by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
DALLAS – The American Airlines Center on Saturday night played host to just under 8,000 fans as the Art of War 3: USA vs. Brazil featured a competitive fight card of world class action. Although the theme of the night was country vs. country, it was really a diverse group of spirited fighters that fired up the crowd.
The sweltering heat of Dallas was no place for the Snowman on Saturday night, although his demise didn’t go the way that most fans would anticipate. On paper, Jeff “Snowman” Monson vs. Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo appeared to be the classic grappler vs. striker, but Monson had other ideas. He decided to test out his newfound boxing skills.
Monson attempted to stand and trade with Rizzo throughout most of the fight. Not only did he attempt it, he actually looked okay doing it. He showed a solid jab and landed some big power shots, but just didn’t quite have the polish on his striking game that the years have honed into Rizzo’s striking.
After cutting Rizzo’s eye early on in the fight, it would be Rizzo on the third round that would catch Monson with a flurry that left a nasty split in the Snowman’s lip and sent him staggering back against the cage. Rizzo followed up with another combination and Monson went down with the referee waving it off.
Even Rizzo was impressed with Monson’s striking after the fight. “It’s pretty good. It surprised me. Next time I fight [him] it will be one step back.”
With the win, Rizzo racked up his second win in as many tries for the Art of War promotion and defended his International Fighters Association World Heavyweight Championship for the first time.
Jeremy Horn never really got started in his fight with American Top Team’s Jorge Santiago. After working his way out of some early trouble on the ground, Horn once again found himself on the mat, this time tapping out to a triangle choke just three minutes into the first round, giving Santiago an impressive victory.
Admittedly not expecting much in 41-year-old Ron Waterman’s fight with Mario Rinaldi, it was amazing when it turned out to be one of the more exciting finishes of the night. Rinaldi gained control early, throwing Waterman to the mat from a Greco clinch, gaining full mount on him and starting to throw down blows. Waterman amazingly maintained his poise, gave up his back and escaped back to standing.
This is where the amazement really began. Waterman landed combination after combination, staggering Rinaldi back to the fence and finishing him off with an onslaught of powerful punches. Leaving many agreeing with post-fight interviewer Frank Trigg’s comment, “This is the best Ron Waterman that I have ever seen.”
In a light heavyweight contest, UFC and Pride veteran Alex Andrade never let Fabiano Capoani get his game started and brutalized him until the referee stopped the fight in round two. Andrade pounded Capoani’s ribs throughout the first round as they were clinched on the fence and then did the same to his head in the second round when the Brazilian tried to pull guard.
Fighting out of Houston via Brasilia, Carlo Prater finally, if not definitively, exacted a small measure of revenge on Keith Wisniewski. This marked the third time that the two have battled, Wisniewski winning the first two. With much of this fight spent in the clinch, it was Prater that controlled the better part of the fight, landing several knees to the body on his way to a 29-28, 29-28, 28-29, split decision.
The win allows Prater to head home to his fiancé to finalize their nuptials and bring a winner’s smile to his three-month-old baby.
The only women’s bout featured 244.5 lb. Lana Stefanac searching for the takedown against her 205 lb. opponent, Franita Gathings. Gathings was able to land a few hard shots, but couldn’t seem to hurt Stefanac, who gave up her grounding attempts, landed two hard knees to the body and then finished Gathings with a couple of follow-up punches before the referee stopped the bout.
In lightweight action, Jason Maxwell took Thomas Schulte down nearly at will throughout their bout. Schulte fought well off his back, but it took its toll over the course of the fight, as Maxwell seemed much stronger as the fight came to an end with Maxwell winning a unanimous decision.
Schulte’s corner later indicated that they were going to take a trip to the local hospital to have him examined as they believe he may have has his nose broken during the fight.
Luis Arthur Cane put on a brutal display of striking against an overmatched Damien Stelly. In all fairness to Stelly, he has an amazing chin. Stelly ate four knees to the face within a 30-second period early in the round and fought his way back. But it wasn’t enough as Cane landed a fifth and final knee that dropped Stelly to the mat and should have ended the fight. The referee was a little slow on the stoppage though as Cane landed two or three hard punches to the face of the downed Stelly before a halt was called to the bout.
Outside of some brief stand-up exchanges at the beginning of the fight, Chute Boxe jiu-jitsu coach Cristiano Marcello controlled all four minutes and fifty-eight seconds of his fight with Corpus Christi, Texas fighter Hector Munoz. Showing some impressive ground and pound skills en route to softening up Munoz, Marcello sunk in a rear naked choke for the tap just 2 seconds before the bell.
Following the bout, Marcello said that although Munoz was a tough opponent, “I hit him like three times [while Munoz was on his back] and each time I could feel his spirit leaving him.”
In the night’s opening bout, Anthony Njokuani knocked out Keyon Mike Jackson with a brutal knee to the face.
Pedro Rizzo def. Jeff Monson by KO at 2:40, R3
Jorge Santiago def. Jeremy Horn by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:02, R1
Ron Waterman def. Mario Rinaldi by TKO at 4:39, R1
Alex Andrade def. Fabiano Capoani by TKO at 2:20, R2
Carlo Prater def. Keith Wisniewski by Split Decision, R3
Lana Stefanac def. Franita Gathings by TKO (strikes) at 1:07, R1
Jason Maxwell def. Thomas Schulte by Unanimous Decision, R3
Luis Arthur Cané def. Damien Stelly by TKO (strikes) at 2:45, R1
Cristiano Marcello def. Hector Munoz by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:58, R1
Anthony Njokuani def. Keyon Mike Jackson by KO (Knee) at 2:14, R1