by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photos by April Pishna)
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – On Friday night at
the Broomfield Events Center, Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Mike
Nickels wasted no time returning to his winning ways in the main event of Ring
of Fire 32.
Wanting to stay away from the experienced
boxing hands of Vladimir Vuckovic, he immediately took the Croation down,
attained mount and started raining down blows. After softening him up, Nickels
transitioned to Vuckovic’s back and submitted him with a rear naked choke.
“I told everyone in my gym once his back hit
the ground, it’s checkmate,” said Nickels about the finish.
Talking about his departure from the UFC, he
added, “I’m humbled I’m starting at the bottom now. I feel I have unfinished
business with the UFC, so that’s where I’m headed… The UFC wanted me to go out
and get a couple of wins, so one down, one to go.”
Ultimate Fighter alumnus Noah Thomas had to do
it twice in one night, but he did prevail in a grudge match with high school
wrestling teammate Brett Roller.
Although Thomas took some hard shots from
Roller at the beginning of both the first and second rounds, he managed to
weather the storm in each. He dominated on the ground and even had Roller
tapping out to a triangle choke, which the referee didn’t see and Roller didn’t
acknowledge, late in the first round. In the second stanza, after weathering
Roller’s leather, Thomas again dominated the ground, dropping some hard elbows
from mount before transitioning to Roller’s back and putting him to sleep with
a rear naked choke.
“We had our issues,” said Thomas at the
post-fight press conference. But in stark contrast to his backyard brawl with
Marlon Sims during their stint on The Ultimate Fighter, he added, “But instead
of acting like thugs and fighting on the street, we came in here and handled
our differences like professionals.”
After his bout on Friday night, UFC veteran
Luke Caudillo may takeover Kazuyuki Fujita’s nickname of “Iron Head,” not that
that’s necessarily a good thing. He went nearly three rounds with Torrance
Taylor, but unfortunately for Caudillo it was nearly three rounds of eating
every variety of strike, from every angle, that you could think of.
Taylor, fresh off of a unanimous decision
victory over another UFC veteran in Junior Assuncao just two weeks ago, took
several punishing shots from Caudillo as well, but he dished out much more than
he took. He threw not only the usual fare of punches and round kicks, but
spinning back kicks, reverse elbows, axe kicks, and nearly anything else you
could think of before Caudillo submitted in round three.
“I have a lot of respect for him and his
team,” said Taylor about Caudillo after the bout. But Taylor earned a lot of
respect himself as well, especially from the local fans, who count Caudillo as
of one their own.
In the lone female bout on the card, Zingano
Jiu-Jitsu fighter Cat Albert almost made it look easy against Xtreme Couture’s
Karina Taylor once the fight hit the mat. Early on though, as the two stood and
traded blows, it was Taylor that was gaining the upper hand, but once on the
mat, it was all Albert. She deftly worked her transitions from full mount to
back mount, until finally securing an armbar for the finish.
Albert has quickly risen up the ranks to be
considered one of the top female mixed martial artists in Colorado. Asked
afterwards about her progression and the wanting to step outside of the state
to a promotion such as EliteXC, she commented, “Anyone you can put in front of
me, I’m excited to (fight). It’s the ultimate test to myself.”
As Gina Carano is currently at the center of
women’s MMA, when asked about her, Albert stated, “After watching (Carano)
fight the other night, I don’t think it would be that big of a problem for me
(to fight her).”
Albert typically fights at about 135 pounds
while Carano has had trouble making it to the contracted 140-pound limit in her
most recent fights and will likely be fighting at 145 pounds in the future. Not
a problem says Albert, “I’d fight her if she was 145 and I was 105.”
Following a false start due to a low-blow,
Brandon Thatch then shut down Mike Crisman with a polished Muay Thai clinic.
Once he was able to latch on with the Thai clinch, Thatch unloaded a flurry of
brutal knees to the body and head that dropped Crisman and earned Thatch the
Ring of Fire Young Guns welterweight strap.
In a battle between two of Colorado’s top
middleweight prospects, Kenneth Seegrist, known locally as “Sir Kenneth Ivan,”
made quick work of Ian Berg, locking on a guillotine choke at 1:27 of round
one. The win earned Seegrist the Ring of Fire Young Guns middleweight
championship and kept him undefeated in seven bouts.
Before the main card got underway, there were
four preliminary bouts that heated up the crowd filtering into the arena. In
all, three of the four prelims combined for a total of little more than two
minutes of fast-paced action.
The only early bout to go any length of time
was Nate Marquardt teammate Cody Donovan’s fight with Weston Duschen of Xtreme
Couture. A popular fighter on the local scene, Donovan worked aggressively
throughout with his submission attempts, finally locking on a fight-ending
armbar early in the third round.
Professional MMA Bouts:
-Mike Nickels def. Vladimir Vuckovic by
Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:18, R1
-Noah Thomas vs. Brett Roller by Submission
(Rear Naked Choke) at 2:03, R2
-Torrance Taylor def. Luke Caudillo by
Submission (Verbal) at 3:10, R3
-Cat Albert def. Karina Taylor by Submission
(Armbar) at 2:30, R1
Amateur MMA Bouts:
-Brandon Thatch def. Mike Crisman by TKO
(Knee Strikes) at 0:38, R1
-Justin Salas def. Max Smith Submission (Rear
Naked Choke) at 1:26, R1
-Kenneth Seegrist def. Ian Berg by Submission
(Guillotine Choke) at 1:27, R1
-Brian Wood def. Miguel Martinez by Submission
(Neck Crank/Front Choke) at 1:05, R1
-Cody Donovan def. Weston Duschen by
Submission (Armbar) at 1:16, R3
-Brendan Schaub def. Jay Lester by TKO
(Strikes) at 0:30, R1
-Sean Doherty def. Dominick Blanco by
Submission (Armbar) at 0:29, R1