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Australia's MMA Event CFC 14- 5th of June, 2010- Review
Promising a powerhouse showcase of local and international Mixed Martial Arts talent, the fourteenth event of Australia’s CFC (Cage Fighting Championship) in Sydney at Luna Park’s Big Top provided the setting for some explosive striking and intense submission wrestling, with the guarantee of the two combined for some spectacular ground and pound.
As with every single event in the history of the Big Top, the gates opened late, giving the fans the opportunity to have a couple of drinks at the Sonar bar in another part of Luna Park. This is actually advisable as it would not be unusual to overhear someone at the Big Top’s bar negotiating the sale of their car in exchange for a can of Tooheys New. Despite the observation that a majority of the fans appeared to have had at least some training, tattoo’s and ample testosterone, the atmosphere was one of respect, flying in the face of Australia’s mainstream media’s current attempt at vilifying MMA fans as thugs intent on nothing but mindless violence. There was more chance of bumping into a friend than receiving a shoulder barge from a foe.
The organisers made good use of space around the six sided cage, one side dedicated to between 10 and 20 serviced tables with beer and wine prepared to serve those with the big wallets, the other three sides were stadium style seating. The venue’s nosebleed section was still close enough to hear the crack of leather and the grunt of effort.
Rabs, iconic Rugby League commentator, introduced the evening and the first fight in the under 65kg, between Patrice Empeigne (Team Juggernaut) and Mat Wilken (Southern Cross Jiu Jitsu). Patrice pressed the pace with good clinch work, takedowns, ground n pound and showed proficiency in his attempted submissions. Mat’s guard saved him from much damage in the first round, but it really shined in the second; Patrice was settling in to end the round with GnP when suddenly Mat took his back and threw some heavy shots to Patrice’s head. Third round came about with Patrice repeating his takedown and GnP performance, Mat threw an elbow from the bottom that opened a cut on Patrice that prompted a look by the doctor. It did not bother the doc, nor did it bother Patrice, but Mat was drenched in Patrice’s blood and when Patrice returned to GnPing, the ref must have been bothered because he stopped the fight at 3 minutes and 31 seconds into the third round to award Mat the victory by TKO.
Edwin Arana (Kickstart MMA) and Kian “Karnage” Pham (Lion’s Den/ Team Juggernaut) in the under 62kgs began with Kian executing a hardcore takedown, landing in side control, although Kian was unable to hold him. Edwin, after much back and forth on the ground, showed his skills by administering a triangle choke to finish the fight 1 minute and 43 seconds into the first round.
Jacob Pettett (Magnus Martial Arts) and Josh Payne (Lion’s Den Academy) faced off in the cage at 70kg, producing some of the most exciting clinch work of the night. Trading knees to the body and alternatively pressing each other up against the fence, both obviously had extensive experience in this area of the fight game. Josh Payne's dirty boxing was quelled in the clinch causing the ref to separate them, after a period of pawing at each other, Josh threw a huge overhand right that lead back into the clinch. The end of round one saw an exciting exchange in and off the clinch, knees, elbows and punches were the order of the day. Round 2 began with Josh swinging before setting up in some kung fu stance that seemed to be working more for the crowd rather than his gameplan. Jacob replies with some swinging of his own which caused Josh to clinch and throw him to the ground, after little progression the ref stands him back up. A massive stand up exchange ensued that ended when Josh threw a left hook that connected and then followed up with a highlight reel spinning backfist that knocked Jacob out.
In the 77kg category Jay Cobain (Impact MMA) and Robert Whittaker (Perez MMA) showed the ground game in Australia is not to be taken lightly. Jay immediately takes Robert to the ground and works quickly to side control, Robert begins to use the cage to stand up but uses an opening to perform a legit sweep that had the audience wowed. Jay managed to work his way around to Roberts back and dug one hook in, for about three minutes an epic battle with Jay peppering Robert with punches from behind which was only halted when he managed to snag one of Jay’s legs and apply a leg lock. Jay wasn’t taking this lying down, his fists made this known as he battered the committed Robert before obtaining top position, which surprisingly was ineffectual. Robert retained half guard, then full guard and the round finished. 33 seconds into the second round Jay tapped out after Robert stepped over his head for a text book application of an armbar.
