Call me Russ L

Oi Can’t Tell Moi Left From Roight But Oi Can Drive A Tractor

Posted in Combat Sports by Russ L on 7 January, 2006

Originally posted on 18/9/4.

An adventure into coider drinkin’ Bristol-land to see some MMA at Ultimate Combat XI? ‘Yeah, go on then,’ I thought. A Travelodge was booked, tickets were obtained for Trigger and myself, and off we went. Extremely expensive train tickets and an inability to find said Travelodge made sure that the trip didn’t start off perfectly, but we got to the Whitchurch leisure centre in the end. No front-row seats like the last Ultimate Combat in Kidderminster – this time we had to sit on the bleachers/benches like suckahs. Bah.

The fights, anyway… if I have any details wrong, please pardon. Blame a surfeit of drink and a shortage of intellect. Use has been made of as an aid to memory. First we had Phil McCall (from Biiiirminghaaam… I actually missed his fight last time, so I was very keen to see this) vs Niels Schlagel of Deutschland. After 4:43 of struggling with our Midlands boy mostly having the advantage, Phil locked in a choke and got the submission victory. West Midlands 1 Rest Of The World 0, and it’s interesting to note that this was one of the longest fights of the night.

Second up was Sami Berik of Turkey vs Mark Beese. Sami lost at the last one (checking his record, I find that he actually lost at the previous three UC events) and therefore had something to prove. He proved it, quickly, a flurry of strikes leading to a TKO at 1:23. He then attempted a Teddy Hart-style victory moonsault from the cage as the doctors were checking on his opponent – a bit callous, perhaps, but since he fluffed it and landed on his arse I suppose things balance out.

Fight three was Jim Bentley (Bentley the elder – we wondered if they were going to come out to the ‘Steptoe and Son’ theme music) against Croatian cyborg killer Zelg Galesic. You know how it goes in MMA – bet on the Brazilian, and if there isn’t a Brazilian then bet on the Croatian. In the excitement of a Black Country lad winning (the Bentleys hailing from the promised land of Tipton, of course) we forgot about this. Some geezers next to us started a “Let’s go Zelg” chant. In response we started a “Let’s go Jimmy” chant. A very short while later (it’s listed as 1:16 but I’m sure it didn’t even last that long) the bell was ringing, Jim was curled up in a foetal position, and all I could think of to say was “Well, we look a bit bloody stupid now.” West Midlands 1, Rest Of The World 1.

Marcelo Ferreira (Brazil) beat Franco DeLeonardis (Italy, representing Germany) in the next one, which I missed while on an important mission to the bar. It was via submission in the first round, apparently, and I was surprised at this given how dominant DeLeonardis looked in Kidderminster.

Tony Bentley (son of Jim) then got TKO-d by Holland’s Dion Staring at 1:41. Rest Of The World 2, West Midlands 1. I don’t even want to talk about it.

We’re entering a part of the night that I don’t remember in any massive detail now (well, I haven’t provided any particular detail so far, but there we go. Why am I even writing this? No reason, but I’m carrying on with it anyway. Funny really…). Spain’s David Ganoa tapped to Brazil’s Augosto Frota’s rear naked choke in 47 seconds, and Dutchman Rafles LaRose got the tap from German Peter Angerer with a guillotine choke at 4:30.

The next was for the middleweight title, to my surprise – this should have been a semi-final in the tournament, but due to the evening’s shock news (no more Ultimate Combat events, for reasons that seemingly aren’t being disclosed to anybody) and the cancellation of Katel Cubis’ appearance (for whatever reason) this became the decider. Ross ‘The Boss’ Mason (big big crowd favourite, drawing cheers second only to Thompson’s) against Nathan ‘Satan’ Schouteren and – lordy! – this one actually went as far as the second round. This actually seemed quite shocking, given all of the short squashes we’d seen. Anyway, it looked really even to me, up until the ending at 4:30 of R2 when the ref stopped it (but but but… I’ve heard someone say they’re sure they saw Ross tap…?). So close to the time, if he could only have held out for another half a minute…

Title fight number two was between the champ Fabricio Nascimento (Brazil) and Javier Garcia (Spain) for the welterweight strap. Looked like a bit of a mismatch really (we saw enough of them lower down the card, but you don’t expect it with the big matches), the champ getting a submission victory with an armbar in the first round.

Finally… James ‘The Collosus’ Thompson vs Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn. This is probably one that’s going to go down in British MMA history for numerous, numerous reasons. Firstly, I’m not sure why this was a fight for the world heavyweight title. As far as I know (I could well be wrong) there’s never been any kind or tournament or anything to determine why these particular two were the contenders, and that combined with the fact that Thompson’s last fight was a loss (and a brutal loss at that) obviously invites questions.

Nonetheless, as participants go they were (in many ways) well chosen. In his hometown of Bristol, Thompson was hailed as a conquering hero – the crowd was wild for him. Severn, meanwhile, is an international star, MMA legend, and has the greatest moustache any of us are ever likely to see.

The atmosphere, mainly due to the support for Thompson, was electric (that’s the main reason why I’m remembering more about this one than some of the previous fights), and only got more hyped as the fight went on. Since this was the only one all night to go the distance, that should tell you something about the feeling in the hall.

It was a strange one, though. Some have said boring, but I wouldn’t say that by any means (I can imagine it being less exciting on video, though, when you’re not actually there in the thick of the screaming). Both fighters were hesitant, wary, almost reluctant to come to grips with each other; Severn didn’t shoot in, Thompson didn’t go for the bullrush. I honestly don’t know what Severn thought he was going to do: while he obviously didn’t want to be on the wrong end of a Thompson ground and pound, I don’t know how in the world he thought he was going to win a boxing match against the big fella. The few takedowns that were attempted produced both expected and unexpected results; Severn was more dominant on the mat (as you would expect him to be), but a few of his shoots were foiled by Thompson displaying a lightning fast sprawl, something he doesn’t often get credit for.

It went to the limit, anyway, and the refs rightfully gave it to Thompson – he put a lot more work in. Both of their faces looked messy from the strikes landed, and apparently Thompson had a broken jaw from it all.

Many are accusing this of being a work (presumably to give Thompson a win over a big name before he starts fighting for Pride), but I haven’t seen anything that leads me to think this is anything more than just an accusation.

There we are, anyway. I got to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge the next day, which is absolutely beautiful (I like bridges); then it was off home.

– Russ L



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