Home / Forums / Staff / Archive / Wrestling / RSS / Contact
King Of The Cage 20: Crossroads review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on January 16, 2010, 5:34 AM

King Of The Cage 20: Crossroads

Albuquerque, New Mexico

-Your hosts are God only knows once again. Why canít these dudes even introduce themselves? Actually it seems like itís one host doing a solo job.

Bantamweight Fight: Del Hawkins vs Bryan Kominiha

Not heard of Kominiha, but Hawkins fought in the WEC a couple of times in 2008 if I remember correctly, losing via flying armbar in one match.

Oh Christ. Kominiha is wearing Adidas sweatpants to fight in, like The Rock did in WWF back when he had his pectoral surgery in like, 1998-ish. Heís clearly losing. Hawkins opens with some low kicks and a flying knee that doesnít land clean. Kominiha pokes out a couple of unconvincing jabs, holding his hands very high like heís pretending to be a boxer or something. Where did they get this dude from? Spinning kick misses for Hawkins. Body kick lands and then he slams Kominiha down before letting him back up. Another takedown follows a couple more kicks, and he easily pops free of an odd headlock attempt before deciding to stand again. Kominiha scrambles to his feet...but eats a head kick as he stands that knocks him into next week.

Head kick finish was cool, total highlight-reel stuff, but the fight was awful as Hawkins looked like a genuinely trained MMA fighter while Kominiha looked like a skinny guy they found in the local karate gym.

Middleweight Fight: John Cronk vs Chris Meyers

Meyers shoots to begin and looks to bring Cronk down, but Cronk works to defend and ends up pushed into the fence, which helps him to remain standing. They muscle along the cage before Cronk lands a good knee to the midsection. Couple more good knees from Cronk and then he works a headlock before breaking off with a series of knees and punches. Meyers basically stops defending and takes some bad knees and referee Herb Dean steps in there.

Total squash and very little to see if Iím honest.

Welterweight Fight: Bain Serna vs Brad Woolard

Serna leaps out with a side kick and clinches, before tripping Woolard down to guard. Make that half-guard in fact, the bad camera angle obscured it. Serna begins to land punches and then passes into side control. Full mount follows and he slugs away with punches until Woolard stops defending, causing the ref to call the TKO.

Another low-level squash.

Welterweight Fight: John Mahlow vs Frank Marquez

Oh lord, these guys look alike which could cause some issues. Thankfully the announcer quickly identifies Mahlow as the dude in the red trunks, making my life easier.

Mahlow comes out with a low kick and clinches up. Beautiful scoop slam follows and he lands in side mount. The camera angles on this show are atrocious, by the way, even for KOTC standards. Good knees to the body from Mahlow. He tries for full mount, but Marquez uses a headlock to work to his feet, only for Mahlow to spin and jump onto his back as they stand. Nice. Mahlow looks like heís got the choke sunk and he pulls Marquez down, but itís a miraculous escape as Marquez manages to pull his hands off. Marquez goes to the classic desperation tactic of slugging with punches towards his opponentís face, without being able to see anything as Mahlowís still clamped to his back. I canít believe Mahlow hasnít sunk this choke yet as it doesnít look like Marquez is even tucking his chin. With these camera angles I could be horribly wrong, however. This is beginning to look like the lowest-level version of the first round of Couture-Sylvia that Iíve ever seen. And yes I know that Sylvia-Couture happened like four years after this show. Round ends with Mahlow still attempting the choke.

Second round and Mahlow quickly gets a double leg to side mount. Full mount follows and Mahlow lands some punches to the head before Marquez rolls, and he gives his arm in the process and Mahlow finishes with the textbook armbar.

Mahlow did show some skill here Ė even though he couldnít sink the choke Ė and Marquez well, no offense, didnít. You do the math.

Heavyweight Fight: Forrest Griffin vs Steve Sayegh

This was quite early on in Forrestís career Ė his eighth pro fight in fact Ė but heíd already shown himself to be a solid prospect by beating two well-respected veterans in Jeff Monson and Travis Fulton. Iím expecting a squash, naturally. Forrest is 214lbs here.

They exchange wild punches to begin with Sayegh actually landing a couple, before Griffin clinches and they exchange knees. Plum clinch from Forrest and he takes over with a series of knees before tripping Sayegh to the mat from the clinch. Sayegh looks to tie his arms up and hooks a half-guard, but Forrest pins him into the cage and tries to mount. Sayegh manages to roll him, but gives his back and Forrest looks for the choke before turning to mount and bombing away with punches until Sayegh taps out.

Not much you can draw from that as it was such a squash, but itís still interesting to see one of todayís biggest stars early in his career, particularly as he was primarily a ground guy back then and now heís known more for his striking and brawling.

Middleweight Fight: Diego Sanchez vs Shannon Ritch

This is Middleweight in the loosest sense, as both men are weighing 174lbs. Should be quite interesting too as Ritch is your classic MMA jobber whoís fought basically everyone (even Sakuraba in a PRIDE main event!) while this was just Diegoís third fight. Diego is also bald here which is just wrong.

