Bellator 131-38

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Scott Coker has been around for a while. Very few have a greater understanding of the ins and outs of MMA. So his hiring by Viacom to replace Bjorn Rebney as the head of Bellator MMA  seemed like the best choice. As the last of the tournaments under the old regime wouned down, a lame duck period ensued which showed very little difference. The look and feel had not changed, the faces were the same, and the results reflected the lack of interest.

That lame duck period came to an end with Bellator 131, In fact that period came to a screeching halt! Bonnar vs. Ortiz provided the perfect stage for Scott Coker and Viacom to unveil there re-branded image. The fighters now entered the cage via a long walk way, reminiscent of the old Japanese promotions. Some fighters like King Mo, Joe Vedepo, Tito Ortiz, and Stephan Bonnar came complete with entourages to escort them to the cage. The added pomp may not add to the excitement of the fight, but it certainly does improve the image of a promotion that was in desperate need of one!

The fight card itself may not have had title implications for anyone outside of Michael Chandler and Will Brooks, but it was very well matched as even the preliminary bouts provided a good show. The fights simply made sense. King Mo and Joe Vedepo faced off in the curtain jerker that opened the Spike broadcast. King Mo overwhelmed Vedepo from the opening round in what proved to be a one sided match although an entertaining one.

In perhaps the best fight of the evening, Glory alums Joe Schilling and Melvin Manhoef engaged in a back and forth war that saw both fighters nearly finished before a short right hook from Schilling ended the affair. Half way through the second frame Manhoef appeared to have to edge on the scorecards. In the first round Manhoef had Schilling on his back and in trouble as the ground and pound rained down. However Schilling was able to roll out of trouble, establish his guard, and ride out the round before ending the fight with one punch.

Mike Richman made perhaps the loudest statement of the night when he knocked out Nam Phan in under a minute. He then proceeded to challenge title holder Joe Warren who was cage side providing commentary for the fight. ‘The Marine’ has looked extremely impressive since he dropped down in weight, and with the win he finds himself on a short list of fighters who deserve a shot at the title.

When Michael Chandler and Will Brooks entered the cage to battle for the then interim lightweight title, everyone expected a war. The first round was a back and forth battle for position, similar to their last engagement. Brooks and Chandler battled for 3 rounds with Brooks appearing to get the better of Chandler.

Then in the fourth round Brooks cracked Chandler with a right hand that left the former champion struggling to find his senses. He appeared to ask for a stoppage, at first it appeared as if Chandler was poked in the eye, however replays confirm that he was on queer street and the punch’s effects had him essentially saying ‘No Mas’! The win for Brooks solidifies his claim as the legitimate world champion, while Chandler must find a way to rebound from his third consecutive loss.

Skepticism is fickle. Once the cage door is closed the hype disappears and performances are defined. I like most at first, felt like watching through interlaced fingers, the fear of having to witness a fraud unfold motivating me to vaguely hide my eyes. Fortunately both Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar removed that fear just seconds into their entertaining 3 round fight.

Both guys played to their strengths, as Tito Ortiz looked to ground the superior striking of  Stephan Bonnar. Early on Ortiz stalked the ‘American Psycho’ and blasted through his legs with quick single leg take downs, and later a power double that kept Bonnar grounded for most of the fight. The fight appeared to be a 30-27 clear cut win for Tito Ortiz, however one judge saw the fight 29-28 for Bonnar, awarding Ortiz with the split decision win.

The evening ended up being a return of sorts. After speaking with Scott Coker  it is obvious that Bellator MMA is heading in the right direction. The open minded leader referred to the possibility of tournaments in the future, they make sense as long as you are not beholden to them. The idea is to create an environment where fighters want to fight, to create an experience that the fans feel a part of and not just witness too. Last night an old idea forged in the spirit of martial arts was unveiled to an audience that wants to be a part of something.

The idea to return to the once a month format seems to make sense. The sport is currently over saturated, causing the growth rate of the sport to slow. With Coker on board the Viacom-Bellator MMA conglomerate seems destined to succeed. Hopefully the symphony created as a result  between Coker and Viacom carries a tune we can all dance to for a while. In a world where the UFC is practically rammed down our throats it will be nice to have a viable alternative.

 

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Bellator 131-8

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

If you have watched a Joe Schilling fight once your hooked. As a fight fanatic I find him to be the combat sports equivalent of heroine. Each fight leaves you craving another. His Glory days always satisfied my voracious habit, because I knew he was fighting at least three times that night! Schilling possesses tremendous skill but there is something else about the man that makes you love the fighter.

