|Riding the high of the great UFC 40 show the day before, John Lewis, John Huntington and the World Fighting Alliance were ready to jump into the fray and give their take on the MMA story with a twist. Their slogan of Where the fight club meets the Night Club was as honest and accurate a slogan you can find...
Riding the high of the great UFC 40 show the day before, John Lewis, John Huntington and the World Fighting Alliance were ready to jump into the fray and give their take on the MMA story with a twist. Their slogan of Where the fight club meets the Night Club was as honest and accurate a slogan you can find, considering we were in Las Vegas Nevada, better known as the City of Sin. On paper the match-ups looked solid with good matchmaking between very tough, well rounded fighters. Finding a suitable replacement such as Dennis Hallman on such late notice for Pat Miletich was a job well done by the promoters of the WFA, some people even argued that on paper the fights on the WFA card looked better then the fights on the UFC card, but that was on paper. We all know that the fights or not fought on paper they are fought in the cage, and for the most part the fighters fought active and entertaining bouts. That was were things started to go wrong, many members of the media were not treated very well as much of the accredited media personnel were kicked out of their spots 5 fights into the card and sent packing. To the dismay of the photographers, they were pushed back into positions where the possibility of good pictures were no longer feasible. In fact many members of the press did not even have media seats as the event shortchanged the press limiting the seating for the press for the event. Members of the media including myself had no tables to sit at and were sent to sit in whatever seats the fans were not sitting in. The disorganization of the event was evident throughout as much of the press complained of a difficult time finding their seats, even though they were already accredited with the appropriate Press Credentials and ID.
Fight 1 - Jeff Curran Vs Todd Lally
Jeff Curran is on a roll. After upsetting the talented Top Ten ranked Hawaiian Barret Yoshida with a K.O, he is now ranked number 9 in the MMAM Top Ten and ready to step up in competition. Lally is a slick grappler that has competed and finishing extremely well in various grappling tournaments throughout the U.S, which makes Currans impressive Triangle on Lally all the more impressive. Jeff Curran taps out Todd Lally via Triangle choke at 4:49 of the first round.
Fight 2 - Jason Black Vs Chad Saunders
Team Miletich trained Jason Black put his undefeated record on the line against the talented ground specialist, Chad Saunders. Black would take his ground and pound tactics to the next level against Saunders relentlessly pounding the Jiu Jitsu man with lefts and rights from the guard. Saunders was unable to sweep or maneuver for a submission and the Methodical Grinding tactics of Jason Black would eventually open a cut over Saunders left eye. Blacks systematic dismantling of Saunders was more then enough to get the ref to stop the bout after the second round was over. Black retains his undefeated record after round two via refstoppage.
Fight 3 - Eddie Yagin Vs Vitor Shaolin Ribiero
Yagin would step up to fill the spot vacated by the injured Chris Brennan, and many wondered if it was a good idea to take such a tough fight on such short notice. The Hawaiian fighter, was a relative unknown, spending the bulk of his career competing in Hawaiian events such as Superbrawl but his effort in this fight was one to turn heads. Ribiero is a uber talented up and comer with Champion written all over him. It was assumed that he would have little trouble dispatching the experienced Chris Brennan, let along the smaller Yagin, but I guess somebody forgot to tell Eddie about that. Yagin continually stuffed the takedown attempts by Shaolin who is an accomplished wrestler in his own right, and worked the boxing, leg kicks when he could and threw in the jumping lunge punch into Shaolins guard for good measure. Shaolins unsuccessful takedowns were made more surprising considering he had been able to take Joe Hurley, and fellow Hawaiian fighter Stephan Palling down at will, but Yagin was another case all together. For Yagin, the first two round were spent working the effective sprawl and trying every so often to offer up the boxing for Vitor to deal with he was somewhat tentative on his feet concerned more with evading the double leg before mounting an effective offence, but his gameplan worked well early. When he was taken down, he was even able to escape potentially fight ending situations on the ground and escape to his feet narrowly evading defeat. After two tough rounds Shaolin was eventually able to take him down and secure a tight Arm triangle to close the book on the fight, but not before Yagin showed the fans and the MMA world that his skills and his heart are for real. Ribiero wins via side choke at 2:23 or the second round.
Fight 4 - Mike Van Arsdale Vs Chris Haseman
Fresh of a loss to Evan Tanner at UFC 38 Haseman was looking to get back on the winning track against a man who had been inactive in the MMA scene for over four years. After a devastating loss to Vanderlei Silva four years before Van Arsdale took a sabbatical that included a long stay in the Military, Van Arsdale was ready to step back up into the world of MMA and Chris Haseman was waiting for him. Haseman stepped up in weight class from his last fight and weighted in at around 210 pounds for the fight where Van Arsdale looked like a natural heavyweight at 230 or more. Mike wasted little time and used his brute strength and wrestling to control Haseman from most positions, moving Haseman to the fence, and dropping the heavy bombs onto Haseman at will for the bulk of the first stanza. The tide would turn for a moment, as the first round closed Haseman fired a hard right round kick that caught Van Arsdale flush in the sternum and dropped him winding him, the bell sounded and Haseman was unable to capitalize. Van Arsdale would use the break to recover and didnt look back. He regained the dominant position with a strong Hip toss, and fought off the Kimura to trap Haseman against the fence, where he went back to what he does best and punished the Australian until the Ref had no choice but to halt the bout. Van Arsdale wins via Ref Stoppage at 3:19 or the second round.
