No information whatsoever on the first few fighters, Iím afraid, as the DVD cuts the ring introductions and goes right into the beginning of the fight Ė youíre even left to work out which guy is which from the commentating, so Wilson mixing names up now and then doesnít help a ton to say the least.
They go into a quick tie-up, and Dolder grabs him and slams him down to the mat, taking side mount. He lands some elbows to the body, then gets a knee on the stomach and lands a quick flurry that seems to hurt Lewis, but then he manages to scramble and take full guard. Dolder quickly passes back to side mount though, and this time he grinds away with the elbow before basically forcing his forearm down into Lewisís neck, and Lewis taps there.
Pretty much a nothing fight, but itís been a long time since Iíve seen a forearm choke finish things.
-Backstage, Vernon ĎTigerí White is conducting the post-fight interviews. I wonít talk about them all, but man, Whiteís hilarious in the role, wearing shades and constantly botching his lines. Good fighter, not such a great interviewer Iím afraid.
This oneís a bit easier to follow, as Coleís a big muscular guy with red dyed hair ala Chris Leben, while Solis is just your generic looking fighter.
Round one gets underway, and they exchange punches to begin before Cole lands a couple to tag him, and then shoots in and gets a takedown to guard. Solis is pinned firmly into the fence, and Cole lands some clubbing shots to his head before choosing to stand back up. They exchange briefly into a clinch, where Solis slips to his back off a botched knee attempt. Cole moves him into the fence again and passes into half-guard, landing some shots, but after a moment Solis scrambles back to full guard and tries a triangle choke. Heís got the position, but canít lock his leg across properly, and Cole postures up well enough for him to abandon the submission. More ground-and-pound work from Cole closes the round off.
Round 2 gets underway, and the announcers remind us that this is a two-round fight, which is something Iím not very fond of as I think it encourages draws. Anyhow Ė they brawl into a clinch to begin, and Cole then gets the takedown to guard again. More clubbing work from the top follows, before the ref decides to bring them back up. The whole sequence is repeated again, as they exchange punches en route to Cole taking him down and clubbing again, and then the ref brings them back up once more. This time Solis looks to stand off and strike, but eats some uppercuts from Cole coming forward, and the inevitable takedown follows. Solis strikes from the bottom, trying to sway the judges, but itís no good, and the fight ends with more conservative ground-and-pound from Cole. Crowd boo as the fight ends, unsurprisingly Ė that was a stinker.
My fears of a draw arenít realized then, as Cole picks up the decision. Really plodding, pedestrian fight though, as Solis had no answer for Coleís takedown and couldnít get off the bottom, and Cole didnít bother even trying to pass guard.
No information given on these two whatsoever, and I had to wait until like a minute into the fight to work out who was who.
Anderson comes out swinging, but Gamino ducks under and gets a takedown, right into a guillotine from Anderson. Gamino works his way free, and lands some punches from the top before Anderson looks to tie him up. A few shots still get through though, and some hard punches to the body open up Andersonís head to take some heavy shots. Gamino tries to pass, but Anderson reverses to his feet, only to get caught in a guillotine coming up, and Gamino locks it in and leans right back while standing, and Anderson taps there.
Pretty quick fight; the finish was reminiscent of Alistair Overeemís guillotine of Igor Vovchanchyn back in 2005 actually.
Ring intros are back from this fight onwards and they also have some little interview spots with the fighters. This was back when Lambert was a heavyweight, about 235lbs here I think, and he doesnít look all that different outside of being a bit chubbier. Lobo Ė yep, just ĎLoboí - is a Kung-Fu stylist, an old looking guy with a strongman moustache. No idea what to expect from him, if anything really. Pre-fight they mention that Lambertís training with Joe Stevenson, never realized they were ex-training partners at all.
Lambert comes right out with a quick takedown to guard, and pins Lobo to the fence immediately. Itís pretty clear that the Kung-Fu manís not a ground wizard, as Lambert lands some methodical shots from the top and then easily passes to side mount. Lambert grinds him with some elbows from the side, and then OPENS UP, laying in with hard punches to the side of the head and a flurry of hammer fists that have Lobo covering up. Lobo rolls and manages to survive, but only ends up where he started, on his back under Lambertís side mount. More big shots land, and then Lobo gives his back, so Lambert gets both hooks in, flattens him, and pounds him out for the ref stoppage.
