Europan Vale Tudo ‘Phoenix’ – European Grand Prix preview

Europan Vale Tudo ‘Phoenix’ – European Grand Prix preview By Tue K. Trnka – On October 8th, over a year after their last event, European Vale Tudo finally puts on another show. The cage fight event will be held, as usual, at Solnahallen, in Stockholm. EVT 5 will undoubtedly be a thrilling comeback, as it will feature no less than four 4-man tournaments in one event! Dubbed EVT ‘Phoenix’ – the European Grand Prix 2005, the event includes some of Europe`s most exciting MMA profiles, pitted in very exciting match-ups.

Instead of the usual fight card with single fights, the crew behind EVT (matchmaker and referee Marko Ervasti + promoter Carl Otto Knudsen) has decided to go for the spectacular tournament option. Outside of Pride`s GPs, tournaments are seldom arranged, by the big events. But EVT now puts on a huge event, and with the name of “European GP” they once again put pressure on themselves. The fight card, though, justifies the name, as it`s full of top fighters. The 16 fighters, have been chosen from different backgrounds and from all over Europe, but most importantly all fighters are high level athletes. 10 countries are represented at this event, as France is represented by 4 fighters, Sweden, Poland and Finland by 2 fighters and Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland by 1 fighter, in these 4 tournaments. The 4 tournaments are held in the 4 weight divisions, -70 kilos, -76 kilos, -83 kilos and -91 kilos, with the winner from each semi final moving on to the final, where they will do war over the title as the European GP winner 2005. Before the main event, there will be a spectacular amateur MMA event during the day, in the same arena, where 24 fighters will battle it out in 12 fights, in Cage Challenge 3. The EVT tickets are also valid for the CC 3 event, so for the hardcore MMA fans, this is a possibility to watch a true MMA marathon live! Tournaments always include surprises, as there are a lot of x-factors involved. For instance, fighter A might beat fighter B on any given day, but if fighter A has had a gruelling, tough fight in the semi final, while fighter B has had an easy job, fighter B suddenly holds a big advantage. The mental aspect of the game is also even more important in these tournaments, as the fighters has to concentrate 100% on the first fight, and if they win, then again on the next fight, as well as resituate as fast as possible. It`s devastating for the mentality of the fighters and injuries are also bound to affect the outcomes of the finals, as many suffer injuries and cuts of varying degree during their first fight. Therefore, it`s very difficult to predict who will win the tournament and how (or even against who). No matter what, though, drama is guaranteed. In the -70 kilos weight class, the always popular Norwegian, Thomas “Spider” Hytten (representing the recently formed Team Frontline), will face the supremely talented French fighter, Bendy Casimir (Team Haute Tension), in the first semi final. Hytten (4-3-1) seems to be one step away from the big league, and this is his big chance. He is a well-rounded and very clever tactician, who has fought several high level opponents (big wins coming against Mario Stapel and Ronaldo Campos, as well as a controversial draw against Per Eklund), while Bendy (4-2-1) is an explosive banger standing, but is strongest on the ground, with his submission skills. Bendy started his career with 2 straight losses (against Leigh Remedios and Robbie Oliver), but hasn`t been defeated since and has impressed in his latest outings (a draw against Tom Niinimäki and a submission win over Dave Swann). In the other semi final, Jarkko Latomäki (Shooters MMA, Finland) , will duke it out with the highly touted Blazej Woznicki (Bastion Tychy, Poland). Latomäki (4-0-0) is undefeated and has impressed a great deal (although against so-so opponents), so far, in his short career, with some absolutely brutal GnP, while late replacement Woznicki (2-0-0) has impressed as well, in his fights (against local fighters). Both fighters are well-rounded, young and explosive, but Woznicki might have the edge in the submission department, while Latomäki should be the better wrestler. The first semi final in the -76 kilos division, features the local hero, Mattias Awad (Shooters MMA), from