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King Of The Cage 33: Aftershock review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on January 18, 2010, 8:34 AM

King Of The Cage 33: Aftershock

San Jacinto, California

-Your hosts are Erik Apple and Chris Cordero. Whoa, actual introduction segment on KOTC? Colour me shocked. They discuss the KOTC Lightweight Title fight between Joe Stevenson and Joe Camacho, the fight between ĎKrazy Horseí Bennett and Shad Smith, and the return of Dan Severn.

-Some punk-looking band called Girldown perform the US national anthem. What the hell? Is this like a proper show with a genuine budget or something? Not that Iím complaining! We even get a segment to introduce the ring girls.

Lightweight Fight: Wander Braga vs Jason Cleveland

Braga is a pretty well-regarded fighter on this circuit actually, a BJJ black belt whoís been fighting since the old Vale Tudo days back in 1995. He was actually scheduled to fight at UFC 64 against Kurt Pellegrino, but pulled out for whatever reason Ė as it goes heís pretty notorious for pulling out of fights Ė and never did get into the Octagon. Naturally with the opening bout on a KOTC show Iíve never heard of or seen Cleveland before.

Quick single leg from Braga puts him right into side mount, where Cleveland tries to hold onto the head. Knee-to-belly allows Braga into full mount though and Cleveland looks in deep trouble. He tries to hold on desperately, but flails his arms as Braga lands some punches, which is a big no-no against a BJJ expert, and Braga goes into a straight armbar for the verbal tapout (which Cleveland denies post-fight).

Braga looked pretty slick there against a clearly overmatched opponent Ė I guess the reason Iíd never heard of Jason Cleveland before was that this was his first and only MMA fight. Itís a pity that Braga never did fight in the UFC as he definitely looked skilled, and it wouldíve been interesting to see him in the big leagues.

Heavyweight Fight: Larry Landless vs Tony Berg

Landless is better known as a veteran referee, and even better known still for being the ref who Phil Baroni took a swing at back in 2004. And Berg? Who knows.

Berg comes out swinging, but Landless (wearing a vest top) gets a clinch briefly before Berg breaks and continues to swing for the fences. Couple of low kicks for Larry but Berg stuffs a takedown attempt. Bergís packing a lot of power into his punches but little technique really. Landless hits a couple more low kicks and then clinches and forces Berg into the cage, before hitting a nice drag takedown to side mount. Good forearm strikes from Landless and then Berg gives his back, and Larry slaps on the rear naked choke for the tapout.

In all honesty that was a pretty awful fight, but it had some sort of odd interest to me simply due to the fact that it was a well-known referee fighting. Nice little win for him I guess too.

Middleweight Fight: Randy Velarde vs Bryson Vanderboard

Velarde fights out of the Millenia Jiu-Jitsu camp and actually has a loss to Jake Shields on his record; Vanderboardís a complete unknown making his MMA debut.

They circle and size each other up with little action early, and due to nobody landing a thing I still havenít worked out whoís who. Crowd boo as the guy in the black shorts drops his hands down. Itís Velarde apparently and he comes forward swinging, landing some shots, but Vanderboard answers with a right that slows him down. We go back to circling before they decide to trade again, and Vanderboard lands the better shots, dropping Velarde with a right cross. Velarde comes back up but takes another punch and then grabs him and delivers a HUGE SLAM to the guard. Velarde tries some ground-and-pound and then pulls out of an oma plata attempt, and Vanderboard gets back to his feet. BIG LEFT HOOK from Vanderboard drops Velarde like a ton of bricks, and he follows with a big shot over the top that snaps Velardeís head towards the mat. More punches land but somehow Velardeís still in it and gets to his feet like a zombie. Vanderboard unloads on him again, wobbling him all over the place, but incredibly Velarde gets a shoulder throw and lands in Vanderboardís guard! Damn. Velarde works to pass and gets into side mount, then goes for a rolling kimura, and turns it into an armbar, but Vanderboard pulls free and stands, before dropping more punches. Velarde gets to his feet and lands with a knee to the head, then gets another trip takedown. This time Vanderboard looks out of gas, and Velarde gets a full mount and pounds away with punches until Vanderboard taps out.

Well, that was sloppy as hell, but damn was it a lot of fun. Real back-and-forth fight and I thought Velarde was done after that flurry dropped him, but he showed a lot of heart to recover, come back and win. Fun stuff for low-level MMA.

Middleweight Fight: Thomas Kenney vs Ray Elbe

Kenny (not to be confused with Thomas ĎWildmaní Denny, whoís on later) has been fighting since 1998 on these smaller shows while Elbeís mainly a Rage In The Cage guy.

