September 26, 2009

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photo by Scott Petersen)
COTAI STRIP, Macao, China – Art of War has deliberately built its brand as the premier mixed martial arts promotion in China via its home city of Beijing… until Saturday night when they hit the road to the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Resort-Hotel.

The first mixed martial arts event held in southern China, Art of War 14: Ground Zero proved an enticing night of fights, if not leaving fans wanting for results. In all, five of the 12 bouts ended in a draw.

Art of War does not use judges, instead, any bout that goes the duration is ruled a draw.

The main event between Andy Wang and Atsuhiro Tsuboi was the final draw, as well as the final bout, of the night. The two exchanged punches and kicks for the duration, but neither did much damage nor threatened a strong finish.

The fight just prior delivered quickly, however. In only his third pro start, his second for Art of War, Rolles Gracie kept his unbeaten streak alive, submitting veteran K-1 fighter Peter Graham. In classic grappler versus striker fashion, Gracie immediately took Graham to the mat, transitioned from side control to mount, locked on an arm triangle, and then slipped off the side to cinch it down for the submission.

Antonio Braga Neto and Rodney Glunder entered the ring with the promise of fireworks, but their bout met an unfortunate end before it ever got started. The bell sounded and Neto shot across the ring to take Glunder down. The force of Neto’s shot drove Glunder through the ropes, the small of his back crashing on the ring apron. His legs in Neto’s grasp, Glunder’s upper body bent unnaturally over the edge of the apron from the force of the takedown. He was taken from ringside on a stretcher and the bout ruled a no contest.

Art of War’s Andy Pi later said that Glunder was taken to the hospital to get checked out, but that they had no indication of the severity of his injury at that time.

It was the only knockout of the night, but it would have taken something spectacular to take the thunder away from Wang Sai’s blasting of Lee Yong Jae. The two opened in a flurry, but it was China’s Sai that drilled a straight right hand that left the Korean crumpled on the mat.

Joachim Hansen teammate Simeon Thoresen looked like he had Michael Costa’s number early on in their bout, but the Wanderlei Silva-trained Costa came back strong in the latter half of the first round. Gaining confidence in his striking game, Costa rocked Thoresen on several occasions through the end of the opening stanza, and all through the second round, but still couldn’t finish the tough Norwegian, taking him to a two-round draw.

After the fight, Costa indicated that he broke his hand at some point during the bout.

American Daniel Madrid earned the biggest win of his career, submitting Pride veteran Daijiro Matsui late in round two. Despite a couple takedowns and strong leg lock attempts by the Japanese fighter, it was Madrid that maintained his composure, controlling the better portion of the fight before securing a reverse triangle from the back of a face down Matsui for the win.

Thai boxer Arthit Hanchana, with his height and reach advantage, showed the flashes of a pending Anderson Silva-like knockout, but despite finding his mark several times throughout the fight, he couldn’t put Dai Shuang Hai away. The fight ended in another draw.

Though their bout also ended in an unsatisfying draw, Vaughn Anderson and Kim Dong Hyun – no, not the UFC fighter – gave the fans the undercard fight of the night. Relegated to the prelims, they fought like main eventers, going toe-to-toe for the duration. Hyun landed a head kick early with Anderson returning the favor later in the round, but even in the midst of several stunning boxing flurries, neither could land the finishing blow.

While Jason Schmidt and Hattori Kenichi got the crowd warmed up with their opening fight performance – an entertaining grappling affair – it was Chinese fighter Yao Qiang that really got the home fires burning on Saturday night. He immediately let his hands fly, repeatedly hitting his mark… Jeong Soon Hak’s face. Qiang knocked the Korean fighter out midway through the opening minute of their fight, marking a fast start to the night.

Art of War 14: Ground Zero Results
-Tsuboi Atsuhiro vs. Andy Wang, Draw, R2
-Rolles Gracie def. Peter Graham by Submission (Arm Triangle), R1
-Antonio Braga Neto vs. Rodney Glunder, No Contest (Due to Injury), R1
-Wang Sai def. Lee Yong Jae by KO, R1
-Michael Costa vs. Simeon Thoresen, Draw, R2
-Daniel Madrid def. Daijiro Matsui by Submission (Reverse Triangle Choke), R2
-Dai Shuang Hai vs. Arthit Hanchana, Draw, R2
-Vaughn Anderson vs. Kim Dong Hyun, Draw, R2
-Claes Beverlov def. Zhang Li Peng by Submission (Armbar), R2
-Dorjderem Munkhayasgalan def. Elyorbek Akbarov by Submission (Americana), R1
-Yao Qiang def. Jeong Soon Hak by KO, R1
-Jason Schmidt vs. Hattori Kenichi, Draw, R2