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King Of The Cage 48: Payback review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on November 29, 2010, 6:47 AM

King Of The Cage 48: Payback

Cleveland, Ohio

-Date of this show would put it right before the TUF boom and if I recall correctly it flopped horribly on pay-per-view. My head is full of random garbage facts like that.

-Your hosts are Erik Apple and Tedd Williams and surprisingly we actually get an opening segment! Apparently the card has two former NFL players fighting, as well as Butterbeanís MMA debut. Wait, is this where TUF 10 took its whole premise from or something?

Josh Martin vs Steve Durig

Never heard of either of these guys and Iím going to guess itís for good reason. Both guys at 185lbs. Durig comes out to what sounds like a knock off of the theme from Conan The Barbarian. Annoying. No idea how many rounds this is over either.

Fight begins and Durig comes out swinging but Martin gets a clinch and backs him up. They break and exchange for a moment before Durig shoots. Martin sprawls and they come back up and exchange knees. Right hand from Martin into the clinch and he drops for a takedown, but Durig drops some downward elbows to the head that cause Herb Dean to yell at him. They break off and Martin catches him low...then decides to add a left hook before Herb can step in. Crowd did not like that one. Durig looks winded, but decides to continue and they restart and exchange into a clinch, where Martin lands a beautiful hip throw into side mount. Reversal from Durig and he escapes to his feet and forces Martin into the fence. They break off and Durig lands a low kick, but misses a wild left hand. These dudes are really swinging. Kick from Durig is caught and a wild swing from Martin knocks him off balance for a second. They wing some punches out and this is descending quickly into sloppiness. Durig appears exhausted. More wild swings lead into Durig dropping to his back; I couldnít tell if he got decked or not. Martin into side mount. Full mount now and he looks to step over for an armbar, but it looks like heís unsure what to do from spiderweb position and lands some flailing shots before Durig escapes to his feet. They swing back into the clinch and exchange some knees before Durig breaks with some shots and the round ends there. And fuck, the Conan knock off music is playing between rounds too. Absolute bastards.

Round Two and Martin catches a kick and trips Durig down, then grabs a front facelock as he rolls. Anaconda choke is WIDE OPEN here but he doesnít go for it. They stand back up....where Martin lands another low blow that folds poor Durig up again. Christ. To me that one looked blatant, too. Herb Dean doesnít agree apparently as I donít think he bothers taking a point. LOL moment as Herb asks Durig how he feels. Durigís answer? Like I got hit in the groin. Well, duh. Finally they decide to restart and they trade into a clinch where Durig gets a headlock takeover into guard. Iíd fucking lay-and-pray if I were him now after those low blows to be honest! And sure enough thatís exactly what he does, landing some decent if not overly damaging ground-and-pound from the guard while holding Martin down. Triangle attempt from Josh Martin though and it looks pretty deep, but Durig lands a jumping powerbomb to slightly break it off. Choke is still on though so Durig delivers another two powerbombs, but ends up flipped into a mounted triangle and I have no clue how he isnít out. He manages to roll again and somehow gets out! Actually it looked like Martin mightíve released thinking Durig tapped. He tries it again but this time Durig passes and gets full mount, and begins to land punches as Martin gives his back and turtles up. Durig looks too exhausted to finish the fight though and he doesnít even have his hooks in. Seconds to go and he just canít flurry enough. Apparently itís a two round fight as weíre going to the judges.

Iíd have this one round apiece so itís a draw to me, but if you had to pick a winner youíd have to say Durig as he was so, SO close to finishing at the end. Judges have it as a draw. Well, there you go. Why they didnít do a third round is beyond me!

Tom Murphy vs Josh Hendricks

These guys were unknowns at this point although Murphy went on to the TUF 2 cast, where he had that horrendous fight with Rashad Evans, then beat up Icho Larenas at UFC 58 and never came back, despite technically being unbeaten in UFC action. Hendricks meanwhile was last seen losing in brutal, brutal fashion to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 91 in arguably the worst stoppage of 2008 Ė a classic Steve Mazzagatti gaffe where Napao had to punch the blatantly finished Hendricks until he was stiff in order to stop things. Murphy is jacked to the gills here.

