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Old 05-24-2007, 02:05 AM   #1
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GRACIE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS "EVOLUTION" REVIEW strives to bring our readers coverage of Mixed Martial Arts Events from across the globe whenever possible. Recently our very own Josh Tucker was able to attend the Gracie Fighting Championships in Columbus Ohio and compiled this report. Read on and enjoy.....

As we approached The Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University on Saturday night, I was a bit concerned about the noticeable lack of traffic. Parking was surprisingly available, and the usual crowds outside the building before an event were nonexistent. It was a bad sign. Last year, the Gracie Fighting Championships held their first MMA event in Columbus in conjunction with the Arnold Classic. The card was headlined by names like Matt Lindland, and Vitor Ribeiro and drew a very respectable crowd. Unfortunately, GFC?s star-crossed second card was fated to be far less attended.

The sophomore effort from the young MMA organization was originally scheduled for January 20th, in Miami, Florida. A bagful of problems forced the promoters to put the show on hold, and it was eventually rescheduled for May 19th, in Columbus, Ohio. The card was set to feature Jeff Monson v Hammer House local Wes Sims, and the mixed martial arts debut of ridiculous grappling freak Marcelo Garcia. For those of you who don?t follow submission grappling, Garcia is an ADCC superhero, and may be best known as the gentlemen who arm-dragged Shaolin into a naptime side choke before anyone even realized the match had started. Yes, that Shaolin.

Disaster struck again. Repeatedly. Sims was scheduled for a conflicting fight at Art of War a week earlier, and eventually pulled out of his GFC match. A replacement was found to face Monson, only to have Jeff separate his shoulder in training. Garcia stated that it was taking him longer than he initially thought to get ready for his foray into MMA, and removed himself from the show. The main event eventually fell into the laps of Thomas Denny and Steve Heath. Heath, following Murphy?s Law, was promptly injured. The bad luck continued right up until the day before the show, when Mike O?Donnell was benched with a hand injury and Joey Whitt stepped up to take his place on approximately one day?s notice.

Upon entering the arena, we were greeted by massive numbers of empty seats. The card changes, and lack of the help they had from the Arnold?s attendees last year definitely took their toll. Fifteen minutes before the PPV began, someone got on a mic and announced over the loudspeakers that they?d like people to move up from the cheap seats and fill in the rows up front. This would later go over extremely well with the obnoxious drunken girl next to us, because it gave her a chance to get closer to the cage while she was yelling that the fighters were ?all pussies.?

What I didn?t know at the time was that, despite all the problems, and the shoddy ticket sales, this show would have plenty of entertainment value. The night was a perfect stage to show anyone who might have forgotten that BJJ is alive and well and as dangerous as ever in the cage. At this point, I?m ready for the action to kick off just so they?ll stop playing the Linkin Park and Jay-Z remix album on a repeat loop. Actually, judging from most of the homemade MMA highlight reels I?ve seen, this is exactly what the crowd wants to hear. Music stops, lights go down, I?m ready to go.

Fight 1: Matt Brown v Daniel Moraes

At the last GFC, Moraes? was sent to buttscoot land in his first pro MMA fight, courtesy of Forrest Petz. I?m hoping for much better here. After a quick stalking circle or two, Moraes gets a nice trip takedown and moves to half quickly. He works briefly for a sidechoke and then pounds a bit and tries to extract his leg. He slides to mount and pounds, eventually getting Brown to extend his arm. Moraes spins for the right arm and that?s it. Textbook armbar, first round. Daniel seems extremely happy to be at 1-1. Keith David sets the production off on a rocky start by asking ?submission by arm? what?s it called? armbar? while announcing the victory. Moraes smiles nonetheless. ?He gave me that, so I stretch his arm.?

Daniel Moraes wins by armbar, 2:32 of round 1.

Fight 2: Rafael Dias v Phil Cardella

Dias is only slightly less shredded than he was at the weigh-in and Cardella looks ready to tussle. Both these guys have serious Jitz, and I?m wondering what?s going to happen when they hit the ground. It doesn?t take long to find out. Cardella starts with a leaping left hook into the clinch. Out of nowhere he jumps to a flying armbar attempt that he gets dangerously close to before Dias shucks him off and takes the top position. This sets up the pattern for the entire fight. Dias getting takedowns, and finding ways to get on top; Cardella on the bottom throwing chopping bows and working for submissions and sweeps but never really getting anywhere. It wasn?t particularly boring, but you could quickly tell that both fighters were neutralizing each other. Dias would unload periodically, but never really hurt Cardella, and Cardella was working hard from the bottom, but couldn?t get close to any subs from there, and couldn?t stop the takedowns to fight anywhere else.

The fight ends with both fighters acting victorious. Cardella points repeatedly at his face, which looks mostly untouched. Cardella did more damage, mostly from elbows and upkicks from the bottom, and seemed to work more, but Dias controlled the location and took Phil down at will. I would have called it a draw, but I could see it going either way. The judges give it to Phil.

Phil Cardella wins by Unanimous Decision

Fight 3: Damien Maia v Ryan Stout

Maia comes out to The Last of The Mohicans? score. Stout enters to something with a bump, and b-boys hard all the way down the isle. Both of his cornermen go into Flavor Flav mode for him, and he crowd gives a nice welcome.Unfortunately, this one never gets going. Maia gets a nice spiral double takedown, passes to side and gets to mount. Stout squirms, gives up his back momentarily, and uses it to sweep Maia. Demian instantly returns the favor, and sweeps right back, when the match is suddenly stopped. Stout?s arm, seemingly the one that Demian overhooked during the sweep, seems to be injured. It could be a dislocated shoulder. Maia looks concerned and immediately goes over to check on Stout. Eventually they bring in a stretcher and put Ryan in a neck brace, I assume just as a precaution.

Damien Maia wins by submission due to arm injury, early round 1

Fight 4: Adam Disabato v Chris Brennan

Disabato enters in full OSU regalia, along with Mark Coleman and the rest of his posse. The crowd pops like champagne. Disabato, being the hometown boy, will have a distinct crowd advantage here, but Brennan has him far outweighed when it comes to experience.Disabato looks a little stiff standing, and works for a takedown quickly. Brennan pops back up, only to get taken down a second time. Disabato is high and Brennan rolls for a leg, grabbing a toehold and pulling Adam down. Brennan twists the leg, and Disabato grimaces and taps emphatically.

Chris Brennan wins by submission due to a toehold, round 1

Fight 5: Bill Vucick v Jacare

Jacare is rocking some sort of a cross between a gi and a hoodie sweatshirt. He peels it off, along with his blackbelt, as he?s jogging toward the ring. He?s in a hurry to get going, and he looks focused. I sense big things.Jacare stalks Vucick momentarily, before getting a strong takedown. Vucick is game, and working as hard as he can, but Jacare looks like he weighs about a ton in side control. He?s simply too strong on top. He rams Vucick?s head against the mat repeatedly with a forearm before easing over into mount. Vucick is in a place where none of us want to be, with Jacare sitting on his chest raining bombs, and no where to go. Jacare pounds with surprising heft. The ref probably lets it go on longer than it should have, and Vucick eventually taps. Jarcare stands up, still pumping adrenaline and glares at the crowd deadly serious. Then he drops into what is probably the best crocodile walk I have ever seen, and shimmies all the way across the cage and up the other side of the fence. The crowd loves it.

Jacare wins by submission due to mounted punches, 1:59 of round 1

Fight 6: Branden Lee Hinkle v Cacareco

For me, this was easily the fight of the night. It only lasted 35 seconds, but every one of them was glorious.
Yamasaki starts the proceedings and they circle. Hinkle is, intelligently, looking to punch. Cacareco shoots a quick double attempt, gets in deep, and finishes it by inside sweeping the leg, and driving Hinkle down on his back. I can not describe how awesome the sound was.Hinkle doesn?t seem to be stunned for even a second. He scrambles instantly, and somehow manages to get back to his feet with Cacareco standing behind him with a waistlock. Cacareco pauses for a second, thinks about how he can get the hooks in, then glances down at Hinkle?s leg and goes for the kill.
In a transition that would make Imanari proud, Cacareco slides down from the back to the leg and spins at the same time, catching a deep heel hook. They drop to the ground, with Hinkle clearly in pain and kicking at his opponents grip with his free foot. After a two final desperation axe kicks to the shoulder, Carcareco cranks it and Hinkle is forced to tap.

Cacareco wins by submission due to a heel hook, 35 seconds into R1.

Fight 7: Thomas Denny v Fredson Paixao
GFC WW Championship Fight
Scheduled for 5 rounds

Once they are both in the ring and circling, the size advantage is clear. Sure Paixao looks stockier than usual, fighting up at WW, but Denny?s frame is still far larger. Denny immediately goes the smart route, and tries to make use of his reach advantage by firing off jabs and half uppercuts. He circles well and lands with some nice straight punches, though Paixao covers up and avoids the majority of the damage.Eventually Fredson secures a takedown and gets out of the firing line. Paixao immediately goes for an arm and misses. They scramble. Fredson goes from north south to try to mount, but Denny blocks it and makes a great move to standup. Fredson holds a front headlock for a moment, but eventually Denny breaks it and moves back to the center.Thomas sticks to the game plan and goes back to firing off straight punches. They both seem to be enjoying this and Fredson is smiling. Denny is throwing and landing, but again, Fredson is deflecting the majority of the impact.

Paixao shoots a slick deep double, that somehow turns into a scramble where Fredson lands a loose oma-plata. He uses it to go for the Frank Mir on Tank Abbott toe hold, and then turns it into a sweep and gets back on top. Time is running out in the round and Fredson looks like he wants to finish. He works his way to mount and pounds with punches and elbows. Fredson sits out and goes for an arm, but can?t catch it. Without missing a beat he spins back into side, and up to mount again. Denny is bleeding, probably from an elbow near the eye. Paixao sits out for an arm and gets it clean this time. Denny is trapped, and taps in short order.

Fredson Paixao wins by submission due to armbar, very late round 1.

All in all, an entertaining display of grappling, and a decent night of fights. For all the problems leading up to the event, and the production glitches during it, the fights themselves went quite well. Sure there were a lot of blowouts, but they had the decency to be entertaining blowouts. There was word that the GFC plans to return in October, and I hope that the poor turnout for this event doesn?t deter them. My best wishes to them that this time around their card holds together.

-Josh Tucker

Discuss this event HERE

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Last edited by DCBooks : 05-24-2007 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:50 PM   #2
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Here' some of Brainuse's pics-

Jacare just wailing on Vucick

Brennan jabs at Diabato

Cacareco and Hinkle squaring off

Cardella celebrates


Denny fires at Paixao

Jacare ice grilling

Paixao works for an arm

Paixao with his belt, being interviewed by Gracie, Denny's hair on the right

If you could fight anyone who would you fight? Anyone?

I'd fight Shatner. William Shatner.

Last edited by DCBooks : 05-24-2007 at 01:00 PM.
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