by Corey Snow for MMAWeekly.com
Gladiator Challenge 60: Chaos at Kezar
Title Fight Productions executed another rock-solid show in the growing hotbed of MMA, the San Francisco Bay Area. The venue, San Francisco’s historic 4,000-seat Kezar Stadium, was packed and the enthusiastic and educated crowd came to watch mostly California natives from some of the hottest teams in the world right now – American Kickboxing Academy, Team Caesar Gracie, and Ralph Gracie Jiu Jitsu. In attendance were MMA stars Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, Urijah Faber, Ralph Gracie and others.
A melancholic cloud hung over the arena when the event started with a final ten-count for recently deceased fighter Eric Wray. The talented American Kickboxing Academy member Wray mysteriously passed away on February 28th, and as of this report, the cause of death has not been determined. Wray was scheduled to be the contender in the main event of the card challenging current Gladiator Challenge Welterweight Champion Jeremiah Metcalfe for the title.
Although a few of the undercard bouts were a bit lop-sided, Gladiator Challenge 60 delivered an exciting regional show with a variety of local and national-caliber fighters, and only one fight went to a decision (and it was a split decision).
155 Lbs.- Zack Yngojo vs. Ricardo Moreira:
Yngojo wins by TKO (strikes) 1:13 Rd. 1
Rolling through a solid arm-throw takedown attempt by Moreira, Yngojo ends up in side mount, dropping sharp elbows to Moreira’s head. Moreira makes it back up to his feet, and while in the clinch, Yngojo delivers a rib-cracking knee that drops Moreira immediately. Yngojo follows up with strikes and elbows to the collapsed Moreira, and the ref steps in at 1:13 with a TKO stoppage.
155 Lbs.- Richard Collingham vs. Walter Patterson:
Patterson wins by Tap out (armbar) 2:07 Rd. 1
After some tentative clinch work, Patterson picks up Collingham to eye level before excitingly slamming him on his neck, making nearly all in the audience cringe. Patterson follows up with some ground and pound, and the ensuing scramble ends up with Patterson attempting an armbar, securing it for the win. Urijah Faber comes into the ring to congratulate and hold up the hand of his teammate Walter Patterson.
185 Lbs.- Kurt Osiander vs. Luiz Sanchez:
Osiander wins by Tap out (rear-naked choke) 2:08 Rd. 2
They don’t call him “the Rhino” for nothing. Hometown favorite and Ralph Gracie Black Belt instructor Kurt Osiander dominated this fight from the opening bell, driving Sanchez to the ground with an assertive clinch, which, in classic jiu-jitsu fashion, led to side mount, followed by the S mount position. Osiander dropped stiff punches to Sanchez’s face, forcing Sanchez to give up his back. Osiander flattened him out, sunk in the rear-naked choke, forcing the tap at 2:08 of the first round. From the sound of the audience’s cheers, the “Rhino” Osiander is a local star.
HW – Drew Montgomery vs. John Brosowke:
Brosowke wins by Tap out (headlock) 1:04 Rd. 2
The only heavyweight fight of the night left the audience clamoring for more action. The giant 290 pound Brosowke looked like he was in trouble against the 226 pound Montgomery when Montgomery secured the mount and almost got an armbar, followed by having his back taken by the lighter fighter. In the second, the giant Brosowke dominated Montgomery who seemed to be gassed from trying to control his 290 pound opponent. Montgomery taps to a humorous-looking but undoubtedly uncomfortable smothering naked headlock.
135 – Ed LeValle vs. Nelson Ocampo:
LeValle wins by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-27)
In one of the most even and exciting fights of the night, the classic striker vs. grappler fight played out. Ocampo got the best of the strikes in all 3 rounds, and he had rocked a tired LeValle in 3rd. However, LeValle’s superior grappling in the 1st and 2nd rounds almost forced Ocampo to tap after multiple secured triangles with elbow strikes. Despite the nasty triangle, Ocampo was able to pick up and slam LeValle at least 3 times, and the constant pressure and strain on his legs caused LeValle to become exhausted by the 3rd round. Ocampo’s cardio was impressive, and despite winning the 3rd round, he was unable to finish LeValle, giving Ed the split decision win.
155- Albert Hill vs. Dan Marks:
Marks wins by Tap out (armbar):58 Rd. 1
Caesar Gracie fighter Dan Marks took one shot from Albert Hill and decided he would rather fight on the ground, so he took him from the clinch to five feet in the air, slamming him down to side-mount. After a flawless transition to mount, he secured a vicious armbar, and Hill tapped quickly. It was a dominant performance by Marks. He was congratulated in the cage by Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez, his team mates.
