Sunday, 14 November 2010

Night of the Gladiators 6 - Review, Results and Reflections

On a night of several marquee combat sport events it was time for yet another solid card from one of the fastest growing promotions in the Midlands.

Night of the Gladiators has been picking up great momentum in a relatively short space of time and this card was no different.

Ross Pointon's name is synonymous with action packed fights and this, thankfully, seems to have made the perfect transition into promoting as every fighter on the card came to finish their fights in the quickest way possible.

Jake Barratt vs. Chris Mullaney
70kg Semi Pro Bout

It was the first of the local favourites as returning victor Jake Barratt came to bring the fight to Team Colosseum's Chris Mulaney. The crowd clearly had picked their champion but Mullaney, undaunted, looked for the early takedown and was able to complete. It was a fast paced round and, even though he locked on a tight looking guillotine, Mullaney was unable to take advantage of this situation and found himself on the bottom and under fire.

Barratt did exactly what he needed to do and applied just the right amount of pressure to elicit the stoppage in the first round with some hammerfists and hard looking punches.

Ben Ford vs. Greg Grimshaw
70kg Semi Pro Bout

Ben Ford came in looking to strike early against Team Colosseum's Greg Grimshaw but, unfortunately for him, his opponent had other ideas. It was the dominant wrestling from Grimshaw that drew out the blueprint for this bout.

Ford never stopped working from the bottom and even managed a few reversals but he was clearly fighting a losing battle as Grimshaw showed great control and took home the deserved unanimous decision victory.

Adam Bairstow vs. Lee Tuff
70kg Semi Pro Bout

Both fighters were coming into this bout having lost at the previous show and it was clear from the outset that neither wanted to lose again. Bairstow, as always, came in to some massive support but Tuff seemed unphased and looked to pressure his man early.

Both fighters exchanged punches and positions early on and after an action packed first round, it was Bairstow who landed a nice takedown but caught an uppercut for his troubles.

Bairstow looked a different fighter and took no time in securing back control and finishing his man with a textbook rear naked choke victory

Josh Layton vs. Gary Greenough
77kg Semi Pro Bout

Josh Layton picked up where he left off in his last bout with some devastating slam takedowns against Gary Greenough. It was clear that Layton had the edge in this area and, following the gameplan perfectly, he proceeded to dictate the pace of the bout with his wrestling.

Greenough never stopped fighting but Layton was relentless in his assualt and, in the second round, gave referee Simon McGovern no choice but to step in and call a halt to the proceedings as he landed some brutal ground and pound from the top.

Carl Tranter vs. Anthony Davis
77kg Semi Pro Bout

Anthony Davis was the last of the fighters to represent Team Colloseum and, as his team mates had done before him, came out with a ferocious assault against a very well conditioned Carl Tranter.

It was a busy first round to say the least but the defining moment happened when Davis was able to get the takedown and stack his foe up in his own corner. Tranter looked apprehensive, with good reason, as Davis was able to posture up and land some dynamic looking shots which forced a justified first round stoppage.

Yannik Bahati vs. Gavin Dunnicliff
84kg Semi Pro Bout

Both fighters came in with a great deal of support and it was clear from the outset that neither man wanted to make any early mistakes.

It was an incredibly tense opening stanza but Bahati looked the busier fighter in the clinch and landed a huge knee to the body that marked his opponent instantly. Dunnicliff looked cautious with his punches and, apart from a nice combination in the second round, seemed to struggle to let his punches and kicks go.

Bahati landed a nice takedown and overall seemed to apply the pressure more throughout the course of this bout. It was a sentiment echoed by the decision rendered as all three judges awarded Bahati with a unanimous decision victory.

Ben Callum vs. Michael Obasohan
95kg + Bout

It was clear from the outset that these two fighters had come to swing hard but it was Obasohan who was able to take the fight to the floor early and looked to control his man, using his size advantage.

Obasohan looked to work from the ground but Callum did well to remain calm. Ben managed a reversal but  was penalized a point for repeatedly striking to the head of a downed opponent.

In the second round Callum realised he needed to make a big statement and did just this by dropping his foe to the floor with a piledriving straight shot. It was all Obasohan, who was clearly exhausted, could do to hold on and see the round out after he spent the bulk of the second round eating shots from the top.

