September 16, 2007

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
BROOMFIELD, COLO. – Duane “Bang” Ludwig gave fight fans what they came to see, if only briefly, at Saturday night’s Ring of Fire event.

Originally slated to fight Serbian boxer Dragan Bakula, Ludwig, coming off of a loss to Paul Daley in his last fight, was instead faced with German fighter Mario Stapel. Bakula suffered a broken hand in training, so Stapel stepped up on only two weeks’ notice to face the hometown favorite.

Following the bout, Stapel may have wished he had stayed home.

Although the fight lasted only one minute and fifteen seconds, Ludwig put the German down early and often, both with his hands and his feet. There was little Stapel could do to fend off Ludwig’s stand-up game and finally went down for good when Ludwig knocked him out with an overhand right, left hook combination.

“I’ve been watching Duane fight for a long time … I think I underestimated his striking power,” said a bemused Stapel following the fight.

His MMA career having been a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys, Ludwig feels like his training is just now starting to hit the mark. “I am learning … how to stay calm, how to stay focused, taking some time off between fights.

“Even the roller coaster gets old after a while,” stated Ludwig.

It didn’t take long for Shane Carwin to make Rick Slaton think he was still fighting on the disastrous Ultimate Athlete show from five years ago that he is forever linked to. Carwin used his 265-pounds of power and wrestling ability to quickly put the 213-pound Slaton on his back and knock him out with a big right hand from the mount.

After more than a year off due to injury, Carwin picked up right where he left off, improving his professional record to 6-0, all six wins coming by way of submission or knockout. Carwin showed that he is a heavyweight to keep an eye on.

The “Karate Hottie,” Michelle Waterson, took her experience on the Fighter Girls show on the Oxygen Network – which focused on female kickboxers – and basically threw it out the window.

She did light up her opponent, Jaime Cook, early with her striking ability, but was taken down little more than a minute into the fight. Drawing on her current mixed martial arts training, Waterson quickly applied an armbar to finish the fight by submission, pundits praising her striking abilities be damned.

The armbar earned her the “Submission of the Night” honors and a $500 bonus.

“I’ve been training out at Jackson’s… that’s all I’ve got to say!” said Waterson after the fight, referring to Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently works on her MMA game.

Chad Reiner got back on the winning track Saturday night after dropping back-to-back fights in the UFC. He was in trouble early as Denver fighter Chilo Gonzalez nearly scored a kneebar, but remained patient, giving his experience a chance to pay dividends. Midway through the first round, Reiner cashed-in when, despite Gonzalez’ defensive tactics, he sunk in a fight ending rear naked choke.

Local favorite Brandon Thatch was much more than the jiu-jitsu of Doug Saiez could handle. Thatch’s size, reach and striking ability were too much as he lit up Saiez on the feet before finishing the fight with a relentless ground and pound attack in the second round.

Following four preliminary bouts that got fans worked up as the crowd was filing in, the main portion of the event kicked off with a barnburner between Kenneth Seegrist and Anselmo Martinez. These two slugged it out, each able to rock the other at several points, before the doctor stopped the bout due to a cut to Martinez.

The scheduled light heavyweight title bout between defending champion Eliot Marshall and Ultimate Fighter veteran Rob MacDonald did not take place. Marshall suffered a severe staph infection in his knee in recent weeks and had to withdraw.

Ring of Fire promoter Sven Bean confirmed that the championship bout has been rescheduled for his next event, likely on Dec. 1, again at the Broomfield Event Center.

Saturday, Sept. 15
Broomfield Event Center
Broomfield, Colo.

Duane Ludwig def. Mario Stapel by KO (Punch) at 1:50, R1

Shane Carwin def. Rick Slaton by KO (Punch) at 0:49, R1
Michelle Waterson def. Jaime Cook by Submission (Armbar) at 1:33, R1
Chad Reiner def. Chilo Gonzalez by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:35, R1
Jacob Hey def. Jeff Striley by TKO (Due to Strikes) at 3:30, R1
Brandon Thatch def. Doug Saiez by TKO (Due to Strikes) at 2:33, R2
Kenneth Seegrist def. Anselmo Martinez by TKO (Dr. Stoppage Due to Cut) at 2:12, R3

Jesse Henley def. Seth Bregman by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:11, R2
Ralston Baker def. Brad Fox by TKO (Dr. Stoppage Due to Cut), R2
Sean Doherty def. Miguel Martinez by Submission (Armbar) at 2:35, R1
Jason Ramstetter def. Alfredo Corona by Unanimous Decision, R3