MMA on DVD: WEC 11: Evolution

WEC 11: Evolution

Lemoore, California

-Though they don’t mention it on the DVD, this was one of the most injury-hit MMA cards you’ll find, as some of the matches originally booked (Chris Leben vs. Steve Heath, Gilbert Melendez vs. Rich Crunkilton, Chris Lytle vs. JT Taylor, Bret Bergmark vs. John Alessio) fell apart and left the card with little in the way of ‘name’ fights. Such are the trials and tribulations of a smaller promotion.

-Your hosts are Stephen Quadros, Ryan Bennett (RIP) and Alex Stiebling. They talk about the return of Olaf, and the Heavyweight tournament that they’re running on this show.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Bill Coffman vs Josh Green

Man, I’m surprised to see the former security guy Coffman back after his first showing. He’s definitely got balls, that’s for sure. Green is another local guy I think.

Round 1 begins, and Green stuns him right away with a one-two before getting a takedown to half-guard. He takes the mount and lands a flurry, and then looks for an oma plata, before switching off to a triangle/armbar variant instead to force the tapout early.

Yeah, Green just whitewashed Coffman there. Not much to see at all.

Lightweight Fight: Gabe Ruediger vs Steve Ramerez

Ha, it’s Gabe! Even after TUF V and the shenanigans I’m still a fan of Mr Ruediger. Yeah yeah, I’m loyal, sue me. Love Gabe’s entrance with the Lucha mask, too. No clue on his opponent here really.

They get underway and Gabe throws a flying knee, but Ramerez catches it and dumps him to the ground. Gabe looks for an armbar right away, but Ramerez works free and stands up in a clinch, where he takes some knees from Ruediger. Ramerez gets an impressive shoulder throw takedown from the clinch to side mount, but Gabe quickly manoeuvres to full guard from the bottom, where he slaps on a quick triangle choke for the tapout.

Short and fun fight with Gabe showing off some nice skill on the ground. Ramerez did little outside of the shoulder throw, but really what else did he have the chance to do? Good win for Ruediger.

Heavyweight Tournament: James Irvin vs Jody Poff

This is the first of two semi-finals in a mini-tournament, although the announcers don’t mention outright what’s on the line. I think it’s a shot at WEC HW Champ Mike Kyle, though. These guys weigh exactly the same but to say they have different physiques is an understatement. Irvin is all cut up while the less said about Poff’s build, the better.

Poff avoids a big right hand from Irvin to open, and surprises him with a takedown to the guard. Irvin uses the fence to get back to his feet though, where he grabs a headlock and lands some knees whilst blocking the takedown. They tumble to the ground with Irvin on top, and from there he avoids an armbar attempt and suddenly lands a couple of heavy right hands, the second of which knocks Poff silly and the ref steps in.

Despite the bad takedown defense early, Irvin wasted very little energy in putting Poff away there and the announcers are quite right in thinking he’s got to be the favourite for the tournament.

Lightweight Fight: Nick Ertl vs Nam Phan

Ertl always seems to be cropping up on these shows I’m reviewing recently. Cesar Gracie guy though so what’s not to like? Outside of the receding hairline that is. Nam Phan is a guy who I heard a lot of hype about around a year ago, before he suffered a few tough losses in the last eleven months or so, and he certainly looks the part, like a Jet Li-ish type. Quadros says his hero is Sakuraba and he’s always trying to emulate him too, so this ought to be fun hopefully.

Round 1 and they both press forward, before Phan throws a right hand into the clinch. They exchange some knees inside, and Ertl follows with a trip to side mount. He lands a couple of elbows, and some knees to the body for good measure, before Phan scrambles from the bottom into full guard. Ertl continues to strike from the top, but things slow down a lot, and Phan begins to land some elbows of his own from the bottom as the time runs out.

Into the 2nd, and Ertl looks for the takedown early, but Phan blocks and gets on top, where he lands some WILD punches from above. He stands and kicks at the legs, and the referee just watches this for a bit before finally standing Ertl back up. Phan lands a big right hand into the clinch, and they exchange inside before Ertl gets a trip and takes his back. Phan rolls for a kneebar, but Ertl avoids and ends up on top in guard, where he takes some elbows from the bottom from Phan, who opens up a cut on the top of Ertl’s head. Round ends with Ertl landing some short strikes in Phan’s guard.

Third and final round, and they press forward into the clinch and Ertl gets the takedown to guard. Phan avoids being pinned to the fence, and they exchange in the guard with short strikes, pretty slow pace throughout and this continues for the full round.

I have this 29-28 for Phan I think. Judges have it a split decision, 29-28, 28-29 and 28-29 for Nam Phan, and Ertl does NOT look pleased at that. According to Sherdog though there was a mistake with the score cards, and the decision was actually for Ertl. I agreed more with the original though, as despite having the takedowns, Ertl did very little from the top and probably took more damage from Phan’s elbows from underneath. Pretty slow and plodding fight, too.

Heavyweight Tournament: Emanuel Newton vs Andre Mussi

This is the second semi-final in the tournament, then. Mussi is a huge guy out of the Brazilian Top Team, much bigger than Newton who’s a Muay Thai guy and even smaller than Irvin on the heavyweight scale. Newton’s apparently been training with Vitor Belfort, too.

