King of the Cage6/22/02While most consider the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pride Fighting to be the absolute of the Mixed Martial Arts events, I only have one thing to say, “make your way to the Soboba Casino to check out the King of the Cage.” This show features everything from UFC veterans to up and coming champions. When you here the rumor that the place will be sold out, you better believe it, and now I can see why!
The action packed night started off with Justin Masley, who was one of the many representatives of the Millennia Jiu-Jitsu Academy, squaring off with Team Hybrid`s Danny “The Bulldog” Bryket. Bryket, despite being listed to have a submission based background displayed great stand-up from the word go by throwing some hard leather, forcing Masley to attempt a double leg takedown. Bryket avoided the double leg, however the fight was restarted due to illegal elbow strikes to the top of Masley`s head. After the restart the fight was took immediately to the ground by Bryket, who then soon finished with a side choke for the victory at 1:07 into Rd number 1.
In the second bout of the evening, making his NHB competition debut, Josh Lewis faced up and comer Jason Dolder. Dolder, who traveled from Gainesville, Florida to represent The F2 Arena fight team, displayed a very aggressive grappling style. Dolder, who controlled the entire fight, immediately took the fight to the ground where he passed the guard on two different occasions. Dolder then worked to knee on the belly after throwing some heavy shots from the side mount. The fight then was ended at the 2:31 mark or Rd 1 from a forearm choke. The third fight of the evening brought mixed emotions into the air, with an even number of thier hometown fans in the crowd, and an intense stare down this fight was one I knew would be a barn burner. John Cole, an absolute physical specimen, brought great wrestling skills and the ever so popular pink hair do, to face a very game Richard Solis. Solis who had a background in submission wrestling showed great skills from his back as Cole used his wrestling ability to immediately get the double leg takedown. Cole striking heavily from inside the guard of Solis tried to pass however never was successful at doing so in the opening minutes. Solis, while defending the heavy hands of Cole was able to lock in a triangle choke in the closing seconds of Round 1, however Cole escaped and the fight was pushed on to an exciting round 2. Round 2 opened up by Solis landing some solid punches to Cole, however Cole defended well and was able to again get the double leg for another takedown. Both men were very aggressive in the second Rd but Cole was able to come away with the ground and pound unanimous judges decision. Fight number four was one with Cipi Gamino, who was unsure of his opponent until just opening hours of the fight, to face Aaron Henderson, a wrestler who brought an 8-5 NHB competition record with him to the cage. The fight opened up with Henderson jumping to the guard and Gamino making him pay by landing heavy shots from with inside the guard of Henderson. Henderson then hipped out to try to work for the takedown but was caught in a standing guillotine and forced to tap at 3:17 of Rd number one to declare Gamino the victor. Fight number five was one unlike the first four. Although the fight was exciting and action packed it was the only fight to bring on the Heavyweights. Lobo and Jason Lambert showed up with the same intensions as the rest, to put on some fireworks! Lambert, a very experienced wrestler, immediately shot and took the takedown in the opening seconds of the fight. Lambert then showed his mat skills by passing the guard and then taking the back of his opponent and working his way to victory by several unanswered strikes to his opponent and the referee quickly ended the fight at 3:01 of Rd one. The intermissions of most events are ones to where you always find yourself running around looking for people that you know or helping yourself to a beverage or snack you know you don`t really need! The King of the Cage intermissions however are the complete opposite, and let me tell you, the COMPLETE opposite. Not only are the fights A class action packed fights, the KOTC also presents A class ring girls. This is the only event I believe there is an even amount of ring girl fans as there are fight fans! Every ring girl was absolutely gorgeous. And the best part, not only was every ring girl beautiful, each one was knowledgeable about what was actually going on in the fights. What more could you ask for in a woman? And who says you can`t be both beautiful and intelligent!
Fight number six-featured Jess Liaudin, who brought an impressive 5-1 pro NHB record with him all the way from France. Liaudin was to face Joey “The coyote” Guel. Guel, who also had a very impressive 10-1 MMA record, came, intense and ready to battle. Liaudin opened up the fight with a flying knee that momentarily looked as if it had Guel in trouble, however Guel shook it off and immediately got the takedown on Liaudin. Liaudin, although well schooled on the mat was outclassed in the grappling side of the fight where he was receiving lots of punishment from Guel from being in the _ guard and side mount of Guel. Guel then landed some vicious shots on Liaudin to halt the bout a 2:31 into Rd number one.
The seventh fight of the night was one with home crowd favorite Betiss “Super” Mansouri taking on Yelm, Washington`s Eddie Ellis who came and was cornered by UFC veteran Dennis Hallman. Even though this bout showed great potential, it didn`t last long. Betiss, wearing Muay Thai kickboxing shorts, came in throwing a couple lazy jabs to set up for the single leg takedown. Betiss got the takedown, and from there on out it was all Mansouri. Mansouri quickly passed guard and went too Ellis`s back after throwing some shots to the ribs of Ellis. Ellis, also a very schooled grappler, rolled from the dangerous position he had put himself in, however he managed to fight himself in a deep triangle choke and was forced into submission at a quick 1:15 into the very first Rd.
The eight fight of the night was one with mixed emotions among just about everyone who was at the fight and seen the event. Brent Stevens was game to take on Kent “The Norseman” Hensley, a Muay Thai kick boxer from Atlanta, Georgia. This fight was one where the action never really stopped. Both fighters were equal in not only the grappling aspect but also the stand up. Most of the first round was Stevens shooting for takedowns and Hensley defending the takedown and landing knees to the mid section of a buffed up Stevens. Hensley, immediately after a sprawl of his own shot in for a takedown to try to bring the fight to the ground. In the sprawled position Stevens landed a solid knee to the top of Hensley`s head. The match was then stood up where the ref was to deduct a point from Stevens for the illegal knee. Larry Landless, who was in charge of most of the nights action a the head referee, wasted no time getting the action immediately back on as scheduled. Stevens came back out immediately landing a heavy shot, however Hensley merely flinched and landing a solid combination of his own. The bell then sounded to end an action packed round one. Round two opened up with not only both fighters looking winded from there first round battle, but just as eager to finish the fight as they were the first round. Stevens, with a nice cut under his left eye from the earlier round one Hensley combination came out shooting the takedown and taking the action to the ground. Hensley however worked nicely from the bottom displaying a well versed guard worked solidly through the first couple minutes. Although the action never stopped it began to slow down and the ref restood the fight and the crowd absolutely backed his decision. Hensley wasted no time clinching and landing heavy knees to Stevens`s head and mid section. The fight stayed clinched where Hensley worked for knees and takedowns until the sound of the bell. Stevens pulled out the judges decision, however the fight is being reviewed at the pushing of Hensley`s team who didn`t take well to the judges thoughts.
Fight nine of the evening was scheduled for Fernando Vasconcelos to face KOTC veteran Antonio McKee. McKee however was forced to pull out with an injury and there was no one to step up to take on the undefeated Vasconcelos who apologized to his fans and promised to make up for the inconvenience in his next fight. In a side note Vasconcelos was open to fighting but a replacement could not be found. Scheduled fight ten was one with high interest to most. Romie Aram was scheduled to take on a very game Joe Stevenson. Aram however suffered injured ribs just days before this 170 lbs. World title fight and was forced to pull out. Jeremy Jackson however stepped up for the challenge to take on the young Joe Stevenson in the world title match. Stevenson came in at a solid 5`7“ 170 lbs and was hype and ready for his chance at the title. Although the scheduled fight was one of great potential this was one with high impact and great show of skill. Jackson, and to his credit again was a late replacement for the injured Aram. Stevenson came out with the same plan as before, ground`em and pound`em. Stevenson immediately came out and shot for the single leg and took the fight to the mat. There he wasted absolutely no time and immediately went for the kill. He pounded through Jackson`s guard where Jackson finally was forced from a never easing off Stevenson to tap from blows from the mount. Stevenson gained the title and is scheduled to rematch Romie Aram in a highly anticipated match in an up coming KOTC.
The final fight of the evening was Main event John “The Natural” Alessio squaring off with Chris “The Westside Strangler” Brennan. Both fighters, being UFC veterans made for one exciting match. The bout was to name a new Superfight champion, and rumored to open up the opportunity for the winner to step back into the UFC. The bout not only looked great on card but had a lot of personal things among the fighters to be settled. Alessio although would`ve thought to be a crowd underdog due to Brennan`s tremendous success inside of the KOTC cage. Both fighters made their way to the cage, both looking in top shape and ready to name the new KOTC Superfight champion. With high controversy among the fans about this fight both fighters were there and ready to get it on! The fight opened up with the stare down, neither fighter giving an inch or taking an eye off their opponent. By this time, the place was hype and everybody was on the edge of their seat. The fight started off with the fighters circling measuring each other out. Alessio, enjoying a heavy reach advantage to Brennan patiently circled while Brennan threw several high impact kicks. Brennan then landed some good jabs to Alessio however Alessio returned the favor with jabs of his own. After a couple high kick attempts and a powerful thigh kick by Brennan, Alessio saw the opening and caught Brennan with a huge right hand, which sent him into the wall of the cage. Alessio, after stepping back realized he had stunned Brennan then finished him off with several left, right combos. The ref then stepped in to stop the action on lack of Brennan defending himself. The action was stopped at 2:28 into the first round, and a new KOTC Superfight champion was born. Not only was this an action packed night of fights and ring girls, it was chance to see some of the best up and coming fighters that all of the organization`s need to keep their eyes on for the next few year. All around the KOTC is one of the best ran MMA events in the world. As far as I can see not only does the KOTC treat their fighters great, but also there many die hard fans. The KOTC is definitely an event I would urge anyone to go to. You can always purchase your tickets online through the KOTC`s website at www.kingofthecage.com and also check for fight listings and news. All around an absolute great night, with high impact fights!