King Of The Cage 21: Invasion review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on May 18, 2007, 9:45 AM
King Of The Cage 21: Invasion
Alberquerque, New Mexico
-Your hosts are Eddie Bravo and Erik Apple, who run down the card’s title fights – a Super-Heavyweight Title bout between Jimmy Ambriz and Jonathan Ivey, a Lightweight Title bout between Javier Vazquez and Alberto Crane, and the four-man tournament to decide a new Heavyweight Champion, of which we are shown the brackets. Apparently Keith Jardine and Diego Sanchez both fought on this card too (makes sense, being from Alberquerque), but their fights have been cut from the DVD. Boo!
Looks like we’re beginning with the alternate bout for the tournament, featuring wrestler Chris Guillen, and UFC veteran Jason Godsey.
Godsey opens up by throwing out some front kicks, before getting a takedown, but Guillen manages to shift his hips from the bottom, and sprawls out. He almost gets a reversal, but Godsey overpowers him into the north/south position. Guillen rolls, and Godsey ends up in side mount, where he moves Guillen towards the fence, and then reaches over from the side to apply a rear naked choke for the tapout.
Quick and easy win for Godsey, not much to see there at all.
Sotello is apparently fighting out of Don Frye’s camp, which is cool. Announcers mention that Hoffman was fresh out of jail coming into this, no idea what he was inside for exactly, but he looks pretty pumped to be fighting again.
They go into the clinch to open, and Sotello shoves Hoffman into the fence. Both guys muscle for position while exchanging some strikes, before Sotello gets a takedown to Hoffman’s guard. He passes into half-guard, but only momentarily as Hoffman gets full guard back, and nothing of note happens for a while. Ref finally brings them back up, and Sotello lands a big left hook into another clinch. Hoffman gets the takedown this time though, and gets into Sotello’s half-guard, where he goes to town with some heavy elbows and punches, and then opens up with some really nasty knees to the body, and some more hard, short elbows until the round ends.
Second round, and Sotello catches Hoffman with a nice uppercut. Bobby shoves him into the fence, and then gets a takedown, but on the way down Sotello ends up injuring himself and the fight gets stopped there.
Sotello seemed game at least, but Hoffman looked to be a level above him, especially at the end of the first, and the injury stoppage just looked to be a quicker route to the inevitable.
Man, Seth looks in so much better shape these days that it’s not even funny. I mean, I know he’s down at 205lbs now, but even when he was at HW on TUFII, he looks much better than he did here. Don’t know all that much about Hawkins, and as you can imagine, the DVD isn’t much help there either.
They begin, and Seth opens up right away with a series of hard leg kicks, before getting a big takedown to side mount. Hawkins rolls to his feet, but Seth ducks a big swing and shoves him into the fence, where he lands some foot stomps. Hawkins tries a takedown, but messes up and ends up mounted, and from there Seth opens up with a flurry of punches for the stoppage.
Another squash, and Seth looked pretty good here against clearly overmatched opposition.
This is the first fight of Villasenor’s I’ve come across on my KOTC DVDs, so it should be fun if it’s anything like the rest of what I’ve seen from him. Galindo is fighting out of the Lion’s Den and City Boxing, but nobody cares about that as Villasenor gets a monster pop from his hometown crowd.
They press to begin before Villasenor gets a hard takedown to half-guard, pinning Galindo down, and from there he drops a series of short elbows to the head. Villasenor uses a couple of mini-slams, before Galindo gets to full guard, but continues to eat punches and elbows with no real defense for the entire round. Bell sounds to end the first, but Galindo’s corner throw in the towel before the second round begins.
Totally dominant showing from Villasenor, not much else to say really.
Bravo is really talking up Vasconcelos, apparently he’s a really strong grappler out of the rAw team. No surprise at all to see Carter pop up on one of these KOTC cards, either – he’s fought practically everywhere in his career.
Vasconcelos bulls into the clinch to begin, and they muscle for position while exchanging knees. Carter gets one of his trademark throws, but Vasconcelos rolls right through and gets back to his feet. They break off, and Vasconcelos comes forward with some punches that stun Shonie, but he makes it into the clinch. Ref breaks them up, and we can see that Carter’s cut over the eye. They restart, and Vasconcelos rocks him again with a left hand, and follows with a trip throw to half-guard. Into full mount and he lands some punches, but Carter wriggles out into side mount. Vasconcelos lands some more punches and mounts again, but Carter slips free, only for Vasconcelos to get a rear waistlock. Carter works to his feet and turns into a clinch, and they break, and Shonie takes some more punches into another clinch to end the round.
Carter opens up in the 2nd with some kicks and a couple of combos into the clinch, and then lifts Vasconcelos up for a slam. Vasconcelos blocks though, and they end up back in the clinch until the ref breaks them up. They exchange, and Carter lands his legendary spinning backfist into another clinch! Shonie follows with a big takedown to guard, and then lands some punches, and delivers a couple of mini-slams to end the round.
Looks like they’re heading into the third, but Vasconcelos is unable to answer the bell, and the fight is stopped there. Solid win for Shonie who looked good in parts, but I’m not sure at all why Vasconcelos couldn’t answer the bell – Carter didn’t seem to have hurt him too badly at any point. Decent fight, at any rate.
Ambriz is a HUGE guy, well over 300lbs and mostly muscle to boot. Ivey’s a big guy himself, but he looks much smaller than Ambriz here. I believe Ambriz beat one of my most hated fighters to watch – Dan Bobish – for his title, too, so he’s definitely in my good books for life.
