The Fletch Blog: Dog Eat Dog IV - Knockouts, Bisping, Ricco and More!!! (Reports, pics and vlog)Posted on February 1, 2011, 09:19 AM by DanielFletcher
With more punch than a high-school prom, more kick than a vodka mixer, and more grappling than a bouncer’s night at the Birdcage bar, Yorkshire’s local MMA history was added to with the Dog Eat Dog IV: Leeds vs. Manchester event at Oceana nightclub in Leeds, promoted by Liam O’Neill and attended by none other than former UFC Heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez, and England’s own current UFC middleweight Michael “The Count” Bisping.
Having spent the last decade watching top flight Japanese, European and American MMA via television and the internet, I'd never actually attended a local UK MMA event. I did not know what to expect, but youtube videos filled with muscle-heads screaming "f***in' smash him! Give it 'him man!" filled me with foreboding. Thankfully, the crowd were - happily - not a bunch of unsophisticated idiots booing every instance when the fight hits the floor. Many seemed keenly interested; others tolerant. None booed. As such, it was an enjoyable atmosphere, and all the local fighters on the card received the standard hometown support from an appreciative audience. Most notably was local boy Simeon Otley, who earned the respect of all, due to his dogged determination to absolutely not submit to any form of hold he may be caught in, during a draining 77kg semi-pro fight with grappler Steve Brinkman. Otley earned cheers just for completing round 1, in which he had to survive a nasty kimura, kneebar and then heel hook, all of which were locked in, all of which made him visibly wince and grimace in pain, but none of which made him tap. In the second round, after being caught flush in a fully extended and locked in armbar, the referee thankfully halted affairs before the inevitable bone break, and the fight goes down as a “technical submission loss”. There will be limb snaps in that boy’s future, if he doesn’t shore up his submission defence, or learn to submit, and live to fight another day! True Bushido, he earned a fan in me.
Mike Persil was fighting MMA bouts back when Julius Caesar was planning the Roman invasions of Britain, so he can be forgiven for his loss here. The 53yr old came up against a young prospect from the Wolfslair (MMA camp home to Bisping, Ricco and of course Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, not Hitler’s Eastern European Headquarters) and after being spun by a leg kick, he was topped and rear-naked-choked to defeat. No shame at all, and props on getting in there at such an athletically advanced age.
Greg Grimshaw defeated Sam Creasey by majority decision, in a 65kg catchweight fight ultimately dictated by the clinch work of Grimshaw. The mark of a Muay Thai stylist is use of knees and strikes on the inside from the clinch, as opposed to a takedown, and that was the deciding factor in this one.
Lucas Sharpe scored a kimura (or double-wrist-lock, to the catch enthusiasts out there) victory over Paul Robinson. The latter enjoyed hometown support, training out of True Spirit in Chapeltown, and buoyed on by it, his foe ultimately could not evade the grappling attentions of the local fighter. Robinson scored an early takedown, but a low blow halted proceedings, and the stoppage occurred shortly afterwards. Another takedown was swept and reversed, and after earning positional dominance, Sharpe secured the double-wristlock/kimura for the win.
In only 13 seconds, poor Zack Taylor took a punch after only 13 seconds of the fight, and his opponent hesitated to follow up on it, as he fell heavily. Fair play. This respite allowed Taylor to rise again to his feet, but facing the wrong way – he had absolutely no idea where he was. Quite a bizarre knockout, but hey, better than seeing someone tee-off on a barely conscious foe, or worse, an unconscious one.
Drew Renton won what may have been a mismatch, with a crushing KO over Daniel Malzk. Face-plants are always nice to see from a fight fan’s perspective, but I’d rather not see it after 20 or so seconds. Ah well – it added variety to the card, I guess…
And now… the fight of the night. Dun dun dunnnnnn…. Held under K-1 rules, a big boy with a big heart Alex Bratton took on late arriving fellow Super-Heavyweight Charlie Carter. I had the privilege of an exclusive pre-fight interview with Alex, in which I told him if it was a “proper K-1 super-heavyweight novelty fight”, they’d have put him in against a midget. He laughed – clearly he agreed. Gotta love the Japanese eh? Thus, I offered to step in when his opponent didn’t show. Sadly, he later did. Or rather not in fact, as they put on Fight of the Night, and I didn’t have to get my head kicked in. What am I saying?
