AUSTIN, Texas, May 11 -- Coming off a successful debut show in Dallas earlier this year, Art of War came to Central Texas Friday night, and 2,854 spectators saw local fighters have their hands full with names like David Loiseau (Pictures), Wes Sims (Pictures) and Alex Andrade.
Former UFC fighter Wes Sims (Pictures) entered as the main event versus USWF veteran Chris Guillen (Pictures). Guillen stands six-foot tall and although he's fought taller men before like Heath Herring (Pictures), he was definitely was going to have trouble with the reach advantage of the 6' 10" Sims.
Sims began the final bout of the evening with his hand in the air calling for the infamous "test of strength" normally used by guys like Rowdy Roddy Piper or Ric Flair, though Guillen didn't fall for it. Sims clinched while getting pounded with body shots from the smaller man before securing a standing guillotine. However the choke was more of a neck crank and Guillen simply waited until Sims gave up on the hold.
Once Sims released the hold, Guillen threw a haymaker that dropped "The Project" to the canvas and put the crowd back on its feet. Guillen moved into Sims' guard, where he tried to mount an offense. Using his long legs to keep Guillen at bay, Sims eventually secured a body triangle that forced a stalemate until the end of the period.
At the start of the second Guillen looked a bit tired, presumably from the body triangle, and Sims uses his large frame to put his foe down on the canvas, where the Ohioan landed shots to the head from behind.
Guillen slipped out and reversed back on top of Sims, throwing some punishing shoulder shots and elbows for most of the round. With about 30 seconds left Guillen looked close to finishing with a keylock, but the clock was his enemy.
The third round was mostly a joke since both guys were so spent they couldn't do much of anything. They circled each other, throwing the occasional awful kick until with about two minutes left Sims suddenly came alive. He didn't mount much of an attack, however, and spent the last moments lazily punching on Guillen's head, much to the audience's dismay.
The main event was the only fight tonight that went the distance, and Guillen was awarded a unanimous decision over Sims.
Middleweight veteran David Loiseau (Pictures) has been on a three-fight losing slide as of late, losing to the likes of Rich Franklin (Pictures), Mike Swick (Pictures) and most recently Joey Villasenor (Pictures). Facing local and fairly inexperienced fighter Freddie Espiricueta (Pictures), you'd have to figure that he'd be able to get back on the winning track pretty easily.
Freddie didn't see it that way as he came out swinging on "The Crow" and connected with a jab and a leg kick that caused Loiseau to take pause. The Canadian fighter, who once challenged for the UFC middleweight crown, remained focused but missed with a wild left hook. Loiseau then picked up Espiricueta and slammed him hard on the mat.
Loiseau looked to create some space for his punches, but Espiricueta does a great job of tying up and keeping him close. After some time the referee stands the two fighters and Espiricueta snaps Loiseau's head back with his right. Loiseau lands a stiff left jab of his own and then a left hook that drops Espiricueta to a knee.
Loiseau takes advantage by mounting Espiricueta, offering the crowd and opportunity to witness some of The Crow's famous elbows. One, then two then three heavy elbows bounced Espiricueta's head off the mat. Loiseau throws in an elbow to the chest for good measure, but the end of the round came just in time for Espiricueta, saving him from immediate trouble.
Round two began with both men exchanging leg kicks until Loiseau took Espiricueta to the floor and moved to the side. Espiricueta used a leg to keep Loiseau from dragging a knee over and getting the mount, but that defense failed him and the Canadian finally took the dominant position. From the mount, Loiseau slapped on a nifty arm-triangle that forced a tap at 3:10 of the second period.
It's been a while since we last saw Alex Andrade. After facing "Ninja" Rua in 2001, the Lion's Den light heavyweight made his comeback at the debut Art of War, knocking out Klas Akensson twice before the ref could stop the bout.
Andrade looked absolutely huge at 205 pounds in the previous Art of War, and against the 195-pound local standout Brandon McDowell (Pictures) Andrade was more than formidable for the smaller man.
McDowell immediately tried to take the fight to the ground and was squashed for his effort, landing hard on the mat. Andrade took McDowell's exposed head and tried for a standing guillotine as his opponent remained in on his knees. McDowell tried to defend by powering Andrade back into the fence and tried to get on his back to pull guard.
Andrade fired some shots down the pipe before dropping down into an ankle lock that had McDowell grimacing in pain and forced a tap at 1:02 of the first.
The fight between Klas Akensson and Damien Stelly started off slow since both men were matched up well enough to cancel out each other's attempts to give much damage. Stelly would get a takedown then Klas would get a takedown. Akensson would stifle a takedown attempt then Stelly would do the same.
