Posts Tagged ‘Joe Taimanglo’

Blagoi Ivanov

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

 

Bellator MMA’s roster of fighters is a diverse group of young talent, coupled with a few older lions who are looking for to either return to form, win a world title, or too  prove to themselves that they can still mix it up with the best. Three fighters that we will focus on tonight are Blagoi Ivanov, Karo Parisyan, and Vladimir Matyushenko.

On the Cusp of Immortality

Two years ago, Blagoi Ivanov was at the start of a very promising Bellator MMA career. He came to the company on the heels of defeating MMA Legend Fedor Emelianenko in the World Sambo Championships. Everything was going according to plan. Until armed thugs confronted Ivanov and a group of friends in his homeland of Bulgaria, at a nightclub. During the melee, Ivanov was stabbed under the armpit with a 12 inch blade. The wound pierced his heart, and lungs. Emergency surgery was performed to save the young fighters life, but then infections set in. Ivanov was placed into a medically induced coma, where he lay near death for over 80 days, in the dark.

When he awoke, he was a shell of his former self. The once strapping heavyweight was closer to a welterweight in size, and walking and breathing became his new hurdles. His career was effectively over as a fighter, however someone forgot to tell him. He spoke with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebeney and promised that he would return. After one year of intense training, Ivanov began to put on the weight he slept off, and slowly but surely began regaining his facilities.

Since his return, Ivanov appeared to not have missed a step. He has remained undefeated. His latest win at Bellator 116 over former UFC fighter Lavar Johnson, came via a slick Americana late in the first round that forced ‘Big’ to tap. The win has earned Ivanov a place in the Heavyweight Tournament Finals where he will face former Title holder Alexander Volkov for a shot at the World Title. In two years Ivanov has been in places not many have gone before. He keeps defying the odds at every turn, he is a champion in life, and soon may have the belt to match.

Return to Form

From 2002-2008 Karo Parisyan was one of the worlds top welterweight fighters. He was fighting all over the world, and was on the verge of a title shot. During this run, the young judoka was considered one of the sports most talented fighters. With wins over Nick Diaz, Josh Burkman, Ryo Chonan, Former Champion Matt Serra, and Chris Lytle, Parisyan seemed set to have a long successful career. Then the wheels fell off!

Parisyan spoke with us before his fight with Rick Hawn, and told us how his life spun out of control. Substances that initially were designed to heal the nagging injuries a fighter must deal with, became part of his every-day routine. He was cut from the UFC, and seemed to be another case of wasted talent.

Like a real champion, Parisyan woke up one day and realized what he was losing. He sought help and slowly began to find himself again. He also started to feel that fire in his belly, that once labeled him ‘The Heat’. Taking some fights on the regional circuit may be difficult for a fighter who once fought at the top, however it was that same humility that led Parisyan back into the light.

After a few fights with mixed results, ‘The Heat’ began to churn into an inferno again. With his weight in check, and his problems in his rear view mirror, Parisyan was given a second chance with Bellator. His first fight against Rick Hawn was a difficult task, however Parisyan attacked from the opening bell. His hands looked up to speed, his movement was working and then he got caught. Hawn won the fight but it was obvious to everyone in attendance that Parisyan was on his way back.

His next fight was equally difficult. At Bellator 116 Parisyan was paired with AKA’s Ron Kesslar who is coming off a big win over War Machine. On paper the match pitted judoka v wrestler. However its was Parisyan’s hands that made the difference. late in the second round, Parisyan dropped Kesslar with a series of punches and was able to finish with impressive ground and pound.

The win solidified Parisyan’s chances for being selected in the next welterweight tournament. Parisyan, at one time could have been one of the best in the world. In fact he was one of the best. However real champions are not made they are built. In Parisyan’s case he is rebuilt. This version, the 2.0 version is much more humble and intelligent. Like the phoenix before him, ‘The Heat’ has risen from the fire and the future looks very bright!

Farewell to A Legend

Vladimir Matyushenko has fought everywhere, and in every major organization. ‘The Janitor’ has long been one of the top light heavyweight fighters in the world. The former IFL Champion, fought in the UFC, Bellator, IFL, IFC, and Affliction and many other organizations around the world. With a record of  27-8, Matyushenko has shared the cage with a ‘who’s who’ of the MMA elite.

