by Doug Drexler (Photos by Scott Haltizer)
On Saturday, February 24, Chuck Liddell joined more than 5,000 MMA fans gathered at the USF Sundome in Tampa, Fla. to watch an exciting night of fights at Real Fighting Championships VIII “Invasion of the Cage”. Liddell signed autographs for fans and hosted the post-fight party at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The fights were electrifying as none of the eleven contests went to the score cards.

Fight 1
155 lbs
Omar Chebau vs. Kevin Davis

Round 1
Shortly after the opening bell, the fighters clinched and jockeyed for position along the fence. Davis tried on multiple occasions for a takedown, but Chebau’s takedown defense was effective in keeping the fight standing. Chebau landed several clean kicks to the right leg of Davis. Most of the first round consisted of Davis looking for takedowns but was unable to get past Davis’ defense. Chebau’s primary offense was the leg kicks until the closing seconds when he stunned Davis with a knee to the body followed by a big right hand. Davis seemed to have a slight limp heading to his corner after the bell.

Round 2
Chebau immediately attacked with more leg kicks visibly causing damage to Davis. Davis landed several right hands that didn’t appear to hurt Chebau, but opened a decent cut on Chebau’s left eye that seemed to distract him more than anything else. Again, Davis looked for a takedown, but didn’t have any quickness off his right leg. Chebau’s primary offense for the rest of the round consisted of leg kicks mixed with a couple of failed high kick attempts.

Round 3
Davis was gassed and hurting with a slight limp. He was backpedaling, looking to avoid Chebau’s leg kicks. After a warning to Davis for a lack of action, the referee deducted a point from Davis. Shortly afterwards, Chebau landed another solid leg kick, and Davis turned away and could not continue.
Omar Chebau by TKO at 2:02 of Round 3.

Fight 2
145 lbs
Ruslan Mashukoz vs. Donald Alrey

Round 1
Mashukoz got a quick takedown, but Alrey scrambled and the fighters worked their way back to their feet. Mashukoz clinched and took the fight back to the ground and landed in Alrey’s half guard. Mashukoz pushed Alrey into the cage and began landing knees to his ribs. Alrey turned and again scrambled back to his feet. Alrey shot in for a takedown of his own, but Mashukoz secured a guillotine choke. As Alrey tried to break free, Mashukoz lifted Alrey’s feet off the ground as he arched his body. Alrey was forced to tap out.
Ruslan Mashukoz by guillotine choke @ 3:32 of Round 1

Fight 3
170 lbs
Reggie Pena vs. Matt Arroyo

Round 1
Reggie Pena opened the fight with two impressive, heavy slams. After the second slam, Pena was trying to land some punches from Arroyo’s guard. Arroyo quickly transitioned into a triangle choke, pulled Pena’s head down with his hands, and Pena had no choice but to tap out.
Matt Arroyo by triangle choke @ 1:39 of Round 1

Fight 4
170 lbs
Mike Foster vs. Jorge Boechat

Round 1
The entire first round was a fast paced, excellent display of wrestling and jiu jitsu as both fighters scored multiple takedowns, reversals, and submission attempts. Neither fighter was hurt or was in any serious danger.

Round 2
Foster landed a right hand that knocked Boechat down. Foster ended up in Boechat’s guard. Boechat briefly locked an armbar, but Foster escaped. Foster stood back up. Boechat shot in and got a takedown, but Foster swept immediately, ending up in Boechat’s guard. Again, Boechat worked on Foster’s right arm. Foster scrambled and ended up gaining Boechat’s back. Foster rained down punches while Boechat covered up in the turtle position. After about 10 seconds of unanswered blows and not attempt by Boechat to improve his position, the ref stepped in to stop the fight.
Mike Foster by TKO @ 2:41 of Round 2

Fight 5
140 lbs
Josh Powell vs. J. Lee

Round 1
J. Lee pulled guard quickly while securing a guillotine choke on Powell. When Powell pulled, Lee immediately applied a triangle choke while also grabbing an armbar. Lee decided to pursue the armbar by applying more pressure on it and Powell was forced to tap out.
J. Lee by armbar @ :37 of Round 1

Fight 6
John Schall vs. Patrick Barrentine

Round 1
After a brief feeling out period, Barrentine took Schall down, moved him against the cage, but was unable to mount much offense. Schall briefly tried to raise his legs for a triangle choke attempt, but Barrentine was ready for it. As Barrentine lifted up to create space for striking, he ate a right hand and an upkick from Schall. After the exchange, Barrentine was bleeding from the nose. Schall tried to scramble away, but Barrentine maintained top position, landing in Schall’s half guard. Barrentine was able to get full mount and landed several heavy blows. Again Schall scrambled, but this time Barrentine locked up a leg, and Barrentine tapped out.
Patrick Barrentine by kneebar @ 3:29 of Round 1