Sweden, in a menacing assignment, against France´s KO artist, Mohamed Khacha (French Top Team). Awad (2-0-0) has surprised both times in his 2 fights (decision wins against Daniel Weichel and Mario Stapel), by beating the big favourites, while Khacha (5-1-0, 1 NC) is a heavily hyped prospect with both heavy hands (KO wins over Paul Jenkins, Abdul Mohamed and Alex de Souza) and slick groundwork. Awad is a confident, strong fighter, with very good ground control, who has been up against the odds before and Khacha is looking to use this event, as a springboard to bigger events. The other 2 -76 kilos fighters are Dennis Siver (OC Fight Team, Germany) and Fabricio Nascimento (Nova Uniao Italia, Italy), and this is a true clash of styles. Siver (5-0-0) is a stocky, hard-hitting kickboxer, who has impressed lately (against Kenneth Rosfort, Dylan Van Kooten and Mohammed Omar) with his complete and very explosive game, while Nascimento (9-2-0) is a ground fighter with dangerous submissions. Siver has to be considered as one of Europe`s most promising up-and-comers, although he is mostly unknown to the casual fight fans, but Nascimento holds wins over good fighters (Jenkins, Joakim Engberg and Javier Garcia, for instance), although he is coming in off a submission loss. Siver can`t hang with Nascimento on the ground, but Nascimento can`t stand up with Siver either. The French Team Haute Tension-fighter, Boris Jonstomp (2-2-0), face up against Germany´s prodigy from Power Academy, Daniel Weichel (8-1-0), in the first semi final of the -83 kilos weight class. Jonstomp is an explosive, powerful and skilled stand-up fighter, with solid ground skills, to complement that, while Weichel has shown to be the complete package, with dazzling stand-up, powerful wrestling and a high level of BJJ skills. Jonstomp has fought 3 times in Brazil (1-2-0 against Adriano Martins, Jorge Patino and Delson Heleno) and has shown lots of talent, while Weichel himself is quite the successful traveller, with big wins all over the world (Mike Lucero at KOTC, Joakim Engberg and Gaz Roriston at EVT, Abdul Mohammed at P&G, J-Taro Takita at Shooto Japan and Eduardo Guimares at Shooto Holland). The other semi final brings you Antonio Tello (Alianza Chute Boxe, Spain) against the very popular local kid, Johan Antonsson (Team Yamasaki, Sweden). Tello (4-1-0) is a rangy, well-rounded fighter with good submissions and sharp strikes (he battered Richard Bohlenius to a bloody pulp), while Antonsson (1-1-0) is an intense and very explosive grappler (he threw Lars “Bad Boy” Besand around with ease, before gassing and losing on a cut). Tello has trained a lot with Chute Boxe, but Antonsson has improved greatly and is oozing of confidence, although he is up against the odds big time here. The very menacing Finnish warrior, Mike Ilmen (Shooters MMA, Finland), dukes it out with Portugal´s powerful grappler, Rafael Silva (Fernando Loio Team), in this first semi final in the -91 kilos division. Ilmen (3-7-0) started off his career with 6 straight losses, before he turned it around and is 3-1 in his last 4 fights (wins over Evert Fyeet and Jakob Sverre Løvstad). Silva (2-1-0) impressed a lot in his last fight (fighting in Kiev, Ukraine against local fighter, Dmitry Vaschenko, and winning by armbar). Ilmen has turned his career around and has even competed in the ADCC World Championships, while he is up against an experienced and skilled grappler in Silva. The final semi final of the evening, presents the powerful and slick French fighter, Francis Carmont (Team Haute Tension) against the strong Grzegorz Jakubowski (Mighty Bulls, Poland). Carmont (1-2-0) is a technically skilled stand-up fighter with very good submissions, while Jakubowski (10-3-2) is a solid grappler with heavy punches. Carmont is much better than his record indicates and held the UKMMAC title for a while (he won it against Kuljit Degun by armbar), while Jakubowski has shown great improvements, since his last EVT fight, and has fought at a higher level of opponents local, lately (his biggest merits being the 8-man tournament win at Colosseum 4 and losing against Travis Lutter). No matter what happens and who wins the 4 EVT GP titles, the fans are the big winners here, as they are guaranteed action packed fight, with high level gladiators. Enjoy!

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