We begin and Murphy is amped up like Wanderlei or something. Takedown attempt from Hendricks and he muscles Murphy into the fence, but Murphy shrugs it off nicely but eats a knee in the process. Finally Murphy reverses position and trips Hendricks down, right into mount. Couple of right hands land before Hendricks gets half-guard, but Murphy pulls out and comes down with a HEAVY RIGHT that knocks Hendricks into next week, and thatís that.

Funny fact Ė Hendricks went on to win a ton of fights over tomato cans after this which got him into the UFC, and somehow a few people actually gave him a chance against Gonzaga. Not me as I remembered this fight and knew Hendricks would die. Fun knockout for Tom Murphy and if I cared more Iíd find out why he never fought in UFC again despite winning his lone fight. I donít, though.

Buddy Clinton vs Angelo Popofski

Clinton is apparently a Royce Gracie student though I havenít heard of him. Popofski despite the name similarity is not related to Randy Savage in any way. Urgh, Apple just said Clinton is training with Travis Lutter. Both men are small Middleweights.

Clinton closes in early and lands a beautiful flurry before finding himself on top after a scramble. Nice punches from Clinton on top and he looks for a kimura and Popofski looks screwed. Kimura gets locked in and thatís all she wrote. Hey bro, itís 1993 again with the Gracie guy tooling someone on the ground!

James Lee vs Wally Keenboom

Never heard of Keenboom and with a name like that Iíd put money on him being a tomato can. Lee meanwhile had some solid success in KOTC and ended up pulling an upset win over Travis Wiuff on the PRIDE 33 card before injuring his back against Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut and he hasnít been back since. Keenboom physically looks like an obese version of Hector Ramirez.

Early takedown attempt from Lee and he easily dumps Keenboom on his back in half-guard. Couple of elbows from Lee and he looks to pass and takes full mount. Keenboom tries to cling on, but he eats a big flurry of punches from Lee and gives his back. Rear naked choke is sunk in and Keenboom taps there.

That was almost more Gracie-ish than the last fight even. More Rickson Gracie though with the takedown, mount, punches and choke once the guy canít take more punches. Lee was always a pretty strong fighter against this calibre of opposition though so itís to be expected.

-Short segment follows introducing the ring girls and the ĎKing of the Cage Iconí, Brad. You know, the bald headed meathead guy who is all over the DVD menus. Whatís his job? No clue. I guess the previous fights were prelims as theyíre playing the US national anthem now too.

Forrest Petz vs Charles Bennett

I could be wrong here but I think this was Krazy Horseís first fight after his loss to Takanori Gomi in PRIDE in the fight that really upped his exposure levels in the MMA world. Petz was unknown at this point as this was way before his UFC debut, but anyone in KOTC with a 13-1 record usually means business (assuming the record is legit) and he gets a solid pop as heís a Cleveland guy.

Fight begins and they circle before both men land hooks. Couple of jabs from Petz back Bennett up, but Krazy Horse closes in with a wild flurry that forces Petz to clinch. Powerful takedown from Krazy Horse follows and he gets into half-guard, but a sick reversal from Petz puts him on top in guard and he stacks up to land some punches. Crowd begin to chant wildly for Petz as Bennett tries to shrimp towards the fence to get to his feet. Ref Cecil Peoples calls a very quick stand-up and Bennett grabs another clinch, but eats some body shots that cause him to break. Wild exchange follows with powerful hooks, but neither lands clean. Bennett stalks forward but Petz opens up with a vicious combo that has Krazy Horse covering up. Bennett shoots, but winds up on his back in half-guard where Petz applies an arm triangle and slides into side mount to force the tapout.

Fun fight and a nice win for Petz in his hometown. As always Bennett looked explosive, but to say heíd be a good fighter if he had a ground game is like saying your aunt would be your uncle if she had a dick at this stage.