Couple of kicks miss for Elbe early on before Kenney ducks a right and hits a double leg to guard. Elbe tries to tie him up from the guard as Kenney works to pass, then Elbe tries an armbar. It looks pretty close actually but Kenney looks calm and holds his hands together to block, then breaks free into the guard. Ref decides to stand them up and Elbe comes in swinging, but Kenney ducks under and gets a leaping slam to guard. Elbeís got a guillotine here but itís loose and Kenney pops his head free. Pass to side mount from Kenney and then he works a nasty keylock for the verbal tapout, looked like Elbe was in a lot of pain actually.

Elbe was aggressive but kept swinging too wildly and leaving himself open for the takedown, and after defending the armbar Kenney easily took him out on the ground. Pretty much a squash.

Lightweight Fight: Dale Breese vs Cesar Moreno

Nothing on either manís record really stands out; in fact Iím not even sure what weight this is at Ė Iíve guessed Lightweight based on Moreno having a loss to Duane Ludwig, but whether that means LW or WW I donít really know.

They circle to begin and Breese gets a trip takedown directly into mount, and from there Breese goes pretty wild with the elbows and punches until the referee steps in to stop things.

Man, that was a serious squash match. Breese is actually still 5-0 but hasnít fought since 2006.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Chad Davis vs Mike Seal

Davis, who knows. Seal has losses to Dennis Hallman, Jon Fitch...and Ricco Rodriguez on his record. So lord only knows what weight this is being fought at. Iím going to throw a guess at LHW as Fitch and Hallman both fought MW before while Ricco is the definition of a HW, so Iíll go with somewhere between both.

Davis comes out with a front kick and follows with a one-two that seems to have Seal stunned, causing him to shoot for a double leg and bring Davis to the ground. Davis grabs a guillotine and holds him in place, and this allows him to get to his feet. Seal lifts him up for a slam, but sort-of slips and they drop to the ground and roll back to their feet. That was different. They roll to the ground again and then come back up, where Seal lands with some uppercuts from close quarters that have Davis hurt. Davis drops for a takedown, and despite Seal landing strikes, he gets it and pins Seal into the fence. Seal works to his feet but gets pinned into the cage again, but he manages to work up to his feet again and gets a cradle slam to the guard. Davis locks up a triangle from the bottom and it looks tight, and he pulls on the head as I donít see Seal escaping this. Slam does manage to get him free though and he lands some punches. Davis is cut over his left eye now. They come back to their feet and trade with more strikes, and then Seal gets him down again and looks to avoid the triangle while landing some shots. Action slows down in the guard and Herb Dean brings them back up, and again they trade with some WILD SHOTS that both men look rocked from. Davis clinches up and thatís the round.

Round Two and both men come out wildly swinging once again, until Seal gets a clinch and forces him into the cage. They break and things get really sloppy as Seal almost goes down off a missed punch. Seal gets him to the ground in the guard again off another trade but Davis catches him napping with another triangle, and this time he gets it locked in deep and Seal goes to sleep.

Sloppy fight but it was admittedly fun to watch, like Velarde-Vanderboard from earlier in the show. Anyone interested in technical fighting should avoid this like the plague, but if youíre like me and will watch bar fights and everything then it was sort of enjoyable.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Brian Sesma vs Bryan Pardoe

Pardoe is the guy seen losing to Keith Jardine at KOTC 20, while Sesmaís your usual KOTC journeyman type.

Touch of gloves to begin and Pardoe lands with a low kick. Looping left from Sesma drops Pardoe for a moment but he manages to come back with a belly-to-belly takedown, landing in half-guard. Pardoe looks to punch, but Sesma reverses and gets back to his feet. They separate and Pardoe takes a wild swing, but slips off balance and FALLS TO THE GROUND AND WHACKS HIS HEAD INTO THE CANVAS! Holy crap that was embarrassing. Sesma lands a right hand into the half-guard and then postures up with some punches. Full mount follows and Sesma finishes him off with punches from there.

That was a bad, bad little fight. I mean any time a guy seems to flash KO themselves by missing a punch and slipping, hitting his head on the way down, you know itís not the best fight in the world.

Welterweight Fight: Romie Aram vs Mike Penalber

Aram at one stage was seen as one of the top WW prospects out there as far as Iím aware, and I believe he beat Joe Stevenson for the KOTC WW Title in fact back in 2002. A UFC fight followed but he lost to Dave Strasser in an exciting little fight at UFC 42 and then didnít fight until this one, donít know if he got injured or what. No idea on Penalber.

