Israeli Fighting Championship held its inaugural event on Tuesday in Tel-Aviv, Israel, several UFC and Pride veterans highlighting the card, and numerous Israeli fighters getting their chance in the spotlight.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez tried to make it down to 205 for his first fight at light heavyweight, but fell short, coming in 10 pounds heavy. He and his opponent, Daniel Tabera, were able to work out a financial arrangement to keep the fight intact, although that was about all that went in Tabera’s favor.
Neither fighter looked particularly savvy on his feet, but Rodriguez took Tabera down at will throughout their three-round fight. He dominated with a methodical ground and pound attack, staying out of any sort of trouble Tabera attempted by way of submissions.
Rodriguez looked sluggish in his first attempt to get down to light heavyweight, but he made it through all three rounds to gain a decision victory.
“I didn’t make weight. I came in a little heavy. It’s a work in progress,” he said after the fight.
Rodriguez then went on to say that he would like to return and fight against for the IFC, adding that he would like to face his friend, Jeff Monson, at 205 pounds.
Sergey Shemetov started off strong against UFC and Pride veteran Jeff Monson, catching him early with a couple solid leg kicks, but that was about the full accounting of his offense. Monson quickly put the Russian on his back and started pounding away at his ribs with driving knees and heavy punches and forearms. He kept at it until he caught Shemetov in an Americana for the tap.
When told Shemetov was smiling most of the time he was cracking the Russian’s ribs with knee strikes, Monson said, “I’m not surprised at all. All the Russian guys are tough. I’m just glad to get a win.”
Monson did lay a bit of a surprise out in his post-fight comments, however, saying that he now intends to drop down to light heavyweight, no small feat for the longtime heavyweight that is built like a bulldog. So it is possible he and Rodriguez could be put together on a future fight card.
Frank Trigg, at 38 years of age, stepped back in the cage after nearly a year of semi-retirement to stop Israeli Roy Neeman midway through the opening round of their fight in Tel Aviv. Trigg utilized a strong boxing attack, wanting to avoid Neeman’s ground game, to pick his opponent apart and drop him at about the halfway point of the round. He stood over Neeman, dropping down punches until the referee called a halt to the bout.
As for what’s next, Trigg simply said, “I don’t really know.”
Putting a cap on the Israeli momentum from earlier fights, Moishe Kaitz scored what most consider a big upset with his decision win over UFC veteran and former WEC champion Hermes Franca.
Kaitz was aggressive in the first two rounds, continually taking Franca down and aggressively applying submission after submission, although he couldn’t find a finishing hold. Franca came back strong in the third round, but it was too little, too late, with Kaitz earning the nod from the judges.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou dominated Valdas Pocevicius for he full three rounds of their fight. He wasn’t able to finish Pocevicius off, but for Sokoudjou that might not be a bad thing. Sokoudjou has shown great potential from the moment he knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in Pride. The knock on him, however, has long been that he doesn’t have the cardio to compete consistently at the “A level” of MMA. In Israel, he at least showed that he can go the distance.
Daniel Gracie showed some sharply improved stand-up skills in his fight with Martin Wojcik, but in the end, it all came back to his roots… Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Once the fight hit the mat, Gracie took Wojcik’s back and quickly submitted him with a rear naked choke.
Israeli Fighting Championships 1 Full Results:
Daniel Tabera vs. Ricco Rodriguez
Jeff Monson def. Sergey Shemetov by Submission (Americana), R1
Frank Trigg def. Roy Neeman by TKO (Strikes), R1
Moishe Kaitz def. Hermes Franca by Decision, R3
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou def. Valdas Pocevicius by Decision, R3
Daniel Gracie def. Martin Wojcik by Submission (Rear Naked Choke), R1
Jeremy Knafo def. Shonie Carter by Decision, R3
Alexandro Ceconi def. Vitaly Shemetov by Submission (Triangle Choke), R1
Thiago Meller def. Ariel Abergel by Submission (Armbar), R1
Vitali Krbrsky def. Serob Minasyan by Decision, R3
Ido Pariente def. Joshua Hewlett by Submission (Armbar), R1
Roy Peretz def. Fabrice Riconneau by Submission (Triangle Choke), R1