BodogFight – Series III, Episode 9 Review

This week’s episode of BodogFight featured unaired matches from their Clash of the Nations pay per view. The fights took place live in St. Petersburg, Russia back in April. Fights featured were Rodrigo Damm vs Santino Defranco, Dmitri Samoilov vs. Ray Steinbeiss, Julie Kedzie vs. Julia Berezekova, and Andy Foster vs. Amar Suloev.

Rodrigo Damm (4 – 1 – 0) vs. Santino Defranco (14 – 5 – 0)

Despite both these fighters having strong backgrounds in submissions, the first round featured all stand up action. Damm and Defranco demonstrated crisp striking as they traded punches back and forth. It was a close first round but I’d have the give the edge to Damm. He pressed the fight with combinations and was more accurate when he countered.

Second round Damm comes out more aggressive. He moves in and lands hard shots to Defranco’s head and mid-section. Kicks by Damm to his opponent’s inner thigh made it difficult for Defranco to press forward. One minute in the two fighters clinch, finally bringing the fight to the ground. Damm stayed busy moving from mount to side position. Defranco rolled over on his back in an attempt to stand up. But Damm, in a beautifully display of Brazilian jujitsu mastery, secured Defranco’s arm with his legs then slid in a rear naked choke. Defranco tapped out at 1:58 in the second round.

Dmitri Samoilov (2 – 0 – 1) vs. Ray Steinbeiss (8 – 3 – 0)

In this bout between welterweights both fighters were looking to win in impressive fashion. Steinbeiss has been on a four fight losing streak. His most recent was a quick submission loss to Jake Shields. In Samoilov’s last appearance on BodogFight he fought a hard three rounds against Tyler Jackson. Many feel Samoilov won the fight but the judges saw it a draw.

From the start of the first round both fighters came out swinging hard and fast. After a minute of action, Samoilov closed the distance and brought Steinbeiss down with a nicely executed judo hip toss. Once down Steinbeiss pulled guard with Samoilov attempting to rain down punches. Steinbeiss attempted an armbar from the guard by Samoilov defended well. Samoilov passed to side body and in the process of securing a headlock had his back taken by Steinbeiss. Steinbeiss locked his legs in a body triangle, then applied a rear naked choke. Samoilov fought as best as he could but tapped out at 3:00 of round one.

Julie Kedzie (7 – 5 – 0 ) vs. Julia Berezekova (2 – 1 – 0)

The third fight featured the ladies in action. As with Samoilov and Steinbeiss, both women were coming off of lackluster BodogFight appearances. Kedzie was dominated in her fight against Amanda Buckner before being submitted. Berezekova fought a tough match against Tara LaRosa, but was also submitted by armbar in the second. Despite their loses in prior BodogFight, it was expected of both women to come out and fight hard. Kedzie is now training at Greg Jackson’s Submissions. A camp famed for training the likes of Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, and Nate Mardquardt. Berezekova is the sole female fighter of the infamous Red Devil Sport Club. Which happens to be home to the Emelianenko brothers (Fedor and Aleksander), Amar Suloev, and Roman Zentsov. Furthermore, Berezekova had hometown advantage fighting in her native St. Petersburg, Russia.

If Bodog gave awards for fight of the night this fight would have gotten it hands down. The first thirty seconds of the fight were an all out slug fest. Berezekova was getting the better of the exchange so Kedzie closed the distance. The two fought with punches and knees in the clinch while the crowd chanted for the hometown favorite. With neither fighter gaining an advantage, the referee stopped and separated the fighters. Berezekova leads in with a high kick, which Kedzie catches then countered with a straight right. From there Kedzie shot then used a leg sweep to take Berezekova down. Berezekova did her best to get out from under but Kedzie controlled the action with strikes and submission attempts. Thirty seconds left in the round Berezekova rolled over exposing her back to Kedzie. Berezekova slide out from under Kedzie and reversed position. Kedzie tried for an armbar from guard but Berezekova stayed on top of her. One second left, Kedzie grabs Berezekova’s leg and rolls her over to secure mount. This concludes an action packed first round.

Round 2 begins with the girls feeling each other out with punches. Kedzie once again closes the distance then executes a leg trip. The fight is once again back on the ground . Berezekova is once again able to reverse Kedzie. Kedzie then counters and reverses Berezekova. Kedzie attempts an armbar but Berezekova is able to escape but gets caught in a triangle hold. Berezekova struggles to get loose but Kedzie’s hold is too strong. Though the triangle is not fully sunk in, Kedzie holds the superior position and is able to stay on top. She delivers several punches to Berezekova head that she cannot defend, and the referee stops the fight. Kedzie wins by TKO (strikes) 2:49 in round two.

Andy Foster (8 – 1 – 0) vs. Amar Suloev (22 – 6 – 0)

Hardcore MMA fans should be very familiar with Amar Suloev. Fighting out of Red Devil Sport Club, Suloev is a veteran from MMA’s early days with it was bare knuckle. He’s fought in MMA promotions all over the world including Pride and the UFC. He’s a hard hitting striker and strong wrestler that has tussled with the likes of Phil Baroni, Murilo Bustamante, Chuck Liddell, Yushin Okami, and Din Thomas. Andy Foster my be the relative newbie by comparison, but as Matt Serra said it best: MMA is tailored made for underdogs. And with the recent slew of upsets in MMA, there is is a good chance that Foster could pull out the win. Unfortunately such would not be the case. Suloev came out swinging and dropped Foster. Suloev walked away believing himself the victor, but Foster was still conscious and able to fight. Suloev quickly pounced on Foster punching from all angles. After several hard shots Foster is KO’d and Suloev is the winner at 0:26 in round one.

The Inside Pulse
With every episode I watch I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the BodogFight franchise. It’s still a bit early to tell, but I think that BodogFight has the good potential to be the next top MMA organization to feature solid international fighters. With Pride’s future hanging in limbo, there is definitely a void to be filled. Perhaps Bodog could be the promotion to do.