At Bellator 116, Matyushenko lost to Joey Beltran via North South choke late in the 3rd round. The legend left his gloves in the cage signifying his retirement. Like a wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat, ‘The Janitor’ said goodbye to the world of fighting but will remain relevant in MMA as one of the best wrestling coaches alive. Vladimir is living the American dream. He came to this country speaking only the language of a wrestler, now he is revered as legend. Matyushenko will continue as the head wrestling coach at Dynamix MMA in Santa Monica where he will be an amazing influence on all fighters young and old for many years to come.

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By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator 99 delivered some key opportunities for featherweights in the opening round of the tournament. First up, Justin Wilcox survived an early and dynamic battering from Akop Stepanyan, only to secure a submission victory. Wilcox, who took the fight on just 7 days notice, could barely stand after Stepanyan dismantled his lead leg with snapping kicks. However, he could not finish him.

Late in the second round, Wilcox was able to bring Stepanyan down and once he did, the transition to the back and subsequent choke, was lightning fast. Stepanyan did his best to escape, but eventually went to sleep after refusing to tap. With the win Wilcox moves on to the next round where he will face ‘Baby’ Joe Taimanglo.

Taimanglo was able to secure his spot in the next round with a win over Andrew Fisher. Utilizing excellent movement, Taimanglo was able to close the distance well, effectively neutralizing Fisher’s reach advantage. At times the fight lacked action, but that was because both fighters were utilizing their game plans. Fisher flurried late in the third round, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.

Also fighting in the opening round of the featherweight tournament were two of the promotions youngest prospects. Former #1 155 lbs prospect Fabricio Guerreiro was able to out point a very dynamic Desmond Green. Guerreiro was able to control the pace of the fight, and aside from a few take downs from Green clearly won the fight.

With the win Guerreiro now is faced with the daunting task of going up against Patricio Pitbull in the next round. Pitbull needed just 1:19 to move on, after he blasted Diego Nunes with an incredible hook to the ear that dropped the former UFC standout. Follow up punches removed all doubt.

Also on the card, Vladimir Matyushenko utilized an effective striking game plan to keep heavy handed Houston Alexander at bay for most of the fight. When Alexander did land, ‘The Janitor’ smothered him with a combination of dominating wrestling and grappling skills. Both fighters refuse to look or act their age (41) and the result was one hell of a fight.

With the win, Matyushenko should be on a short list of names for the next 205 lbs tournament.

More pictures will be added later today!

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PRELIMINARY CARD

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Savio Kosic (4-1) vs. Hector Ramirez (9-5)

Rd1: Hector Ramirez reverses postion on a nice takedown, and ends up on top of Kosic, working in side control. Ramirez lands some nice elbows to the mid section of Kosic. Ramirez holding dominant position but not landing much, aside from a few elbows. He finishes the round in top position.

Rd2: Hector Ramirez in full control to this point, but takes a poke to the eye prompting the stoppage. Both fighters re start and Hector Ramirez lands some devastating strikes to the body. Kosic drops, and Ramirez flurries. Ramirez looks for the crucifix, but Kosic is able to return to side control. More damage from Ramirez. Knees to the body from Ramirez as the round comes to a close.

Rd3: Kosic looks to establish range with the foot, as he throws several front kicks. Ramirez dances away nicely. Nice knee to the body from Kosic. Nice counter body kick from Kosic. Kosic then lands with the hands, only to get taken down again. Back to side control for Ramirez. Ramirez transitions again to the crucifix, but for some reason can’t land. Kosic controlling the posture well enough to avoid damage. Kosic gets to his feet, and flurries to the bell.

Winner: Hector Ramirez via UD

Welterweight Feature Fight: Andy Murad (6-0) vs. Gavin Sterritt (4-1)

Rd1: Murad starts off with a nice leg kick, and then instigates the clinch. Sterritt with his back against the cage. Murad changing levels well with the dirty boxing. Murad still controlling well, but Sterritt finally able to get away. Only to have Murad take him down. Murad looking to get the arm, but Sterritt gets free. Murad now looks for the guilotine, only to release and attempt to take the back. Sterritt again gets free. Sterritt delivers a liver kick, but Murad follows through and secure the double leg. Murad now working in the closed guard of Sterritt. Rd comes to end with Murad clearly in control.