Making his transition back to mixed martial arts from kick boxing, Shilling changes his venue as well, from the ring to the cage. Welcoming him in his transition was Melvin Manhoef. A man who has made a career out of switching back and forth between disciplines. Manhoef came out hot and landed right away. Schilling appeared tentative at first, but weathered the first barrages from Manhoef.

Manhoef somehow brought the fight to the ground where he looked to drop some heavy fists. Schilling was very close to being stopped as several blows prompted the referee to move in close. However, Schilling survived by rolling through and closed his guard around Manhoef who could not seem to break posture.

The second frame began with both fighters trading back and forth. Then as if a switch were thrown, the lights went out and the fight was over. Schilling after eating a few punches appeared to tense up before unloading a IQ changing right hook that removed Manhoef from consciousness as he fell prone to the ground. Referee Mike Beltran dove in to prevent further damage but Schilling had already walked off, himself a witness too the big KO.

The win not only reestablishes Schilling as a mixed martial artist, it also comes at a very difficult time for the young father of two. Leading up to the fight, Schilling lost his father to cancer. A fighter to the end, Joe’s father found redemption in his son and pride in his forgiveness. The loss echoed Schillings thoughts leading up to the fight. As if that grief was not enough, Schillings cousin also passed away tragically before the fight.

Joe Schilling has a long way to go before establishing himself as a mixed martial artist. However he showcased in this fight a competent guard, and an understanding of how to neutralize his opponents attacks from the bottom. Granted Melvin Manhoef is not know for his grappling pedigree, still Schilling’s instincts got him out of a very tough situation.

In a night where many fighters put on their best efforts, Schilling’s star shined brighter than them all! He may be in the early stages of development but his star power is undeniable.

131

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

We will be on site, and reporting live from the Valley View Casino Center for tonight’s Bellator 131: Bonnar vs. Ortiz

Please tune in for our fight by fight coverage on live analysis. Photos will be uploaded tomorrow.

Main card (Spike TV at 9 p.m.)
Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar
Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks
Mo Lawal vs. Joe Vedepo
Melvin Manhoef vs. Joe Schilling
Nam Phan vs. Mike Richman

Undercard
Kyle Bolt vs. A.J. Matthews
Ron Henderson vs. Jonathan Santa Maria
Jordan Bailey vs. Alex Higley
Nick Garcia vs. Matthew Ramirez
Andy Murad vs. Bubba Pugh
Rolando Perez vs. Mark Vorgeas
Ian Butler vs. Joao Faria

Costumes and Carnage: Hollywood Fight Night 8.

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Videoed and Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

I guess you could say Matthew Spencer has been reborn in every sense of the word. Spiritually and Physically it would be difficult to find a more legitimate role model. Spencer works several full time jobs to support his family and still has time to train religiously! Not only physically, but spiritually as well. Spencer is an active member in his church and often provides spiritual counsel to younger fighters.

As an amateur, Spencer had become somewhat recognized as a pedigreed fighter with a well rounded skill set. After all, he trains with some of the best in their respected disciplines. Most fighters in the sport of mixed martial arts prefer to find a home. A one stop shop for all their training needs. Super camps like American Top Team in Coconut Creek Florida, or American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose California, and even Jackson’s MMA in Arizona provide this ‘all in one’ fight camp that  resonates with some of the best fighters in the world. Like those fighters, Spencer receives the same training, in mixed disciplines. However unlike most, Spencer calls three gyms home. ‘The Yard‘ Muay Thai, ‘Tapout‘ Los Angeles, and Eddie Bravo’s ‘10th Planet Jiu Jitsu‘ can claim a piece of Spencer, as he represents sort of a three headed monster created by all 3 labs.

That Franken-Fighter, assembled from parts strewn around LA, made his pro debut at Hollywood Fight Night 8 presented by Lights Out Promotions and Bash Boxing, and all went according to plan. His opponent Gabe Lopez proved to be pretty tough, powering out of a deep arm bar, before Suplexing Spencer on his head. Spencer held on to a guillotine choke that in hind sight he probably should have let go! Even still Spencer quickly recovered without ever sacrificing position, and eventually he was able to secure  the rear naked choke at the end of the first round.Lopez fought off several attempts, but once the forearm was under his chin he was forced  to tap.

