BROOMFIELD, Feb 16- Colorado’s premier mixed martial arts event lived up to the name of its twenty eighth installment, evolution; the Ring of Fire: Evolution was just that. Evolving from a smaller, less known event in Castle Rock, Colorado, the Ring of Fire showcased its best fighters in the brand new, state of the art Broomfield Event Center. The main event between Colorado native Duane “Bang” Ludwig and Japanese Pancrase fighter Shinya Kumazawa was more of a showcase then a battle. Ludwig displayed why he is one of the most lethal strikers at his weight class.
After a short feeling out period in the opening round, Kumazawa tried feverishly to shoot in on Ludwig who sprawled and quickly brought the fight back up into the clinch where knees were traded.
Kumazawa continued his game plan of shooting in for singles and doubles, but Ludwig’s defense was too fast and with less then two minutes left in the first round, Ludwig began connecting with knees as Kumazawa shot in. In a strange display, Ludwig secured the back with hooks but opted to stand up instead.
The second round showcased Ludwig’s experience and poise as he peppered Kumazawa with jabs, eventually breaking the fight wide open with a series of stiff knees that all connected. Mid-way through the second round Ludwig moved into a mounted triangle and in another strange display hopped off to stand again. Kumazawa, who was visibly battered and defeated, sustained a vicious inside leg kick, dropping him to the ground and into Ludwig’s side-control. Although Duane “Bang” Ludwig did his best to finish the fight by strikes, with less then one minute in the round Ludwig sunk in an arm-triangle for the submission victory.
It was clear from the opening of the fight that Kumazawa was outmatched by the K-1 and UFC veteran Ludwig. Ludwig’s display proved that he is among the elite fighters at 170lbs.
In the 145lb division, Ring of Fire champion Alvin “Kid” Robinson took on wrestler Olly Bradstreet. The night’s super fight was much anticipated due to Robinsons favor with his hometown crowd.
The bell sound brought both fighters into a quick flurry where Robinson secured a slamming takedown on Bradstreet. Robinson, a jiu-jitsu brown belt, moved seamlessly from half-guard to side-control, then into north-south, and quickly into the back-mount. Robinson was working hard for a choke when both fighters tumbled out of the ring and into the video equipment below! The restart at center put Robinson right into control of the back, and within seconds, into a rear-naked-choke for a win by tap out.
The crowd favorite of the night was Vail, Colorado native Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone who made quick work of wrestler Ryan Roberts. After a short trading of punches, Roberts secured a double-leg takedown into Cerrone’s guard. Cerrone stayed incredibly active from the bottom, attacking Roberts’s outstretched arms intently. His efforts paid off just two minutes into the first round when Cerrone sunk a deep arm-bar forcing Roberts to tap.
In other action, undefeated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Eliot “The Fire” Marshall took on Serbian striker Damir Mihajlovic in the 205lb division. Mihajlovic came into the fight virtually unknown, unlike his opponent. Marshall has made a name for himself as one of the nations top submission grapplers and, fighting out of Boulder, has posted a perfect 3-0 mma record.
Mihajlovic opened the fight with powerful punches, but Marshall stayed poised and pulled the stocky Serbian into his dangerous guard. Marshall kept Mihajlovic busy defending his non-stop attacks from the rubber-guard, a favorite of Marshall. After some inaction the ref brought the two fighters back to their feet.
The Serbian, known for his knockout power, tried to land a fight winning punch, but ended up in a double under hook clinch with Marshall who quickly secured the takedown. Being underneath Eliot Marshall on the ground is a no win situation and after moving into the mount, Marshall reigned blows onto Mihajlovic’s head forcing the ref to call the fight by TKO.
Hometown hero Vern Baca brought his explosive and elite wrestling style to a 145lb match up with mma fighter Gerald Lavato. Baca imposed his style the whole first round by shooting in and taking down Lavato at will. With little time remaining in the first round, Baca secured Lavato’s left arm in a triangle will pinning his other arm to the floor leaving Lavato’s face unprotected from the blows that followed. Only the bell kept the ref from calling it. The second round was a replica of the first as Baca dipped underneath Lavato’s ineffective punches into a crisp single-leg takedown and into side-control. Baca wasted no time moving into the position he had before, pinning both of Lavato’s arms while punching at his head. This time there was no being saved by the bell as the ref stopped the fight by TKO in favor of Baca.
The Ring of Fire 28: Evolution was a true evolution of the sport. From a cramped venue in Southern Colorado, to a packed event center on the front range, the Ring if Fire established itself as the premier fighting event in the region and showcased the growing mainstream popularity of mixed martial arts action in America.
Carpaccio Owens finished Andre Walker by TKO with strikes (round 3).
Michelle Waterson took a unanimous decision over Andrea Miller.
Kamalu Keawe defeated Daniel Griffin by TKO in an entertaining strikers battle (Round1).
Eric Fagyas Submitted Kevin Carter by guillotine choke (Round 1).
Aaron Trujillo stopped Roberto Nater with a knockout (Round 2).
Jeremy Maleterre unanimously defeated Alfredo Corona.
Kenneth Seegrist was victorious over Jason McDonald by strikes (Round 1).
Eric Buck won by armbar submission over Kenny May (Round 1).