Total squash on the part of Lambert, but it was still an interesting and entertaining fight to see him back then as a heavyweight. Fighting style doesnít appear to have changed all that much, either.
Liaudin I know pretty well from his stints fighting over here in Cage Rage and the like, but Iíve never heard of Guel before and the DVD doesnít really help on that one. Ah well.
Jess opens the first round with a flying knee attempt, but it doesnít land and Guel gets him down in half-guard. He looks to pass, but Liaudin does well to keep the half-guard firmly in. Finally Guel breaks into side mount, but Liaudin shifts his hips as he attempts the knee ride into full mount, and weíre back in half-guard. Guel passes quicker this time, getting into side mount again, but he tries a half-assed armbar attempt from there and Liaudin gets half-guard again. This time though Guel opens up with some hard, straight punches from the half-guard, catching Jess square in the face, and the ref steps in when he looks out.
Pretty much your average b-level MMA fight there, not much else to say really.
Never heard of Ellis, but I believe Mansouriís part of the Millennia Jiu-Jitsu camp with John Alessio, Gabe Ruediger, Javi Vasquez, et al. Heís also got the corny nickname of ĎSuperí. You know, so they read his name as ďBetiss SuperMansouriĒ?
Ellis comes out swinging to begin, but Betiss gets a single leg takedown and passes to side mount immediately. Ellis scrambles so Mansouri tries to swing over and take his back, but he ends up on his back in full guard as Ellis turns to avoid. No problem for Betiss, as he quickly locks up a triangle choke and locks it in TIGHT. Ellis tries to slam his way out, but doesnít get a real drop from it, and then he tries standing on Mansouriís head, but no amount of desperationís getting him out of this one, and he taps there.
Mansouri looked to be quite skilled on the ground there; he was owning Ellis in terms of position and he slapped that triangle on pretty damn fast. Ellisís desperation tactics in trying to get out of the hold were pretty amusing too Ė Iíve seen more stubborn guys in a triangle choke before (Enson Inoue comes to mind) but perhaps none so desperate to escape.
The announcers hype up Stevens as a legit street fighter, who has no camp, no trainer, and no real style Ė despite him actually stating in his pre-fight interview that heís been training hard for this one with his trainer ďCharlieĒ. The fuck? Hensleyís like a bigger, older-looking Olaf Alfonso, with the long ponytail and crazy look, and heís apparently known as ĎThe Norsemaní thanks to his ďberserkerĒ style.
Round 1, and Stevens quickly clinches and bulls him into the fence, and they muscle for position with not much happening outside of referee Larry Landless yelling at them to not hold the fence. Finally they break off, and they exchange some sloppy punches before going back to the clinch, muscling along the side of the cage. DONíT HOLD THE FENCE!~! Hensley tries some sort of judo throw, but completely botches it and ends up on the mat giving his back, but Stevens canít capitalize outside of a couple of punches, and Hensley reverses and tries a double leg. Stevens sprawls to a front facelock and gets a half-guillotine, and then drills him with a knee to the head that appears to put Hensley out. Commentators think itís a TKO, but of course the knee is illegal, and Landless calls time and takes a point from Stevens. Hensley recovers quite quickly for a guy who was out on his face a few moments ago, and they restart. Maybe I spoke too soon Ė Stevens rocks him with a right hook, but then itís back to the clinch and muscling along the fence. This time at least, Hensley lands a couple of nice inside elbows, one of which appears to stun Stevens, and the round ends not long after.
Round 2 gets underway after they treat Stevens for a small cut, and Brent bulls forward, right into a guillotine attempt from the Norseman. Hensley throws some knees for good measure, but most of them connect with the thigh rather than knee, and Stevens breaks off and gets a single leg to guard. Nothing happens for a while before Landless brings them up, and Stevens gets a takedown to side mount off the restart. Hensley manages to get full guard back, and nothing happens until right at the end of the fight, when Landless stands them but canít restart them before the bell. Commentators think itís a draw based on Stevens losing the point, but itís actually a decision win for Stevens.
