IE Grapevine Updates

Bellator MMA in the Pechanga Ballroom provides audience with interesting fights

Goti Yamaguchi

Writer Nik Gonzales poses with Goti Yamaguchi, an MMA fighter in the competition

Here are some things that you should know about MMA:

Firstly, MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts because every fighter is trained in several different fighting styles. Boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, wrestling. Why do they do this you might ask? Because MMA is full contact and the fight is not halted when someone is knocked to the ground.

In fact, whole rounds can take place on the canvas. So long as blows are defended, the fight continues. There is still hope. You can try and get back to your feet, or go for a submission victory. A submission consists of “tapping out” or your corner “throwing in the towel” to avoid being beaten to unconsciousness or sustaining an injury (such as a broken arm).

The Grand Ballroom looks like a great big Halloween party this evening, save for the television cameras and octagon. It’s foggy, crowded, very loud, and the Cupid Shuffle is inexplicably playing over the PA system. The first fight of the night is between Savio Kosic and Hector Ramirez.

Kosic paces in his corner while Ramirez takes a lap around the cage to warm up. The bell rings; Kosic leads with a head kick and quickly takes his opponent to the ground, but Ramirez manages to get into a dominant position and keeps Kosic on his back.

Referee Mike Beltran lets them stay on the ground for nearly the entire first round instead of invoking the stand up rule, which is used to make the fighters get up when combat is not advancing and the fighters are merely resting on the ground.

Round two begins with an eye gouge from Kosic. Ramirez is given a few seconds to compose himself and then it’s back to business. Kosic tries for the guillotine choke, but instead knees Ramirez in the testicles. He is rewarded with boos from the crowd.

After collecting himself, Ramirez beats Kosic to the ground and keeps him there for the remainder. Kosic is clearly dazed; his right eye is badly beaten.

The third and final round is underway. Kosic keeps distance with his kicks and manages to control the pace until Ramirez gets fed up, shoots, and takes Kosic to the ground. Cries of “finish him” and “return the favor” can be heard throughout the crowd.

Kosic intermittently tries to escape, and successfully does so a mere 10 seconds before the fight is over. We go to the cards- unanimous decision victory for Ramirez.

The second fight is between Andy Murad and Gavin Sterritt. Murad, the thicker fighter, pushes Sterritt against the fence and periodically delivers punishing head shots. he then takes Sterritt to the ground and unsuccessfully tries for the arm bar.

The round ends with Sterritt on his back, the lion’s share of the points clearly going to Murad (you get nine points for finishing a round and 10 for having more effective striking/grappling).

The second round begins with an exchange of kicks before Murad take Sterritt to the fence and then to the ground. Sterritt gets back to his feet, but Murad pins him to the cage (as the shorter man, he is getting up close and personal where Sterritt’s superior reach means nothing). Sterritt breaks free and manages to cut Murad’s right eye, which gushes blood. Murad remains steadfast in his resolve and takes Sterritt to the ground and keeps him there until the round’s end, covering his opponent in sweat and blood.

The final round is here. Murad keeps Sterritt at bay with push kicks until he is ready to make his move. He grabs ahold of Sterritt’s left leg and pulls up, bringing his opponent to the canvas. Murad then breaks free and returns to his feet.

After a momentary pause, where the ringside doctor checks Murad’s cut, the fight is over. We go to the judges’ score cards. They award a split decision victory to Gavin Sterritt.

The third fight of the night (one of the clear standouts) is between Musa Toliver and Goiti Yamauchi. Toliver takes Yamauchi to the ground mere seconds after the bell rings, which proves to be a fatal mistake. As it turns out, the canvas is Yamauchi’s playground- he defeats Toliver with a rear naked choke less than a minute into the fight. T

he next fight between Manny Lara and Blagoi Ivanov is equally short lived. Ivanov pushes Lara into the fence and gets his feet out from under him, taking him out with the guillotine choke a minute and a half in.

Next, we have the fight between Andrew Fisher and Joe Taimanglo. Fisher enters the ring to Jason Mraz’s, “I’m Yours.” No greater fight song, am I right?

“Baby Joe” Taimanglo is a force of nature, not a man to be trifled with. He is the embodiment of the phrase “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” He pins and flips his much larger opponent several times in the first round alone.

Round two is all about distance. Fisher does his damnedest to avoid Baby Joe, while Taimanglo picks his punches, smiling when his opponent manages to land a frightened strike.

By round three Fisher’s nose is bloody and there is a small cut under Taimanglo’s left eye. Unfortunately, the third round is nearly identical to the second. We go to the cards- the judges award a unanimous decision victory to “Baby Joe” Taimanglo.

The battle between Justin Wilcox and Akop Stepanyan is another one of the standouts of the night. Round one is both men feeling each other out, each one testing their opponent.

The second round is high intensity. Stepanyan utilizes his spin kicks and throws punches while his opponent is dazed. Wilcox still manages to take Stepanyan off his feet after a devastating kick to the back of Wolcox’s head. The resulting cut gushes blood and it is likely the ringside doctor will stop the fight.

Wilcox knows he has precious little time. He seizes his opportunity when it presents itself, defeating his dangerous opponent with a rear naked choke.

Next up, we have Houston Alexander and Vladimir Matyushenko. Alexander immediately showcases his considerable power, but Matyushenko takes him to the ground, twice going for a submission.

The second round sees Alexander clearly afraid of his larger adversary, trying to pace himself and pick his punches and being rewarded only with boos from the crowd.

Round three is here, and Alexander spends most of his time face down on the canvas with Matyushenko on top of him, not going for a submission. He’s doing what I call the “Big Brother” technique. This consists of smothering your younger, smaller opponent with your weight.

The bell rings, the judges deliberate, and finally award a unanimous decision victory to Matyushenko.

Then we have the fight between Desmond Green and Fabricio Guerreiro. If you can call it that. Both men are too fast to really land a hit on the other, so only a few blows connect. Green goes for a takedown late into the first round, but does not succeed in getting any sort of leverage.

Round two is punctuated by Guerreiro kicking Green in the testicles, and Green throwing him to the ground in turn as the round comes to an end. Green, by the way, has “MMA Overload” printed over his crotch and “” printed across the back. And if there is any time to promote safe sex, it’s right now with two scantily clad men beating each to a pulp and wrestling on the ground.

As round three progresses, it becomes clear that both men would rather try for the takedown than the knockout. The fight ends rather disappointingly with a unanimous decision for Guerreiro.

It’s now time for the final televised fight of the night between Diego Nunes. and Patricio Pitbull. This is the main event.

Pitbull claims that what he does to Nunes tonight is nothing personal, it is simply a promise he made to a dear friend who is now dead that he would be a world champion. And so far, it is a promise kept. He knocks Nunes out in less than a minute.

The last fight of the night is between two local boys- Nick Moghaddam and Virgil Zwicker.

Zwicker immediately goes to work on Moghaddam, hammering him with hot after shot. He defeats him with a TKO victory late into the first round. He is easily the most aggressive and undisputed champion of the evening.


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