Without quite the international star power of recent shows, TKO 16 builds from within and ties things together nicely with an east meets west flavor throughout the card. An interesting mix of fighters from all over Canada will be counted on to fill TKOs biggest venue to date. For the first time since UCC 4 their main event is not scheduled to involve an American, in fact they will only have one American on the card. Even the TKO 13 event that did not have an American on the card had Pete Spratt Scheduled to fight Georges St Pierre in the main event until St Pierre dropped out late due to an injury. This time around they will be making the move to the Pepsi centre where the former NHL team the Quebec Nordiques played before they went on to become the Colorado Avalanche south of the border in Denver Colorado. They will not use the whole 18,000 seat arena but will section off a portion and provide seating for over 8000 fans. It seems a tall order for the TKO cast of characters to fill, and it is certainly a lot of seats for an MMA show that is not named Pride or UFC, so the question remains, can TKO make it happen? While it is unlikely they will sell out, they could be in a great position to do the most fans since they did almost 6000 fans when they headlined with former pro boxer Stephane Ouellet. TKO seems to be making a slow transition into the bigger venues as their follow up to this event, TKO 17, will be held at the Bell centre, a facility that houses the NHL team the Montreal Canadians. Can TKO take their event to the next level? We will find out on May 22nd.
Bill Mahood Vs Patrick Cote
Canadian Lightweight Championship Bout
This fight is an interesting match-up on many different levels. In terms of experience, there is no comparison and Mahood clearly has the edge. He has been through the wars and he has seen most everything there is too see in the ring. He sports a record of 12-1 and has fought against much tougher competition, when comparing past opponents to that of the young Cote, Mahood gets the edge. He has recent wins over Yan Pellerin who is a shared opponent, Team Extremes Tom Sauer, AFC Light heavyweight champion Jason MacDonald, and most recently a stoppage of Chris Haseman in Australia. Only one of his fights has ever gone to decision and that was when he drew with Cameron Brown in a close fight that some have said could have gone in Mahoods favor. Cote on the other hand has defeated Yan Pellerin, and the natural middleweight Steve Vigneault in his last two fights. In fact, those two fights make up half of his total fights to date, as he sports a record of 4-0.
Cote is a young gun, in his short tenure as a fighter he has gone from being a fighter on the TKO feeder organization the Proving Grounds to headlining the TKO card that will be held in their biggest venue to date. Although he has only four fights in his career, he has done as much as can be done in his 4 fights, and his poise in the ring is above and beyond his years in the ring. In only his forth fight he knocked out Steve Vigneault on his feet, a feat that had never been done before, but make no mistake, he is now fighting in the biggest challenge of his career. How will the nerves affect him considering he has only had four fights? How will the Quebec City native react to fighting in front of his home town fans for the first time? These questions and more will need be addressed if he is to win this fight.
There is little doubt that he will need to be at his best to defeat The Butcher who will be looking to take the TKO light heavyweight belt back to Prince George. Although Mahood will be the older of the two by over a decade, he has better cardio then most people half his age and rarely gasses out in the ring. He has used that asset to good effect in his victories over Haseman, Sauer, and Pellerin, his most recent three fights but this time his Cardio will be matched by that of Cote who has equally good cardio in the ring. Cardio department is a wash as both fighters have proven they can compete at a high level for three full rounds. Cote went three strong rounds with Pellerin and battered him for the bulk of the fight and never looked to tire even as the third round came to a close. Cotes biggest advantage will be his hands, he will have the better pure boxing skills of the two fighters, but he is at a slight height and reach disadvantage. On the ground, he is relatively untested on the mat, that is the X factor in this fight.
Mahood will be looking to test the ground skills of the young fighter but the word on the street is that his ground is up to snuff. This fight is a toss up and although the age factor may weigh against Mahood, he has yet to show signs of slowing. The Butchers grizzled experience, mixed in with a very tough jaw, and what looks to be a size advantage, should be enough for him to take the title in a close fight. Mahood will be in a fight however, and those who look only at Cotes relatively light record might be surprised at how good Cote really is. I feel that it will be a battle until the finish that really could go either way, but in the end Mahood should be able to ground and pound his way to victory late in the third round via ref stoppage due to strikes.
David Loiseau Vs Chris Fontaine
Canadian Middleweight Championship
David The Crow Loiseau is coming off two losses in a row and the question is, how will the two losses affect him mentally? Physically he is a specimen, and one of the more talented competitors in the 185 division, but he has never come off two losses in consecutive contests. His two losses came against Jeremy Horn, who is one of the best in the world, and Jorge Rivera whom he fought in the UFC, so there is little shame in those losses, but Loiseau has yet to face adversity like this in his career. He has always bounced back from setbacks in the past, setbacks such as losses early in his career to Jason St Louis and Justin Bruckman, so if history proves anything he should be able to bounce back and be at his best.