Round One and Romie avoids a couple of punches and gets to the clinch, where he lands a couple of knees. Takedown follows into Penalberís guard. Aram works to free his arms, and lands a couple of elbows inside the guard, doing a solid job with the ground-and-pound with little answer from his opponent. Referee decides things are too slow and calls the restart, and right away Aram closes the distance and looks to get him down. Penalber holds a headlock to block the takedown, and Romie simply punches at the body before the ref breaks them up. Penalber comes forward swinging, but Aram blocks a takedown and lands some knees to the head. Standing guillotine attempt from Romie but Penalber pops his head free, and Aram transitions into a single leg attempt and then switches to a double, but canít get Penalber down. Round ends shortly after.

Second round begins and Aram decks him right away with a right hook. Penalber looks done and Aram bombs away with punches as Penalber turtles up, then manages to roll to guard, good job from him. Aram continues pretty much where he left off in the first round, landing punches and elbows from inside the guard, but again the action slows and the ref stands them up. Aram ducks a haymaker and looks for a takedown off the restart, but Penalber defends and goes for a takedown of his own. Romie stuffs that and lands a knee to the head, and then uses a kimura attempt to steal top position in side mount. He takes Penalberís back from there and gets both hooks in, before Penalber rolls and gives him mount. Aram lands punches and looks to set up for an armbar, but inexplicably the ref calls the stand-up. What the fuck. Is he on drugs? Ah, itís Cecil ďLeg kicks donít hurtĒ Peoples. That explains it. Penalber swings a couple of elbows from the restart, but Aram clinches and forces him into the fence, but Peoples breaks them up again. Penalber swings for the fences and sprawls to avoid a takedown, but Aram comes back by dropping him with another right hook and pounces into the guard. Penalber manages to slow him up from there, holding on for survival, and Aram grinds away with some elbows until Peoples stands them up. Penalber swings some punches but canít land clean, and the fight comes to an end there.

Itís a two-round fight so this has to be Aramís decision and sure enough it is. Dull fight overall though as Romie couldnít put away the overmatched opposition no matter how hard he tried. Although the mount was probably the finish if it hadnít been for Cecil Peoplesí fuck up.

Middleweight Fight: Gus Ambrozic vs Omar Luv

OMAR LUV? You cannot be serious. That canít be his real name, sorry. It sounds like some bad pornstar name or something! Gus Ambrozic is almost as bad, to be fair.

Omar with a few front kicks to the lead leg, and then he opens up with a couple of nice inside leg kicks. Omar continues to work him over with leg kicks, and then drops his hands to his waist and backs up, easily avoiding Gusís flailing shots like heís Anderson Silva or something. Gus manages to clinch though and looks to trip him down, but Luvís too strong and he forces him into the fence. Takedown attempt from Omar is botched, but another one ends up with Luv taking his back, and then they stand and sort of spin for position with their arms around one another. Luv brings him down with a trip and lands in side mount as Gus tries a guillotine that Omar easily slips free of. Gus into full guard and very little happens from there so the ref calls them up to their feet. Luv hits another brutal leg kick, and another, and now Gus is literally hobbling around. Couple more low kicks have him on the verge of a stoppage and sure enough Gus goes down off another one and the ref calls the fight.

Omar Luvís leg kicks were pretty sick here, although he showed nothing in the grappling portions and to be fair, Ambrozic did little to defend the kicks. Still, leg kicks are always cool. I guess Cecil Peoples didnít watch this fight, however.

Welterweight Fight: Thomas Denny vs Jake Gomez

We actually get entrances for this fight, which is crazy. Probably has something to do with ĎWildmaní usually making a bizarre entrance. Here he doesnít though, instead walking to the cage with two kids, I guess theyíre probably his children. Denny is a guy who will fight pretty much anyone Ė from GSP to Nick Diaz Ė and heís a tough dude so heís nearly always good fun to watch. Always nice to stumble on one of his fights on a KOTC show.

Weíre underway and Gomez swings some punches as Denny looks for the takedown. Looks like an elbow hit him in the back of the head though and referee Herb Dean calls for time. Wildman recovers quickly and they restart, and clinch and muscle for position. Takedown attempt from Denny and he brings Gomez down despite Jake holding the fence illegally. Gomez works back to his feet quickly, but Denny gets him down into side mount and then looks to move into full mount. He slips off though on an armbar attempt and winds up on his back. Leglock attempt but Gomez swings wild shots down onto him and ends up in a kneebar. Gomez does a good job of working free and gets into side mount, but Denny rolls him over into a mount and then rolls into a triangle choke. Gomez looks trapped and Wildman locks up the choke despite taking some punches, and Gomez taps.

