Despite being plagued by injuries and different problems concerning the issuing of fighter licenses, the TKO organization delivered another great show. Trekking ahead without David Loiseau, Steve Duquette, Dave Beneteau and Shane Rice, TKO had to fix the card on short notice, not always the easiest thing to do, and did so to the best of its abilities. This card, which was originally scheduled to be held in Sherbrooke on the 6th of November, was presented to the Montreal fans this last Friday the 26th instead. TKO 18: Impact was a Canadian flavored card with plenty of local talents and the participation of high profile Canadian teams such as Team Tompkins and Lance Gibsons Pankration. With the exception of John The Natural Alessio, who is a Canadian living in America, there was no international flavor to the card. But for the local fan, it doesnt matter as long as he gets what he wants, and thats action all night long. And when everything was said and done, despite a poor turnout by the fans, everyone in attendance had the chance to witness a great night of action, brimming with skill and determination from all 22 competitors.
Sonny Leong vs. Dave Parizeau
In the first match of the night, Shawn Tompkins pupil, Sonny Leong faced off against Dave Parizeau of Team Legion. From the stare down, Leong seemed like a man possessed while Parizeau looked to be very relaxed. Both fighters traded kicks at the sound of the bell. After receiving a beautiful high kick, Parizeau got the takedown but never had the chance to inflict any real damage. After the fight was brought up, Leong tried a spinning back kick, and soon after, both fighters were dancing around the ring before Leong went in for a guillotine and DDTd Parizeau to the mat with all the flair of a WWE competitor, and went on to attempt a few knees. Back on their feet, Parizeau sent Leong flat on his back with a straight right hand but the first round ended with a double leg takedown for Leong, but once again, he wasnt able to pull off anything from there.
At the start of the second round, Parizeau had a good look at a rear naked choke, but was un-able to capitalize. The best moment came when he eventually got the full mount and attacked with a flurries of punches, but lost his advantage by elbowing Leong to the back of his head. Unfortunately for Parizeau, the referee had to take a point away, which probably cost him the win. This situation seemed to revitalize Leong has he finished the round with a spinning back fist, and a solid knee followed by a takedown.
As the last round started, both fighters were on their feet exchanging punches and kicks with Parizeau getting the better of it. After a left high kick and good knees from the clinch, Parizeau got Leongs back but rolled out of position. During this back and forth war, both fighters had their moments and Leong finished strong with a shoulder throw takedown to land in a side mount where he was able to land a few knees. As this war came to a close, a coin toss might have been a good choice to pick a winner, and rightly so, the judges decided on a draw as the outcome.
Alex Gasson vs. Antoine Coutu
In the second match, Alex Pecker Gasson took on Fabio Holandas protégé, Antoine Coutu. The Team Tomkins fighter started strong on its feet but Coutu wanted otherwise and capitalized with a double leg takedown. As he landed in a sidemount, he was able to land some good shots on his opponent and locked one of Gassons arms between his legs enabling him to inflict damage against the unprotected side. Soon after, Coutu found himself in a full mount, had a good chance at a Kimura, almost got a rear naked choke but Gasson was able to roll out of this bad position to finish the affair.
The second round started with the stand up fighter getting the better of it with a high kick and solid body kicks. Gasson even tried to bring the fight down but found himself on the receiving end of sidemount where he almost got caught in a choke. As the fight was brought up, both fighters tangoed and Gasson started to foot stomp Coutu before getting caught by a takedown, from there, Coutu tried numerous Kimura attempts and as he had the best one locked in, the bell sounded. The third round started like the other two, with Gasson coming out as the aggressor but when both fighters found themselves in the corner, Gasson sunk in a guillotine choke, Coutu tried to roll out but Gasson held on to end the contest at the 1:06 mark or the final stanza. After the match, Alex Pecker Gasson told everyone that this was his first bout at 155 lbs, and that it was difficult this time around to cut weight, but he would definitely stay down at 155 for the future. Concerning his submission finish, he said to the fans that it was a setup and they had work on it during training.
Serge Lafond vs. Martin Tremblay
The third match of the night featured two heavyweight kickboxers in action as Martin Tremblay fought against Serge Lafond, and even though Lafond looked to be a bit lighter, he managed to have the upperhand throughout the three rounds. The main difference between the fighters was the effectiveness of Lafonds hands. His boxing skills and his kick arsenal was what made the difference as Tremblay came in with no game plan. He tried the same right body kick while Lafond was grabbing it and sending a straight right hand down the pipe to inflict damage. All three rounds were the same as the bout was a standup confrontation and in the end, Lafond got the unanimous decision from the judges cards.
