(Photo by Dan Rod)
When George Sullivan woke up on Friday morning, I bet he never thought in a million years that by the end of the second round of his fight, he would be frustrated and on the brink of defeat. However, that was the harsh reality as Sullivan prepared for the third round against his toughest opponent yet, Erik Oganov at Ring of Combat 33. Sullivan, the Pellegrino MMA standout who had won his last three fights, came out for the third round and went to work.
The first round was very even and could have gone either way in the judges eyes. Sullivan appeared to be the busier fighter, but you never know how the judges will score it. The second round saw Oganov repeatedly take Sullivan down, but never did anything to advance or improve his position. It was an awful case of lay and pray, but Oganov was scoring some points and Sullivan knew it. Going back to his corner, Sullivan was visibly frustrated and upset.
Sullivan, knowing full well that he may have been down on the scorecards, never lost his poise or composure. Sullivan came out for the third round and found himself in a great spot. George got Oganov to the mat and was in the top position landing body punches and head strikes. Most importantly, he was scoring points and dominating the round. The crowd was electric, especially Sullivan’s head cheerleader, who was the most vocal of them all.
When the dust settled and the fight was over, Sullivan’s heart and efforts paid off and he had his hand raised in victory. This marked Sullivan’s fourth win in a row and keeps him unbeaten in the Ring of Combat cage at 5-0. This was not Sullivan’s greatest performance to date, but it was a tremendous example of what happens when you do not quit and give everything you have. Sullivan did exactly that on Friday night and big things may be coming Sullivan’s way.
Another local favorite, Tom DeBlass kept his winning ways going with a tough performance against Mitch Whitesell that saw Tom take home the unanimous decision victory. We know how good DeBlass is on the ground so he has been working a great deal on his striking to make his arsenal a little more well-rounded. We saw shades of Frankie Edgar as DeBlass came out with some great head movement and footwork while landing some good combinations.
Whitesell neutralized DeBlass’ striking a little after landing some nasty leg kicks that forced Tom to change up his style a little. DeBlass was still able to get the better of the striking throughout the three rounds. DeBlass has done a great job of trying not to rely on what he does best, his Jiu-Jitsu, and his efforts continue to pay off. Tom improves with every fight and I expect DeBlass will have a great year in 2011.
There was no lack of action in our championship fights either. AMA Fight Club’s Sean Santella put on an exciting show with some great scrambling and striking and ended up securing a brilliant armbar in the second round to win ROC’s Flyweight Championship to the delight of the crowd. Santella got his medical issues cleared up and despite a long layoff from the cage, looked like he never missed a day. It was a great way to close out a tough year for “Shorty-Rock”.
Marcos Pereira dominated Ryan Vaccaro for three rounds to take home the ROC Featherweight Championship. In the ROC Lightweight title bout, Joe Aviles scored a vicious second round knockout of George Sheppard, which saw Sheppard taken out of the cage on a stretcher. ROC Middleweight champ, Chris Weidman retained his title with a unanimous decision victory over Valdir Araugo. Weidman showed his continuously improving, well rounded skills in this fight. No doubt Weidman will find himself on the receiving end of a UFC contract in the near future.
The main event saw crowd favorite, Gian Villante take home the ROC Lightheavyweight Championship after a rousing first round TKO of Joseph Reyes. Villante was relentless with his striking and went right after Reyes. Villante dropped Reyes and then utilized some brutal ground and pound which forced the referee to call a stop to the fight barely over a minute in. Gian is another ROC fighter that should find himself with a UFC contract sooner rather than later. A very impressive performance to say the least.
This entire card was stacked from top to bottom and we saw some explosive knockouts, slick submissions, and a few decisions after some non-stop action packed bouts. There were 15 fights in all; including an unprecedented five title fights! Four new champions were crowned and one champion retained his title. This was easily on of the best cards Ring of Combat has put forth this year, truly saving the best for last.
This is the type of action we have come to know and love from the folks at Ring of Combat. Former world champ, Lou Neglia puts together an amazing lineup of fights every time and the packed house lets him know they appreciate his efforts when they show up in droves to see some of the best MMA action on the East coast. It has been a tremendous year for Ring of Combat as every one of their shows was off the charts. I, for one, am beyond excited to see what Neglia and company bring to the table in 2011.
Here are the official results:
JA Dudley vs. Michael Parzych
Dudley. 241. Parzych. 234.5
Dudley wins majority decision in two rounds 19-18, 19-18 and 19-19 Agustin.
Mervin Rodriguez vs. Brian Smiley
Rodriguez. 150.5. Smiley. 151
Rodriguez wins via armbar at 1:58 of round two.
Whitney Francois vs. George Glykas
Francois. 169. Glykas. 170
Francois wins via tap due to strikes at 2:54 of round one.
James Jenkins vs. Yaser Shaukat
Jenkins. 146. Shaukat 145
Jenkins wins via rear naked choke at 1:11 of round one.
Gian Villante vs. Joseph Reyes
Villante 205. Reyes. 203
Villante wins via TKO referee stoppage due to unanswered punches at 1:03 of round one
Chris Weidman vs. Valdir Araugo
Weidman. 185. Araugo. 184.5
Weidman wins unanimous decision in three rounds 30-27, 30-27 and 30-28 Bilyk.
George Sheppard vs. Joseph Aviles
Both fighters are 155.5
Aviles wins via KO punch at 4:21 of round one.
Marcos Pereira vs. Ryan Vaccaro
Pereira. 144. Vaccaro. 146
Pereira wins unanimous decision three rounds, all three judges 30-27.
Sean Santella vs. Mikey Lovato
Santella. 125.5. Lovato. 125
Santella wins via tap due to armbar at 2:56 of round two.
Costas Phillipou vs. Aung La N Sang
Phillipou. 188. La N Sang. 187.5
Phillipou wins via TKO referee stoppage at 0:11 of round one.
Eric Oganov vs. George Sullivan
Oganov 171. Sullivan. 169.5
Sullivan wins unanimous decision three rounds, all three judges 29-28.
Munah Holland vs, Justine Kish
Hollland. 130. Kish. 129.5
Kish wins via tap due to triangle at 2:53 of round two.
Danilo Cherman vs. Justin Haskins
Both fighters weigh 160.5
Haskins wins unanimous decision three rounds 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 Blatnick.
Giedrius Karavackas vs. Josh Key
Karavackus. 169.5. Key. 170.75
Karavackus wins via referee stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 2:28 of round three.
Tom DeBlass vs. Mitch Whitesel
DeBlass. 205.75. Whitesel. 202
DeBlass wins unanimous decision in three rounds 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 Agustin.