Review & Photos by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
DENVER – Jesse Taylor’s fighting career has been an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs. Making his way onto the cast of The Ultimate Fighter during Season 7 of the series from a career fighting throughout the Southwestern U.S., he fought his way to the series finale before being booted from the spot due to a drunken tirade following the end of taping.
Taylor was later invited back to try for a spot in the UFC, but fell short, losing to fellow Season 7 cast member C.B. Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 14.
He has since been working his way back into contention for the bigger promotions, like the UFC, by fighting on smaller regional promotions.
On Saturday night, he racked up his fourth straight victory and added the King of Champions middleweight championship to his resume by defeating up-and-comer Chris Camozzi at “Shockwave” at the Crowne Plaza Event Center in Denver.
Taylor took Camozzi down at will, and often, throughout the course of their three-round bout. Camozzi fought well off his back, defending the better part of Taylor’s ground and pound tactics. He had a difficult time mounting much offense, save for an omo plata attempt in the third round that looked close to snatching him a win.
It would not be, however, as Taylor escaped the shoulder lock and road out the rest of the fight for the win, stripping Camozzi of his title belt.
The bout marked a move up in weight for Taylor, who normally fights in the 170-pound welterweight class. The move definitely gave him a boost in the strength department, but seemed to limit his arsenal a little bit, as he seemed content to shoot for the takedown and grind away with a ground and pound attack.
According to Taylor’s Team Quest trainer, Heath Sims, the move isn’t permanent. He will still be open to opportunities at middleweight, but Taylor is planning to compete normally at welterweight.
The win should put him on the short list for a return shot at the UFC or a call to one of the other bigger promotions on the block, possibly Strikeforce or Affliction.
In the night’s co-main event, King of Champions lightweight titleholder Rocky Johnson needed all three rounds, and two out of three judges, to retain keep the gold around his waste, grinding out a three-round split decision victory over Bryant Craven.
King of Champions “Shockwave 2009″
Crowne Plaza Event Center
Saturday, March 28, 2009
-Jesse Taylor def. Chris Camozzi by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Rocky Johnson def. Bryant Craven by Split Decision, R3
-Josh Huber def. Travis Sherman by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:23, R1
-Jeremy Malaterre def. Alfredo Corona by Unanimous Decision, R2
-Matt Vigil def. Joey Banks by TKO (Strikes) at 1:45, R3
-Romico Blackmon def. Jay Wymer by TKO (Strikes) at 1:19, R1
-Diana Riel def. Kelly Brown by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Jason Clayton def. Sebastian White by Submission (Heel Hook) at 1:38, R1
-James Valmont def. Ali Hanjani by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Jimmy Soiland def. Tony Gonzalez by Submission (Armbar) at 0:49, R1
-Geoff Brokx def. Tyson Vigil by Submission (Armbar) at 1:16, R1