The Main Card
John Fraser vs. Thierry Quenneville
The fourth match of the night featured John The Haggis Basher Fraser against Thierry Quenneville, who was cornered by Georges St-Pierre. In the first round, Quenneville looked like St-Pierre in the ring. He was able to administer a good slam while trying a second one from the guard position and after some good elbows, he found himself in the side position. From there, he landed a series of elbows and knees on Fraser and later got the full mount, punishing his opponent with elbows. Quenneville finally tried an armbar but didnt sink it in completely and as the round ended, Fraser finished with a flurry of punches which brought the crowd on its feet, sending the crowd into its loudest frenzy of the night.
In the second round, Fraser rocked Quenneville with his powerful hands and sent him on his back. Fraser was hitting like a madman with a dozen of roundhouse punches, but seemingly out of nowhere, Quenneville was working on a kneebar, and while Fraser was trying to escape the submission, he found himself instead in an armbar and had no choice but to tap at the 1:37 mark of this second round.
Ryan Diaz vs. Stephane Laliberte
In the next bout, Lance Gibsons fighter, Ryan Diaz took on late replacement, Stephane Laliberté. At the sound of the belt, Diaz ran across the ring and went for a flying knee but Laliberté got the leg sweep, from the guard, he tried a slam but Diaz started working on a triangle, and from all this, Laliberté tried to slam Diaz but got caught in an armbar at the 1:13 mark of this first round.
Yan Pellerin vs. Icho Larenas
In the next bout, Yan Pellerin, the late replacement for Dave Beneteau, went in to square off against powerhouse Icho Larenas. The first round was all Pellerin as he took the fight on the ground at will where he was able to work his ground and pound with a series of punches and elbows to bloody his opponent. The only bright moment for Larenas was a triangle attempt but it was to no avail. During the break, we were all wondering if Pellerin would have the stamina to finish the match and soon after, he was unable to get up at the sound of the bell. During his ground and pound exhibition he hurt his back and the bout had to be stopped and in the end, Larenas got the lucky win by TKO at 5:00 of R1.
Sam Stout vs. David Goulet
In the seventh match of the evening, Tompkins fighter Sam Stout, took on veteran and former TKO champion David Goulet. From the start, Stout showed his higher skills from the feet. Goulet had a game plan and it was simple, take Stout down and everything would be fine. It worked early and following a takedown, Goulet unleashed punches to Stouts ribs followed by elbows and most of the round took place in the same position while Stout tried to remain as composed as possible from his back. This first round was all Goulet but by looking at both fighters, you wouldnt know it as Stout looked like the fresher of the two in the ring.
The second round started with Stout having the better of the stand up game as he landed a nice high kick and a flying knee on Goulet, just before the fight went to the mat again. Unlike the first round, Goulets punches had nothing behind them and the fight was brought back up and that was the turning point as from that moment on, it was the Stout show. He landed kicks and knees, seemingly at will and bloodied Goulet and as the round was ending, Goulet looked like he was out on his feet.
Stout came out gunning with kicks in the third and visibly hurt his opponents ribs. He finished things off with a high kick and Goulet had enough turned his back and verbally submitted at the same time his corner was throwing the towel. The fight was stopped and Stout won by TKO at the 0:59 of R3. As I had had the choice of picking the MMA Ring Report Fighter of the Night award, I had no choice but to give it to Sam Stout, an award he has won for the second straight TKO event.
John Alessio vs. Jonathan Goulet
In the next match, we had the chance to witness the return of The Natural John Alessio against the huge underdog, Jonathan Goulet. On this night though, he would be anything but an underdog. Since the Joslins fight, he has been on a tear and tonight would be no different as Goulet came in with a flying knee followed soon by a takedown. From there, Alessio tried an armbar but Goulet got the side mount in the process. Alessio stayed composed and finally rolled and got the top position, he took Goulets back but instead of going for the rear naked choke, he decided to punch and it turned out to be costly as Goulet rolled out. This enabled Goulet to go for an armbar, get a full mount and almost sink a rear naked choke. Goulet finished the round with an armbar attempt, only to be broken up by the referee as both fighters were in tangled in the ring ropes.
The second round started up with a guillotine attempt by Alessio, only to be slammed by Goulet. He then got the rear position and pummeled Alessio who was trying to defend himself the best he could in this bad situation, his best moment in this round was a Kimura attempt, but for the most part the round was all Goulet.
Goulet came out strong at the start of the third round, but Alessio countered with a takedown into a side mount. Goulet escaped like a cat but eventually found himself in the same position. Alessio had his best chance of the fight, getting the full mount and having another chance at a rear naked choke only to let his opponent slip. From that moment on till the end of the round, it was all Goulet once more. He maintained a strong position on the ground while attempting numerous submissions and punished Alessio with his elbows. At the sound of the bell, there was no doubt on the outcome of the judges decision and Alessio abruptly ran out of the ring, disgusted with his performance. Goulet won a unanimous decision after 3R. It would be interesting to see him at TKO19 against rumored opponent Jason Black or a fighter of that caliber.
