The WFA is building a reputation of taking care of the fighters.On July 22, the much anticipated return of WFA came to be at the Forum in Inglewood. The WFA had several hurdles to overcome before the first fight took to the cage. With the last minute disqualification of Kimo and the much respected fighter Peele not being able to fight, the WFA was scrambling to find fighters for the show. But once the show started the fans were treated to a night of no holds barred fighting.
In the first fight of the night, Martin Kampmann took on Edwin Aguilar. Kampmann took Aguilar down but Aguilar was able to get back to his feet. Kampmann hits Aguilar with knee that stuns him. Kampmann then starts with a flurry of punches to which the referee feels it is time to step in and stop the fight. Martin Kampmann wins the fight by TKO in the first round.
In the second fight of the night, Jorge Olivera fought Marvin Eastman. This fight went all three rounds with neither opponent wanting to take the other to the ground. Both fighters were content with trading kicks and punches throughout the entire fight. In the first round Olivera sustained a cut below his left eye and Eastman sustained a cut above his right eye. In the second round Eastman appears to have the upper hand but neither fighter is landing big shots. In the final round Olivera appears to know that he must turn it up a notch and lands a roundhouse kick to Eastman’s head. Neither fighter can finish the other in this evenly matched fight. The judges determine the fight to be a draw.
In the third fight of the night, local fighter Rob McCullough fought Harris Sarmiento. It is apparent in this fight that McCullough wants to use his Thai-boxing skills and wants to keep the fight on his feet. In the first round both fighters appear to be feeling each other out with McCullough having the better Thai-boxing kicks and Sarmiento counter punching from the leg kicks. In the second round McCullough throws more kicks with Sarmiento landing a punch to McCullough’s head. Sarmiento takes McCullough to the ground but is unable to capitalize with his ground game. McCullough gets back to his feet and Sarmiento is unable to take him to the ground again. In the third round, Sarmiento tries to take McCullough to the ground and McCullough finished the round with knees to Sarmiento’s midsection. McCullough wins the fight by a unanimous decision.
In the fourth fight of the night, Former UFC Champ Ricco Rodriquez took on Ron Waterman. This was a rematch between the two fighters with Ricco wanting to settle the score. In this match it appeared that Ricco was out of shape and heavier then I have ever seen him before. Waterman looks like a master of the universe action figure. The size difference did not matter to Ricco who showed his skills being able to hit Waterman at will. Waterman tried to take Ricco down while against the cage but was unable to. Ricco lands several more heavy punches and closed Waterman’s left eye. Ricco wins the bout by TKO at the end of the first round.
In the fifth fight of the night, Ivan Salaverry fought Art Santore. In the first round both fighters come out looking to knock the other one out. Both fighters land big shots with Salaverry landing the bigger with a knee to Santore’s face. In the second round Salaverry landed several good kicks. One of the kicks hits Santore in the head and he went down. Salaverry takes advantage of the situation and starts with the ground and pound fighting. The referee stops the fight in what turned out to be the bloodiest fight of the night. Salaverry wins the fight by TKO.
In the sixth fight of the evening, Jason Miller fought Lodune Sincaid. Miller dominates this fight from the beginning. Miller lands punches and keeps Sincaid against the fence. Miller puts Sincaid on the ground and starts using his Jiu-Jitsu skills on Sincaid. Miller controls the ground game and sinks the rear naked choke hold. Sincaid taps out to avoid being choked out. Miller wins by tap out.
In the seventh fight of the night, Vernon White took on Ryoto Machida. Machida used a modified traditional martial arts stance while fighting. Although Vernon lands a good shot and take down in the first round, Machida works his kicks and hands striking Vernon several times. In the second round the most action came when Vernon flipped off the crowd for booing the fighters. In the third round Machida gets Vernon down and has side control on him. Vernon spins around and Machida takes his back. Vernon is able to reverse position and ends up in Machida’s guard as the time runs out in the fight. Machida wins the decision from the judges.
The eighth fight of the evening brought us the return of fighting legend Bas Rutten taking on Ruben Villareal. Villareal took this fight at last minute and did not have time to train for Bas. Bas showed us what made him a champion by landing punches and kicks at will. Villareal showed a lot of heart by taking punches to the head and continuing to press forward towards Bas. Bas lands several leg kicks which crumble Villareal to the ground. The fight is stopped by the referee after Villareal is unable to stand back up from the leg kicks.
In the main event of the evening former Pride fighting veteran Quinton Jackson took on Olympic wrestling silver medalist Matt Lindland. This was by far the most exciting fight of the evening. In the first round Jackson picked up Lindland and slammed him on the mat. Lindland answered by taking Jackson’s back and almost ending the fight with a rear naked choke hold. In the second round Linland slams Jackson to the mat but Jackson is able to stand back up. Jackson has better hands and lands several solid shots on Lindland. In the third round Jackson lands several good punches and Lindland lands a good kick ad back fist to Jackson’s head. Linland tries to end the fight using a front choke which does not work. Jackson slams Lindland to the mat again in this round. Jackson finishes the round with a flurry of punches. Jackson wins a split decision.
Even with the WFA having major last second obstacles to overcome, they were able to put on a great show. The fights were exciting and well worth the money spent by the spectators. The WFA is building a reputation of taking care of the fighters. If this is an example of the types of shows to expect, the resurrected WFA will be around for a long time.