Obasohan opened the third with a huge suplex style takedown and looked to have secured the set up to grind out a decision victory but was unable to capitalise and when the two got slowly back to their feet, Callum fired off a lightening fast hook that put out the lights. It was a well deserved KO victory for Ben Callum who looked sharp and showed his skills in overcoming a 30kg weight differential.

Harry Izevbigie vs. Nick Greaves
77kg Semi Pro GPUK Title Bout

Harry Izevbigie, fresh from his title victory at the previous show, clearly looked like he wanted to send a message anyone watching in this bout as he destroyed Sukata MMA's Nick Greaves in just twenty seconds.

Izevbigie landed a huge right hand over the top and, seeing his opponent reeling, smelled blood in the water and went in for the kill. He quickly landed more strikes and stood above his prone opponent hammering home punch after punch until he was stopped by the referee.

Izevbigie looks like a handful for anyone at this level and proved tonight that, with the right coaching and training, he has the potential to achieve a lot in this sport.

Conrad Hayes vs. Ben Rose
70kg Pro Bout

Team Gladiator prospect Conrad Hayes made his professional debut in an entertaining rematch with Ben Rose. It was clear, from the outset, that the crowd was willing Hayes forward but Rose had obviously learned from their previous encounter and looked to use his size and wrestling to take the fight out of his opponent.

Hayes kept moving forward throughout the fight but Rose never stopped attacking and continued to land takedowns and strikes throughout the first two rounds.

In the third round it was clear that Hayes was fatigued and Rose, sensing this, once again completed another takedown and deposited his foe up against the fence. Conrad simply had nothing left and Rose had played out the perfect gameplan as he was awarded the nod by all of the judges.

  1. Jake Barratt bt Chris Mullaney TKO 1
  2. Greg Grimshaw bt Ben Ford UD
  3. Adam Bairstow bt Lee Tuff RNC 2
  4. Josh Layton bt Gary Greenough TKO 2
  5. Anthony Davis bt Carl Tranter TKO 1
  6. Yannik Bahati bt Gavin Dunnicliff UD
  7. Ben Callum bt Michael Obasohan KO 3
  8. Harry Izevbigie bt Nick Greaves KO 1
  9. Ben Rose bt Conrad Hayes UD

It was a great night of fights with a phenomenal atmosphere and is rounded off by a few quick notes of thanks.

  • Ross Pointon: Preparing for an important fight at OMMAC in December, Ross pulled out all the stops to give the fans a very exciting and credible card.
  • Security at the Victoria Hall: A noticeable presence from the security team who, although not massively called into action, were on hand to ensure a safe and enjoyable evening was had by all.
  • Simon McGovern: On his mma refereeing debut, Simon produced one of the most consistent displays of mixed martial arts refereeing that I have seen in a very long time. A great display of authority and knowledge. It seems that the time at the Marc Goddard seminar was time very well spent.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Gym of the Month - Elements MMA

On Sunday, a few friends and I made the drive to Elements MMA in Birmingham.

The gym was the location for a seminar on refereeing and judging in mixed martial arts and was written and presented by none other than UFC referee Marc Goddard.

As it currently stands, there is not a governing body in UK mixed martial arts and, as Marc was quick to remind, the responsibility is on the individual to ensure a high standard of professionalism at all times.

The course was interesting and is a huge step for both validity and safety for the sport in the UK, but I was also really impressed with the venue.

Elements MMA is a Mecca to all that is mixed martial arts and I was able to grab a few minutes to chat with Marc about the gym and his visions for the future.

What was your first involvement with mixed martial arts?

Wow! Now you're asking! I have been involved in the MMA scene here in the UK for the last ten years plus, and the martial arts a lot longer still [not giving my age away here…….] If I may be so bold or boring as to state, it is advertisement after all…

• 2 x Combat British Open Grappling Champion

• 2 x Submission League Heavyweight Champion [inc quickest submission]

• Submission League Absolute Runner-Up [losing to Jeff Monson in Final]

• SNGC National Champion

• Urban Gorillaz Absolute Champion

• 2 x Urban Gorillaz Heavyweight Runner up [losing to Jeff Monson in final]

• ADCC European Trials Runner Up

• FILA World Grappling Games UK Trials Champion

• FILA World Games UK Coach [Switzerland 2008]

• UK Storm Heavyweight Champion

• Grapple & Strike Super Heavyweight Champion
• First ever UK appointed Referee for the UFC

• First ever UK Referee to be licensed to officiate for UFC in the US [UFC 101 Philadelphia August 2009]

• First ever UK Referee to take charge of a UFC Main Event [UFC 105 Couture Vera November 2009 and again UFC 120 Bisping Akiyama October 2010]

Briefly explain the history of the gym.