Fontaine is coming off a stunning upset of Loiseaus training partner Steve Vigneault at TKO 15, and at this point his devastating clinch work is now well known. He ties up with the clinch and drives punishing knees to the body with an almost unbreakable grip, until his opponents break their posture, and then he drives high with the knees. Against Steve Vigneault, his plan worked to a T and he won his fight in very impressive fashion. In all likelihood, he will be looking to do the same against Loiseau, who has been defeated via knee from the clinch before by Jason St Louis back at UCC 3. Loiseau is stronger from the clinch then his teammate Vigneault however, and his elbows from in and about the clinch are also no secret. He whips the elbows across from the tie ups, and keeps his opponents off balance with a tight jab, and quick punch, elbow, knee, combinations. Loiseaus boxing will probably be the best that Fontaine has ever seen in the ring, he will need to get inside to get at the chin of Loiseau with a knee, and or short uppercuts if he is entertaining ideas of keeping the belt he won so convincingly back at TKO 15.
If there is one area that Fontaine has a decided edge over his opponents, whoever they may be, it is his chin. He has a Cabbage like chin and can take an unnatural amount of punishment to the face and head, and he seems to use it to full effect in many of his fights. His defense is less then airtight and Loiseau will need to break through it, and get at it often if he is to win. Loiseau should be able to keep him to the outside with his strong jab, tight boxing skills, and quick hands. Fontaine is a man who has a cast Iron jaw, but has left much to be desired in the department of defense. He has shown defensive lapses in the past, and gets hit in the face a lot in many of his fights. Those punches add up and the points will rack up in favor of The Crow unless he is able to remedy that in a hurry. The Crow is the highest caliber opponent that Fontaine has ever faced, while the same cannot be said the other way around. Loiseau should be able to keep to the outside, circling with his jab and punishing Fontaine who has always been the type of fighter to eat punches en route to the victory. The Crow will need to stay light on his feet however, as he has a tendency to stand flatfooted on occasion and cover up, if he does that Fontaine could find his way inside and do some damage with his knees. Loiseau is very good at cutting his opponents and I feel after a series of exchanges where Fontaine gets tagged from the outside, he will eventually get busted open and have the fight stopped in the second round due to doctor stoppage from cuts. Loiseau via doctor stoppage due to a cut in rd 2.
Stephane Vigneault vs. Curtis Brigham
If there is one fighter that would be nominated as the most improved fighter in the Tri Star camp, a camp consisting of stand outs such as Georges St Pierre, David The Crow Loiseau, Ivan Menjivar, and others, the name Stephane Vigneault would be near the top of the list. He is a young gun that few have seen, but many peg him as a future star. He got off to a bit of a rough start but has really rounded out his game of late. His work ethic is unmatched, his striking and standup skills are improving at an alarming rate and he has the trademark Vigneault heart. He is improving so fast that they are finding it tougher and tougher to find fights for him, his opponents seem to have an alarming drop out rate. He was scheduled to fight on several of the past TKO cards but his opponents have always dropped out close to the date of the fight. He is a strong stand up fighter with a lanky build and knockout power, but has more submission victories then knockoutson his resume. His Jiu Jitsu was a question mark in the past, but he has shored up his submission defense and at 22 years of age, he is looking to become a force at 145 pounds.
At Super-lightweight Brigham is a tough competitor who has competed in the past against the much bigger fighters such as welterweights Sean Sherk and C.J. Fernandez. He was impressive against Max Marin at WFF 4 submitting the grappling expert easily in the first round, but most recently suffered a close decision loss to Max Marins student Chad Hamzeh. Brigham is probably the best fighter that Vigneault will have fought to date, but he should be up to the challenge. Brigham will be looking to take the fight to the ground and at some point should be able to do so, but will he be able to capitalize and strike while the iron is hot? I feel that Vigneaults submission defense has improved enough to keep him out of harms way long enough to get back to his feet, where he can score with effective strikes from the standing position. He will wear Brigham down with leg kicks and punches until he finds his mark and ends the fight via knockout late in the second stanza. Vigneault via KO late in round two.
