22 seconds by TKO.
FIGHT FIVE: BRYAN BAKER VS. KARL AMOUSSOU
ROUND ONE: James Warring is the referee again. Yay! Baker and Amoussou throw simultaneous front kicks, but Amoussou drops and pops back up. Baker throws a right, and poked Amoussou in the eye. Warring caught it and paused the fight. Amoussou is okay, and we’re back. Baker threw a lunging side kick, Amoussou tripped him, rolled for a heel hook, and it’s all over. Holy crap on a stick! That was a flying inverted heel hook! Unreal submission; and Baker tapped in less than a second. Phenomenal! Other exclamations of awe! More exclamation points!
WINNER: Karl Amoussou by submission (heel hook) at 0:56 of round one.
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (***+) WOW! But can he do that to Ben Askren when Askren is on top in guard pressing his forearm into Amoussou's jaw? That's the great thing about the fight game; we're going to get to find out.
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