by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
It took nearly all three rounds, but Josh Barnett – at Saturday night’s “Day of Reckoning” in Anaheim, Calif. – earned his shot at the WAMMA heavyweight title. He thoroughly dominated Gilbert Yvel, taking him down throughout and unleashing a relentless barrage of punches, hammerfists, and forearms. It wasn’t until the waning moments of the final round, however, before Barnett overwhelmed Yvel with his onslaught, causing the Dutch fighter to tap out.
Even though he controlled the bout, never really giving Yvel a chance to mount an offensive, Barnett wasn’t satisfied. “Dominant positions are great, but kick ass bombs being dropped on people and cool submissions are what people want to see and that’s the kind of things I want to deliver. So I gotta step it up next time.”
Next time will be a bout against Fedor, which is fine by Barnett. Following his win, “the Baby-Faced Assassin” commented, “I don’t care about who I fight, but I want Fedor to win, he’s my friend and I want to see him win.”
Just moments into their bout, Vitor Belfort morphed back into “The Phenom” – the 21-year-old kid we remember overwhelming Wanderlei Silva – dropping Top 10 middleweight Matt Lindland to the canvas with a left hook. He swarmed in to continue the blows, referee Nelson “Doc” Hamilton stepping in to call a halt to the bout.
Lindland spent several minutes on the mat, ringside medical personnel being careful to be sure that he suffered no serious injury before he finally left the ring under his own power.
Belfort appears to have found himself a new home and renewed his career since moving down to the middleweight division.
“I came to compete and to take over this weight division,” he declared after the fight. “I’m too fast, I think. The speed, the accuracy, I found my place right away. You can’t beat speed.”
Both Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou started strong in their light heavyweight contest, practically stalemating through the first round, countering each other’s advances. In the second, Babalu gained the advantage with a strong ground and pound attack, accumulating damage on Sokoudjou. Up against the ropes, the fight was moved and restarted on the ground at center ring. After a bit more ground and pound, Babalu, during a scramble, secured an Anaconda choke that had Sokoudjou tapping out.
The win was Babalu’s fifth in a row, his fourth straight since being forced out of the UFC.
“I have been working hard in my camp. He had good judo, but I’m better wrestler,” said Babalu after the bout.
Interviewed by Tito Ortiz about his future at light heavyweight, he replied, “The division is very hard,” before adding, “I want you to get better your back and come back here and fight me.”
Ortiz responded in kind, agreeing that fans “want to see me and (Babalu) get it on.”
Heavyweight Paul Buentello followed up his Affliction “Banned” victory over Gary Goodridge in July with a third round TKO over “Baby Fedor,” Kiril Sidelnikov, at “Day of Reckoning.” The fight started with the two trading strikes, but as the fight wore on, it was evident that Buentello had the hight, reach, and experience advantage over his opponent.
Especially in round two, Buentello’s punches began to accumulate damage, as evidenced by Sidelnikov’s face. A kick to the back of Sidelnikov’s leg in the third round sent the Russian to the mat. A few blows later, Sidelnikov spit his mouth piece out. Referee John McCarthey took advantage of the stop in action to have the ringside doctor up to check Sidelnikov. McCarthy stopped the bout moments later.
Bobby Green accepted his pay-per-view opening fight against Dan Lauzon on just two days notice. He came out strong, fast and aggressive. Dominating the action early on, the fight was stopped not once, not twice, but three times for low blows by Green. Even though, upon replay, the latter two appeared questionable, Green lost a point after the third foul.
It didn’t make a difference in the final outcome, however, as Lauzon took advantage of Green’s overzealous ground and pound attack. He attempted a heel hook, which Green escaped, but then maneuvered to a rear naked choke that caused Green to tap out with 10 seconds left in the opening round.
-Josh Barnett def. Gilbert Yvel by Submission (Strikes) at 3:05, R3
-Vitor Belfort def. Matt Lindland by KO (Punch) at :37, R1
-Renato “Babalu” Sobral def. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou by Submission (D’Arce Choke) at 2:36, R2
-Paul Buentello def. Kiril Sidelnikov by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 4:18, R3
-Dan Lauzon def. Bobby Green by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:55, R1
Swing bout, took place after main event:
Jay Hieron def. Jason High by KO (Punch) at 1:04, R1