Weíre underway and Diego gets an aggressive, charging takedown right away. Instant pass to mount follows and Diego looks to separate before absolutely DESTROYING him with punches. Shannon turns his back out of desperation and Diego wastes no time in grabbing the rear naked choke to force the tapout.

Diego is one of those guys who really has always been a badass, and this was no exception to that rule as he just took Ritch down, beat him up until he turned his back, and then choked him out. Like an old Gracie tape or something. Cool stuff as always with Diego.

Welterweight Fight: Thomas Schulte vs Kyle Brees

Schulte I believe fights out of Greg Jacksonís camp, and I think he had the KOTC Lightweight Title at one stage although whether he did at this point I donít know. I know Joe Stevenson beat him for it, though. No clue on Brees.

Touch of gloves and then Schulte stuns him with a combo early before getting the easy takedown. Full guard for Brees and he gets his hips up to attempt an armbar as Schulte lands some punches. Nice pass to side mount from Schulte and then he takes full mount. Big elbow causes Brees to give his back, and Schulte locks in the rear naked choke and squeezes until Brees passes out.

Very one-sided fight, and itís pretty obvious watching this that Greg Jacksonís guys are a step ahead of the other low-level fighters on this card.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Keith Jardine vs Bryan Pardoe

Physically Jardine looks no different to how he does today, still sporting the Satan-ish goatee and heís even chewing in that odd way that he does on his way to the cage. This was his fifth career fight. Pardoe trains out of Shannon Ritchís Team Cannon and had a decent enough record of 6-1 here.

We begin and Jardine raises his arms up in the same chimp taunt that he did against Houston Alexander. Low kick from Jardine and then Pardoe charges forward swinging before diving for a takedown. Jardine does an excellent job of defending it and gets to the clinch, before breaking off and landing a vicious right hand that drops Pardoe. Pardoe looks done and Keith finishes him off on the ground.

Jardine looked good there, defending well against an aggressive opponent before finishing him in impressive fashion.

Lightweight Fight: Alberto Crane vs Joe Vigil

Crane was one KOTC show away from the biggest win in his career Ė his victory over Javier Vazquez Ė but this was just his second fight so he was obviously known more for his grappling at this point. Vigilís a total unknown, naturally.

Crane pushes forward and gets an ankle pick takedown quickly, where he works to pass a loose guard. Immediately he creeps into side mount and itís obvious that Vigil is in trouble. Knees to the body from Crane and he works a knee-on-belly position to land some punches. Crane bashes his head into the mat a few times and continues to work with some punches, obviously looking to set up a submission. Vigil is all but done and Crane mounts and then takes the back as Vigil rolls. Vigil manages to escape, but only ends up back under Craneís side mount and Crane smashes his head into the canvas with some forearms before botching an armbar attempt. Heís still got a dominant position though in side mount and from there he applies an arm triangle and leaps over to the other side of Vigilís body, forcing the tapout.

That was a tooling of the highest order. I always enjoyed watching Crane in his UFC stint and this was a fun fight too even if it was horrifically one-sided. Anytime you have a guy as skilled on the ground as Crane thereíll be something to see I guess.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Joey Villasenor vs Lorn Estes

Estes looks like a total badass, mean looking dude with a long handlebar moustache, but I doubt that helps him against Villasenor, the fifth local boy in a row on this card and the fourth out of Jacksonís camp. Interestingly this was Joeyís first fight back from the ankle break he suffered against Jermaine Andre in the WFA.

We begin and a looping left hook narrowly misses for Villasenor. One-two lands and Joey follows with a clinch and a BIG SLAM to guard. Crowd chant for Joey as he works to pass and then stands over Estes, before dropping down and delivering some VICIOUS punches. Estes is trapped against the fence with nowhere to go, and Villasenor continues to destroy him with shots until Estes decides he wants out.

Yeah, complete squash and really I didnít expect anything less. Estes never fought again after this. The funny part in a way is that in todayís MMA climate, a promotion like UFC or Strike Force would probably gobble Villasenor up if he were fighting this way on the local circuit like he was here, and yet he never got into the big time until four years after this.

-And the credits roll there.

Final Thoughts....

On the good side, everything is short, nothing is offensively bad and you get some early showcases for Griffin, Jardine, Sanchez, Crane and Villasenor. On the bad side, everything is short because EVERY FIGHT is a squash, some slightly more entertaining than others, and even the fights involving future UFC guys donít last long enough to really have anything to offer. Not the best show, then.

Best Fight: Crane-Vigil
Worst Fight: Cronk-Meyers

Overall Rating: *3/4

Coming Soon....

UFC: 103-107, Fight Night 20
WEC: 45 and 46
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

All material copyright 2006 its respective owners.
Site scripted and designed by Mike Maloney.