Except for the occasional punch or two, neither man took too much punishment or was able to control the fight until with 10 seconds left in the round, Stelly mounted Klas Akensson.
The second period featured much of the same, as again takedowns and reversals were the order of the day. Stelly wore Army trunks and some in the crowd chant "USA, USA," but without Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the ring, no one else joins in. Late in the round, Stelly is able to take the back of Klas and choke him out at the 4:33 mark.
The fight between Randy Hauer (Pictures) and Chris Bowles was a little bizarre at first. After Hauer shook his head at Bowles upon receiving a leg kick to let him know it didn't hurt, Hauer slipped on some of the fence padding and fell down grabbing at his leg.
Bowles didn't let him recover and dropped down on him, trying to finish off the fight. However Hauer recovered, stood up and nodded to his corner that was OK.
Back in the fight, Hauer looked like a man possessed, showboating a bit by dancing around. The lightweights finished round one with minimal action.
In the second round Hauer came out looking crazier than before and scored with a fantastic leg kick. Bowles landed a beautiful takedown that made Hauer's head bounce off the mat. Bowles followed by mounting and hitting Hauer once or twice until he rolled over to get choked out at 2:14 in the second round.
Heavyweight Justin Wren is a very accomplished collegiate wrestler and wasted no time securing a single-leg takedown on the taller Mat Thompson. Wren quickly mounted but was too high and Thompson shoved him off, only to end up side-mounted again. Wren lands some elbows and punches until Thompson gets to his feet.
Soon enough Thompson is back on the floor taking some solid shots from Wren in his half-guard. Back on the feet, Wren connected with a hard right hand that backs Wren up and forces him to run away. Thompson moved in to clinch against the fence, where he landed some right uppercuts and hard knees that had Wren in obvious pain.
Wren turned away and then was treated to some body shots, closing out the round the battered wrestler still against the fence. His trouble continued into the second, when Thompson connected again and put him down. Thompson came down with a fist seven feet high that landed on Wren's stomach, and then walks away. The ref asks Wren to stand up but he is done and stays down.
Edwin Figoroha stepped into the ring as an alternate against Whitney Brown, but from the onset it was obvious that he belonged in the show, throwing wild looping punches that had Brown bleeding immediately.
Both lightweights showed flashes of technical prowess and heart in the first round, as with both traded with reckless abandon. Brown tried to get a standing guillotine, but found he was taking more of those looping punches for the effort. The round ended with the crowd on their feet from the fast and furious action.
In the second round Brown appeared to be gassed and after getting rocked attempted a takedown. However, he didn't have the energy to finish. Figoroha seized the moment and choked him out with another of the many rear-naked chokes on the night at 1:03 in round two.
A leg kick from Aaron Flourney set up an overhand right from Jarrot Lewis to start their welterweight bout. Lewis pushed Flourney back into the fence before dropping down low for a takedown. Flourney tried to slide away but was muscled to the ground, where he reversed position after taking a few body shots and had Lewis on his hands and knees.
Flourney landed a few strikes to the head, but Lewis calmly held on to an arm and waited until he could crank it with a Kimura.
Flourney didn't tap and rode out the pain for a while until Lewis finally let go. Back on their feet Flourney caught Lewis with a straight left that put him on his rear. Racing in to finish Lewis off, Flourney found himself caught in an armbar. With Lewis still dazed, Flourney brushed off the attempt and took Lewis's back.
Lewis again tries to get that same arm and again Flourney threw punches from behind. This time, however, the punches have consequence and Lewis was forced into a rear-naked that had him spitting out his mouthpiece and tapping at 3:30 of the first.
Heavyweight Justin Howard looked pretty good at the last Art of War show in Dallas and tonight was no different. He started off the second fight of the night with some crisp inside leg kicks that immediately had Tony Lozano looking outclassed.
In a scramble Howard put Lozano on the ground and immediately secured side-control. Lozano had no answer as Howard pounced on his arm, securing the lock and forcing Lozano to tap.
Daniel Pineda closed the distance on Warren Stewart as soon as the bell was rung. After putting Stewart on his back, Pineda spun around on until he got the position he wanted and took mount.
Pineda tried to connect with some punches but Stewart held on for dear life. After getting separation, Pineda pushed Stewart away with his elbow and the punishment began. Stewart was nailed with strikes and tried his best to wiggle out, but Pineda continues to reposition and start the pounding again.
After eating a dozen or so hard shots, Stewart rolled over, gave up his back and Pineda flattened him out for the rear-naked choke two minutes into the opening round.
The Art of War picks back up in late June with a card featuring Jeremy Horn (Pictures), Jeff Monson (Pictures), Pedro Rizzo (Pictures) and Ricco Rodriguez (Pictures).