They circle to the clinch to open the first round and exchange some knees, before Newton breaks with a right hand that stuns the Brazilian. Mussi clinches and pulls guard, and then rolls for an oma plata, but they come back to their feet. Mussi tries to go for a guillotine, but Newton backs off and calls him back to his feet. They press forward, and Newton lands a knee into the clinch. Break again, and this time Mussi catches him with a good straight left. Newton comes back with a right hand, and then sprawls to avoid a takedown and lands some more punches. Mussi rolls to his back looking hurt, but Newton’s having none of the ground game and just backs up again. Newton grabs a waistlock as Mussi comes back up, and delivers a BIG SUPLEX, but Mussi rolls to guard so Newton stands up again. He lands a combo standing, but Mussi gets a takedown to half-guard, where he tries a guillotine from the top. Newton flips his way out though, and drops some punches, standing to end the round. Pretty exciting opener.

Mussi looks gassed badly as they begin the 2nd, and Newton looks to strike again, landing some punches into the clinch, where he catches the Brazilian with a heavy right hand. Mussi drops to his back, but the ref brings him back up. Newton comes forward with the big right again, and they slug it out into the clinch where they muscle for position briefly before breaking off. Newton comes forward to the clinch again, but takes a short uppercut as he steps in and as they clinch, the ref stops things as there’s blood absolutely POURING out of Newton’s mouth. Looks like the uppercut actually knocked a tooth out, nasty stuff. Looks for a second like he’ll actually be done, but his corner persuade him to continue, and they exchange some punches to the clinch where the blood continues to flow. Mussi drops to his back to end the round. Pretty sloppy at this point and both guys look badly exhausted.

Third and final round, and they exchange jabs to the clinch, but Mussi quickly pushes him off. Announcers are outright expecting neither guy to make the tournament finals at this point; Quadros even suggests promoter Scott Adams ought to ask Carlos Barreto (who was in Nam Phan’s corner) to step in and fight Irvin in the finals. They continue to circle, before exchanging into the clinch and then break off with the same result. Newton lands a right hand and a couple of knees, and Mussi drops to his back again, looking like deadweight. Ref brings him up and the action really slows down, until Newton lands a right hand into the clinch. Mussi tries a guillotine, but Newton muscles out and hits him with a knee to the body. Mussi drops to his back again, and then kicks Newton away as he looks to go down into the guard, and they come up and exchange in the clinch to end the fight.

Newton gets the unanimous decision, but it’s pretty clear he’s in no fit state to go on in the tournament and unsurprisingly the announcers confirm this a bit later on, saying Irvin will have a chance at a title shot at a later date. First round of this wasn’t too bad but as both men got tired it descended horribly into sloppiness and a pace like both guys were fighting waist-deep in tar.

Heavyweight Fight: Carlos Garcia vs Seth Woodill

Apparently Woodill wrestled in college with one Chuck Liddell, which is pretty interesting. It’s funny because you rarely think of Liddell being a wrestler originally as he’s so well known for his kickboxing. Garcia is a REALLY squat-looking guy actually fighting in a t-shirt, which is rare to see even in WEC.

They begin, and exchange some wild, heavy strikes right away, and before the fight’s even reached the minute mark, Garcia lands a BOMB to the chin and Woodill falls face-first, out cold. Guess wrestling with Chuck didn’t help him at all here. Finish looked like a Flair Flop.

Lightweight Fight: Olaf Alfonso vs Philip Perez

Olaf was returning from the first loss of his career, to Gilbert Melendez here, and it says something (no offense to Olaf) when his return is the biggest event on the card. Never heard of Perez before. Unfortunately Olaf doesn’t enter to ‘Helter Skelter’ here, and also gone is the long-haired ring announcer who outright calls him the “MANSON OF MMA!” Such a pity.

They press forward to open the 1st, and Perez shoots in and gets the takedown. Olaf rolls immediately to attempt a kimura, but Perez avoids and then goes for an armbar of his own. Olaf quickly escapes though and ends up on top. He looks to pass the guard, but then decides to change up the plan and OPENS UP with a nasty combination of punches and forearms, cutting Perez up pretty badly. He keeps on jamming the short elbow down into the face of his opponent, and then the ref steps in on an apparent “verbal tapout”. Love that term.

Solid performance from Olaf who remains a pretty good fighter on this level of competition; just not quite good enough to make that next step up. Perez had nothing for him really and this didn’t last long at all.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Rafael Del Real vs Michael MacDonald

Oh man, I am not looking forward to watching this after the last Rafael Del Real match I saw. He does look in far better shape though as he’s dropped to 205lbs for this one. MacDonald is just another local guy I think.