Rd2: Murad starts off again with busy legs, only to instigate the clinch. Murad secures a body lock, and again brings the fight to the mat. Sterritt works back to his feet, but again tastes the dirty boxing of Murad. Big John restarts the action as fighters stalled. On the restart Sterritt is able to land some strikes, but again is bulled back to the cage. Knee on the exit from Sterritt, and then a left hook opens up Murad. Murad returns to the ground with a nice take down, but is getting split apart with some nice elbows from the bottom by Sterritt. Nice work by Sterritt, but Murad controlled the round 10-9 Murad.

Rd3: Both fighters start the round cautiously. With Sterritt looking the crisper of the two. Sterritt moving forward with some nice strikes, but Murad able to secure a single leg, and is able to parlay that into a take down. Murad in side control, and smothers a escape attempt from Sterritt once, but the second time he is successful.  Drs. check out Murad and allow the fight to continue. Sterritt steps out of a single leg. Sterritt landing with big right hands, and Murad is hurt. But, he is able to survive the round. 10-9 Sterritt

Winner: Gavin Sterritt via split Decision

Featherweight Feature Fight: Musa Toliver (9-8) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (14-1)

Rd1: Big take down from Toliver almost immediately. Yamauchii with some slick jujitsu is looking for the omaplato, but transitions to the back an secures the RNC.

Winner: Goiti Yamauchi via RNC 1:01 Rd 1

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Manny Lara (4-3) vs. Blagoi Ivanov (7-0)

Rd1: The big boys take the cage, Herb Dean in charge. Long feeling out process. Lara is instigating the clinch, but Ivanov is able to secure the guillotine and forces the tap almost immediately.

Winner: Blagoi Ivanov via Five Finger choke “Front Choke” Rd 1 1:17

Main Card:

Bellator Featherweight Opening Round: Joe Taimanglo (18-4) vs. Andrew Fisher (12-4)

Rd1: Taimanglo looks for the body shot, but Fisher avoids nicely. Fisher pressing the action, but Taimanglo fights off the cage well. Nice take down from Taimanglo, but Fisher is quick to get back to his feet. Fisher reversing position. Taimanglo with a nice upper cut, but fisher standing tough. Head butt prompts a stoppage. Fsher counters well with the right hand. Taimanglo doing well to get inside of the Fisher’s range.  Nice exchange with fisher landing hooks, and Taimanglo landing up the middle. Fisher seems to be waiting to counter, but never does. Nice jab from Fisher starched Taimanglo as the round comes to an end. We have it 10-9 Taimanglo

Rd2: Fisher counters well with the right hand. Taimanglo still looking to be the busier of the two. Taimanglo pressing the action with Fisher on his bicycle. Blood from Fishers nose. Fisher now starts to use the jab a little more. Nice body shot from Taimanglo. Fisher now being quicker with the jab.  Taimanglo with an excellent change of levels, lands with the hook, and then exits on the leg kick.  Fisher ducks under a left and almost takes the fight to the floor, as the round ends 10-9 Taimanglo in a rather boring round.

Rd3: Taimnglo starts the round with  a leg kick, and then scurries to avoid the clinch of Fisher. Nice jab from Taimanglo keeps Fisher at the end of punches. Taimanglo again with the jab, then follows with the straight right hand. Nice counter left hook from Taimanglo finds a home. Jab from Fisher lands. Counter right hand from Fisher rocks Taimanglo who shoots for the take down. Fisher avoids then lands to the body before returning fire to the head. Swelling under the left eye of Taimanglo, with some blood as well. Both fighters trade sloppy punches, as fatigue is taking its toll. Taimanglo looks to land one more big shot, bu the round and the fight comes to an end. 10-9 Taimanglo

Winner: Via UD Joe Taimanglo 

Bellator Featherweight Opening Round: Justin Wilcox (11-5) vs. Akop Stepanyan (13-5)

Rd1: Wilcox comes out throwing and lands a right hand, before Akop starts on the leg kicks. Vicious leg kick timed perfectly knocks Wilcox down momentarily. Akop moving well and counters nicely with the 1, 2. Flying knee from Wilcox misses. Another leg kick drops Wilcox again, he shoots for the take down, but Akop walks away Wilcox tastes a head kick, but stays tough. Akop countering beautifully with leg kicks that keep dropping Wilcox. Wilcox with a nice leg kick that trips Akop momentarily.  Spinning back kick from Akop looks to land low, but Wilcox says he is good.

