On Saturday July 14, 2007, one of MMA’s premier global organizations, bodogFIGHT, made its first foray into the United States.On Saturday July 14, 2007, one of MMA’s premier global organizations, bodogFIGHT, made its first foray into the United States. The “Eddie Alvarez vs. Matt Lee” event took place at the Sovereign Arena in Trenton, New Jersey, which is the same venue where the 2007 ADCC World Championships took place two months ago. Unfortunately, just like the ADCC, very few fans actually showed up to support this event.
On paper at least, it offered competitive and entertaining bouts with something for fans of every fighting discipline. bodogFIGHT has come into the MMA fold full swing in the past year due to the resources from their billionaire owner in the online gambling tycoon Calvin Ayre. His love for the sport of MMA combined with his deep pockets and business savvy has enabled bodogFIGHT to attract quality fighters from some of the top camps in the world for its shows, while giving other organizations like the Zuffa trifector (UFC, Pride, WEC), the EliteXC, K-1 Hero’s, and the IFL some decent competition here in the United States.
Eben Oroz vs. David Love (Featherweight Bout)
Eben Oroz appears much more calm, as David Love seems more agitated and pumped up, like he is ready to show “No Love” for Oroz. Oroz is a lefty and throws kicks early and often, but nothing noteworthy lands. Love works a clinch and starts with knees to the legs and torso of Oroz. Love works Oroz to the ground and passes to half guard. There isn’t much action, so the referee stands them back up. Oroz lands a hooking kick to the head to a great reaction from the crowd, but Love immediately follows up with a sweep straight out of a Kung Fu movie and attacks further. Oroz defends well as they clinch and work back to the ground. Oroz is in Love’s guard and thus far it’s a very even first round, but as Oroz lands with a pair of very impressive kicks it looks like he has an edge in the opening round. Both men are landing very hard Muay Thai leg kicks and just as the round nears an end, Love shoots in for a takedown. Oroz sprawls to defend and the bell rings.
Love lands a big slam early in Round 2 and Oroz has to begin the round defending from his guard. He tries to stand and does so momentarily, but Love brings him right back down with superior wrestling. Oroz finds himself back in defensive mode from his guard and the referee stands both up once more. The crowd doesn’t mind, because both fighters are relentless on the feet. Love secures another takedown and midway through the round, Oroz attempts a triangle choke, but gets in trouble for his efforts. Love unloads with a couple of big shots and because of this, it looks like Love is getting the best of the round despite the good triangle attempt by Oroz. Love is quick on his feet but can ground-and-pound with a fury.
The fight appears even through the first two rounds, so both men know they need to step it up and finish the final round hard. They clinch looking like a couple of wrestlers, but Oroz lands a knee to the face of Love. Love responds in kind with a hard kick to Oroz’s jaw. Both men have solid chins and neither guy has looked hurt with both taking shots to the head in the fight. The fight’s pace slows with Love in Oroz’s guard, so the referee brings them back to the feet, where Oroz drops Love with a stiff right. Love responds nicely and gets a quick and instinctive takedown. In a scramble on the ground Oroz goes to reverse position and lands on top, but that attempt ends in stalemate as the fight ends.
Result:David Love over Eben Oroz via Split Decision (29-28 Love, 29-28 Oroz, 29-28 Love)
Mark Burch vs. Yoshiki Takahashi (Heavyweight Bout)
Mark Burch and Yoshiki Takahashi are both big dudes and watching two heavyweights slug it out is always entertaining, because conditioning-wise it’s never clear how long the fight will last. There’s lots of striking and “knuckles-scraping-the-ground” type haymaker attempts that would make Tony Soprano proud see going down in his home state. To the crowd’s delight this is the tone to this fight, but by the midway point of the opening round, both guys appear to have blown their load. Takahashi’s left eye looks swollen and they are clinched in a corner. They separate and Burch unleashes two gnarly looking knees and connects, as Takahashi KO’d from the impact. Takahashi stands after getting examined and Burch wins this good old-fashioned heavyweight brawl.
Result:Mark Burch over Yoshiki Takahashi via KO (knee) Round 1, 3:45.