170- Nik Theotikos vs. Eric Lawson:
Theotikos wins by Tap out (elbow strikes) 2:00 Rd. 2
In probably the most exciting fight of the night, Nik Theotikos pulls out a submission-from-strikes victory over the very tough Eric Lawson who was cornered by Urijah Faber. The fight started out with tight clinch work, solid back-and-forth knees before Lawson takes down Theotikos but unfortunately lands in his guard in an anaconda-tight guillotine. After fighting it off for about a minute, Lawson popped out and started landing some mean ground and pound against the fence, nearly ending the fight until the arm-tired Theotikos mentally regrouped and the round ended. The 2nd round started out with a superb arm throw by Theotikos, but Lawson reverses it and starts landing more ground and pound. Theotikos then successfully takes a tight triangle from the bottom, and after resisting it for a bit, Lawson succumbs to several painful elbows from within the triangle, tapping out at two minutes into the second round. Lawson was impressive even in his loss. Keep your eye on Nik Theotikos.
LHW – Bryan Lujan vs. Osiris Ugarte:
Ugarte wins by TKO (standing ref stoppage from strikes) 2:46 Rd. 2
Lujan had his fans there in numbers, for the San Francisco Police officer was making his MMA debut against an opponent of equal skill, Osiris Ugarte. Ugarte started with a takedown and went for the trip, but Lujan reverses it and both fall against the cage. In an exchange reminiscent of the famous Don Frye-Takiyama Pride fight, both fighters grabbed the other’s neck and proceeded to pound viciously at each other’s head, landing punch after punch after punch for what felt like 2 minutes. Neither did fight-ending damage. Starting out the 2nd round, Osiris commits to a driving takedown that nearly knocked down the speaker system onto his corner men, rattling the fence (and his corner men’s nerves). A visibly exhausted Lujan was taking strikes to the face while standing and he turned his back and was leaning against the fence, taking a few punches to the sides of the head, but never in complete danger. The ref stopped in at 2:46 of the 2nd round because Lujan was not intelligently defending himself.
155 – Alexander Crispim vs. Billy Evangelista:
Evangelista wins by TKO (ref stoppage from strikes) 3:48 Rd. 3
In probably the most anticipated fight of the night, Ralph Gracie Black Belt Alexander Crispim took on American Kickboxing Academy’s Billy Evangelista in a war that started out looking like the typical grappler vs. kickboxer fight. Crispim started out strong, avoiding Evangelista’s Muay Thai strikes and taking him down to side mount, to mount, to taking his back and flattening him out. Evangelista defends for most of the first round, avoiding the dominant jiu-jitsu submissions of his opponent. But in a scramble in the last 30 seconds of the round, Evangelista lands some hard elbows gaining some momentum, despite clearly losing round 1. In the second round, a composed Evangelista starts landing more strikes from outside and elbows from the clinch. A tired Crispim starts baiting Evangelista by hanging his head out, which probably wasn’t the best strategy against an AKA kickboxer. Crispim takes several unanswered elbows and the round ends. In round three, Evangelista looks confident, and he lands knee after knee in the clinch a la Shogun vs. Rampage. He secures a clinch takedown against Crispim, and starts a series of elbows that opens up a nasty cut on Crispim’s temple, and blood pours immediately. The ref stops the fight at 3:48 of the 3rd round, and the underdog takes the win. Impressive Muay Thai skills by Evangelista won the fight for him.
170 GC Title Fight – Jeremiah Metcalfe vs. Josh Hinkle:
Metcalfe win by Tap out (strikes) 3:39 Rd. 2
Josh Hinkle was the replacement for Eric Wray, whose unfortunate passing was exactly one month ago tonight. As Metcalfe entered with his trademark pseudo-mohawk, Hinkle looked pumped and ready. Hinkle started out explosively, his style resembling a wrestler-turned-jiu jitsu fighter. Neither fighter seemed to have the grappling edge, and neither fighter landed significant blows in the first few minutes, despite non-stop action. Hinkle has an impressive arm bar attempt that the composed Metcalfe quickly gets out of. Hinkle then goes for the Kimura, but Metcalfe has better control and lands decent rabbit punches, giving Metcalfe the first round. After a few wild strikes that started out the second, Metcalfe gets the Greco takedown and starts dominating from the half guard. Hinkle scrambles, gets to his feet, swings wide and hard but misses. Metcalfe lands a solid shot counter, dropping Hinkle onto his butt. Again, Metcalfe dominates from the half-guard, landing elbows that forces Hinkle to give up his back. Metcalfe flattens him out, and Hinkle taps to strikes to the head at 3:39 of round 2. Metcalfe defends his belt in a dominant performance, but Hinkle looks solid even in a loss.