K-1 The Battle for Spain 4/12/14 Mallorca, SP Pabellon Polideportivo Arenal
El Medhi vs. Juan Taltavull 3R. Real high quality opener. These two just came to battle, keeping an extremely high pace and subscribing to the mantra that the best defense was a good offense. Taltavull targetted as many kicks, knees, and hooks to the liver as he could. El Medhi was the better puncher though, and was able to get some high kicks in since Taltavull didn't put much effort into keeping his hands up. They slowed somewhat in the 2nd, but their desire didn't waver, and they were still beating the hell out of each other. Taltavull got a second wind after they examined the cut around his left eye, and they really stepped the pace back up for the rest of the 2nd and throughout the third. El Medhi had the better technique both offensively and defensively (if it even applied) and was more diverse and better conditioned, but Taltavull didn't give up. He was really pressing in the 3rd since he was presumably down if not outright due to point deductions, but he seemed to be counting in the liver shots to drain El Medhi, and when they didn't slow him down any more than Taltavull was slowing down himself, he lacked a plan B. Very good match
Moises Baute vs. Carmelo Fernandez 4R. Fernandez had 20kg on Baute, but it was all blubber. Baute had much better technique, and would walk Fernandez down and blast away with punches. Fernandez may have lasted the 1st because he's so huge that Baute's blows don't impact him quite as much, but he wasn't at all competitive early on. Fernandez did better in the 2nd and 3rd because Fernandez's size began to wear Baute down. Fernandez also began to use Baute's pressure against him some, clinching and turning it into a knee exchange. Fernandez did have the reach and landed 2 big low kicks from the outside, but I thought the speed, skill and conditioning advantages were such that Baute would have been much better off using them while he was fresh to pick his clumsy, undercoordinated opponent apart from the outside. I think Baute just wanted the KO, and was going to headhunt until he got it or one of them ran out of gas. Unfortunately, Baute's tank emptied first, and he was getting hit because, all too often he was standing around flatfooted on the outside just waiting around. I gave Fernandez the 3rd, but I couldn't believe when they called for the extra round. The 4th round was the closest of the bunch. Fernandez actually seemed less tired, but Baute willed himself to some big punches. Baute landed the cleaner shots, but Fernandez may have had more volume in this round as they gave it to him. The announcer tried to make this out to be an all-time classic, but to me it was a good fighter who ran out of gas against a huge fighter whose main ability was absorbing punishment from the smaller man. Average match.
Dario Ibanez vs. Miodrag Olar 3R. Olar applied massive pressure, constantly backing Ibanez into the ropes, but once he got Ibanez there, Ibanez would land clinch knees. Olar had more volume, but Ibanez was successful in using Olar's strategy against him, so it was difficult to score. Both men stuck to what they were doing throughout, and the pace was good, but I was hoping for something a bit more dynamic. Olar got the decision. Above average match.
Cristian Barrionuevo vs. Xavier Flotats R3. Fast-paced, high intensity action. I've never seen a fighter consistently aim to finish his combos with flying knees the way Flotats was. He'd busted Barrionuevo's nose up within two minutes, and that just made it a target for Flotats trying to force the stoppage. Barrionuevo stepped it up at the start of the 2nd with high kicks, but although he was answering if not initiating well, you just felt like it was a matter of time if he didn't find a way to protect his nose. Suddenly, with seconds left in R2, Barrionuevo landed a huge right low kick that jacked Flotats knee up then put Flotats down with a solid liver punch. Flotats was saved by the bell, but his knee didn't recover, as now every Barrionuevo low kick put him down so the ref had to stop it. Just a fantastic, gutsy comeback from Cristain, fighting through his nose injury long enough to get the big injuring shot in that allowed him to breeze to the stoppage. Very good match.
George Collin vs. Mario Jagatic R2. Hard hitting heavyweights who actually kept a fast pace. Jagatic was backing Collin early, quickly putting him down with a liver punch then settling into the strategy of working the body with lefts to set up the overhand right. Jagotic was getting tired in R2, dropping his block by a few feet, though still not getting hurt since he kept Collin on the defensive. Jagatic hurt Collin so badly with an accidental low blow that Collin could barely even stand 5 minutes later much less continue, so Jagatic wound up being rewarded with the victory for his infraction. Fairly one-sided, but pretty good action throughout. Above average match.
Moises Ruibal vs. Dennis Marjarovich 3R. A pretty dull fight that wast really only notable for the moment of bad sportsmanship and all around lame officiating. Ruibal was the busier fighter, but neither were having much success. Late in R2, Marjarovich took an overhand right against the ropes and tried to regain his space with a push kick, but lost his balance replanting his foot and Ruibal gave him a cheap shot soccer kick when he was down. Apparently they can't afford a timekeeper who can actually stop the clock, as the round just ended when Marjarovich finally recovered. Ruibal appologized repeatedly, but Marjarovich came out fired up for the 3rd. Marjarovich had a good first minute, but then was pushed down after an overhand right only to have the ref call it a knockdown, which sealed the decision for Ruibal. Below average match.
Maximo Suarez vs. Sergio "Dinamita" Sanchez 3R. Sanchez took the fight on very short notice, but it didn't show. These two kept a high pace, landing a lot of solid shots that they managed to just walk through. They exchanged fast low, middle, and push kicks for 2 rounds, with Suarez coming forward and generally getting the best of it. Sanchez did a better job in R3, getting his hands going, which allowed him to push forward and resulted in Suarez's nose getting busted up. It was a hard fought match that was almost deceptive in quality because, although they got tired, neither were willing to yield to any of the shots they took to the point the blows almost seemed to not be that powerful. Suarez won the unanimous decision. Above average match.