Good showing for Wildman Denny in an energetic, fun little fight.

Heavyweight Fight: Dan Severn vs Jerry Vrbanovic

The few times Iíve seen ĎScaryí Jerry before heís taken a bit of a beating, so Iím not expecting too much here. Honestly itís insane that Severnís still fighting at this point, way past 50 (he was 49 here, FYI) and even though the announcers talk this up as his ďreturnĒ, he actually fought like a month earlier in KOTC in a loss to Seth Petruzelli. Jerry actually has Tito Ortiz in his corner here which garners him a pretty major pop.

First round begins and they circle before Severn shoots in, but botches it and ends up underneath Jerry in side mount. And, NOTHING HAPPENS as Jerry just lays there, not even dropping a single elbow. Good lord, and this guy was training with Tito Ortiz? He does manage to step to full mount, but STILL does nothing and how Cecil Peoples hasnít stood them up yet I donít know. FINALLY he stands them up. Short left hook wobbles Severn off the restart and then Jerry shoves him to the ground, but he wonít go down to the ground this time and stands over him before waving him up by flipping him off. They throw some crappy strikes into a clinch where Severn forces Jerry into the fence, landing knees to the thighs until the round ends. Well, that was unbelievably bad.

2nd round and they flail with punches before Jerry shoves him again. Words cannot describe quite how bad this fight is. Jerry stuffs a single leg as both men swing ineffective hooks at one another, before Jerry looks for a takedown only for Severn to reverse and take the back. He looks for a choke as Jerry stands, but the big man manages to turn into the Beast in a clinch. They break off when little happens but Severn manages to clinch again, where he works for a single leg and almost gets it. Jerry ends up down by the fence, and Dan takes his back as he tries to stand. Jerry does manage to stand and grabs the cage to prevent a suplex, and then they break off and both men look gassed. Severn gets another clinch but tumbles to his back on a failed takedown, and now Jerryís on top again, oh joy. Severn goes for a half-guard sweep, but canít get the big man off him and the fight ends there.

I donít have a clue how the judges would score that fight, nor do I care. Itís a draw apparently. Well, Iíd prefer to give both guys a loss on their records as that fight SUCKED. Let us never speak of it again.

Featherweight Fight: Charlie Valencia vs Bobby Gamboa

Valencia is now pretty well-established in the WEC, recently beating the well-regarded Japanese fighter Akitoshi Tamura at 135lbs. Here though he was the KOTC Featherweight champion. No word on whether this is a title match, however. DVD has Gamboaís record at 17-4. Sherdog has him at 4-3 going into this one. I know which one I believe. Hint Ė it begins with ĎSherí and ends in ĎDogí.

We begin and Gamboa looks to strike, but Valencia hits a SICK FAST SHOT and gets him down to guard. Man that was a quick shot. Gamboa looks to tie him up and referee Cecil Peoples stands them up. Left high kick from Valencia glances off the head of Gamboa. They circle off with some strikes and then clinch, before Valencia gets a takedown to guard. Valencia stands up over him and kicks at the legs, and then Gamboa explodes to his feet, lands a punch and gets a slam to Valenciaís guard. Ref restarts them again and Valencia lands some punches before getting another takedown, where he lands a flurry of shots. They come back to their feet and trade some shots, and the round ends on the feet.

2nd round and Valencia misses a head kick. Wild swing from Valencia misses and Gamboa tries to take his back, but Valencia rolls for a leglock. Gamboa escapes, but ends up on his back in guard. Things slow down again and the ref stands them, and they exchange some decent strikes standing although neither man seems to have the other hurt. This actually isnít a bad fight. Takedown from Valencia again into Gamboaís guard, but once again Gamboa just ties him up and nothing happens. Stand-up follows and they continue to exchange with both men again landing some decent shots. Round ends there. Iíve got Valencia ahead two rounds to none.

Third round and it looks like Gamboaís outstriking the champion now, landing some solid jabs and low kicks. Valencia gets another takedown though and it looks like heís going for a possible toehold. Really telegraphed though and itís not going to work. Gamboa tries to transition into taking the back, but Valencia avoids it and remains in the guard. Why Valencia isnít going wild with ground-and-pound I donít know. Gamboa manages to tie him up again for the most part until Valencia finally stacks up and lands some shots with Gamboa pinned into the cage. Gamboa manages to push him away and takes some punches before getting back to his feet, and now he goes back to throwing some decent jabs. Another takedown from Valencia follows although he doesnít do a thing with it to be fair. Valencia lands some ground-and-pound and thatís the fight.