Chael Sonnen vs. Amar Suloev (Middleweight Bout)
To no one’s surprise, Chael Sonnen a very polished wrestler, shoots immediately for the takedown on fellow UFC veteran Amar Suloev. Suloev is trying to hold the ropes to stop the takedown, so the referee warns him, but he ignores him by doing it again. Sonnen takes him down anyway and is staying active so far in Suloev’s guard. He passes with a big punch to side-control. Suloev tries to defend, but exposes his back. Sonnen latches on with an RNC, two hooks thrown in tight, and it’s a standoff now to see if Suloev will tap from the Lion Killer. Suloev somehow manages to escapes, but Sonnen mounts him in transition. He goes for a Kimura and gets a good angle on it, but Suloev defends and the bell rings ending a dominant first round for Sonnen.
Sonnen wastes no time by shooting back in for another takedown. Suloev goes to reverse and Sonnen rolls with him right into Suloev’s guard. He lands one solid left hand, but causes no significant damage. He is getting the best of Suloev though, who hasn’t amounted any offense so far. Sonnen looks impressive as he moves to side-control, using his head and shoulder to trap Suloev’s right arm a la Matt Hughes and begins landing several unanswered right hands to Suloev’s head causing a TKO via referee stoppage.
Result:Chael Sonnen over Amar Suloev via TKO (Referee Stoppage) Round 2, 3:33.
Yves Edwards vs. Jorge Masvidal (Lightweight Bout)
UFC and Pride veteran Yves Edwards starts the opening round by blocking a big right high kick from the American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal, as the fight starts, and responds with one of his own that is a lot closer to connecting. Edwards always looks polished, but Masvidal is holding his own standing in the early going. It’s the first developed defense the fans have seen tonight but they don’t much care. Masvidal lands a knee low and Edwards winces. Brief stop but they get back to it quick. Edwards takes some leather, but responds. No big shots landed in what has turned into a kickboxing match in round one. Masvidal takes round one by a razor-thin margin.
Edwards has a cut in line with his right eye, which has people thinking about the fight-ending cut he suffered nearly a year ago to the day in the UFC to Joe Stevenson. He’s bleeding, but not terribly, and remains active with kicks and counter-punches. Masvidal catches one kick and takes Edwards to the ground. Edwards defends and gets to his feet, earning an ovation. His defense is still sharp, but when Masvidal lands it takes a noticeable toll. Edwards has his best flurry of the fight landing a high right kick. After that though, Masvidal responds by landing his own kick to Edward’s head, knocking Edwards out cold. Masvidal can’t get up, so he is assisted and lifted onto his stool. His right leg looks injured from his fight ending head kick.
Result:Jorge Masvidal over Yves Edwards via TKO (Referee Stoppage) Round 2, 2:59.
Roman Zentsov vs. Branden Lee Hinkle (Heavyweight Bout)
Branden Lee Hinkle starts things off with an immediate shot. Roman Zentsov goes for a guillotine choke, which Hinkle defends well. Hinkle gets the takedown and tries to go to pass Zentsov’s guard to side-control. Hinkle blasts through the guillotine attempt and starts peppering the side of Zentsov’s body with knees. Hinkle scrambles for position with Zentsov and takes his back. Hinkle gets both hooks are in and Zentsov rolls, but Hinkle follows. He lands some shots and they transition, ending with Hinkle in the full mounted position. Mark Coleman is loud in the corner shouting instructions, like any good wrestling coach knows to do. Hinkle isn’t relying only on his wrestling skills though, as it appears he’s brushed up on his jiu-jitsu as well, and begins landing shots from the side-control until the end of the first round.
Hinkle’s wrestling is definitely on point, which pleases his corner man Mark Coleman. Hinkle tries a brief guillotine choke attempt and then takes Zentsov’s back. Hinkle is clever with his striking, mixing up left and rights, and leaving Zentsov with no offensive answer. Every scramble ends with Hinkle in a dominant position and he’s now landing under Zentsov’s left arm and directly under his chin. Hinkle lands a bomb to end round two and is in complete control of this bout.
