by Marco Antico – MMAWeekly.com
TKO 34 was one of TKO’s best fight cards on paper and most fights lived up to the fans’ expectations. With approximately 5,000 people in attendance (25% less than usual), attendance fell below expectations. The warm weather, Grand Prix weekend activities, UFC 85 in England or the recent UFC in Montreal may have all been contributing factors.
The only thing for certain was that the fight card itself was not a disappointment. In order of most impressive performances: Adrian Wooley, Thierry Quenneville, Stephane Vigneault, Tim Wadsworth, Guillaume Lamarche, and Steve Bosse.
STEVE BOSSE DEF. WES SIMS BY ANKLE LOCK, R1
Bosse came out aggressively with low kicks and overhand right punches as Sims countered mainly with high kicks. Bosse’s forward aggression landed him inside of Sims’ guard where Bosse proceeded to drop vicious punches and elbows. Although Sims did not appear to be in grave danger of being rendered unconscious, he was not intelligently defending himself from repeated, powerful strikes. The referee decided he had seen enough and pulled Bosse off Sims. The boisterous and partisan Montreal crowd cheered the decision and Bosse began his celebrations.
Although no one in the arena appeared to disagree with the referee’s decision, Sims and his cornerman, Mark Coleman, showed their disapproval as they yelled profusely and acted belligerently towards the referee. In a shocking and confusing turn of events, the commission gave into Sims’ request and decided to allow the fighters to restart the fight and in a standing position. Bosse’s corner showed no objection and the fight recommenced much to the curious delight of the fans.
Bosse came forward with overhand right punches and the third punch caused Sims to fall back into guard again. However, this time Sims went for an ankle lock. Bosse defended intelligently and went for an ankle lock of his own. It just so happened that the ankle he chose was the injury which almost prevented Sims from taking the fight to begin with. Sims reeled in excruciating pain and verbally submitted.
Controversy and odd circumstances seem to follow Sims’ wherever he fights. The saying, careful what you wish for, also comes to mind. Perhaps, no one should be surprised that in the post fight press conference Sims and Coleman yelled at Bosse for a rematch.
ADRIAN WOOLEY DEF. DANNY MARTINEZ BY UNANIMOUS DECISION
Adrian Wooley became the new TKO bantamweight champion as he slammed his way to a unanimous decision victory. While most judges scored the fight four rounds to one in favor of Wooley, by no means was it a walk in the park. Wooley utilized his wrestling pedigree to its fullest by controlling Martinez for the majority of the fight and delivering several gigantic slams and effective ground and pound. Wooley had Martinez in full mount and other precarious positions several times. Each time Martinez handled himself well and used his own wrestling skills and tremendous heart to avoid being stopped.
On their feet it appeared that Martinez had the distinct advantage, landing mainly punches including several left jabs and hooks. But, as Wooley had practiced in the dressing room, he executed flawless single leg takedown after takedown mainly underneath Martinez’ attempts to jab.
Both fighters stock rose after this fight. Martinez is an exciting and well rounded fighter who doesn’t have an ounce of quit in his bones. Wooley is a miniature version of Sean Sherk who will be extremely difficult for any bantamweight challenger to handle. Much credit should be given to Wooley’s hard training regimen as he also showed incredible cardio in this fight.
THIERRY QUENNEVILLE DEF. BEN GREER BY TKO AT 0:54, R3
Quenneville previously lost to Greer last summer in a promotion in western Canada. He was hungry for a rematch as he came into this fight in tremendous shape and with much improved boxing skills. The first two rounds were very competitive as both fighters had their moments both standing and on the ground. It appeared as though Greer’s grappling skills were a notch better than Quenneville’s. Similarly, Quenneville’s striking appeared to be a notch better than Greer’s.
This was likely the fight of the night as it displayed all the elements of what makes MMA such an incredible sport. In the end, Quenneville’s crisp boxing combinations (something he had not shown before) were the difference. Both fighters are definitely among the best in Canada at 145 pounds and both have very promising future careers.