The Canadian Championship Matches
Todd Gouwenberg vs. Jacob Conliffe
In the first championship match, Heavyweight powerhouse, from Gibson Pankration, Todd Gouwenberg came in against the much anticipated pro debut of Jacob Conliffe of team Tompkins. From the get go, it was clear that Gouwenberg wanted to ground and pound and threw his opponent and took the fight down to the mat. At one point, Conliffe showed great poise on his back and went for a triangle followed by an armbar and Gouwenberg was forced to lift his opponent in the air for the slam to get out of the hold. On his fourth takedown, Gouwenberg had the full mount but lost it by sitting to high up on Conliffe and his missed opportunity would eventually cost him.
The second round started much the same with a single leg takedown by Gouwenberg but the fight was brought up back quickly, much to the crowds pleasure. Conliffe took the opportunity to send a good left and knees, which gave him an opportunity to go for a takedown of his own. A second later, Gowenberg found himself in a rear naked choke at the 1:08 of R2. With this victory in his pro debut, Jacob Conliffe became the Canadian Heavyweight Champion. He will certainly defend his belt soon, but I see him making big a statement in the 205 pounds category in the future which is likely where he will eventually drop to.
Stephane Vigneault vs. Philippe Lagace
The next title fight was an Interim Super Lightweight belt for the right to square off against Shane Rice in the near future. Stephane Vigneault, who was scheduled to face Rice, was left to showcase his skills against highly regarded but under tested Philippe Lagace, who is incidentally one of the Jiu Jitsu coaches for Patrick Cote. Most of the first round was a stand up affair with Lagace getting the better of it at the start. His boxing was superior but Vigneault seemed comfortable in that situation and landed three knees while Lagace was trying to clinch. The end of the round belonged to Vigneault as he landed a high kick and a series of knees.
In the second round, Lagace brought the fight down for the first time with a single leg takedown but the fight was brought back up immediately and at one point, both fighters came in with a straight left with Vigneault getting the best shot. He soon followed with kicks, knees and punches that bloodied Lagace. Even though he was looking tired, Lagace finished strongly with another takedown but couldnt make anything happen on the mat.
The third round gave us a series of takedown by Lagace but Vigneault was too explosive to stay down and came back up immediately every time. His boxing is also seemed to be getting stronger as the fight went on. Throughout the round, Lagace was trying to grab a leg for takedowns but Vigneault slipped away at ease. The match ended without much action as Vigneault knew he had won the match. The crowd didnt like that ending, but Vigneault cruised to a unanimous decision after 3R to become the interim super lightweight champion.
Donald Ouimet vs. Blake Fredrickson
Originally set to meet Steve Duquette who had problems with his licensing, Donald Ouimet instead met with Blake Frederickson in a rematch on a few days notice for the lightweight championship. From the start, both fighters were trying to size their opponent up and after a few failed kicks by Frederickson, Ouimet got the takedown and pummeled his opponent with elbows and knees from the side mount. From there, the Gibsons protégé tried to work on an armbar and a Kimura that looked pretty tight at the end of the round but could not finish.
The second round started with some boxing before the fight was brought back down by Ouimet. Both fighters were dancing around the ring and while in the corner, Ouimet started playing and laughing at the crowd to let everybody know he was in total control. Soon after, Frederickson tried a throw but Ouimet got the better position that enabled him to land some good shots in the ribs. Frederickson stayed composed and got a few attempts at a triangle but Ouimet escaped unscathed and stomped on his down opponent at the sound of the bell.
The third round was much the same but it was Frederickson who was pushing the fight to go to the ground. In all this, Ouimet still had the upperhand in most categories and even tried an armbar in the process, and it was Blake who was receiving most of the damage. After a hard fought match, the Canadian lightweight championship stayed on the waist of Ouimet after a Unanimous Decision.
After the fights, TKO informed us that the next show would be held on the 28th of January and that the fans would witness a rematch between Steve Vigneault and Jason St-Louis. Both fighters were at the show and were presented to the crowd, in addition we can also expect a rematch between Stephane Vigneault and Shane Rice to unify the superlightweight belt. In my crystal ball other possible matches include a future match between Alex Gasson and Thierry Quenneville, as well as a match featuring Lightweight champion Donald Ouimet against Sam Stout, especially if the Steve Duquette match does not materialize. On a final note, I would like to congratulate all the fighters for stepping up to the plate and giving their best out there for the fans in attendance despite all the last minute changes. Special congratulations to Sam Stout who amazingly won the MMA Ring Report fighter of the night award in two consecutive TKOs, we will see if he can defend his award and win it for a third straight time come January 28th.
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