Hinkle takes Zentsov down once again to begin the final frame. He’s booed for his methodical style, but he’s winning. Fans want a finish and if Hinkle keeps this pace of shots they have an outside shot at getting one. He’s mounted him now and has Zentsov hanging on. He passes from a “referee’s position”, back to the mount, to side-control. It’s a dominant display of positioning that the fans hate. Hinkle’s making a statement though, dominating from about the 2nd minute of round one until this point and the Hammer House is loves what they see, as they should. The referee stands them up towards end of the fight and Hinkle shoots in again, doing a little something people in the biz call “following a game plan”. The final time on the clock expires to signify the end of the bout and the end of Hinkle’s positioning clinic.
Result:Branden Lee Hinkle over Roman Zentsov via Unanimous Decision (30-27 all three judges).
Trevor Prangley vs. Yuki Kondo (Middleweight Championship Bout)
The bodogFIGHT middleweight belt was on the line as the South African MMA fighter Trevor Prangley, who is a UFC veteran with an undefeated four consecutive win streak in bodogFIGHT events, takes on Japanese MMA veteran Yuki Kondo, who has wins over Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, Semmy Schilt, Pete Williams, Saulo Ribeiro, and over 70 MMA fights to his credit. Yuki Kondo starts things off by landing a leg kick, but Trevor Prangley takes his back standing and lands a beautiful suplex body slam. Prangley has his back with both hooks in and Kondo shakes off the hooks and scrambles into Prangley’s guard. They stand and feel each other out a bit. In a Muay Thai clinch, Kondo lands a knee to the face, but Prangley fires back with some punches and bulldogs Kondo down to his back. Prangley gets into Kondo’s guard and lands some hard shots. From side-control, Prangley lands more blows and looks really comfortable in dominating the action so far. Kondo is bleeding from his left eye area as the first round comes to a close.
Kondo has a tough Japanese fighting spirit, but Prangley continues trying to land big enough to rock Kondo, but it isn’t happening yet. Kondo brings Prangley into a corner and they scramble for position. Prangley gets trip and lands in side-control. Kondo tries for an armbar with Prangley in his guard, but it’s shaken off to no effect. Kondo has a cut over his left eye that looks worse than it did at the end of Round 1. Prangley lands a straight right hand and Kondo eats it. The time saves Kondo, as the end of Round 2 comes to a close. The doctor is looking at Kondo’s left eye in the corner and begins working on the deep cut. The bout is stopped and Trevor Prangley becomes bodogFIGHT’s 185-pound champion.
Result:Trevor Prangley over Yuki Kondo via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) Round 2, 5:00.
Dan Hawley vs. Blair Tugman (Bantamweight Bout)
Dan Hawley is taunting Blair Tugman to start the fight, but is all business with a knee and a quick takedown. He ends up on top with Tugman in his guard. Back on the feet again, Hawley swings with a right hand, misses, and is taken down. In the guard, Hawley goes for an armbar, but transitions to a triangle that looks very tight. He’s struggling for it and Tugman is just barely hanging on. Hawley moves again to an armbar and the two get tangled in the ropes. Tugman slams Hawley to defend against the armbar, but Hawley hangs onto it. Tugman is very tough, fighting off submission after submission, all while hitting takedowns and slams on Hawley. This was definitely a close round. Hawley came close to finishing submissions multiple times, but Tugman responded each time with some decent counters and slams.
Tugman has the ability to take Hawley down, but as he shoots in after some harmless exchanges on the feet. Hawley defends with a guillotine choke attempt, but Tugman wrestles himself free and takes Hawley down. After lots of work, Tugman is able to pass Hawley’ guard and secure side-control, but fails to distribute his weight properly and Hawley butt scoots up and out. Tugman had some good takedowns and it looks like he got the better of Hawley in Round 2.