Remember earlier when I lamented the idea of two-round fights? Forget it. I donít think I couldíve stood a third round of this one. Terrible fight.
No idea whether this was for the vacant title, or whether Jackson was champ or Joe was champ. This was really early in both guysí careers, although Stevenson had already had like eighteen fights here, which is INSANE when you consider that heíd turned twenty the week before this show. Jackson was really inexperienced Ė Sherdog has this as his third fight. Heís a guy Iíll always respect though for somehow being able to knock out Nick Diaz, so this could be interesting.
Round one, and Stevenson wastes no time in looking for the takedown, shooting in on a single leg and then switching to a double to put Jackson on the mat in guard. Joe quickly passes to side mount with little trouble, as Jackson tries to push off the fence using his feet for a reversal. No good, as Stevenson keeps him firmly down. Joe tries the Matt Hughes crucifix, but then decides to mount instead, and from there he drops a BARRAGE of elbows and heavy, heavy punches until Landless steps in to stop it.
Wow, Jackson was inexperienced here granted, but Stevenson just completely overwhelmed him, just a really impressive, crushing performance from Joe. The guy just looked like an absolute beast and it really makes you wonder, seeing how good he looked here, why the UFC didnít pick him up before they did.
Again, Iím not sure of the background on the title here, whether Brennan or Alessio were holding it beforehand or what. This is a pretty well known match from what Iím aware of, for reasons weíll go into in a while.
They circle to begin, with Brennan pressing forward, but Alessio begins to work a stiff left jab to keep distance, landing it flush a few times to really keep Brennan on the back foot. Brennan decides to change tactics up a bit after eating the jab, and throws some high and mid-level kicks, but Alessio deflects them for the most part and then avoids a takedown attempt. Couple more jabs land squarely, and then he follows an especially nasty one with a heavy right straight to stun Brennan. Brennan staggers back, and Alessio just closes in and UNLEASHES HELL in the form of a ridiculously fast flurry of punches, ala Phil Baroni against Dave Menne. Ref still doesnít step in, so Alessio nails him with a knee to the head, and follows with more punches as Brennan covers up, and finally Landless calls a stop to it there.
Word, really impressive stuff from ĎThe Naturalí. Joe Rogan stated in 2006 that this was the best use of a jab that heíd seen in MMA, and Iíd agree, it was definitely one of them, as Brennan had basically no answer for it, and once he started to watch out for it Alessio caught him with the big right and that was it. Really good show of striking from the Canadian, and heís another guy Iím surprised that UFC didnít bring in (or bring back as it were) quicker than they actually did. I guess they just didnít need such a big roster back then.
-Don and Eddie wrap things up, and then itís time to hit the credits.
King Of The Cage is notorious for having really low production values; shitty camera angles and bad commentary, etc, but to be honest I didnít see that here too much. I mean, granted the presentation was cheap, but it was no worse than say, early Cage Rage stuff and far better than the Superbrawl DVD I have.
As far as the fights go, as long as youíre not going in expecting Hansen/Uno or anything, I thought they were okay for the most part. Obviously a couple were pretty bad, and mostly they were just your average B/C level MMA fights, but nobodyís buying KOTC stuff for top-level fighting. Personally Iím interested in it because I like to see current UFC guys earlier in their careers, and this was a fun show from that perspective, with good showings from Lambert, Stevenson and Alessio. If youíre not a big fan of MMA itís probably best to just stick with the big players, UFC and Pride, but if youíre a bit more heavily into it then KOTC is fun for what it is, and if thatís the case, then this show isnít bad by any means.
Pride: Total Elimination 2005, Critical Countdown 2005, Final Conflict 2005.
UFC: 65, 66, 67 and 68.
WEC: 10 and 11.
WFA: 1, 2 and 3.
King of the Cage: 18, 21, 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42 and 48.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.