The gym was a realization of a dream for me; I have long been associated with other peoples gyms and done things that way. I longed for a place to call my own where I could develop the gym as I wanted, the fighters as I wanted and the classes as I wanted.

It was a long time coming for me but well worth the wait, now I have the place to call my own and the rest, as they say, will be history! My very early traditional JJ instructor Paul Harrison played a big part in who I am and the ethos that I go by. It then moved onto Steve Brindle form the infamous Stevie B’s Gym right at the start when Braulio Estima first came over to the UK as a brown belt, both of whom I owe huge gratitude and remember always with fondness and love.

Boxing coaches Spencer McCracken and Paul Gough also played a big part in who and how I have become as a mixed martial artist today. From these people and life’s experiences I learnt so much and it has definitely helped shape me for what I have become and how my MMA game is transferred to others.

What is your vision for the gym?

My vision for the gym is to take my time, our time and establish the name of Elements MMA. A lot of people in the UK will know my name and some of the fighters associated with me, now it’s time to attach the Elements MMA name to it! We already have Champions past and present associated with us. It is not a race for me, not a sprint. I want the most solid, built on reputation earned with time, blood sweat and tears. The old school way – the best way.

Who are the coaches and what are their backgrounds?

Well you have myself who people will know, we have Mick Broster who I have known for many years. Mick was a former competitor who brings a wealth of experience to the gym, he and I differ so much in our approach, styles and game and that is what makes it work so well. I would take Mick over a hundred “names” in today’s game as he knows what it takes and is as reliable as they come.

We have Chris Cooper teaching the stand up [striking for MMA] side of the game, Chris has fought in MMA, Thai and K1 and his striking really is up there on a level with the best, anyone who saw his fight with the veteran Alex Gould on the K1 road to Japan show will testify to that. We also have the new bloods in Dave Hill and Tom Breese. Dave Hill is the current OMMAC British featherweight champion and was the AMMA British lightweight champion also. Dave recently lost a decision to the highly ranked and super talented Tom Niinimake in Finland, this was Dave’s first loss in 10 professional contests, and at 9-1 as a pro and still only 23 years old he has it all to go in front of him.

I am so proud of him and his work ethic and discipline is second to none. Tom Breese is an un-defeated 9-0 amateur who recently made his pro debut on the BAMMA Reid v Watson card. Tom is a very talented young lad and at 18 years of age remains a frightening prospect. Mick Broster has done a fantastic job with Tom in the last few years and will continue together with me to unleash him on the UK welter weight scene.

We also are about to unleash some new blood on the next AMMA, one to watch will be the newly crowned Combat Sports UK Champion James Dixon. We have some awesome talent at the gym right now, pure British Champions.

What range of classes does the gym offer?

The gym is open to all levels and offers classes for fighters, mid levels and complete beginners. We cater for MMA and everything is with that slant and bias on it with a directly experienced past. We have drilling / sparring classes, open mats, Striking for MMA, Dirty Boxing, Submission Wrestling, Wrestling for MMA and Conditioning classes amongst others.

As more and more MMA gyms open up over the coming months what do you feel is unique about the gym?

Elements MMA gym is unique because even though the gym is new the people associated with it have the history, the tangible and credible actual history – not some made up glitz and glamour but real trace-able history with bona fide achievements and credentials. Elements MMA is a family first and foremost and anybody out there representing the name will have my blessing and I can tell you this, that will not come without its price!

What is the most gruelling training session that the gym currently runs?

I am pretty sure that the guys would testify to the Saturday MMA conditioning class!

How would you sum the gym up in a sentence?

No nonsense, true, proven and complete Mixed Martial Arts taught from the heart.

What are the plans for the gym for the future?

As I touched on before, building on the reputation of the people, fighters, students and myself associated with the gym. Its not about me now, I had my time and enjoyed it immensely, it is now the time of all the others ready to come through and if me and the guys at my gym can help those guys achieve those dreams then I can rest a happy man.

Thank you very much for having me!

It's great to have a recognisable figurehead like Marc in the UK as his experience and willingness to share it can only be a bonus for the sport in this country. Elements MMA is not only a well equipped gym but, with Goddard at the helm and his staff of diligent coaches, it will surely grow into one of the most talent rich environments in the country.