Hawley takes Tugman’s forward momentum into his guard and lands an up-kick to Tugman’s head in a scramble. Hawley hangs onto a single-leg takedown and then works more for another armbar attempt from the guard. He has Tugman in a tough spot with another triangle attempt. There’s a lot of pressure, but sweat may have saved Tugman this time, as he pulls himself right out of the triangle and rolls back into Hawley’s guard. Another Hawley up-kick from the butt scoot knocks Tugman’s mouthpiece out. Tugman is spending a lot of time inside of Hawley’s guard and Hawley’s landed more than one up-kick to Tugman’s noggin. Nothing really exciting happens the rest of the way from the two combatants though and it looks like Tugman may have pulled out a win based on control, takedowns, and position. Tugman, who is from nearby Middletown, New Jersey brought a lot of fans and pleased them with a Unanimous Decision victory.
Result:Blair Tugman over Dan Hawley via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
James “Binky” Jones vs. Nick Agallar (Lightweight Bout)
James “Binky” Jones shoots in and takes Nick Agallar down. Agallar goes for guillotine choke, but doesn’t have the proper angle or enough space. There’s not much action on the ground, so the referee stops the action (or inaction, rather) to stand both men back up. Binky is on his back and is taking some shots from Agallar. In one of his few counter shots, Binky opens a small cut over Agallar’s right eye. The bell rings to end Round 1 in a rather uneventful opening round.
Agallar gets down inside Binky’s guard and lands some solid on Binky’s head. There’s a pattern developing with Agallar doing good work from inside of Binky’s guard. It’s very methodical, but Agallar is making progress and trying to pass the guard to prevent the referee from standing them back up. He’s busy and they both obviously appear to know what they are doing. Agallar’s positioning isn’t leaving much room for Binky to try any submissions, however, and they stand back up. Binky tries a wild Shonie Carter-esque spinning back fist and they clinch in the corner. Then in a standing scramble, Binky has Agallar going almost over the ropes and out of the ring, which is the most exciting part of the fight thus far. Agallar straddles the ropes and lands on the canvas in discomfort from the precarious position. They restart and are back to the standard position of Agallar trying to work inside of Binky’s guard.
Binky starts off the final round by getting a double-leg takedown and sends Agallar to his back. Binky works inside of Agallar’s guard and the action slows to a tiring lull. A scramble results in Agallar landing big on Binky, who scrambles to his guard. Agallar has run the show so far and continues to grind modest, but effective shots on Binky. Oddly enough this seems like Binky’s best round, but just as he starts to fire some punches, Agallar spins him over and gets to the half guard. The man they call “Binky” gave a good effort but the fight is over, and the fight belonged to Agallar.
Result:Nick Agallar over James “Binky” Jones via Split Decision (29-28 Agallar, 29-28 Jones, 29-28 Agallar).
Tara LaRosa vs. Kelly Kobold (Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout)
Tara LaRosa and Kelly Kobold come out swinging and then tie up in a corner of the ring. It’s a great championship match-up on paper and LaRosa wants to prove she’s the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world by going for an early ankle-lock after a successful takedown. Kobold escapes and LaRosa rolls into Kobold’s guard and looks to cause some damage with shots instead of just staying busy with her grappling pedigree. They stand and Kobold lands a stiff right hand. They go back to the ground and LaRosa secures side-control to end the first round.
Both women are aggressive offensively and clinch each other against the ropes. LaRosa takes it to the ground after a brief scramble and has Kobold in a tight armbar. As LaRosa tried to create space to hyperextend the arm, Kobold reverses and lands some hammer fists from inside LaRosa’s guard. Kobold has a guillotine attempt but LaRosa escapes. Kobold gets side-control, but LaRosa reverses and lands a plethora of shots from the side-control and mounted positions. LaRosa continues her jiu-jitsu clinic by taking Kobold’s back with both hooks in, when Kobold tried to roll out. Kobold has a cut over her left eye and is barely hanging on, as LaRosa lands more blows from the back. They roll and with no time left LaRosa fully extends an armbar, surely tweaking Kobold’s elbow joint in the process. This was an intense round with Kelly Kobold being saved by the bell a la Kenny Florian vs. Kit Cope.