Thiago Alves vs Jeff Cox

Alves looks seriously young here, but then he probably was only 21 or so. Tiny compared to how he looks now too. This was before he made his UFC debut later in the year. Cox also ended up in the UFC, but it was one of the more inexplicable signings they made as he never looked impressive to me and here resembles the ageing dude next door who had a mid-life crisis, got himself a bad boy hair cut and decided to join a gym and lift some light weights. Seriously, heís wearing crap red sweatpants and everything.

We begin and Alves misses with a high kick. Cox comes in swinging, but Alves grabs the plum clinch and pops him with a BIG KNEE that drops him, then unloads with a flurry that appears to genuinely end Coxís life. Seriously, the guy looks DEAD. Heís down for ages against the cage afterwards, holy shit. Replay shows Cox was out from the knee and Alves landed about eight punches on his unconscious corpse. Brutal stuff. Might be the nastiest finish of Thiagoís whole career and thatís really saying something.

Dan Bobish vs Ruben Villareal

Aw man, Warpath. Seriously, this guy looks like a total badass but just isnít that great, which is such a pity. In fact if he hit the roids heavily and got cut up he could easily step right into WWE with that look. 6í5Ē 280lbs apparently, too. Vince would love him. Bobish if I remember correctly was returning from a loss in PRIDE to Mark Hunt in the classic Dan Bobish PRIDE fight Ė dominate early, gas horribly, and get knocked out. Heís HUGE here, not that fat either, even dwarfing KOTC Icon Brad!

We begin and Bobish hits an easy takedown to side mount. Few elbows land for him and it looks like he could go for a kimura, but instead he just drops some vicious elbows while holding the arm down. Crude forearm choke follows and Warpath taps out.

Nothing to see there at all. Bobish just squashed the overmatched Warpath and finished with perhaps the lowest-level submission there is.

Jorge Gurgel vs Jason Ireland

This was of course prior to his TUF run, so at this stage Gurgel was still widely recognized as one of the top 155lbs prospects in the world, with his only loss to leglock expert Masakazu Imanari in Japan. I remember hearing about Gurgel back then and how heíd end up in the UFC and would tear things up there, which sounds pretty wild today, but just shows how well regarded the guy was. Ireland was a relative unknown as his career highlight (a fight in PRIDE against Joachim Hansen) was yet to come.

We begin and right away both guys come out swinging wildly before Gurgel grabs a clinch and forces Ireland into the cage. They muscle for position and exchange a couple of knees and punches from close range. Ref Herb Dean calls the break and Ireland lands with a leg kick. High kick lands for Ireland, answered by a pair of knees from the plum clinch from Gurgel. They trade back into the clinch and things slow down again so Herb calls another break. Big knee from Ireland and he wades forward, but Gurgel fires right back, showing a penchant for trading already. Good knees from the plum clinch for Gurgel and then he opens up with a WILD FLURRY on Ireland, who fires right back! Finally they slow up and clinch again and Gurgel looks for the takedown, but he canít get Ireland off his feet and they break off. Gurgel hits him with a high kick and follows with a superman punch, and they go into another SHOOTOUT and this time Jorge pays the price, as Ireland drops him with a combo! He looks to take the back, and then gets on top with Jorge in full guard. Punches from Ireland but Jorge spins for an armbar. Good escape from Ireland and he continues to land shots from the top, but the bell sounds before he can finish. Great round!

