by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photos courtesy of April Pishna)
(Ludwig slamming home a leg-kick. Robinson with the choke sunk in deep. Marshall finishing with a ground and pound flourish. – Photos courtesy of April Pishna/PishnaPhoto.com)
Broomfield, Colo. – Local hero Duane “Bang” Ludwig headlined Ring of Fire 28 on Friday night as the promotion moved into it’s new home in Broomfield, Colo. at the brand-spanking-new Broomfield Events Center. A capacity crowd of some 5,000 fans packed the arena to see the top fighters in the region make a clean sweep.
Ludwig toyed with Japanese import Shinya Kumazawa en route to a surprising TKO finish not due to strikes, as one would expect from one of the most prolific strikers in mixed martial arts, but from a side choke that Kumazawa refused to tap from.
Sprawling out on Kumazawa’s early takedown attempts, Ludwig realized early that he was in no danger in this fight. “I really expected him to be a lot tougher,” said Ludwig after the fight. Ludwig continually landed brutal knees to the face and head while standing and continually gave up dominant positions on the ground, once sacrificing a rear naked choke attempt and another time giving up a reverse triangle from front mount, to stand the fight up and punish Kumazawa on the feet.
At one point, Ludwig shot on Kumazawa and following the takedown immediately stood up and turned to point to his cornerman, Nate Marquardt, as if to say “See, I was paying attention.” He then returned the fight to the mat and secured a side choke. Kumazawa, displaying the Samurai heart, refused to tap causing referee Adam Martinez to stop the bout towards the end of round 2.
Ring of Fire Lightweight Champion Alvin Robinson wasted no time in his bout, dropping down to 145 pounds to face Olly Bradstreet. The Utah product attempted to fire a knee, but Robinson scooped him up, dropped him down, and quickly transitioned to Bradstreet’s back. He secured a rear naked choke, but Bradstreet crawled on the mat and appeared to take the fight straight under the bottom rope, onto the ringside table and off onto the floor, Robinson hanging onto the choke the entire time.
The fight was restarted in the middle of the ring with the choke in place. Bradstreet stood up to try and slam Robinson off, but the 4-stripe Gracie Brown Belt (directly under John Crouch) held onto the choke and the victory, all in 1 minute and 47 seconds. Though Ring of Fire has provided an apt proving ground, Robinson has to be headed to the big leagues following this impressive victory.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone kept his unbeaten streak alive, obviously the more composed of the two fighters, waiting patiently for Ryan Roberts to take him down. Once on the ground, kickboxer-cum-MMA wizard Cerrone patiently worked his game until he found the armbar to finish the fight. Amazingly, Cerrone was 22-0-1 as a kickboxer before turning to MMA where he has finished all 5 of his fights by submission.
Eliot Marshall proved to have the superior grappling style for mixed martial arts as he controlled most of the bout with Serbian fighter Damir Mihajlovic, himself a proficient grappler, before he mounted him late in the first round, dropping blows to the head until the referee stopped the bout. Mihajlovic protested, feeling the bout was stopped too early and it may have been, but it didn’t appear that Mihajlovic was going to be able to better his position.
Although Gerald Lavato seemed to be winning the standup portion of the fight, he couldn’t keep the fight up long enough to take control. Gumm Mixed Martial Arts standout Vern Baca took Lavato down at will and put him in a half crucifix position in the first, doing a lot of damage as the round came to a close. In the second, Baca again took the FIT fighter to the mat, this time securing a full crucifix and finishing the fight with a relentless abundance of blows to the face.
With the pinpoint accuracy of a seasoned veteran, Aaron Trujillo, also a product of Gumm Mixed Martial Arts, picked apart Roberto Nater with devastating knees to the body and following up with demoralizing straight combinations out of the hands of a man that seemingly should weigh about 30 pounds more than his 117-pound frame holds.
If gameness defines the heart of a fighter, then Jeremy Malaterre and Alfredo Corona both have it. There was no one moment that stood out in this bout as each fighter had the other in near fight-ending trouble on the ground several times during the fight, but they each had that gameness to compete, to never quit. They deserve credit for putting on a tremendous battle between two relatively unknown fighters. If their fighting skills catch up with their fighting hearts, they will be destroyers each in his own right.
Ring of Fire 28: Evolution
Main Event – Welterweight Bout:
Duane “Bang” Ludwig def. Shinya Kumazawa by TKO (Due to Side Choke) at 4:32, Round 2
Superfight – Featherweight Bout:
Alvin “Kid” Robinson def. Olly Bradstreet by Rear Naked Choke at 1:47, Round 1
Donald Cerrone def. Ryan Roberts by Armbar at 1:49, Round 1
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Eliot Marshall def. Damir Mihajlovic by TKO (Due to Strikes) at 3:57, Round 1
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Carpaccio Owens def. Andre Walker by Submission to Strikes at 1:00, Round 3
Vern Baca def. Gerald Lavato by TKO (Due to Strikes) at 2:26, Round 2
Women’s 117-Pound Bout:
Michelle Waterson def. Andrea Miller by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds
Kamalu Keawe def. Daniel Griffin by TKO (Due to Damage) at 0:27, Round 2
Eric Fagyas def. Kevin Carter by Guillotine Choke at 2:56, Round 1
Men’s 120-Pound Bout:
Aaron Trujillo def. Roberto Nater by TKO at 1:08, Round 1
Jeremy Malaterre def. Alfredo Corona by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Ken Seegrist def. Jason McDonald by Submission to Strikes at 0:30, Round 1
Eric Buck def. Kenny May by Armbar at 1:25, Round 1