Sunday, October 3, 2010
Next up is Jerome Nichols vs. Rashad Clarke. Clarke's got great hands - an advantage that Nichols attempts to nullify by taking the fight to the ground. However, after some intense scrambling Clarke is the one on Nichols back, and it's about a minute of furious defense before Nichols escapes. Round 2 has both men scoring on the feet and Nichols finding his way into mount. Clarke avoids damage, but he's exhausted; he doesn't come out for Round 3, rendering Nichols the victor. Next and last bout and it's Anton Johnson against John Acosta. Johnson winds up on top early when Acosta fails with a takedown, but whatever ground and pound Johnson scores with is neutralized with a pretty damn close triangle attempt by Acosta. Johnson lifts up his foe and slams him down hard, and the bell rings soon after. Round 2 seems to play out in similar fashion, but Acosta is spent, and verbally submits at 1:30. And that's all she wrote.
First bout and it's Peter and James. Round 1 sees Peter shooting in repeatedly, ducking below James' heavy hands to work for a takedown. But James' got a solid sprawl to go with his boxing, and the only time the judo black belt is successful is when they're too close to the edge of the mat (which prompts a restart). The round ends with James sprawling and pounding on Peter below. Round 2 has a frustrated Peter dropping to guard - perhaps to work for a heelhook - and James slides into mount and simply rains down punches. Peter submits at the one-minute mark, making James Braddock the first UCL champ.
For the first time ever there's an actual UCL belt up for grabs. The clothing company Sadistic Athletics is sponsoring it and they've made a pretty sharp-looking championship belt together - which promoter Peter Storm and James Braddock are going to be fighting for. A little background: Peter's been fighting in his own events since UCL 1 is 2003; Braddock won the four-man heavyweight tournament at a UCL over the summer. Also, Braddock is a heavyweight and Peter's a middleweight, but as there's no weight classes in NYC's underground circuit, it's all good in the 'hood.
Okay, by now you should know the drill: MMA Journalist is at an undisclosed location within the Five Boroughs for the latest installment of the Underground Combat League. Yes, UCL, promoter Peter Storm, seven years of shows and running, alumni include Frankie Edgar, Bryan Vetell, Andrew Leone and Ryan LaFlare (who went on to the UFC, IFL, WEC and ROC, respectively). Anyway, tonight's event is more hush-hush than usual. I got the text on Friday night, and was instructed that this one is "invite only" - which means that unless Storm invited you himself, you ain't gettin' in, son. I have no idea as to the anticipated number of fights, but what I do know is this: this is the first underground fight show to be held in an Islamic cultural center!
Very strong debut event. Team Renzo dominated, with Gregor Gracie absolutely smoking Maruisz Linke and looking more and more like the up-and-coming stud we expect him to be. Josh Key and Eric Bradley had a real thriller, and Key seemed to get closer and closer to TKOing Bradley before time ran out. Lastly, props to Carlos Cline for weathering Don Wagner's best weapon - his fists - to earn the unanimous decision win.