Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

bodogFIGHT/Strikeforce Strikeforce at the Dome
2/23/08 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome

Zach Skinner vs. Scott Schaffer 3R. Schaffer’s ground game sounded as though it was to stay on his feet, but while he was taken down repeatedly, Schaffer was actually rather resourceful on the ground. He used a slick buck and spin out to escape the mount, turned to his knees then spun back to his stomach before Skinner could get the hooks in and then even took Skinner’s back, and swept him. It seemed Schaffer had to put himself in a bad position in order to show a slick move though. He did sprawl more effectively in R2, the only round he won, which allowed him to get his kicks going. After defending a takedown Skinner worked hard for, Schaffer landed a high kick as Skinner was slow in attempting his next shot. Skinner was tired and blooded from taking Schaffer’s punches, but came back and controlled round three, pinning Schaffer down. Skinner’s standup looked pretty good early in R1, but after that he was purely wrestling, doing nothing on the ground despite quality positions. R2 was good with Schaffer’s striking, but Skinner ground the fight to a halt with his lay and pray in R3. Skinner won a unanimous decision. Pretty good match.

Mike Hayes vs. Matt Kovacs 3R. Kovacs may have set the record for most missed punches in a 3 rounder. A good striker would have destroyed him on the counter because he threw everything with power, thus leaving himself more prone after his wild haymaker misses. Still, Hayes, who was making his pro debut, wasn’t bad as he actually tried to set up his strikes and threw some combos. Kovaks did a good job of staying on offense to keep the pressure on Hayes and closing the distance to negate Hayes’ reach advantage. He generally outwrestled Hayes, but took a beating when his takedown failed and Hayes landed on top, soon scissoring Kovaks arm in side mount so he could repeatedly punch his wide open face. Both bled from the nose. They fought hard and were consistently active for heavyweights, tiring quickly but still maintaining this pace. With 1 fight between them showed a lot of inexperience to go along with neither being particularly skilled, but it was passable enough. Hayes won a unanimous decision. Fair match.

Lyle Beerbohm vs. Ray Perales R3 1:19. Perales is experienced, but especially with boxing as his strongpoint won’t be any good until he learns to get off his back. Beerbohm completely dominated him with his wrestling, but seemed so concerned with constantly changing positions on the ground he did little damage in the first two rounds. A better fighter would have swept Beerbohm, who wasn’t able to do much ground and pound due to not bothering to lock down his positions. In R3, Beerbohm finally stopped being gun shy and got aggressive, landing 3 left high kicks to start the round, though only the first connected full on, then taking Perales down as usual and choking him out with his first submission attempt. Below average fight.

Josh Bennett vs. Mychal Clark 2R. Clark, who was much quicker and lighter on his feet, looked sharp dominated standup when he had distance. He showed very good crisp punching combos, mixing head and body and getting some good uppercuts in. He regularly got Bennett to drop his hands by faking the low kick then punching him in the head, which was puzzling as you check the low kick by lifting your leg, which can be done with your hands in proper defending position. Bennett was a game opponent though. He kept coming forward and was very active at close range, dominating the clinch. He was also better on the ground, but Clark’s standup was simply too much. Bennett was wobbly in the final third of R1, and cut over his left eye with elbows. The eye grew increasingly swollen and bloody, resulting in a doctor stop between rounds. Good fight.

Jorge Masvidal vs. Ryan Healy 3R. Masvidal is proving himself to be a legitimate contender, the surprising win over Yves Edwards appearing less of a fluke with each passing fight. Healy is a good fighter as well, matching Masvidal with quickness and explosion. The standup in this fight was very exciting. At one point Masvidal landed a spinning heel kick, but Healy fired back with a stiff right straight then kneed Masvidal when he tried to shoot. Masvidal was able to control pace and often position, even though Healy had 5 takedowns in his own right. The movement and counters was such that neither could keep each other down, except when they were resting, which Masvidal tends to do when he’s on top leading to standups. Healy, a bleeder, was cut on the bridge of the nose in training and it reopened, resulting in blood dripping into his eyes when he was on his back. Masvidal showed a tough ground and pound, though he should have been more aggressive in utilizing it, and had a legit armbar out of faking a triangle though Healy postured out. Masvidal won a unanimous decision. Good match.

Steve Berger vs. Eddy Ellis 3R. Berger is a banger with more heart than skill whose fights tend to be quite entertaining, for instance his 2/16/07 win over Piotr Jakaczynski that was as exciting a men’s fight as bodog has delivered. He’s rarely looked so bad duking it out as he has here, in fact it was shocking to see Ellis be so dominant in standup, keeping Berger just out of striking range while landing his own shots. Berger was practically embarrassed in R1, with Ellis landing solid strikes while he was repeatedly whiffing. Berger got off to a much better start in R2, landing two straight rights to cut Ellis above the left eye then taking him down. Berger showed a tough ground and pound, mixing head and body, but Ellis stood up and took Berger down. Berger kept getting caught off balance or flatfooted, showing no sprawl at all. He had an omoplata set up at the end of R2, but neither seemed to know it properly and it only became dangerous due to Ellis turning into danger. Ellis was strong again in R3, applying a tight body triangle. Berger refused to give his neck, but his only counter was trying to stand out, which always wound up with him back on his back after expending a lot of energy. Berger finally escaped with 15 seconds left, but Ellis had won the round, and thus the fight by that time. Ellis got the nod via unanimous decision. Above average match.

Maurice Smith vs. Rick Roufus R1 1:53. Two of the greatest kickboxers ever had a match with almost no standup as Smith was smart enough to exploit debuting Roufus’ MMA inexperience by quickly taking him down. I thought Smith was using an armlock to pass guard, but Roufus didn’t know how to defend it, so it turned out to be the finisher.

Cory Devela vs. Joe Riggs R1 1:22. Riggs came into a fight with a bad rib, which he reinjured on the crash landing when Devela hip rolled him into side mount. Riggs tapped immediately after this textbook judo throw, and wound up being stretched out.

Jan Nortje vs. Bob Sapp R1 0:55. This actually wasn’t worked, which was more than I expected, and there’s nothing better than seeing the emperor without his clothes when he’s always been a follysome sham of a ruler. It was basically similar to watching Nobuhiko Takada try to have a real fight, all his fake fake pro-wrestling matches and his fake “real” pro-wrestling matches failing to teach him the first thing about the sport he was supposedly the king of. Sapp was done when he couldn’t just push his opponent around as he usually does in K-1, as he only had a 23 pound advantage over The Giant Nortje, who weighs 333, rather than the usual 140 plus. This meant Nortje was able to push off and get separation, where he landed a handful of hooks. Already in trouble, Sapp was grabbing Nortje around the neck and making one of his inept attempts for a high takedown on an opponent so huge you almost have to go low on. Nortje just threw Juice off and began clobbering him with lefts. Juice actually fired back with a few grazing jabs, but once he saw they didn’t phase The Giant in the least he simply turned his back and ran, no doubt looking for mommy and Sadaharu Tanigawa to bail his sorry ass out. But Nortje pursued and just kept punching Sapp, who dropped to the ground, and there was nothing for the referee to do but stop it as Sapp, left eye now bloodied, wasn’t even trying to defend himself. The official CompuStrike stats had Nortje landing 21 out of 35 punches, while Sapp landed 0-6. Nortje thanked Sapp for showing up, which is about the best praise one could give him. When speaking of Bob Sapp in a legit fight, all there really is to say is “huh huh hja hja ha ha ha ha!”

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