To look at them, you’d see two guys well over six feet tall (I’d hazard a guess Alex is 6’3, not sure about Charlie) and both carried a certain amount of blubber. Anyone who has seen Japanese MMA, or K-1 (a Japanese organisation/sport. Japan loves giants) knows that generally, giants have around 2 or 3 minutes cardio, max. I was proved so very wrong. The epic slugfest went the distance, with Alex edging a tight third round with two awesome head kicks on his visibly exhausted opponent, and it was enough to score a split decision win. The place erupted.
“K-1” and “Super-Heavyweight” are words that usually produce prodigious amounts of WIN (a combination of entertainment and epicness), and putting the two together produced a spectacle that we all enjoyed. Even Alex, despite getting stitched up with “The Way to Amarillo” as his entrance theme (to his surprise) and of course, the rather fetching pair of pink shorts he wore.
Great fight. And the win couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Bratton really was a lovely lad.
By this point, Ricco Rodriguez had arrived. He sat right in front of me, and I couldn’t let the moment pass without weaselling in. Blatantly sucking up, I praised his status as a former UFC Heavyweight champion, and for having beaten prime Rodrigo Nogueira in Pride, only to be robbed by Japanese judges. Even though the ensuing ten minutes of conversation were not filmed, due to the potential for PR disaster, it was great to speak to him. His time for a beer swilling 22yr old “journalist” fanboy was even more impressive, considering that both he and Bisping were at an MMA event and thus had certain demands on their attentions, both from fans and with the fights themselves. What a great guy.
The semi-pro Welterweight title fight changed hands, with Leeds local boy Adam Kahn. Shame, he’s a good guy, training out of True Spirit (where Liam O’Neill trains) but the grappling of challenger Sam Ferguson was too much. Kahn did well to survive a double-wristlock/kimura cum keylock attempt, but soon fell prey to an armbar transition that led to a rear-naked-choke. No shame at all, he came up against a decent grappler, so Ce la vie.
Co-main event was due to be Golden Glory Pattaya fighter Kuljit Degan, against Lincoln Kyle in a professional MMA rules Super-Heavyweight bout. According to my post-fight – or rather, post-non-event – interview with Kuljit, the veteran San Shou fighter had been called out on Facebook, and there was a certain degree of bad blood leading in. However, the southerner Kyle was “unable to attend the event”, and according to Degan he “even refused a train ride north, paid for by the promoters”.
Cheer up Kuljit. At least you get to train with some of the best K-1 kickboxers and MMA fighters in the world, such as Stefan “Blitz” Leko, Sergei Kharitonov, Semmy Schilt, Gokhan Saki… the only exception being recent K-1 Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem, according to Degan. How epic is that?
And finally, the main event. The one that drew a UFC champ and a Cage Rage champ to the event in the first place; Wolsflair’s Lee ‘Leeroy’ Barnes versus Danny Welsh at 77kg, or 170lbs as the Americans would call it. Welterweight, at any rate.
It didn’t last long. Despite an early leg kick, Welsh showed absolutely no sign that he could deal with Barnes’ in the grappling realm. After the low kick, he was backed up to the cage, taken down, and thenceforth ground’n’pounded to defeat. It was an impressive display from Barnes, who has a star-studded cast to train with, and should be considered a prospect because of it.
All in all, it was a great night. Props to Liam O’Neill, who took another step towards his goal of being the Sakakibara of Yorkshire. Salutations, Liam-san.
Props to Ricco, and to Bisping for arriving; Ricco for being gracious enough to actually appear pleased to be speaking to me on numerous occasions, and Bisping for having to deal with not having a moment’s peace to enjoy his time there!
I look forward to D.E.D V. This one was a success.
It was emotional.