“Hot” Rod McSwain (Strikeforce NZ) came out to MC Hammer’s “U can’t touch this” in order to face Manuel Rodriguez (TP Fight Team) at 77kg, which would result in a very close fight. Manuel takes Rod down into half guard; Rod retains full guard and is punched for his trouble. Suddenly Rod reverses the position, mounts, drops to side control and begins searching for a kimura. The jiu jitsu on display is mesmerizing and the crowd appreciates it with all the enthusiasm they can muster. Manuel fights hard to take Rod’s back, transitioning beautifully to an armbar that looks solid, Rod’s knowledge of the position had him stack Manuel, who then attempted a triangle to end the round. Round 2 resembled round 1, in that it was incredible display of grappling brilliance and determination, Rod nearly took mount at the very beginning of the round, administering some GnP from side control, but Manuel was deft in his pursuit of a better position, gaining a reversal, in turn being swept himself again. Rod begins a GnP campaign that sees him momentarily in mount, into half guard and finally back in Manuel’s guard which was suddenly switched to an armbar attempt that was stacked and stuffed and like in the first round a triangle choke was attempted, but not finished. Rod gained side control and then briefly found Manuel’s back, Manuel must’ve recognized the position he was in because he turned back over to accept some GnP from his mounted opponent to end the round. Manuel can barely stand by this point, his corner has to help him up and the ref was paying very close attention. Manuel came out with a big swing that connected ever so slightly. Rod, once again took him down and, if Jay Cobain and Robert Whittaker showed that Australia’s ground game is not to be taken lightly, these two proved it beyond a doubt. Manuel reversed the position and ended up in Rod’s half guard, going for a kimura in between the raining of elbows. Rod was able to grab guard but Manuel’s elbows, even inside the guard, were vicious, opening a cut that looked savage, though not savage enough for the ref on top of the action to stop the fight. Rod is able to reverse the mount and the roll that ended the round had the crowd in screaming in mayhem and awe. The decision had a similar response from the crowd. The judges took a very long time adding up the scores, then rechecking them, then ensuring they had it right. Turns out that two of the judges called it a draw, and one gave it to Manuel (28-28,29-29,29-28), incredibly close win for Manuel Rodriguez and a decision that might not have been held in high regards by some watching the fight.
It was Evan Byrne (5 Rings Dojo QLD) and Richie Vas (Gracie Sydney/ TP Fight Team) in the under 65kg next. Some serious knees on the ground by Evan after gaining side control and managing mount but Richie reversed the position. After standing up Richie took Evan down in a huge way, lifting him up and slamming him to the canvas, landing in side control and taking mount which caused Evan to turn over. Richie sunk in a rear naked choke to end the fight 3 minutes and 34 seconds into the first round.
The big fella’s in the under 120kg division were Brandon “Cash” Money (Pro Buhawe/ American Kickbox Academy, USA) and “Big” Jim Yorke (5 Rings Dojo), a truly international clash of the titans. Big Jim stalks Brandon to open the fight, Brandon is not intimidated and attempts a takedown that Jim stuffs, the size of these men make every technique seem earthshaking. Brandon succeeds in taking Jim down into side control, Jim attempts to shrimp and reverse the position but Brandon moves to north south and begins to touch up Jim’s face with punches before moving to side control , continuing the punch routine before gaining mount. There is cries of “stand ‘em up” from cetain sections of the audience, and although not as dynamic as the smaller guys on the ground, the intricacies of the movements of the big guys may have been lost on these casual observers of the sport. Jim is able to grab Brandon’s neck as he regains half guard but Brandon maintained control enough to gain mount. Jim held on and dealt with the punches to his head before he turns over and gives Brandon his back with both hooks in. Brandon begins an elbowing regime that triggers Jim’s scramble, resulting in both men standing. Jim throws a massive right that seems to glance off Brandons head, but rocks him sufficiently to drop him to the canvas. Jim lands on top of him and starts GnPing until Brandon taps out at 3 minutes and 33 seconds into the first round.
The main event of the evening was a "state of origin" battle between under 70kg fighters Ian “Goshu Hurricane” Schaffa (Double Dragon/ TP Gym, NSW) and Jai “The Toothfairy” Bradney (5 Rings Dojo, QLD). They begin with some strong exchanges, feeling each other out, their distancing and timing. Jai puts all of himself behind his punches which eventually sees him on his back, with Ian in side control. Jai regains half guard and sweeps Ian into side control, maneuvering him against the cage and pinning his arm in the crucifix position, punching Ian’s face repeatedly as he struggles to regain the use of his arm. Jai’s control on top is admirable, pressing him against the cage and pinning his arm in another crucifix under his knee to rain down more unanswered punches. Jai begins throwing some serious elbows when Ian regains half guard. Jai moves to mount and begins raining down some massive blows that causes the ref to step in and save Ian from any unnecessary damage at 4 minutes and 16 seconds into the first round.
The event’s presenter, Ray “Rabs” Warren, provided an air of familiarity to the Australian audience, the intimate nature of the venue ensured everyone had “the best seat in the house” and the genuine love for the rising sport amongst the fans and fighters helped make this one electric evening of combat entertainment. Everyone was buzzing as they left, directed and escorted (unnecessarily in my opinion) by the several police to the exit. It would have been great to have caught a picture of fight fans as they wandered out from under Luna Park’s famous smiling face, because they shared the same expression.
By S. Fields
Last edited by PizDoff; 6/22/2010 12:35am at .