MFC: Hometown Boy Doesnt Disappoint
ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey, June 3 — On a night when the mixed
martial arts “powers that be” failed Marketing 101 by having two
shows in the same night in the same city, who knew that Mixed
Fighting Championship would win the battle of the gate?
But it did, thanks to a hometown hero and a Russian crowd that
turned out to cheer the Red Devil fight club and an appearance by
the world’s greatest heavyweight.
Tonight’s main event at the Boardwalk Hall saw the first-ever title
fight for MFC as 170-pound Philadelphia native Eddie Alvarez (Pictures) took on Derrick Noble (Pictures). As per usual, Alvarez bought
half of downtown Philly along for the ride, all decked out in
yellow Alvarez t-shirts.
But unlike past Alvarez bouts, this one did not seem like it was
over before it started. In fact, Noble came in looking much bigger
than his opponent, something Eddie acknowledged after the fight.
But Alvarez erased any doubts in oh, about 60 seconds, pummeling
Noble with a barrage of at least 20 unanswered punches before the
referee stopped it.
The victory lap afterwards lasted about 10 times as long as the
Alvarez is a gamer, there’s no doubt. But is he ready for the big
time? The offers are sure to trickle in now that he’s got a belt,
but the opinion here is that 155 is the best shot he’s got.
The main card’s heavyweight bout featured Sergey Kaznovsky (Pictures) against Jerome Smith (Pictures). Smith was clearly overmatched,
but for a good two minutes or so exhibited a Wesley Correira (Pictures)-like ability to absorb serious
punishment, as he ate fierce punches, withstood takedowns, knees …
you name it before finally getting knocked out at 3:25 of the first
Eric Oganov and Chris
Liguori (Pictures) squared off at 170 pounds in one
of the more entertaining, fast-paced fights of the night. Both
fighters pushed a very fierce pace throughout this one.
While they were evenly matched on the ground, Liguori connected
with more power shots in the first round, connecting with a
five-punch combination that formed a welt under the Russian’s eye
about 90 seconds into the fight. He also attempted a flying knee, a
technique he would repeat throughout the fight with limited
Round two was basically even as Oganov attempted more submissions
and scored a nice takedown with about 30 seconds to go. Liguori
kept up the pressure, however, opening up a cut on Oganov’s face.
By round three Oganov was gassed, and Liguori took advantage,
seizing top mount and reining down the punches before the ref
stopped it at 3:14.
The best fight of the card pitted Vladimir Zenin (Pictures) against Racine, Wis. native
Matt Lee. Both of these guys
showed up ripped and ready to fight.
Zenin set a relentless pace early, shooting in for a double-leg and
seizing control in the first minute. But Lee fought gamely,
demonstrating some great takedown defenses — think Forrest Griffin (Pictures) against Tito Ortiz (Pictures) — and turning the tide in the
latter half of the round. Lee stole the round with a great sprawl
followed by about 10 unanswered punches before the bell
Round two began with Lee scoring with a low kick. The fight soon
went to the ground where Zenin made the fatal mistake of giving Lee
his back. The bout was stopped after another flurry by the American
Joey Brown (Pictures) against Vadim Kulchitskiy won’t make
any highlight reels. In fact, it seemed to go on forever, prompting
one fan to groan, “I can’t take these guys anymore.” Not even PRIDE
heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko
(Pictures), seated ringside and
shouting instructions to his Red Devil stable, could add any spark
to this one.
Two out of shape guys that were gassed about two minutes into the
bout, they flailed punches Wes
Sims (Pictures)’ style, attempted submissions
including finger locks, jaw locks and a Kimura Sherdog contributor
Will Clark described as “something you could time with a
Supported by the fired up Russian crowd who chanted his name,
Kulchitskiy deserved to win this one, but I’ve seen better bouts in
a New Haven bar.
In preliminary action, another Fight Factory product, 170-pounder
(Pictures), squared off against Toraji
of AACC of Tokyo. This one was notable for the costumes — Haigh
entered wearing a tiger mask ala Genki Sudo (Pictures) or Kazushi Sakuraba (Pictures), while Toraji wore Apollo
Creed-esque stars and stripes spandex.
Haigh scored a flash knockdown a minute into round one, but Toraji
quickly recovered and pushed the pace. Clearly he was the better
conditioned fighter here but was never able to fully capitalize as
Haigh avoided his submission attempts and hung on through two
rounds. The judges had it even — you can chalk that up to the
hometown advantage — but Haigh recovered in round three and eked
out the decision.
Tara Larosa (Pictures) of Northwest Elite out of
Fayetteville, North Carolina took on Hitomi Akano (Pictures) (ACCC, Tokyo, Japan) at 135 in
one of two ladies bouts tonight. Larosa, with an Alvarez-like
contingent, sported a cowboy hat and pranced around the ring with
an American flag. But the seemingly overmatched Akano took the lead
early, scoring with an impressive four-punch combination and
dominating on the ground.
Larosa took over in round two, scoring a takedown of her own and
using her strength advantage to land repeatedly with strikes while
avoiding Akano’s submission attempts. Tied after two rounds, Larosa
took the third “sudden victory” period easily by continuing to
score with strikes at will.
Shauna Busler of Sioux Falls took on Amanda Buckner of Portland,
Maine in another bout that did not disappoint. Busler worked harder
and was the aggressor through much of the fight, but ended up
basically beating herself. She threw knees frequently, but few
connected, and her many submission attempts wasted a lot of her
After two periods, action moved to a “sudden victory” round where
she finally gassed out at the 3:30 mark when the referee stopped
In a light heavyweight bout, Muay Thai fighter Kinichi Yamamoto
took on Bronx-native Kaream Ellington (Pictures). After weathering a storm of
painful kicks, Ellington took control, first gaining top mount and
connecting with three consecutive knees to the head late into the
round, which dropped the Tokyo native. A barrage of strikes
followed that left Yamamoto in an unconscious heap at 4:59 of round
The evening’s first bout pitted Yasuke Masuda against Rich Franklin (Pictures)-coached Mike Patt. This was very
much a “blink and you’ll miss it” fight. Here’s the complete
replay: Patt threw a roundhouse to the head. Patt dropped Masuda
with a left to the head. Fight over in 20 seconds. Patt
disappeared, Franklin in tow, and called it a night.
GRRRR!!!More on Sherdog.com Mobile