Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Thoughts on @onefcmma 8 last night

Holy Gameplan Batman!!

Brock Larson deserves some credit!! A natural 170lber, he stepped up to 185lbs to face Melvin Manhoef, because as Monte Cox said…”NO ONE ELSE wanted to fight him”. After a rough first round, and a brief sprint across the cage, Larson was finally able to use his wrestling. The 2nd round ended with a near Armbar finish, and the third round showed Larson pouring it on with GNP. Overall impressive performance, and I’m sure he spoiled a few Golden Glory celebration plans. After his release from the UFC in 2009, Larsen at 35 years old has now strung together 4 straight wins.

Long time Friend Kotetsu Boku–became One FC Champion after a come from behind win over Zoro Moreira at One FC 6. ¬†Looking for revenge Zoro’s teammate Aoki stepped in at the #1 contender spot, and put on a grappling clinic against Boku. Hanging tough, Boku escaped several close submissions in the first round, before being caught in a RNC choke.

Long time fan favorite Jens Pulver has lost 10 out of his last 15 fights, and unfortunately at 38 years old, didn’t really put forth a performance that would warrant anyone to think he really has anything left in the gas tank. Masakatsu Ueda put on a grappling show, and used his D’arce choke to put Pulver to sleep with a little more than a minute left in the 2nd round. Ueda, a former Bellator fighter is now 2-0 in One FC.

Taking part in the second half of the Bantamweight Grand Prix was Pinoy star Kevin Belingon. Belingon used his striking to put away the heavily out matched Thanh Vu, setting up a finals matchup against Ueda.

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Eddie Ng looked impressive with his dominate performance against Arnaud ”The Game” Lepont. Showcasing excellent Thai Clench skills, Ng bullied Arnaud in the first round, before locking on a fight ending arm bar in the second. Ng a BJJ Blue Belt showcased good ground skills, making it clear Arnaud spent more time working his ”fight entrance” than he did improving his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After being showcased as the ”Token white guy” to lose to the Asians in his past two performances inside the One FC cage, it will be interesting to see what One FC does with Arnaud. While he still boasts a respectable 9-3 record, he’s lost 2 fights in a row, and none of his 9 wins have come against an opponent with a winning record.

In what was my favorite fight of the night, Leandro Issa of Asia’s top gym Evolve faced off against Russian Yasup Saadulaev. After getting demolished by Kevin Belingon in his One FC debut, Yasup a DREAM veteran showed impressive striking and aggressive ground despite losing a well fought decision to Leandro Issa, who was able to rebound from a disappointing loss to Korean Soo Chul Kim. I enjoyed watching Leandro Issa fight, and his standup looks to be improving with each performance, the Thai instructors at Evolve are clearly paying off!!!

Brazilian BJJ Black Belt Alex Silva got the opportunity to face a Filipino making his MMA debut, and used the chance to capture a highlight reel helicopter armbar submission with seconds left in the first round. Silva’s opponent Rene Catalan appeared to be out matched from the onset of the bout.

A fighter from Pakistan who I got to train with while I was coaching in Thailand, Bashir Ahmad put together a gutsy decision win over Thai MMA fighter Shannon Wiratchai–whom many One FC fans remember as the guy who Soccer Kicked Mitch Chilson into a ref stoppage. Overall it was a good fight for the undercard, and Bashir showed his friends/family/fans back in Pakistan that the sport of MMA is quickly becoming a global platform for their athletes to compete on.

Division 1 wrestler Jake Butler got another win as he improved his record to 2-0 with his 1st round beatdown over Swain Cangco. ¬† With a world class pedigree in wrestling, Butler shouldn’t need too many more gimme fights before he gets a chance to step up the level of competition.

Overall this was easily the best One FC event I’ve watched.

With Legends FC already promoting their next event in Kuala Lumpur, the MMA scene is Asia continues to heat up…one has to wonder how long it will be until the UFC starts doing regular events in Asia.