Sportfight: Bush Trumps Wilson
PORTLAND, May 5 -- On a clear night in Northern Oregon, Matt Lindland (Pictures) and Randy Couture (Pictures) held the nineteenth installment
of their local MMA promotion, Sportfight in front of 5,900 fans at
the Portland Rose Garden. Two lightweight boxers may have been
fighting this night, but no one here cared. They were more star
struck with Couture and Lindland as well as other notable fighters
Ed Herman (Pictures), Josh Haynes (Pictures), and the Portland Wolfpack.
"I was so nervous about this one," Lindland admitted. "I've put on
shows on holidays and other occasions, but I was really concerned
about this one." He didn't need to be as MMA fans came out in
droves to support him and "The Natural," who was ringside
throughout the event.
In the night's main event, Enoch Wilson (Pictures) and Travis Bush fought a rematch of
their last fight in Sportfight XVIII when the judges ruled the
contest a draw. That match, coupled with Wison's recent media
exposure on MSNBC's Warrior Nation probably fueled the large
turnout for tonight's event. From the outset it was apparent that
both men wanted this fight badly.
In the first, Bush showed extreme aggression by repeatedly taking
Wilson to the ground. Wilson, himself a highly decorated wrestler
couldn't stop Bush's assault and found himself working hard to hold
off the determined grappler. Bush secured Wilson's back, but had
difficulty doing anything from there. Wilson managed to get up and
slam Bush down hard, however the tough Bush worked his way out and
got another takedown of his own, clearly frustrating Wilson. The
round ended too close to call.
In round two Wilson put Bush against the ropes. Bush looked for a
guillotine but it wasn't there, so he went for Wilson's back, but
again was unsuccessful. It was a wrestlers' war that got neither
man anywhere after three minutes. Somewhere along the way, Wilson
as cut over his right eye and began bleeding. Wilson detected the
blood and started punching from the guard, connecting with a
couple. But then he lost top position and found himself on the
defensive with Bush in his own guard. Bush attempted an
arm-triangle choke, but it wasn't there. The round ended with Bush
Not wanting to rely on the judges again, both men come out swinging
in round three, with Wilson getting the better of the exchange. In
the clinch, Wilson landed several knees and cut Bush below the eye,
but then he was back in Bush's guard before Bush transitioned to
his back. Again Bush had difficulty advancing his position. Wilson
then exploded with what little energy he had left and began raining
down hammer fists.
Moments later, though, Bush somehow reversed Wilson and was back on
top. Bush certainly looked fresher and more aggressive. The fight
ended with a flurry of punches in the guard, but none did any
damage. Once again this fight goes to the judges.
This time there was a decision and it was a unanimous one, as all
three judges score it 29-28 in favor of the more aggressive
Travis Bush, who's the new
Sportfight lightweight champion.
"It went pretty much how I wanted it to," Bush said afterward with
ice on his eye. "He's a great wrestler, but I just had better
Wilson had to agree: "He's just a cock-strong kid. He kept coming
and kept me off balance. I couldn't get my game plan going as well
as I wanted to."
In the night's co-main event, "Fast" Eddy Ellis (Pictures) brought a wealth of MMA knowledge
into the ring against Ed Nuno,
who hadn't fought since last October, for the Sportfight
With a three-fight winning streak on the line, Ellis came out
blazing and looked sharp. It looked as if the pair got together
before the fight and agreed to display their high-flying kicking
skills, as they traded several high and low kicks to each other's
legs and heads. Ellis, bleeding first from the nose, showed
defiance by taunting Nuno momentarily as Nuno threw punches. Ellis
got a takedown and trapped Nuno against the ropes, where he
established side-control. The round ended with Ellis on top, where
he displayed good sportsmanship by helping Nuno up. It was close,
but Ellis appeared to win the round.
In the second, Nuno came out striking again. With kickboxer
Chris Wilson shouting
instructions to Nuno from his corner, the fight turned into a
stand-up war. However it was Ellis who took advantage with big
kicks to Nuno's legs.
"Fast" Eddy used these kicks to set up a takedown, where he then
worked from Nuno's half-guard. Ellis eventually took Nuno's back
and tried desperately for a rear-naked choke, which Nuno defended
against. With 20 seconds left in the round, Nuno suddenly exploded,
rolled over and delivered three crushing blows to Ellis' head,
knocking him out. Nuno wins by KO at 4:53 the second to capture the
Sportfight welterweight championship.