Second round and Ireland quickly throws a left hook into the clinch. Gurgel reverses him and forces him into the cage, but he canít get Ireland down and breaks off. Head kick lands for Jorge, answered with a left from Ireland that causes Jorge to clinch. Apparently he grabs the cage though so Herb breaks them and warns him. Ireland comes wading in with another flurry, but Gurgel grabs him and looks for the takedown before OPENING UP with a huge flurry that has Ireland in trouble! He manages to survive by grabbing a clinch before Jorge breaks off. And ANOTHER crazy trade follows with both men landing huge shots, snapping both menís heads all over the place and I have no idea how theyíre both still standing. They clinch again and this time Jorge begins to work him over with dirty boxing before breaking to land another massive flurry. Ireland has a chin of IRON. These guys are crazy as fuck. Jorge is outstriking him now and you have to think heís wondering what more he can do. More trading follows and the crowd are going wild. Frye-Takayama spot follows with both men holding the others head to deliver big shots. Ireland finally drops for a single leg, but Jorge avoids it and continues to land massive hooks! This is sloppy as hell but itís fun as hell too. Big knees to the body from Gurgel and he follows by dropping for a guillotine, but Ireland manages to work his head free and finishes the round with some ground-and-pound from the top! Wow. This is practically the best KOTC fight Iíve ever seen.

Final round and Ireland looks exhausted coming out. Good leg kick from Gurgel and he follows in with a combo into the plum clinch for some more knees. Dirty boxing follows and then Gurgel breaks off. Ireland looks too tired to fire back now. Big head kick from Gurgel and he follows with a wild flurry looking for the finish, but Ireland covers up and avoids some of it. He drops for a takedown, but Jorge sprawls back to avoid it and it looks like Irelandís nose has been shattered. Guillotine choke attempt follows from Gurgel and he sits up and forces Ireland into a kneeling position against the fence, and thatís enough to force the tapout.

Amazing fight along the same lines as Griffin-Bonnar, Garcia-Jung, Polakowski-Olaf, etc, in that it was very sloppy and neither guy showed top-class striking, but they came in and traded wildly from start to finish and that made it fun as hell. Pretty amusing that even back here when he was seen as a hot prospect, Gurgel had the tendency to get into mad trades rather than look to use his ground game! When he produces fights like this though, I donít tend to care. Both men came away looking like warriors and this is by far the best KOTC fight Iíve ever seen in terms of sheer excitement. Low-end FOTYC for 2005 in fact.

Michael Buchkovich vs Butterbean

As mentioned in the introduction, this was Butterbeanís MMA debut, before he went on to some ludicrous freakshow matches mainly in Cage Rage and of course in PRIDE with the likes of Minowaman and Rob Broughton. Unless you count the legendary KO of Bart Gunn in the WWF as MMA, that is. Opponent Buchkovich is also in appalling shape, although heís not as morbidly obese as the Bean of course.

Buchkovich circles on the outside and throws some jabs that miss before landing a low kick. Butterbean throws a wild overhand right that doesnít land cleanly and Buchkovich fires back but only makes Butterbean smile. Crowd randomly boo as the action slows for like a second, I guess Gurgel-Ireland spoiled them. Clinch from Buchkovich but ref Cecil Peoples separates them at record time. Literally nothing happens as Buchkovich stands right in front of the Bean but looks worried to commit. I donít think Butterbean has landed a thing yet. Brief clinch is broken off by Buchkovich and he lands some solid punches but doesnít really do much damage. This fight sucks. Buchkovich continues to strike from the outside before grabbing a clinch, but strangely Peoples breaks it instantly. No idea what that idiot is thinking. I understand the boos now. Butterbean charges forward but misses a wild shot and Buchkovich clinches and forces him into the cage. Clean break called again and Butterbean walks forward swinging, but he eats some decent shots from Buchkovich. Clinch again gets broken. Ten seconds to go and itís a staring contest. God-awful round. Crowd shower the cage with boos.

2nd round and thankfully this is a two-rounder. Pair of low kicks and a left hand from Buchkovich to open and he grabs the clinch and shoves Butterbean into the cage. Break called by Peoples and they restart and Buchkovich lands some jabs. Clinch and knees from Buchkovich and they trade some crude shots in the clinch before Buchkovich drops for the takedown. Butterbean defends it though and this fight is somehow getting worse. Break is called and they trade crap punches back into the clinch. They trade punches to the body in the clinch and the Bean lands a solid knee to the gut. Clean break follows but Buchkovich quickly forces him back into the fence before Peoples calls another instant break. Same thing happens again and weíre back to awful clinch fighting. Another break is called and Buchkovich lands a pair of straight rights back to the clinch and finally the ten second hammer sounds! And thatís it, thank god!

