Originally scheduled for Jan. 20 in Miami, Fla., the bill was to feature fighters such as Nick Diaz (Pictures), Jeff Monson (Pictures), Frank Trigg (Pictures) and Renato Verissimo (Pictures), but injuries, suspensions and contractual issues forced the crop of UFC veterans off tonight's 11-bout card.
Fast forward four months and Pancrase veteran Fredson Paixao (Pictures) squared off against former KOTC 170-pound champion Thomas Denny (Pictures) for the vacant GFC welterweight title.
As with most bouts on Saturday evening, this one didn't take long.
Paixao, who trains with the Gracie Barra Combat Team, easily submitted the Hesperia, Calif. native with a textbook armbar at 4:36 of the opening period.
Denny (25-15-0) simply had no answer for the Brazilian's tight positioning and control, succumbing to the painful technique after getting pounded from knee-on-belly and mount position. Paixao (8-2) became the first crowned champion for the GFC, which is promoted by Relson Gracie and Columbus Police helicopter pilot John Cooper.
In one of the night's shorter bouts, Alexandre Ferreira made it look easy against UFC and RINGS veteran Branden Lee Hinkle, tapping out the colorful wrestler just 37-seconds into the first frame.
Slamming Hinkle (12-9-0, 1 NC) to the mat, "Cacareco" (13-5-0) wrapped up an evil heelhook that made the American's return to the light heavyweight class an unpleasant one.
Ronaldo Souza (Pictures) made good on his U.S. mixed martial arts debut, beating on a helpless Bill Vucick (Pictures) (3-3-0) and forcing a tapout with a steady stream of punches from the mount.
After the impressive victory, "Jacare," (5-1-0) which means crocodile in Portuguese, incensed the crowd by hopping on the cage and performing a celebration that was remarkably similar to the University of Florida's gator-chomp gesture -- not the best idea when wounds of Ohio State University's recent loses to the Gators remain open.
Chris Brennan (Pictures) hopped back in the win column after two disappointing contests against world class fighters Vitor Ribeiro (Pictures) and Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pictures) with a first round ippon versus former Big 10 wrestler Adam Disabato (Pictures), now 3-1.
Pulling guard in the opening seconds, Brennan (19-11-0) worked to isolate Disabato's left leg, and then sealed the deal with a toe-hold in the fight's opening minute.
Demian Maia extended his unblemished record to 5-0 after Ryan Stout (Pictures) suffered a serious shoulder injury just minutes into the contest. Stout (9 - 7 - 1), who was carried from the cage in a stretcher by medical personal, appeared to dislocate his right shoulder while being swept by the slick Brazilian.
BJJ black belts Phil Cardella (Pictures) and Rafael Dias (Pictures) engaged in a three-round technical battle, with Cardella (7-2-0) picking up the unanimous decision victory in a strategic match of endurance.
Sherdog.com scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Dias (7-2-1), who looked to take at least two of the fight's three rounds on the strength of multiple takedowns and a deep triangle choke in the bout's final period.
Daniel Moraes (Pictures) (1-1-0) overwhelmed Matt Brown (4-5-0), stopping the local fighter with a tapout-inducing armbar at 2:32 of the first stanza.
EliteXC veteran "Nasal" Adriano Pereira (Pictures) (5-2-0) defeated a game Joey Whitt (Pictures) (2-5-0), who took the fight on less than 24-hours notice after Mike O'Donnell (Pictures) was forced off the card due to a hand injury. Whitt, a native of nearby Reynoldsburg, Ohio, escaped several dangerous positions before falling victim to a rear-naked choke late in the first round.
"The President" George Bush (Pictures) jabbed his way to a unanimous decision against Team Quest heavyweight "Pezao" Vinicius Magalhaes (0-1-0, 1 NC). Bush, who raised his record to 5-0-0, dominated the final two periods with superior footwork and a relentless left jab that left the Brazilian's face swollen and bleeding.
Nissen Osterneck (Pictures) (3-0-0) stopped a pudgy Chris Meyers (Pictures) (2-8-0) via strikes from the back less than a minute into the bout's first period.
In what was without a doubt Saturday's most memorable bout, Hammer House light heavyweight Rob Wince (Pictures) scored the night's lone knockout with an absolutely brutal right hand that rendered Leopoldo Serao (Pictures) unconscious on the canvas.
Serao (7-6-0) laid concussed on his back, his legs convulsing and toes curled for several scary minutes, before walking out of the cage under his own power.
"I was so relieved when he finally rose to his feet and flashed a smile," Wince said of Serao.
Wince, who recently suffered the loss of his 12-year-old son in a tragic accident, reflected on the wave of emotion.
"When the referee raised my hand I wasn't standing alone in victory," said the light heavyweight from Newark, Ohio, who upped his record to 12-7-0. "I know, in my heart, that my son was standing right beside me."