On the undercard, light heavyweight "Judo" Jon Krohn took on Lion's
Den fighter Whisper Goodman. Coming off an unimpressive decision
win in the IFL, Krohn looked to make tonight's fight against the
shredded abs-bearing Goodman more exciting. Too bad no one told
In the first round, Goodman completely avoided engaging Krohn
within striking distance and forced Jon to use his Judo experience
to take him down. Krohn took side-control, but Goodman stood back
up. Both fighters looked surprisingly winded just halfway through
the first. However Krohn was alert enough to catch Goodman
switching weight from one leg to the other and clinched, which set
him up for a crowd pleasing, over-the-head body slam that would
make the WWE proud. Krohn didn't capitalize, though, despite
gaining north-south control. The round ended with neither man
In round two there's more posturing and the fair weather Johnson
fans start to wonder how that boxing pay-per-view event is going.
Both take big swings at the other with no result. Finally Krohn
follows up a combination with a takedown, but again can't get any
advantage on the ground. The two get back to their feet, but not
before Goodman ate a huge knee that seemed to stun him. Krohn
landed another takedown and then rolled to Goodman's back with
hooks sunk in. However, Goodman defended well and Krohn was unable
to get any solid shots in. The round ends quietly. One might say in
a Whisper even.
In the third and final round, Krohn stepped up the pressure and
went for another takedown but left his neck out too far and nearly
got caught in a guillotine choke. Moments later, Krohn took Whisper
down into side-control and had Goodman holding on for dear life.
Krohn easily mounted Goodman, who tried to squirm out, but found
himself in a solid armbar and had to tap out at 2:10 of third
Welterweights Blake Fredericks and James Birdsley delivered the
fight and controversy of the night. Fredericks apparently channeled
Jens Pulver (Pictures) because he looked just like a
twin little evil as he took to the ring.
In round one, the two clinched and traded knee skin and takedowns.
First Fredericks got one, then Birdsley took his. Birdsley ended up
on top, but was kicked off and decided to throw a few thigh kicks
Blake's way. A moment later Birdsley got Frederick's back -- but
apparently no one told Frederick's to stay down when another man is
on top of you, as he stood up and walked around the ring for 20
seconds with Birdsley on his back.
Fredericks finally decided to turn around and get in Birdsley's
face, only to find a takedown waiting for him. Fredericks almost
applied a triangle choke and bloodied Birdsley's nose in the
process. As the round neared an end, both landed big shots and
nearly get a submission, driving the crowd crazy.
In round two Birdsley landed a solid leg kick followed by a
takedown. Birdsley flattened Fredericks out, but couldn't finish
him. For several minutes, though, Birdsley was in control from
behind with hooks sunk in. However, he couldn't manage to get past
Fredericks' defense, despite several attempts. Against the ropes,
Birdsley went for a rear-naked choke and lands a few shots to the
back of Frederick's head. Apparently Fredericks was merely saving
energy because he exploded on Birdsley with a sweet turnaround and
moved into Birdsley's guard swinging, knocking his mouthpiece
The referee's stoppage to reinstall the mouthpiece saved Birdsley
from a pummeling, though it was apparent he was hurt and trying to
survive. He made it out of the round -- barely.
Round three starts off with Birdsley getting a quick takedown and
before inexplicably spitting his mouthpiece out, theoretically for
what he was about to do. From underneath, Fredericks caught
Birdsley in an armbar, but instead of tapping, Birdsley decided to
take a page out of Mike Tyson's playbook and sinks his teeth into
Fredericks' thigh, causing immediate bleeding.
Fredericks complained to the referee, who caught the illegal
maneuver and stopped the bout. Upon inspection by the ring doctor,
Birdsley was disqualified for illegal Hannibal Lector impersonation
44 seconds of the third round. Birdsley left the arena under
immense boos from the crowd.
Before entering the ring, Paul Wermeki got the award for the most
colorful shorts of the night, entering with flaming red and yellow
Muay Thai boxing shorts. The stocky heavyweight took on Josh
Bennitt, another from the Team Quest stable, who were not having a
good night up to this point.