Rd2: Moce left from Akop lands nicely. Cartwheel kick misses. Huge hematoma on Wilcox front leg, but that is the least of his worries. Big Head kick from Akop rocks Wilcox, but some how he is able to secure the take down. Wilcox now on top. Wilcox is able to transition to the back as Akop attempts to stand and sinks a deep RNC. Akop stands, then falls, he is trying to defend. He may be out. And he is.

Winner: Chris Wilcox via RNC Rd 2 

Bellator Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Vladimir Matyushenko (26-7) vs. Houston Alexander (15-9)

Rd1: Long feeling out process. But Alexander lands a big right hand. Vlad looking to counter. Alexander is able to take down Vlad with a single leg , but now Vlad looks to land in top position which he does, but Alexander stands. Both miss with big overhand rights. Vlad with an underhook, secures the take down. Vlad looking to mount and does. Alexander gets out the back door and stands back up. Alexander charges forward but eats a nice right from Vlad. Round ends. We have 10-9 for The Janitor

Rd2: Nice lead left hook from Vlad. Nice left from Houston catches Vlads attention. Vlad lands two nice left hooks of his own. Vlad is able to stuff a Alexander take down attempt, and now both seem hesitant. Leg kick from Vlad, is countered by a nice right hand from Alexander. Vlad is stalking, and Alexander is looking to counter. Nice leg kick again from Vlad. Round comes to a close as tho boo birds salute. We have Vlad 10-9 again with the leg kicks and take downs.

Rd3: Vlad paws with the jab and avoids the 1 2 from Alexander as he moves backwards. Leaping left hook from Vlad misses. ALexander misses with another charging 1, 2 but lands a hook before Vlad brings him down. Houston gets back up, only to be slammed back to the mat by Vlad. Matyushenko is in clear control of this fight so far. Alexander explodes up, but the Janitor blankets him. Vlad with the chancery, as Alexander kneels to ground himself. Vlad is now working a cradle, to get position. Vlad softening up Alexander on the ground. Vlad with several unanswered left hands. The round and the fight comes to an end. We have the round 10-9 for Vlad. With him winning the fight unanimously.!

Winner: Via Unanimous Decision Vladimir Matyushenko 

Bellator Featherweight Opening Round: Patricio Pitbull (17-2) vs. Diego Nunes (18-4)

Rd1: Long feeling out process to start. Nunes flairs with a leg kick. Big left hand from Pitbull, and Nunes is hurt badly. Pitbull swarms and that is all she wrote. Big left hook, followed by a few lefts on the ground.

Winner: TKO Rd 1 Patricio Pitbull 

 

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Nick Moghaddam (6-6) vs. Virgil Zwicker (10-3)

Pitbull v Nunes

Pitbull v Nunes

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator MMA has once again invaded the Pechanga Casino, in Temecula California. Today all of the fighters were set to make weight, and aside from a few that were slightly off, all seemed to be ready to go. The main event between Diego Nunes and Patricio Pitbull was probably the most intense stare down of the day. Once Patricio confirmed his weight, he walked past Jimmy Smith’s interview attempt and immediately began an intense stare. Nunes, refused to budge. After a long, and fierce confrontation both fighters respectfully walked away. ‘Pitbull’ went on to tell Jimmy Smith, that tomorrow ‘Nunes was going into the cage with a Pitbull, and he’s going to get bit!” (through his translator)

Also featured on the main card is an excellent battle of contrasting styles from two veterans of the sport. Vladimir Matyushenko makes his promotional debut against fellow UFC veteran Houston Alexander. Matyushenko has become known in the sport by his well earned moniker ‘The Janitor’, for his grinding wrestling based style that has compiled the elder statesmen a record of 26-6 in his career.

Alexander is also making his debut, but that is where the similarities end. Houston Alexander is known for one thing, knocking people out. With a record of 15-9, Alexander is attempting to live up to the high expectations that once ranked him as a rising star in the sport. After being cut from the UFC, Alexander’s record had been quite streaky, however if he is able to extend his current two-fight win streak, a future spot in Bellator’s light heavyweight tournament may be what ‘The Assassin’ has his sites set upon.

 

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