Ivey runs in swinging to open up, but Ambriz gets a quick takedown to half-guard, immediately smothering his opponent and landing some short strikes. Jimmy goes for a neck crank, and Ivey rolls to avoid, but only ends up on the bottom of a side mount, where Ambriz works the position, and eventually applies a D’Arce choke for the tapout.
Post-fight the announcers talk about Ambriz being basically unbeatable, but he never fought again in KOTC after this and has hardly had the most stellar run since, so those words certainly didn’t ring true. Dominant performance from him here though, at least.
From what I know of Vazquez he had quite the reputation at this point, holding a record of 11-1 including a big win over Shooto star Rumina Sato. I’ve never seen him fight prior to this, but I know he’s supposed to be a really exciting grappler, too. Never heard of Crane at all, but he’s the hometown fighter here and a major underdog too, so the crowd are absolutely crazy hot for him.
Round 1, and Crane opens with a high kick attempt, but Javi avoids and gets a single leg. They come back up quickly, and Javi lunges forward at him...but appears to have popped his knee, and Crane comes charging forward, and avoids a guillotine to end up in Vazquez’s guard. They come back up, and Vazquez is clearly limping quite bad at this point. He throws a left knee strike, but ends up falling to his back, and Crane gets on top and works his way into the crucifix position. Vazquez somehow reverses into top position, but then Crane uses a guillotine to reverse himself. Crane works the ribs from half-guard, as Vazquez looks for a kimura from the bottom, before Crane stands and lands a front kick and a combo as Javi gets up. Vazquez answers with a takedown and drops punches into Crane’s guard to end the round. Javi’s knee seems pretty jacked at this point, that’s for sure.
Into the 2nd though, and Crane comes forward, but ends up slipping to his back off a sloppy attempted spinning backfist. Vazquez gets on top, but Crane locks in an oma plata, only for Javi to slip free and roll back into Crane’s guard. Vazquez tries to pass, but Crane gets a nice reversal into top position. Vazquez keeps an active guard though, and lands some upkicks as Crane stands over him. Crane goes back into the guard, but Javi reverses up, and Crane locks in a guillotine and gets a sweep into top position. The choke looks tight, but Vazquez keeps working, and manages to pop free. Crane stays in top position though, and ends the round with another guillotine attempt. The crowd are INSANELY hot now.
Vazquez works some punches to open the third, and then gets a takedown to guard, where Crane holds a half-guillotine. Javi works to pass and gets into half-guard, but Crane gets guard back quickly. Vazquez avoids a triangle, so Crane tries an inverted armbar instead, but can’t lock it in properly, and the action finally slows down a little as Vazquez lands a few punches, and we get more of the same until the end of the round, where Vazquez avoids another triangle.
Whew, hell of a fight there. We go to the judges, and it’s a split decision win for....Crane, which garners a MONSTER POP from the crowd. Really close fight and I wouldn’t have liked to call a winner myself; Vazquez controlled more of the positions I thought, but the judges obviously went for Crane’s closer submission attempts, and really either guy could’ve taken it. Vazquez showed some insane heart though to fight through the knee injury, and this is practically the highest level of fight you’ll probably see from KOTC. Really good stuff.
Vazquez was, as far as I’m aware, about to sign with UFC sometime after this fight too (I remember hearing about a potential fight with Josh Thomson at some point), but the knee injury changed all that and he’s only fought a couple of times since, which is really sad given his reputation and skill at this point. Crane is still unbeaten at 8-0, but he never ended up in the bigger show for some reason – no idea why as he looked to have some serious skill here. Pretty sad that neither guy became a bigger star than they did really after such a great fight.
And without warning we end up with a main event of Hoffman vs. Godsey, rather than Hoffman vs. Petruzelli, as Seth’s pulled out with injury. Really disappointing as I think Hoffman vs. Seth would’ve been a really solid fight. This is for the KOTC Heavyweight Title, then.
Godsey gets a takedown off a kick to open, but Hoffman quickly uses the fence to get back to his feet. Hoffman then gets his own takedown to half-guard, and works a keylock momentarily before getting a knee to the body and passing into side mount. Hoffman goes into north/south and then Godsey rolls, but Hoffman begins to land some BOMBS from the back/side position for the TKO.
Hoffman walked right through Godsey to take the title; I think he would’ve definitely had a tougher fight with Seth, but eh, such is the world of MMA. So the new KOTC Heavyweight Champion, fresh out of prison, is Bobby Hoffman.
-And we end there, after a short recap of the fights.
Pretty fun show for a KOTC one, there’s nothing really crappy here and as I said beforehand, Vazquez vs. Crane is about the highest level of fight you’re going to see in KOTC. Nothing else on the card stands out quite like that, but the Heavyweight tournament is fun even if the expected main event didn’t go through the way it was planned, and Shonie Carter’s fight is watchable too. Overall, a recommendation for the Vazquez-Crane fight alone – not a bad show at all.
Pride: Total Elimination 2005, Critical Countdown 2005, Final Conflict 2005, and 30.
UFC: Ultimate Ultimate ’95, Ultimate Ultimate ’96, Ultimate Japan, Ultimate Brazil, 66, 67, 68, 69, and 70.
WEC: 10 and 11.
WFA: 1, 2 and 3.
Strike Force: Shamrock vs. Gracie.
Rumble On The Rock 7.
Gladiator Challenge: Summer Slam.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.