In the first round both immediately came out swinging but ended up
quickly on the ground when Wermeki shot from the open and got
Bennitt down. However, Team Quest is known for ground-and-pound and
with Chris Wilson and
Josh Haynes (Pictures) yelling instructions from the
corner, Bennitt reversed and landed repeated shots along the ropes.
Wermeki couldn't answer the assault and rolled over, giving Bennitt
his back, which Bennitt quickly took advantage of. With Wermeki,
flattened out and pummeled, the referee called the match when a
bloodied Wermeki stopped defending himself at 4:03 of the
If you're going to be a janitor and want to fight, you might as
well put two and two together and be the janitor at Team Quest.
Eighteen year-old Tyson
Jeffries did just that. The janitor at team Quest has been
waiting a while to get his chance in the Sportfight ring, and
didn't disappoint the crowd taking the fight to veteran Dave
In the first round, with members of Quest cheering on their young
comrade, Jeffries and Colburtson came out swinging for the fences
and delivered the best round of the evening with crisp exchanges.
During the round, Jeffries set up and executed two takedowns,
landing several punches along the way that seem to hurt
However, Colburtson, known for cardiovascular endurance, weathered
Jeffries brutal storm of combinations and takedowns. In the second
round, with the crowd cheering wildly for the two lightweights,
Jeffries went for a takedown again, but got caught in a guillotine
and had no choice but to tap. Both fighters showed immense heart
for seven minutes of non-stop action.
Former police officer Greg
Thompson entered to rousing welcome in a middleweight match-up
against Steve Storwick. In round one both come out cautiously,
measuring the distance with a few jabs. Each connected with a punch
or two, but nothing was decisive. In the clinch, however, Thompson
seemed to have better inside punches, connecting with two
uppercuts. Breaking from the clinch, though, Storwick broke the law
and sent the former cop to the canvas with an uppercut of his own
on that was right on target. The referee quickly stepped in and
stopped the bout at 1:25 of first round.
Mike Pierce and Tim Sternod stepped into the ring and immediately
Pierce made his presence known with several successful takedowns.
However, Pierce couldn't seem to finish Sternod despite gaining
north-south control and then side control. The round ended with
Pierce dominating nonetheless.
In round two Pierce immediately picked up Sternod and slammed him
to the mat. On the way down Sternod put his arm down to stop his
fall and found it trapped underneath him. The awkward angle forced
a dislocation of his shoulder and he was forced to tap out. Sternod
remained on the mat in pain for several minutes while medics
attended to him before finally taking him out on a stretcher.
In the knockout of the evening, Jon Clift, a scruffy looking
athlete, fought Casey McEuin, who hasn't been putting in many hours
on the strength machines.
Clift dominated McEuin on the ground, but couldn't seem to get a
Kimura on him despite a great effort. Back on their feet, McEuin
threw a spinning back kick that grazed Clift's face. Clift closed
the distance, got McEuin in a Greco-Roman hold, picked him up and
delivered a massive body slam. Unfortunately the referee didn't see
what 5,900 fans in the building saw … McEuin was out cold. Clift
managed to deliver three crushing punches to an unconscious McEuin
before the ref steps in punctually 2:23 of round one.
Looking just a tad overweight, Rob Stalcup had his work cut out for
him against the nimbler and more aggressive Travis Bell, who
sported an aerodynamic looking blonde streak across his head in
Dennis Rodman-esque fashion. It must have brought him favorable
attention from the Gods because he immediately came out firing and
got Stalcup against the ropes, where he worked to his back. Just
short of two minutes into the fight Bell got the rear-naked choke
and Stalcup tapped out.
Undefeated welterweight Lynn Bently from Olympia, Wash. took on
Peter Aspenwall, who looked fit to fight. The two immediately
staged a striking war at first, with neither gaining an advantage.
Bently finally went for a takedown, but Aspenwall successfully
In the most acrobatic move of the night, Bently went for a flying
punch with Aspenwall on the ground and was kicked nearly into the
third row. Bently regained his composure after being nearly flipped
like a pancake and moved in on Aspenwall again, but was caught in a
lightning quick Kimura, which he tapped to at 1:42 of the first.
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