The win, his first may have been expected. However the journey to the destination has been full of road blocks. Life presents several challenges in everyday life. Spencer is no different in this regard. How he handles these issues, however is what separates this man from the rest. His approach to fighting and to life remain the same. His faith is his armor, and his family his heart. His allegiances may be between three different teams, but that loyalty is stronger than most fighter who call one place home. He may be late to the dance, in terms of age, however after all he has overcome to get where he currently is, with the faith he has, I wouldn’t bet against him!

For  more on our Exclusive coverage please check out our full report at:

http://theclinchreport.com/2014/10/31/costumes-and-carnage-hollywood-fight-night-8/

 

 

 

Chaos 10.30-68

Right Hand Inspires the Plasma Shower!

 

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bash Boxing and Lights Out Promotions put on one hell of a show last night at Hollywood Fight Night 8. The event took place at the Florentine Gardens on Hollywood Blvd. Keeping with the spirit of Halloween several of the gorgeous ring card girls were dawning scantily clad costumes that at times made it difficult to watch the fights. After all, with a perfect ten dressed as a she devil, attentions tend to shift and quickly! In between the madness there were some pretty entertaining fights.

Several of the fighters were making their professional debuts. Although not well known names, these fellas gave all they had in the ring. On the boxing side of the card, Urmat Ryskeldiev (9-3-1) probably had the most impressive outing. Utilizing his superior speed, Ryskeldiev finished his opponent journeyman Bernardo Guereca (17-22-1) with a liver rattling shot on a level change. Once the referee surveyed the damage, the count wasn’t continued. Also winning via corner stoppage was Stanyslav Skorokhod (8-0). Skorokhod used his range to pick apart David Lopez (4-11-3) who proved to be too tough for his own good. After absorbing some heavy punishment the corner informed the inspector to “throw in the towel”, Now undefeated after 8 bouts a step up in competition is needed.

Former title contender Avtandil Khurtsidze (29-2-2) returned to form by systematically destroying perennial thorn Eddie Hunter in their 162 lbs bout. Khurtsidze led a charge throughout the fight behind his forehead, which caused many butts throughout the fight. Hunter early on gave as well as he received but eventually his combinations fell off, and instead looked for the home run shot that never came. Khurtsidze hammered the body of Hunter relentlessly and after it became apparent their was little he could do to swing the fight in his favor, the corner threw in the towel, giving Khurtsidze the TKO win.

The MMA portion of the card featured several of Southern California’s favorite sons including Derion Chapman, Richard Leroy, Thor Skancke, Daniel Clark, Dmitry Gerasimov, Bronson Casarez, Christian Bizaretty, Adel Al Tamimi, Gabriel Lopez, and Matthew Spencer.

Christian Bizaretty withstood an early attack from Adel Al Tamimi to earn a late first round TKO. Bizaretty once on the ground controlled Al Tamimi and reined down elbows from the mount prompting the stoppage from referee John McCarthy.

The same can be said of Tapout LA’s Matthew Spencer. His opponent Gabriel Lopez was able to suplex Spencer in WWF fashion, dropping him on the back of his head. However once the slam was completed, Spencer quickly recovered a hook, and immediately took the back. Lopez fought of a few armbar attempts, and a late choke, but eventually Spencer’s forearm slipped under the chin and his only choice was to tap or to sleep, he chose the earlier.

Bronson Casarez fighting out of Diamond MMA in Upland CA, on 5 days noticed outworked a very game Dmitry Gerasimov in what we thought was the best fight of the evening. Both fighters kept a furious pace, and threw defense to the wind in a classic brawl. When the score cards were read Casarez was declared the winner, however one score card read 30-27 giving Casarez every round. If you watched the fight there is no way this is possible. The guy who won probably should have, however I scored the bout the other way.

Even Ray Charles would have saw the third frame for Gerasimov. Once again the question is raised. What fight was that judge watching? The controversy despite its ridiculous judgement cannot shadow an amazing performance from a young fighter who has a bright future ahead of him. Casarez now 5-1 as a pro is back on track after a long layoff. Gerasimov’s stock also rises. Once again his reputation of putting on entertaining fights will continue to keep him relevant. Eventually a decision has to go his way.

House of Champions Derion Chapman, and Sityodtong LA’s Richard Leroy engaged in a heated bout that had the crowd on their feet the entire time.  Early on Chapman’s speed seem to give the much larger Leroy difficulty. Utilizing his jab, Chapman peppered Leroy blackening his eye, and causing a leak early. Leroy stayed patient and started to land some nasty dirty boxing late in the first round. In the second frame the power differential became more obvious as Leroy rocked Chapman several times. Once Leroy was able to ground Chapman’s lighting attack, he was able to secure a choke late in the 3rd round to ensure the win. Chapman whose size may see him down a weight class in the future, will certainly be heard from again.