Fight 5 - Josh The Punk Thompson Vs Razor Rob McCullough
Thompson wanted little to do with the strong standup kickboxing skill of McCullough and dove for the takedown early, succeeding only in driving the fight to the fence in the clinch. At one point he went for a flying armbar, to the awe of the crowd, but he was unable to secure it, and Rob escaped the attempt. Thompson looked like a Jiu Jitsu man early and went to sink a tight Triangle that looked to have Razor Rob in deep trouble, but he was able to weather the storm and slip his way out to the dismay of Thompson. This was a sign of things to come as Thompson controlled the from front to back with a driven ground and pound attack mixed with several Submission attempts. Thompson takes the win via Unanimous decision after three rounds.
Fight 6 - Alex Stiebling Vs Marvin Eastman
In the pre fight Press conference Alex Stiebling answered a question by Maurice smith saying he would make Marvin Eastman My Bitch. When it came time to step into the ring, it would be anything but, as Eastman stalked early and landed a right hand straight on the money knocking Stiebling out cold. The right hand caught him flush on the chin and spun Stiebling around before he hit the mat, Stiebling was done. Eastman wins via K.O 1:07 of the first round.
Fight 7 - Dennis Superman Hallman Vs Frank Twinkletoes Trigg
The only disappointing fight on the card was the main event. With UFC brass in attendance looking on for future contenders for Matt Hughes, the fans and the Media were looking forward to a great main event between two talented top ranked contenders. Excitement was not meant to be, unless you were a Masochist with pain on his mind. In the Pre fight interviews Hallman predicted a choke out, Trigg on the other hand promised to beat Hallman Like a red headed stepchild that stole something from his basement. Both fighters were wrong as neither fighter predicted a front kick to the groin that would result in what was technically described as Abandonment. A solid first round started out well for Hallman as he was able to stay on his feet and land a nice leg kick and one two combination that bloodied Triggs nose. It was downhill from here as Trigg knees Hallman in the Groin on two occasions and eventually landed a Huge Front kick into the exposed groin of Hallman. Both fighters were kicking simultaneously when it happened, so both fighters had themselves exposed, but Trigg landed straight on the midsection and Hallman doubled over in obvious pain. Trigg did not waste time to think about the foul as he drove forward with a hard flying knee and a combination on Hallman as he fell back on the fence still clutching his midsection and not protecting his face. The Ref came in to give Hallman the 5 minute injury time-out under Nevada state rules, but it would not be enough. Hallman went as far as to insert an Icepack into his shorts in order to try to regain his composure but it would be for naught. Superman was unable to continue. The Big Screens showed the instant replay over and over again in the arena and as they showed the kick, the whole crowd would let out a resounding OHHH as the kick found its mark. Frank Trigg was given the victory and wins the WFA welterweight bout via Abandonment
A look back
When looking at the event from a purely entertainment point of view the show was glitzy, loud, and sexy which pretty much covers all the bases of any Las Vegas show on the strip. Ice T did his job and belted out the tunes in typical Ice T style, to the thrill of the crowd. Where the show lost points was its disorganization and inability to take the matter into its own hands. I could not understand why they kicked the press out of their photo sections. MMARingreports own Cory Parker, along with other accredited Photographers were booted from their positions, and many writers were not even given tables and chairs to sit at, we were asked by members of the event to sit wherever empty seats were available in and around the far side of the event. Although the fighters fought well and they certainly could not be blamed for the shortcomings of the event itself, it was disappointing and somewhat difficult to overcome the disorganized aspects of the event. Overall the fans got most of what they were looking for, though the main event was a major disappointment to say the least. Why the main event was awarded to Trigg is beyond me. The fight should have been a "No Contest". There is no way that a championship belt should be awarded to a fighter that uses an illegal technique to win a fight whether it was intentional or not. A no contest would have been the respectable course of action but it was not in the cards for Hallman on that night, and it sends the wrong message to the fans and the fighters. Whether this was a problem with the Nevada State Athletics Commission or the WFA itself remains to be seen. If an illegal tactic can win a fight for you, I could step out from behind my sushibar, and take on Tito Ortiz for the Light heavyweight belt. I would just kick him in the Groin as hard as I could and win via Abandonment. Not bad for a sushichef from Canada Eh?
WFA Level 3 was flashy, sexy, and violent, everything most fight fans look for in an MMA event and on that level the show was what it advertised, but it left a lot to be desired, I dont know if it was the high expectations set by the well planned and organized UFC the night before, or just the bitter disappointment of the injustice of the main event and the disorganization of the event itself. All in all an entertaining, but flawed event. If the WFA can Iron out the sizable mis-steps of the event their event, they very well could have put on an entertaining and respectable event. As it was, it left a lot to be desired..
A special thanks to the Scott Peterson of mmaweekly for taking some of the pictures of the Ring girls.