by J.R. Gordon, MartialArtsRadio.com (Photos courtesy of Robert Terry)
The 27th installment of the Colorado based fight promotion Ring Of Fire played out to a crowd of well over 3,000 people at the Douglas County Events center in Castle Rock, Colorado on December 9th. Promoter Sven “Boogie” Bean always works hard to make his year-end show one of his best and this year was no exception. Literally, this show had it all – quick knockouts, slick submissions, fights that were action-packed for all three rounds and title fights that lived up to the billing. Also on hand was well-known announcer Mauro Ranallo doing play-by-play broadcasting for Canadian combat channel, The Fight Network.
The main event was a super fight between Alvin Robinson and Rocky Johnson for the 155-pound Ring of Fire lightweight title. Robinson is a Royce Gracie brown belt while Johnson is a standout college wrestler. When interviewed prior to the bout each fighter said that they would be comfortable standing and striking. Robinson was masterful in his ring control and only shot when Johnson was against the ropes and had no room for an effective sprawl. On the canvas Johnson absorbed some ground and pound, escaped an armbar and scrambled to standing once, but Robinson utilized an effective shot and again got him to the ground. Once there, Robinson wasted no time in getting back control and setting in a very tight rear naked choke for the submission. With the victory Robinson kept his belt and in his post fight speech stated that he hopes the UFC is up next for him.
One of the most anticipated bouts of the night featured UFC fighter Mark Hominick versus Doug Edwards. Edwards had a distinct height and reach advantage in this bout, and he used it well. Early in the fight Edwards probed accurately with his jab and repeatedly landed solid leg kicks to the left thigh of Hominick. Hominick took the kicks and jabs well. In the latter part of the round he began to use his superior footwork and speed to quickly get into range to land solid hooks to the head and body. Hominick knocked down Edwards once in round one, but elected to let him stand. Hominick punctuated the end of the round with a double left hook followed by a strong overhand right, all of which landed clean.
In round two Edwards continued to use the low kick well, but Hominick countered by absorbing the kick in order to land a counter overhand right. In the last third of the round Hominick dropped Edwards with a punch and this time he followed him to the mat. He unleashed a strong ground and pound flurry that had Edwards turtling in defense. From there Hominick took back control, flattened out Edwards and got rear naked choke sunk in for the win at 4:08 of round two.
Undefeated fighters Tyler Toner and Joey Jesser faced off for the Ring of Fire Young Guns title. This bout was three action-packed rounds that showcased the talent of two up and coming fighters on the circuit. There was back and forth striking as well as very technical positioning, ground and pound, reversals and submission attempts from both fighters. In the end the judges had to decide the winner and Tyler Toner took home the title and kept his undefeated record intact via a split decision.
In a bout that showcased two of the most technical and athletic fighters of the night Clint Godfrey faced off against John Dodson. Dodson opened with a flying knee that landed to the face of Godfrey, but Godfrey shook it off. While Dodson spent the majority of the time on top, and got off some good ground and pound, it was Godfrey from the bottom position who continually pushed the action and nearly landed several submissions. In the end the judges saw it as a unanimous decision win for John Dodson.
In the evenings feature match, Colorado grappling sensation Eliot Marshall faced off against Thai Boxer Dan Green. In a classic grappler versus striker match Marshall executed the perfect game plan. He trapped the first strike thrown by Green (a low kick), used it to secure a takedown, moved from side mount to full mount, waited for Green to roll, took back control and then sunk in the rear naked choke for the submission victory at 0:46 of round one.
Bean promised the crowd big things for 2007, and if 2006 was any indication of things to come, then there is a bright future for the Ring of Fire and the fight fans in Colorado.
Best in Health and Training,
J. R. “Crusher” Gordon.