David Goulet Vs Donald Ouimet
TKO lightweight champion David Goulet is a hardnosed, gritty, fighter that nearly lost his arm in his last fight to an armbar that everyone though was the fight finishing technique. He paid for his obstinacy with a severe injury in his elbow joint for his efforts, but was rewarded with a win and the Lightweight crown in turn. His drive and perseverance paid off when he stopped Shawn Davidson in that fight, and his will and heart proved to be the difference. He is a grinder, a hard working ground and pounder with a solid top game and solid hands, he is not particularly strong in any one facet of the fight game, but is well rounded in most areas. He will fight to the end regardless, much like his opponent, former boxer Donald The Extra Terrestrial Ouimet.
In many ways they are similar, they share the same attitude and gritty perseverance in fights, but a wide age gap separates the two. Donald Ouimet is 36 years old, a decade older then his opponent this time around, so his age must be taken into consideration. Having said that, I do not believe age will play a huge part in the outcome of this fight, Ouimet has proven he can go the distance, he went three strong rounds with a then 24 year old Jesse Jones at UCC 8, and a then 21 year old Blake Fredrickson at TKO 14. He fought much of his career at a higher weight class winning the Middleweight belt from Claudinor Fontinelle and defending it against C.J Fernendez, but he finds himself moving down to the lightweight division. His streak at Middleweight ended when he faced the talented Jesse Jones at UCC 8, where took the lions share of the punishment in that fight, including knees to the head that were borderline fight ending, but endured the onslaught to survive until the Judges Decision. He now finds himself at 155 pounds, a substantial downsizing considering his age.
The Fists of Fury David Goulet will probably be looking to take the fight to the mat as soon as possible and ground and pound his way to a stoppage or move himself into a position to submit the fast hands of Ouimet. Ouimet started off as a boxer and although he has improved his MMA arsenal quickly, he is still a striker at heart and his weakness will be on the mat. He has 9 fights to his name with a 6 and 3 record, but in his defense his losses came at the hands of stiff competition. His first loss came as a middleweight against Team Extreme fighter Jesse Jones, his second a decision loss to another Team Extreme member Laverne Fists of Fury Clarke, and the third against future top ten lightweight, Kultar Gill. Ouimet may find himself in exclusive company after this fight as he will be the only fighter in recent memory to have fought two different fighters with the unique nickname of Fists of Fury. That, mixed in with his heart should be enough to squeek himself through this fight against the always game Goulet in a slugfest split decision. He will take home the Championship belt and at 36 become the oldest champion in the history of TKO. This fight is so close, I am still on the fence about it, and keep changing my mind on who I think will take this fight, but one thing I am confident in is that this fight, as well as the Sam Stout vs. Yves Jabouin fight, will be the most entertaining on the night. Donald Ouimet via Split decision.
Jonathan Goulet Vs Travis Galbraith
Gailbraith is a talented young fighter who could be one of the fastest rising MMA youngsters to come out of Canada, a lack of training and discipline, coupled with a partying lifestyle has done little to help him get there. As it is, he is just one of many fighters in the mix, but he has an opportunity here to take his career to the next level. He has won some of his fights on pure talent alone and his two losses have come at the hands of Joe Dirte Doerkson, and UFC veteran Georges St Pierre. He is 6-2 in total, and whether he goes to 7-2 or not will depend on which Galbraith shows up to fight on May 22nd. His team mates have told me that he is not the hardest working fighter in the gym and that may come to haunt him against Goulet who has proven that he can go the distance.
Goulets fight career has seen him in against the likes of UFC veteran Anthony Fryklund, KOTC vet Brendan Seguin, Lightheavyweight Yan Pellerin, Kaipo Kalama Miller, and Renzo Gracie fighter James Gabert, all of whom account for his 5 losses. He will be game and come to fight like he always does, but will he be able to overcome the initial hard blast of Galbraith and ride out the early onslaught? Galbraiths loss to St Pierre was in part due to short notice and heavy weight cutting, but if he comes into this fight in shape and with the right mind set, Bill Mahood will have him ready to go to war and he should be able to take this fight. That is a big if, and if he has been slacking, the steady and workmanlike Goulet will be able to take the decision from Galbraith. Only time will tell but I feel that Galbraith will come in the best shape of his life and take the fight seriously like he has never done in the past and make his way past Goulet in the first round in impressive fashion.
In other action TKO action
Tommy Lee Vs Wagney Fabiano
Sam Stout vs. Yves Jabouin
Bryan McGee vs. Martin Tremblay
Todd Gouwenberg vs. Iccho Larenas
Shane Rice vs. Phillipe Lagace
Steve Proulk vs. Jeff Davis
Sonny Leong vs. Sylvain Cloutier
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