Crowd favorite Thor Skancke took on a very tough Daniel Clark in the co-main event of the evening. Normally extremely aggressive, Skancke seemed hesitant early and that opened the door for Clark, who secured it shut with some vicious punches. The win brings Clark’s record as a pro to the left side of .500 at 3-2. The impressive first round stoppage over a well known fighter will raise Clark’s stock dramatically, while Skancke will have to return to the gym to continue to refine his craft.

More photos will be added as they are uploaded!

Avtandil "Tornado" Khurtsidze vs. Eddie Hunter

Co Main Event Boxing: Avtandil “Tornado” Khurtsidze vs. Eddie Hunter

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

“Hollywood Fight Night 8″ Weigh Ins confirm a fight card that is certain to entertain. All fighters were on weight, and bouts were made official as an evening of blended disciplines takes place at Florentine Gardens October 30th, with the first fight starting at 7 pm. The weigh ins were streamed live courtesy of Pugilpix.com

Promoters George Bastmajyan and Steve Bash have blended a a combat sports brew that is one part boxing, one part mixed martial arts, and three parts kick-ass action. This violent concoction is certain to leave the crowd punch-drunk and screaming for more.

Some tickets may still be available, Click the link to see if tickets are still available http://www.hollywoodfightnight.com/. If so, throw on a crazy costume (No Masks), grab a drink and come watch some of the most talented fighters in the country. Fighters from Wildcard Boxing, Gleason’s Gym, Tarzana Boxing Club, Crenshaw Boxing, Systems Training Center, Blackhouse MMA, Gracie Barra, Sityodtong, House of Champions, Tapout LA, and many others will be represented.

chaosbash

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Lights Out Promotions in association with Bash Boxing present an evening of combat sports, that will showcase both Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. Together the two respected promotional powerhouses have decided to join forces, on the night before Halloween to display some of the best local talent in both respective sports.

The Lights Out Promotions team has brought in their tremendous knowledge of MMA and married that to one of the best known boxing promotions in Southern California. This union is certain to spawn an evening of exciting fights.

The MMA Portion of the card features:

Thor Skancke vs Daniel Clark

Richard Leroy vs. Derrion Chapman

Dmitry Gerasimov vs. Bronson Casarez

Matthew Spencer vs. Gabe Lopez

Adel Altamimi vs Christian Bizaretty

The boxing portion of the evening is set to include former IBO Middleweight Champion Avtandil Tornado Khurtsidze (28-2-2, 17KOs), Wildcard Boxing Club Light Middleweight Urmat Ryskeldiev (9-3-1, 5KOs), undefeated Lightweight Luis Sedano (3-0, 1KO), and two boxers making their professional debuts, Lightweight Davon Smith and Bantamweight Juan Roman.

 

The event is taking place at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood. The evening will be a sell out and there may not be tickets available at the door! Make sure you order ahead of time to guarantee you don’t miss an evening you can’t miss! For tickets go to: http://www.hollywoodfightnight.com/

 

Check out the UFC Weigh ins live from RIO

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Hall of Fame Fighter and Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer Royce Gracie

Hall of Fame Fighter and Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer Royce Gracie

One way to make sure people show up for a fan fest is to fill the stage with UFC Hall of Famers. Of the 11 living enshrined fighters, five of them were signing autographs on Tuesday for Bellator MMA. The panel brought together by Scott Coker, was held at Dave and Busters in San Diego.

The event was not without an agenda as the November 15th PPV card headlined by Stephan Bonnar and Tito Ortiz was the obvious backdrop. Bonnar and Ortiz were joined by fellow UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, and Ken Shamrock.  King Mo Lawal and Michael Chandler were also on hand to sign autographs for fans and to provide sound bites for the press.

The trash talk between Bonnar and Ortiz continued albeit tame in nature. Bonnar referring to Ortiz as a “douche-bag” drew a few smiles, and a particular finger from Ortiz in response. Other than that the event went without incident as Coker intelligently put the onus on the fans.

Unlike the UFC, Bellator is lacking the loyal fan base that can sustain a PPV schedule. Allowing fans access through events like this offers them the emotional attachment to fighters that will lead to that fan base.

With Coker at the helm, Bellator MMA appears to be blazing a new path, one that refuses to be a little brother to anyone, and maybe that is what the sport needs. The landscape is littered with the graves of those who tried to be second. With Coker’s leadership and Viacom’s support this tank will keep rolling along slowly picking up steam.