Fight 7
Miguel Gonzalez vs. Chris Oddo

Round 1
The fighters immediately clinched, each looking for a takedown. Oddo earned the first takedown of the fight, but Gonzalez was able to scramble back to his feet, staying out of danger. Gonzalez landed some nice punches to the body of Oddo. Oddo was able to take Gonzalez down, but after a brief scramble, Gonzalez ended up on top, and Oddo had a small cut on the right eye. Gonzalez worked his way to full mount, and landed some right hands before Oddo was able to escape and get back to his feet. Oddo was able to land a right elbow to the face of Gonzalez while in the clinch again. Oddo took Gonzalez down once again and took his back. Oddo had a rear naked choke that looked like it might end the fight, but Gonzalez pulled out of it. As he pulled out of it, he reversed position and ended up on top of Oddo. Oddo gave up his back after taking some punishment. Gonzalez landed several left hands to Oddo’s head and elbows to his ribs. After taking some punishment from Gonzalez, Oddo was finally able to escape and stand the fight back up, but Gonzalez slipped a guillotine choke on Oddo. The choke was not tight, so Gonzalez decided to let it go. Gonzalez took Oddo down, and the fighters reversed positions twice before the bell sounded.

Round 2
Gonzalez landed several right uppercuts followed by a right knee to the body and more right uppercuts that had Oddo in serious retreat. Gonzalez pursued him and punished him with tremendous uppercuts and hooks with both hands. Oddo turned his back with his left eye wincing. The ref stopped the fight.
Miguel Gonzalez by TKO @ :38 of Round 2

Fight 8
135 lbs (females)
Liz Posener vs. Courtney Martell

Round 1
Liz Posener came out the aggressor landing a right knee to the face of Martell. Martell backed Posener up against the cage, and landed a couple of nice punches to the body of Posener, setting up a takedown. From the guard of Posener, she landed several punches to the face of Posener. Posener caught her right arm and transitioned into an armbar. Martell was forced to tap out.
Liz Posener by armbar @ 1:39 of Round 1

Fight 9
205 lbs
Simon Manning vs. Chris Baten

Round 1
Baten started the fight by landing a solid right kick to the body of Manning. Manning answered with a knee to the face of Baten. Baten took Manning down and ended up in Manning’s guard. He punished Manning with a flurry of unanswered punches. Manning gave up his back, and Baten secured the rear naked choke. The ref stepped in when Manning’s body began to go limp.
Chris Baten by ref stoppage @ 1:56 of Round 1

Fight 10
145 lbs
Brian Eckstein vs. Chris Holder

Round 1
After a short “feeling out” period, Eckstein moved in and scored a takedown, got full mount, and tried to sink in his hooks. Holder turned his body, and was able to reverse position landing in Eckstein’s guard. Holder landed several punches before Eckstein caught an armbar. After several moments, Eckstein let go of the armbar, but gained top position. He pushed Holder up against the fence. Eckstein was able to pass the guard of Holder, moving into side mount. He was looking for a submission, isolating Holder’s left arm, but used his position to gain full mount. Eckstein landed numerous punches and elbows to the Holder’s head. Holder pulled Eckstein closer to close the striking distance. Holder reversed Eckstein ending up in his full guard. Eckstein briefly locked in a triangle choke before Holder pulled out of it. The fighters worked their way back to their feet. Both fighters scrambled for a takedown with Eckstein ending up on top in Holder’s half guard. The fighters took turns reversing their opponent before Holder gave up his back and Eckstein locked in a rear naked choke forcing Holder to tap out.
Brian Eckstein by rear naked choke @ 2:49 of Round 1

Fight 11
185 lbs
Danny Ruiz vs. Luke Zachrich

Round 1
Zachrich began by landing blows backing up Ruiz to the cage and taking him down. Ruiz reversed Zachrich before he could do any damage, landing in the guard of Zachrich. Both fighters scrambled back to the standing position. Ruiz picked Zachrich up and slammed him down next to the cage, settling into his guard. Ruiz picked Zachrich up again and slammed him hard onto the mat. From the ground, Ruiz threw multiple punches to the body of Zachrich. Ruiz worked his way to side mount. Zachrich turned and scrambled his way back to a standing position. But Ruiz was able to slip into a guillotine choke as they stood. Zachrich took Ruiz down, but the choke only got tighter. Ruiz arched his back trying to end the fight, but Zachrich somehow managed to pull out of the choke. Zachrich landed a hard shot to the head of Ruiz, and stood back up. Zachrich landed two really hard knees and a couple of right hands to the face of Ruiz. Ruiz backed Zachrich up against the cage. Zachrich landed another big knee and several power punches to the head of Ruiz, knocking him to the ground. He jumped on Ruiz immediately, continuing to land huge blows to the head. The ref looked in carefully, and was close to stopping the fight. Ruiz raised his legs looking for a triangle choke, but in the process was able to secure an arm. Zachrich had no choice but to tap out.
Danny Ruiz by armbar @ 3:49 of Round 1