LaRosa and Kobold look tired from all the action of the first two rounds and it doesn’t appear that this one will go to the five round limit. Surprisingly, Kobold is lighter on her feet as she lands punches on LaRosa, but is taken down again. LaRosa is in Kobold’s guard now and begins to pass. After Kobold struggles a bit, LaRosa gets the full mount. Kobold oompas out of LaRosa’s mount and gets back inside her guard. She tries to land some strikes, but LaRosa fights back. Both women exchange leg-lock attempts, stand, and LaRosa scores another slick takedown. The action slows a bit, probably due to fatigue, but they eventually stand and trade more hard shots. Kobold gets the better of the standing action again and then lands two knees to LaRosa’s head. However, the knee was illegal since they were on the ground at the time and referee Dan Miragliotta deducts one point from Kobold. LaRosa ends the third stanza by taking Kobold down again.
The fourth frame has a slight role reversal. LaRosa decides to stand and Kobold goes for a takedown. Kobold gets it and lands in LaRosa’s guard. They fight back and forth and Kobold secures a modified headlock and lands on top of LaRosa. Kobold looks hesitant on the ground though and LaRosa gets position. She goes for the armbar and fully extends it. Kobold taps immediately to the armbar, almost as soon as it’s extended. The victory earns Tara LaRosa the coveted bodogFIGHT Women’s 135-pound title.
Result:Tara LaRosa over Kelly Kobold via Submission (Armbar) Round 4, 2:50.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Matt Lee (Welterweight Bout)
Matt Lee stands his ground early with the nearby Philadelphia crowd favorite Eddie Alvarez, as they trade shots on the feet to start the bout. Alvarez admittedly loves to punch, but decides to shoot in for a double-leg takedown and is successful sending Lee to the mat. The arena is loud for Alvarez as he works inside of Lee’s guard. Alvarez then jumps on his back off a transition and tries an RNC with both hooks in. Lee defends and they stand, but Alvarez lands a punch on the way up. Lee lands a good leg kick, but Alvarez comes back with a flurry of punches. Alvarez is coming straight in with punches, but his lack of reach holds him back some, because Lee can ward him off a bit. Alvarez is landing enough blows to be winning though, as he lands a nice right hand on Lee. After a brief stop to wash out Lee’s fallen mouth guard, Alvarez bombards him with strikes and a shot in at Lee’s legs. They fall to the ropes as the first frame comes to a close.
There’s a brief exchange and Lee’s mouth guard falls out again. It’s an old trick of the trade and many fighters have done it, but they resume and on their feet. Alvarez rocks Lee with a South Philly one-two combo that would make “South Philly” Rick Migliarese proud. Alvarez looks very intent and focused to finish the fight, as he keeps moving forward. Lee hasn’t stopped working either to his credit, but Alvarez is landing harder and more often giving Lee little chance to amount much damage. Alvarez shoots in and bullies Lee into a corner as the round ends with Lee bleeding from his nose.
The slugfest continues into Round 3 with Alvarez again getting the better of it. Lee’s managed to give Alvarez bloody nose as well, which shows his heart and that shows that he came to fight. Lee tried to taunt Alvarez some, which draws boos from the biased hometown crowd. Alvarez answers with a right hand and taunts Lee right back. Another big left from Alvarez, as he continues to hit harder and more often, while using his defense to slip the punches of the lankier Lee. Lee lands a trip and has Alvarez briefly down, but it doesn’t last long as the fight comes to a close.
Result:Eddie Alvarez over Matt Lee via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
bodogFight – Alvarez vs. Lee (July 14, 2007)
Match Winner Loser Method Round Time
1 David Love over Eben Oroz Decision (Split), Round 3, 5:00
2 Mark Burch over Yoshiki Takahashi KO (Knee) Round 1, 3:45
3 Chael Sonnen over Amar Suloev TKO (Referee Stoppage) Round 2, 3:33
4 Jorge Masvidal over Yves Edwards TKO (Referee Stoppage) Round 2, 2:59
5 Branden Lee Hinkle over Roman Zentsov Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 5:00
6 Trevor Prangley over Yuki Kondo TKO (Doctor Stoppage) Round 2, 5:00
7 Blair Tugman over Dan Hawley Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 5:00
8 Nick Agallar over James Jones Decision (Split) Round 3, 5:00
9 Tara LaRosa over Kelly Kobold Submission (Armbar) Round 4, 2:50
10 Eddie Alvarez over Matt Lee Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 5:00