Judges inexplicably call it a draw, despite Butterbean pretty much doing nothing and Buchkovich clearly winning. But who cares? This was one of the worst fights Iíve ever seen in MMA, and let us never speak of it again. Buchkovich ALMOST redeems the whole thing though by getting the mic post-fight and yelling THIS IS BULLSHIT! before the promoters admonish him. Man has a point!

Joey Villasenor vs Brendan Seguin

This is for the KOTC Middleweight belt. Villasenor at this point was on a long unbeaten streak dating back to 2001 I think, and he was trying to get into the UFC constantly from what I remember. Why they never signed him Iím not sure Ė he even offered to sub for Joe Riggs against David Loiseau a few weeks prior to this, but they brought in Gideon Ray of all people instead. Video package though calls Villasenor ďarguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the worldĒ, which is hilarious. Seguin is just your solid KOTC competitor.

They circle and Seguin throws some jabs and avoids a big left hook and a high kick. Wild punches miss for Joey. Into the clinch and Villasenor muscles him into the fence where they exchange knees. Seguin breaks and pushes forward, but a BIG LEFT HOOK waylays him and he looks out before he hits the deck. Couple of punches finish it up.

Usual squash with a highlight reel finish from Villasenor, standard for his KOTC run. Why the UFC didnít snap him up at this stage I donít know.

Michael Westbrook vs Jarrod Bunch

Apparently both of these guys were former NFL players, Westbrook for the Washington Redskins, Bunch for the New York Giants. Erik Apple tries to suggest that this is a tremendous step for MMA, but my experiences with TUF 10 would suggest otherwise! Hindsight and all though so this is fair enough, and mustíve been a pretty big scoop for KOTC at this time in MMA, prior to the TUF boom and all. And hey, good for Westbrook and Bunch for wanting to fight in this period where there wasnít really the big money in the sport like there is today. Westbrook, for what itís worth, looks to be in far better shape than Bunch, ridiculously cut up like a statue.

We get started and they circle before Westbrook misses a sloppy kick. Half-takedown attempt follows but Bunch sprawls quickly. They continue to circle and then Bunch attempts a takedown, but Westbrook stuffs it and they muscle for position in the clinch. Westbrook shoves him away and then misses with an overhand right. Bunch looks gassed already, but pushes forward back into the clinch, only for Westbrook to tackle him down onto his back. Loose guard from Bunch is easily passed by Westbrook into half-guard. Full mount follows but Bunch clings on to prevent any damage. Finally Westbrook sits up and opens up with some big shots, and Bunch gives his back to avoid it. Westbrook gets the rear naked choke and it looks locked up, but somehow Bunch manages to survive. Westbrook lets it go, but remains on the back, and a second attempt at the choke proves more successful and forces the tapout.

Exactly what youíd expect really Ė these guys were clearly excellent athletes even if they werenít all that skilled Ė I mean, a seasoned fighter wouldíve sealed off that choke in seconds where Westbrook struggled, but it actually wasnít horrible or anything. Still, as shocking as it sounds I doubt either man would beat even say, Marcus Jones from TUF 10 which shows how far the level of training has come since the TUF boom. Wasnít horrible to watch, however.

-Erik Apple closes things out in the cage and thatís that.

Final Thoughts....

I actually enjoyed this for a KOTC show. The crap was kept to a minimum despite Butterbean-Buchkovich being unbelievably bad, and everything on the undercard ended in highlight reel fashion with the obvious high point being Thiago Alves committing legal murder. Best fight is naturally Gurgel-Ireland which makes the whole show worth a look really, just avoid the Butterbean fight like the plague and youíll be pleasantly surprised.

Best Fight: Gurgel-Ireland
Worst Fight: Butterbean-Buchkovich

Overall Rating: ****

Coming Soon....

UFC: 118-122, Fight Night 22
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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