Judges score it for Charlie Valencia, meaning he keeps the KOTC 145lbs belt. Not a bad fight in terms of, both guys showed skills and it wasnít sloppy, but to be fair, Valencia won with his takedowns despite doing nothing with them, so it wasnít the most entertaining fight of all time. Nowhere near the worst on this card though.

Lightweight Fight: Charles ĎKrazy Horseí Bennett vs Shad Smith

Smith is apparently a street fighter from Cincinnati, Ohio. He claims to have been in 2000 street fights. Riiight. We all know what Krazy Horse Bennett is about so Iím expecting nothing more than a horribly sloppy brawl from this one. Let it be known Iím not a fan of Krazy Horseís antics in any way.

We begin....and Krazy Horse decides to climb the cage and sit on the top of the fence taunting Smith. Sigh. Ref calls him down and they TRADE WILD PUNCHES until Krazy Horse lands cleanly and knocks Smith out after about 30 seconds. Celebration sees Bennett hit a backflip off the top of the cage.

Bennett somehow found himself in PRIDE a few months after this fight. Go figure. I guess it was a nice highlight reel KO for him though.

King Of The Cage Lightweight Title: Joe Stevenson vs Joe Camacho

Story here is that Camacho lost to Stevenson via triangle choke in his first pro fight and now heís after revenge. Likelihood of that happening seemed to be pretty low as Camacho was 4-4 since that fight, and honestly Iím not sure how he got himself into the position of #1 contender to the KOTC LW belt with a record like that. I guess this was Stevensonís first title defense, too, as heíd won the belt from Thomas Schulte in November í03. Iím a big fan of Joe Daddy though so this should be fun regardless of its one-sided nature on paper. Stevenson comes to the cage here sporting a cool gladiator helmet.

Weíre underway and both men press with some strikes before Camacho lands a good left hook. Stevenson doesnít look hurt and continues to throw strikes, landing a good leg kick. Camacho eats a stiff jab that snaps his head back, and then he wades in with some punches that donít really land cleanly. Another good leg kick from Stevenson but he takes a counter uppercut flush. Joe Daddyís chin is solid though and he gets a clinch and muscles Camacho into the cage. Joe Daddy drops for a takedown and gets it, into the guard of the challenger. Stevenson pins him into the fence and looks to pass guard, but Camacho fends him off and escapes to his feet. This is far more competitive than I was expecting. Beautiful combo from Camacho as Stevensonís standing defense doesnít look great, but his chin can take it and he takes Camacho down and into half-guard. Joe Daddy lands a couple of short knees to the head which are apparently legal in KOTC, and the round ends with him landing some solid elbows to the head. This is a decent fight actually.

Into the 2nd and Stevenson circles before shooting for a takedown. Camacho tries to sprawl but Joe Daddy gets him on his back anyway, and works into half-guard quickly. Elbows from Stevenson and then he passes to side mount. Couple of big knees to the head from Stevenson and he traps Camachoís arm as the challenger rolls to his stomach to attempt getting back to half-guard. Good job from Camacho though to escape to guard. Joe Daddy works through to half-guard again though where he continues to land with elbows and punches, as well as knees. Stevenson manages to work into side mount again and this time he takes full mount. Camacho is in trouble. He tries to hip escape but Joe Daddy looks too good on the ground and he lands some more shots before taking the back and locking up a tight rear naked choke for the tapout.

Good little fight in the end. Stevenson decided to test his striking in the first round and got largely lit up by Camacho, but once he got it to the ground early in the second it was all Joe Daddy as he dominated with his ground-and-pound en route to the submission. Hard to believe it took the UFC so long to pick this guy up actually when you consider how good he was at this stage in his career.

-Announcers wrap things up and we finish the show there.

Final Thoughts....

Stevenson-Camacho is a really good fight for a KOTC match, even if Joe Daddy ended up outclassing him largely. Elsewhere Krazy Horseís knockout was cool, and a couple of the lower-level fights were sloppy but fun. On the flipside, Severn-Vrbanovic was AWFUL and has no redeeming factors, the Valencia and Aram fights are a little slow, and a man practically TKOd himself by bashing his head into the ground off a missed wild swing. Soo...thumbs in the middle, leaning down for this one.

Best Fight: Stevenson-Camacho
Worst Fight: Severn-Vrbanovic

Overall Rating: **1/2

Coming Soon....

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

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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