by Jody Peterson for MMAWeekly.com (Photos by Julie McQuinn)
(Top to bottom: Georges St. Pierre, Roger Hollett, Hollett in the back mount, and Nelson Riqualme and Alex Sung)
The Halifax faithful were witness to another great card of MMA action as Combat Productions brought ECC 4 to the Forum for the 3rd time this year. With just over 3500 people on hand the event was another huge success and continues to be the driving force behind the ever growing popularity of MMA in Eastern Canada. Adding to the ECC experience last night, the fans in attendance were treated to a special guest appearance by none other then Canada’s very own UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.
In town doing a 2 day seminar in Truro, Nova Scotia, St. Pierre was gracious enough and committed enough to promoting his sport that he made the trek to be with the 3500 fans on hand last night. Entering the arena to a long standing ovation, St. Pierre made his way to the cage where he spoke to the fans and watched his dismantling of Matt Hughes on the big screen as chants of GSP rang through in the Forum.
The action at ECC 4 Saturday night was exciting and there was not a “boo” to be heard all night, not even when fights hit the ground. The Main Event featured local rising star and huge fan favorite Roger Hollett of Team Titans stepping in against Boreland Combat Team’s Ray Penny. The action was fast and furious as the two undefeated light heavyweights came out of the gate swinging. Both fighters exchanged nice combinations before Penny managed to bully Hollett to the cage. Hollett was there only briefly though as he swung out and worked for the clinch before the fighters separated. Penny then moved forward with a left jab but was caught on the button with a countering big left hook that visibly dazed him, perhaps forcing his next move, too soon and from bad position. Penny shot in on Hollett but he was caught easily in a guillotine and although he escaped the choke he ended up on his back, still dazed and now with Hollett in full mount reigning down punishing punches and elbows. Penny bucked up and twisted but to no avail as Hollett hung tight and took Penny’s back where he quickly locked in a rear naked choke for the win.
MMAWeekly caught up with ECC promoter Rob Walker who had some news regarding his still undefeated light heavyweight Roger Hollett. “Roger is fighting Mike Maurer, the CFL football player with the Edmonton Eskimos, February 3rd in Edmonton. Maurer is an amazing natural athlete, he’s explosive and very strong, but Roger will be ready to go down there and clean house.”
Maurer is a fullback with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and carries a 1-0 record as a pro. He is a gifted natural athlete and will present a formidable challenge as Hollett attempts to further expose himself in the Canadian MMA scene at MFC 11.
In the Co-Main Event, TJ Grant of Fit Plus took on BTT Canada’s Eric Beaulieu and wasted no time imposing his will. The bell had barely stopped ringing before Beaulieu was in trouble. Grant quickly cut across the cage and in a blur of punches backed Beaulieu to the cage, mounted him and scored the TKO victory just 33 seconds into round 1.
ECC 4’s Superfight featured Shaun “Phenom” Krysa, the undefeated submission grappling expert from Boreland Combat Team against Marc Andre Joly of Team Nestor. Unfortunately ECC 4’s Superfight suffered a couple of uncontrollable changes as Krysa’s first scheduled opponent Fabio Holonda had to pull out and his replacement BTT Canada teammate Samuel Guillet had to do the same just days before the bout. So in stepped the 1-1 Marc-Andre Joly of Team Nestor. Coming off a TKO win in his last fight, Joly was looking across at one of Canada’s top submission grapplers in Krysa. The bell rang and Joly was game, throwing hard shots at Krysa, who moved in and out to evade. Joly attempted a left-right combo that Krysa ducked under, moved inside and forced a tie up. Moving quickly, Krysa took the fight down and took Joly’s back in one move. Joly defended well and managed to break away but only briefly as Krysa pulled guard and neatly transitioned to an armbar submission win.
In other action one of Canada’s rising MMA prospects, Nelson ‘Akawi’ Riquelme came to the cage with George St. Pierre in his corner as well as the famed BTT Canada crew, looking calm and ready for battle. Following him down the runway of fans was the Team Doerkson trained Alex Sung accompanied by the hometown guys from Fit Plus of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Riquelme who is always entertaining, having won all 3 of his fights in highlight TKO fashion was matched against a local fan favorite in the Manitoba MMA scene, the 2-0 Canadian Military Captain, Alex Sung. It turned out to be an exciting 3 round battle that kept fans entertained throughout.
Round one started with both fighters feeling each other out. Riquelme committed first as he stepped in with a combination, but Sung countered back, then continued forward, pushing Riquelme back to the fence. They clinched and it was obvious early that Sung was the stronger athlete as he neatly picked up the BTT prospect and slammed him down. This would remain the theme of the night as each round started with the fighters standing and each round ended with Sung pounding down on Riquelme.
As mentioned not a “boo” was heard during this ground battle as both fighters stayed active. Sung was pulling classic MMA moves in the Sakuraba mold, leaping in the air to pass Riquelme’s guard on more then one occasion, and utilizing a never ending ground and pound assault. He would pick Riquelme up, slam him down and walk him to the cage. From within guard Sung would posture up throwing elbows and punches non-stop. The fight had a bit of everything from a fans stand point and Nelson ‘Akawi’ Riquelme was every bit as entertaining himself in a losing effort. There were his fan pleasing ear slaps from guard, his up-kick that knocked Sung’s mouthpiece flying across the ring and his spinning back fist to start round three. The two fighters exchanged punches standing and engaged each other in many entertaining scrambles and passes on the ground as the two quick and agile 160 pound fighters gave it there all.
When it was all said and done and the final bell rang both fighters embraced afterward signaling and waving to an appreciative crowd as Alex Sung was awarded the Unanimous Decision victory.
Roger Hollett (3-0) over Ray Penny (1-1) by Sub Rd 1 2:37 (rear naked choke)
TJ Grant (4-0) over Eric Beaulieu (6-9) by TKO 0:33 Rd 1
Shaun Krysa (4-0) over Marc-Andre Joly (1-2) by Sub 1:32 Rd 1 (armbar)
Alex Sung (3-0) over Nelson Riquelme (3-1) by Dec 15:00 Rd 3 (30-27)
Jason MacKay (4-0) over Daniel Grandmaison (2-3) by Sub 3:12 Rd 1 (armbar)
Serge Tufegdzic (2-1) over Dave MacMillan (1-3) by TKO 3:36 Rd 1 (cut/flying knee)
Matt Duksoki (1-0) over James Landrigan (0-1) by TKO 1:01 Rd 1
Adam MacDonald (1-0) over Curtis Fiander (0-2) by KO 1:25 Rd 1
Travis Axworthy (2-0) over Craig Skinner (0-2) by TKO 3:21 Rd 2
Aaron Jollimore (1-0) over Tim Skidmore (0-1) by Sub 0:20 Rd 1 (armbar)