STEPHANE DUBE DEF. YANNICK GALIPEAU BY TKO AT 3:24, R1
To some people’s surprise, Dube wanted to no part of the standup with Galipeau. He saw what Derrick Gauthier was able to do to Galipeau and decided to follow a similar game plan. Without throwing one strike he waited patiently for his takedown opportunity. After being denied on his first attempt, he was successful on his second. On the ground, he passed Galipeau’s guard and overwhelmed him with ground and pound.
STEPHANE VIGNEAULT DEF. YAOTZIN MESA BY TKO AT 3:28, R2
Vigneault has shown remarkable improvement in his last several fights in the cage. His strikes appear to be more powerful and his jiu-jitsu has reached new heights. This was a very difficult test and by most insiders’ Mesa was considered the favorite. A regular training partner of Drew Fickett, Mesa was offered a UFC contract but turned it down to get more experience before jumping into the big show.
The first round was very competitive. Mesa controlled the majority of the fight from top position although Vigneault came close to securing an arm bar. The second round saw a reinvigorated Vigneault slowly begin to impose his will on Mesa. Vigneault stopped Mesa as the round neared its end.
ICHO LARENAS DEF. GUIDO CARLO BY TKO AT 4:21, R1
TKO’s Aruban discovery, Guido Carlo, made his Canadian debut as he took on former TKO heavyweight champion Icho Larenas. The fighters exchanged strikes for the opening minutes of the bout. Icho landed a greater variety of strikes as he utilized his leg kicks well, while Carlo focused mainly on boxing combinations. Around the three minute mark, Carlo surprised Larenas with a beautifully executed takedown only to be swept moments later. Larenas landed multiple strikes to the back of Carlo’s head when infamous referee Phillipe Chartier decided to call a halt to the contest. Larenas was winning the fight on the judges score cards, but there was no doubt that the stoppage was premature and incorrect.
TOM MURPHY DEF. GREGORY MILLIARD BY ARMBAR AT 3:21, R1
Fellow Aruban, Milliard, had another tough test put before him as he faced a UFC veteran Tom Murphy coming off a two-year layoff. Milliard was winning the striking battle with quicker hands and a powerful straight right hand when he decided to take the fight to the ground. Murphy showed he was clearly the better grappler and soon secured the fight ending armbar.
TIM WADSWORTH DEF. JEFF HARRISON BY TKO AT 3:33, R1
Wadsworth wanted none of the Muay Thai champion’s striking as he looked for the takedown early. Harrison was able to land an opening knee to the body and secured a Thai clinch. Wadsworth dropped down for the single leg and took the fight to the ground. Wadsworth showed tremendous ground and pound as he stopped Harrison at 3:33 of round one.
GUILLAME LAMARCH DEF. SYD BARNIER BY REAR NAKED CHOKE AT 2:27, R1
The fight began with a bang as each fighter landed almost simultaneous power punches. Lamarche appeared to be momentarily rocked as Barnier’s straight left landed square on his nose. Larmarche showed intelligent instincts as he bull-rushed Barnier across the cage and got the takedown. Barnier swept Lamarche at one point only to get reversed again with a single leg takedown. In the end, Lamarche’s ground skills proved to be too much as he secured the choke as round one progressed.
MIKE RICCI DEF. STEPHANE CHRETIEN BY TKO AT 4:58, R3
This was a very competitive and highly entertaining fight in which both fighters looked as if they were close to winning several times throughout the bout. With only two seconds remaining Ricci’s ground and pound assault proved too much to handle.
ERIC LECLERC DEF. DEVIN HENRY BY TRIANGLE CHOKE AT 1:13, R1
Muay Thai specialist, Henry was getting the better of the standup exchanges and was able to secure the first takedown of the fight. Leclerc had been concentrating on his jiu-jitsu leading up to this fight and was able to capitalize the first chance he got, securing a triangle choke.