MacDonald clinches to open the first round, but Del Real gets a takedown to side mount. MacDonald holds on to look for the stand-up, and then tries to get to his feet himself, but eats some punches and also an illegal knee as he was on all fours at the time. Ref steps in and calls time, and then they restart and Del Real lands a right hand and gets a clinch. He lands some lefts inside and then breaks, but they quickly clinch again and this time MacDonald drops for a kimura. Del Real pulls out, and lands some punches, before they come back up where he gets a headlock and lands some knees. Back out, and MacDonald comes forward with a combo into a clinch, and then opens up with a big flurry as Del Real looks gassed and becomes a sitting duck. MacDonald for some reason tries to drop for the kimura again, but Del Real avoids and ends up on top to end the round.

2nd round, and MacDonald begins by throwing a combo before getting a clinch, which Del Real breaks with a knee. MacDonald lands a left hand that stuns him, but Del Real comes back with a takedown to half-guard. He opens up with some punches, avoiding a kimura and ending up in the front facelock position, and from there Rafael follows with more punches, which end up being totally unanswered, as MacDonald just lays there, and the ref steps in to call it not long after.

Really sloppy stuff from start to finish. Pretty bad fight there.

Heavyweight Fight: Lavar Johnson vs Fred Diaz

Diaz is another chubby local heavyweight guy, while Johnson has apparently been training with the American Kickboxing Academy leading into this fight.

Diaz clinches to begin, and unsurprisingly they WILDLY BRAWL pretty much right away, with the taller, rangier Johnson landing the better punches. Diaz keeps wading in with his winging hooks, so Johnson grabs a half-guillotine to control him momentarily, and then breaks off with some huge hooks of his own, landing cleanly and dropping Diaz for the KO.

That seriously resembled a bar-fight there, especially the offense that Diaz was throwing. Johnson was a little better I guess but really it was just two big blokes swinging, like a toughman contest.

WEC World Light-Heavyweight Title: Richard Montoya vs Abraham Baxter

Not sure why they have these two guys fighting for the World LHW Title when Alex f*cking Stiebling is sitting doing commentary. Regardless, AKA’s Montoya was coming off a win over Bill Coffman on the previous show, while ‘Irish Abe’ Baxter, a fighter out of Chuck Liddell’s Pit camp, gets a mention from the announcers as supposedly appearing in the future on “Spike TV’s UFC reality show”. Huh? Maybe he was the other guy who missed out along with Jon Fitch for the first TUF series then.

Round 1 opens, and they press with strikes but neither guy lands anything early. Montoya gets a takedown, but Baxter scrambles to his feet right away and they clinch up and muscle for position along the fence. They exchange short knees, before Baxter breaks off, and follows with a big left high kick! Montoya looks stunned, but survives the following flurry and they exchange with Montoya managing to duck another attempted left high kick and grab a waistlock. Montoya delivers two BIG GERMAN SUPLEXES, and then leaps up and gets both hooks in. Baxter rolls into the full mount, and takes some elbows and punches before he rolls to give his back again. Montoya hooks on a rear naked choke…but the bell sounds before he can close it off. Started slow but the last two minutes of that round were RAD.

Baxter pushes the action to open the 2nd round, pressing forward and landing some strikes, but nothing that really hurts Montoya and Montoya catches a kick and shoves him off balance. Baxter manages to remain standing though, and they begin to circle without either landing any major strikes, until Montoya rocks him with a left hand! Baxter fires right back though, and they trade off briefly, before calming down again and circling away, exchanging from distance. Montoya clinches, but Baxter breaks off and they trade once again, with Montoya getting the better of it and they go back to the clinch to close the round. I have Montoya up two rounds to none at this point.

Third and final round, and Montoya opens with a series of low kicks, as Baxter begins to limp; Quadros mentions he limped back to his corner after the 2nd so he may have some sort of injury. They press, but things get really tentative now until Baxter lands a combo that causes Montoya to clinch. They muscle along the fence, with Montoya landing a good knee, but generally things slow down badly. Finally Montoya gets a takedown to half-guard, and despite Baxter getting the full guard, Montoya works him over with some ground-and-pound to close the fight out.

We’re going to the judges for this one, and it’s a unanimous decision for Richard Montoya, definitely the right way to go. Fight started off pretty good and it did have some decent moments throughout, but it also had a lot of slow parts and never really picked up steam into what you’d call a good fight.

-And despite the DVD advertising a bonus fight with Shonie Carter, we end up going straight to the announcers who wrap up the night of fights, including talking about Shonie’s performance. Huh.

The Inside Pulse
: Not the best show here I’m afraid. Like any smaller show you normally get your fair share of sloppy stuff on the undercard of a WEC show, but the beauty of the other WECs I’ve reviewed is that once you get past the local inexperienced guys and the unskilled brawlers you’re normally greeted with some solid fights from UFC veterans and the like. Here though there’s none of that as injuries and pull-outs raped the card badly, and the only “name” fighters on the card are guys like Ruediger and Irvin who went onto better things after their fights here. It’s not the worst show I’ve seen; better than a lot of KOTC stuff and in terms of the fights there’s nothing absolutely putrid, but you can find far better shows out there if you’re a hardcore fan who’s into the smaller promotions. Recommendation to avoid.

Coming Soon….

UFC: 69, 70, 71 and 72, Fight Nights 1-10, and the TUF III Finale.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.

Until next time,

Scott Newman: