10th King of the Cage was this last Saturday at the Soboba
Casino. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I had read about an 8 man heavy
weight tournament which I thought was going to be a real let down, mocking
this sport of Mixed Martial Arts. It turned out a lot better than I
thought it would.
these fighters were not the best guys in the world, with a little more
training, most of them could be really good. Both the featured fights
and main events were interesting and competitive. Every fighter seemed
to really want to go out to win. It is always nice to see everyone give
Weight Tournament :
(The large guys, weighing 220-380lbs.)
First fight of the tournament was Wayne Shipp at 240 lbs fighting out
of the Lion’s Den versus Fred “The Mangler” Boyd, a hefty 380 lbs. I
predicted Wayne Shipp was going to win, because the Lion’s Den guys
are always fairly well prepared for a fight. After a few punches standing,
Shipp took Fred Boyd to the mat with the full mount and rained punches
down. Then he went right into the arm bar for the win in 34 seconds.
Josh Dempsey (grandson of famous boxer Jack Dempsey) Vs Kuai “The Hawaiian
Assassin” Kupihiea . Kupihiea weighed 10 lbs more than Dempsey at 255.
Both these guys really wanted a win for the 7 minutes they fought. It
was a very seesaw battle. I had heard that Dempsey had very good hands
and it looked as if he did. Kupihiea got the takedown. After being on
his back for a minute or so, Dempsey reversed it. Both had the full
mount at one time in this fight and it went the distance. The split
decision for Kupihiea could have gone either way. I’m looking forward
to seeing both these guys again.
A contestant from the first UFC was in this next match, Zane “The Enforcer”
Frasier Vs Giant Ochiai from Japan. Frasier has gotten a lot bigger
from the first time I had seen him. He must be hitting the weights a
lot. Giant Ochiai, a pro wrestler from Japan with a lot of heart, might
need to stick to pro wrestling. Every fight I have seen him in he has
lost, but he tries hard. Frasier was content just to stand and trade
punches with him, getting in some good shots for more than half the
fight until gassing out. Ochiai got the takedown, starting to do well
himself but too late as the 7 minute round was up. Frasier won the decision.
The next fight had Mike ”The Rhino” Bourke Vs Eric “Big Daddy” Clepper.
Figuring this fight to be a snoozer, I’d seen
before and wasn’t really impressed. He is basically just a big strong
guy and nothing more. I believe this was Clepper’s first fight ever.
Standing six foot seven, he had 7 inches on Bourke. Bourke came on strong
with some punches standing and got into a clinch with Clepper. It was
all Bourke from there as he landed many punches from side control. Clepper
tapped out from strikes at 1 minute 6 seconds.
This was the first alternate fight to see who would replace a fighter
if anyone got injured in the tournament. (This is what makes tournaments
so bad. They prove nothing and are always based on luck and how tough
someone is, never really on skill.) Richard Moreno vs Keith “The Natural”
Richardson. Richardson impressed me in this match. He was the aggressor.
This was the only real boring fight of the evening but it wasn’t Richardson’s
fault. It seemed as if Moreno wasn’t there to fight, happy to throw
some strange looking punches. Richardson got the judge’s nod for being
the only one who was there to fight in this match up. The crowd knew
this and booed a lot. Bruce Buffer, the Voice of MMA, shut down the
booing crowd by saying it was an open tournament and inviting anyone
who wanted to fight up to the cage. The crowd silenced. Not every fight
can be full of action.
In the second alternate fight we saw the five foot eleven, 300 pound
“Big” Joe Teanu square off against Touradj “The Terror” Mansouri. Big
was not just some lame nickname for Teanu. Built like a Mack Truck with
impressive hands, he knocked out Mansouri in 16 seconds. This was a
nice, fast action fight.
In the first semi-final match of the tournament we had Kuai “The Hawaiian
Assassin” Kupihiea Vs Wayne Shipp. At this point Shipp was looking good,
having only fought a fairly easy fight for 34 seconds. Kupihiea, however,
had a long battle with Dempsey and it showed. Shipp got some hard leg
kicks in and it looked like he had hurt Kupihiea’s knee early. But Kupihiea
sucked it up and got a takedown. He started landing very hard knees
and punches to Shipp’s head; finally Shipp’s corner threw in the towel.
This was good judgment; he was taking a lot of punishment. Kupihiea
won in six minutes, but Shipp’s size and ability were impressive. He
will go far for sure.
The second semi-final match saw Mike “The Rhino” Bourke Vs Keith “The
Natural” Richardson. After trading a little on the feet, Bourke got
the takedown and Richardson went for a choke. Bourke was visibly tired
at this point and had blown his wad in his first match. Richardson got
back up and traded more punches with Bourke, but it was too late. Time
ran out. I felt, as did much of the crowd, that Richardson had won the
fight. He was better standing up and Bourke had only really scored a
takedown. The judges thought that Bourke had won so he got the nod and
a lot of boos from the crowd. I want to see Richardson and Bourke fight
again. Had there been a second round, Richardson would have clearly
won. He left the cage to cheers while Bourke left to nothing; the crowd
was quiet. To quote a friend who was along with me, “you could hear
crickets as he left.”
The big final match of the heavyweight tournament was finally here.
Mike “The Rhino” Bourke Vs Kuai “The Hawaiian Assassin” Kupihiea. This
fight was strange in that Kupihiea came out, took Bourke down hard,
and in 10 seconds, Bourke tapped out. It was over and I don’t know for
sure what happened. He may have just been very tired, the wind knocked
out of him, or his back/arm got screwed up by the big takedown. So the
winner was Kuai “The Hawaiian Assassin” Kupihiea. I was very impressed
with him for not ever giving up. He was also technical for a bigger
guy with good takedowns and groundwork. Dempsey, Shipp, and Richardson
also all impressed me. Hopefully, the KOTC will invite them all back
for more matches. When the tournament was all said and done it wasn’t
as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was actually very entertaining.
That being said, I still think tournaments are worthless and prove only
who got lucky/who is the toughest, and do nothing for the sport of MMA.
Tracy Hess Vs Joe Camacho.
These guys were a lot smaller than the heavy weights, weighing 160 and
155 with Hess being the slightly larger fighter. Aside from some punching
this was almost a jiu jitsu match, which I love to see. This match saw
a lot of sweeps and submission attempts, with Hess getting the decision
at the end of the 2nd round.
Joe Stevenson Vs Ryan
Painter. Both these guys were from very respectable teams, Stevenson
from Williams Combat Grappling and Painter from the Shark Tank. This
fight started off with some jabs on the feet and a little feeling out.
Then Stevenson got the takedown and started working for a submission.
Painter was game and doing the same. Somewhere in there Painter got
a cut on his eyebrow that bled good, so good that the ref stood them
up to check it out. After that it was back to the ground with more punches
and submission hunting. At the end of 2 rounds it was really close,
a split decision with Stevenson getting the win.
This fight was a bit
of a snoozer so this is when I got up to get some drinks. It was Sokun
Koh Vs Sean Gray. I got back in time to see the last round and it looked
the same as the first. Koh got the split decision at the end of the
The next fight was one
I was really looking forward to, Duane “Bang” Ludwig Vs Charles “Crazy
Horse” Bennett. Ludwig is a fan favorite because he is always looking
to end the fight quickly on the feet or on the ground. He has an extensive
kick boxing background and is always improving his ground game. This
was the first time I had seen Bennett but he was bling blinging with
a mouth full of gold, in very good shape, and looking really strong.
After a little stand up and a high kick, Ludwig got taken down. Bennett
landed in Ludwig’s guard and seemed content to stay there to “ground
‘n’ pound” his way through the match. But he was wasting a lot of energy,
not hitting Ludwig with anything real. Ludwig went for a textbook armbar
but didn’t get it because of the strength of Bennett. It looked locked
in there for a second but Bennett got out of it. A sweep from Ludwig
got him the full mount and some good punching and elbow/forearm shots
to Bennett’s head. In the 2nd round Bennett got a takedown
again with Ludwig wiggling out and standing back up. After a few punches,
Ludwig went for the high kick to the head again, hitting Bennett’s shoulder.
Ludwig then hit him with a real good knee, dropping Bennett. Bennett
went straight to the guard. Ludwig then went down for a punch to the
mid-section and called for Bennett to stand. Now I don’t know if he
was totally gassed or just couldn’t recover from that knee but Bennett
tapped out at 2:38 into the 2nd round. This was a great fight.
I hope to see much more of Ludwig and Bennett.
Up next we had Chris
“The Westside Strangler” Brennen Vs Kevin Hogan. This was another almost
straight submission match, aside from a few kicks and punches. Both
these guys had good technique and were out there to win. After Hogan
scored a takedown, Brennen worked the guard searching for a sub. The
2nd round had Brennen getting the takedown and the mount,
where he worked a triangle choke from there. He got reversed and nailed
the armbar at 1:08 in the 2nd.
The final fight of the
evening had Javier “ShowTime” Vazquez Vs Philip Perez . Vazquez isn’t
called “ShowTime” for nothing. This guy is very good and fast on the
ground with a lot of technique. I don’t remember if Vazquez jumped to
the guard or if Perez got the takedown but Vazquez ended up with side
control and eventually took Perez’s back. Perez got a little cut on
his nose in the scramble. The 2nd round was more of the same,
then on the ground with Perez inside Vazquez’s guard and Vazquez going
for subs. He eventually caught Perez in a triangle choke. Choking Perez
completely out, Vazquez won in 3:58 of the 2nd round.
in all this was a great show with some interesting and entertaining
matches. If any of you guys are able to go to a King of the Cage event,
I would highly recommend it. I haven’t been let down by one of their