Worked Shoot

Worked Shoot #6: Affliction Day of Reckoning Review

Affliction: Day of Reckoning recently took place on Saturday 24th January. The good news for UK fight fans is Bravo broadcasted the follow up Affliction event just a day later at 9pm on Sunday 25th January. So many of us got to see the event without the need to attempt finding it on the net.
Here is the show reviewed as shown on Bravo.
The Affliction brand returns to pay per view and the MMA big-time. They are joined by Russia fight promotion M1 Global and multi millionaire Donald Trump. A new addition to the on air team is non other than former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz. Tito known as a talker coupled with being an MMA fighter seems a good choice for commentary on the sport. He joins the voices recognised to M1 Challenge (Bravo 2 week nights) viewers as their commentary duo. There is another recognised face from the world of the UFC working on this show none other than referee “Big” John McCarthy, making a welcome return to MMA refereeing since no longer working for The Fight Network. As the show starts there is a big time international feel at the hotly anticipated second Affliction branded event. The card is perhaps more comparable to a Pride FC show or one hosted by K1 Dynamite despite no Japanese fighters taking part.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski – WAMMA Heavyweight Title

What a huge match-up this is! In what can be seen as UFC vs. Pride as Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski the former UFC World Heavyweight Champion invades Affliction against the supposed best heavyweight mixed martial artist in the world. Can Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko be toppled off his thrown by the second monster of the octagon thrown at him? Fedor goes in once again as the smaller man versus the much taller Arlovski but the thing to remember about Fedor is he is one hell of canny veteran when it all kicks off. The last Pride Heavyweight Champion packs one hell of a knock down punch plus he”s great on the ground at making his opponents tap-out. Many have fallen by the wayside against Fedor including Noguira back in Pride, a former champion himself. The argument against Emelianenko currently is the lack of decent competition put his way. Another criticism aimed at “The Last Emperor” is that by not signing up for a fight deal with the Zuffa brand it implies the Russian Sambo master is running scared of the best competition the UFC has to offer. So far he”s beaten Tim Sylvia a former UFC title holder at the last Affliction pay per view – Banned, he didn”t get the opportunity against Couture who almost signed with Affliction but was not able to due to legal reasons. That clash of two legends not happening was out of his control but has left MMA fans still eager to see it happen someday. He has all the fame and money he wants in the east having fought in Japan as well as his home country of Russian where he is a national hero. Oh yes even their President Vladimir Putin is a huge fan of Fedor! Hopefully this heavyweight clash will answer some of the questions and perhaps stop the doubting Thomases.
When the combatants entered the squared-circle you could tell something huge was about to happen. Arlovski made his way to the ring carrying a dual flag representing both his native Belarus and his adoptive home the USA. Stood in front of each other you could really see the height difference as Andrei towered over the thick set Fedor.
Round 1
The fight starts off appearing pretty even as each fighter sets their distance. Andrei defends Fedor”s takedown attempts with power holding him off in the clinch and cutting the ring off following strike exchanges. Cleary Arloski the bigger and stronger fighter takes the upper hand. Andrei seizes his opportunity as he flies in with a knee attempting a lethal attack on the Russian. Fedor whacks him hitting him right on the button! The combined power of Arlovski jumping towards Emelianenko and Fedor”s own punching power knocks the big Belarusian right out! Giving “The Last Emperor” another huge win within the first round. Affliction, please stick around as I am coming back for more! Fedor is awesome there is no two ways about it.
Result: winner Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko in 3:34 of Round 1.

Post fight analysis
Putting the Fedor vs Arlovski fight into a traditional martial arts context it’s all Yin Yang! You beat someone by making their strength their weakness; it’s the classic Crane vs. the Snake as was Brock Lesnar against Frank Mir where Mir was the Snake winning by submission on the ground. Going back to the pro wrestling comparisons Fedor vs Andrei was WWF vs. WCW with Arlovski representing the second half of the Outsiders following Tim Sylvia. So who will be the Hulk Hogan? Well that would be none other than Josh Barnett. After all he is already there and getting some boos to boot, it appears. Oh yeah he is big and blonde and American after all, so there is your Hulk Hogan.
Post fight Tito Ortiz congratulates Fedor on another successful fight for Affliction and questions him on the possibility of fighting Josh Barnett next. Fedor says he is his friend and fighting Barnett is not on his mind. The big question is though will M1 and Affliction pair them up for the next pay per view or would another ex UFC name sign on the dotted line challenging Emelianenko for his WAMMA strap? It could be argued Josh has not fought someone in the top end of the Affliction roster to deserve a title fight but it is early days for the MMA fight brand but he is of the right pedigree to challenge to the Last Emperor. Fedor versus a bigger recognised name would sell more tickets and PPV buys it could be argued also. Ultimately regardless of how the bouts are promoted and where the fighters loyalties lie if Affliction continue to put together more wicked fights like this on the top of the bill they will have a lot of success. Whether Fedor can keep his crown and remain at the top is a story the fans of MMA want to follow.

Paul Buentello vs. Kiril Sidelnikov

Further down the card we saw American brawler Paul Buentello in action against Kiril “Baby Fedor” Sidelnikov, a member of the fight team – Team Red Devil captained by the event headliner Fedor Emelianenko. The Russian youngster trained by Fedor put up a tough fight but not enough to overcome the experience of veteran Buentello. Buentello racked up his second victory in Affliction in round 3 via TKO following the ringside doctor”s call because of the damage inflicted to Kiril”s eye.
Result: winner – Paul Buentello in Round 3, TKO

Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Rameau Sokoudjou

What a great opportunity to see two former UFC fighters in action. For Sobral it was a return to form. Sokoudjou a world class Judoka, was great defending Sobral”s takedown attempts but he was outclassed versus the veteran Babalu. Sobral”s who has paid off eventually. Babalu snatched the win in round 2 using via Anaconda choke nearly putting Sokoudjou to sleep, who appeared very groggy afterwards.

Result: winner – Renato “Babalu” Sobral Tap Out in round 2

Matt Lindland vs. Vitor Belfort

This one sided contest was short lived for Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland who got knocked down and completely out by Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort in 37 seconds! Vitor the former UFC Light Heavy Weight Champion dropping down to middleweight for the first time looked terrifyingly awesome in his destruction of the Lindland the Olympian. Post fight it took some time for Lindland to make it back to his feet. The medical team and teammate Dan Henderson aided Lindland. The crowd applauded when the fallen warrior Lindland made it to his feet showing their appeciation.

Josh “The Baby Faced Assassin” Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel

Before the heavyweight main event we saw two other world class heavyweights go head to head. The tough but technical Barnett representing Pro Wrestling knew before getting in there with Yvel Gilbert he knew he would have his hands full. Yvel has a history of fighting dirty and doing whatever it takes to win, which has caused his fights in the past to end in disqualification for the dirty fighting Dutch kick boxer.
The fight was a one hell of a battle of wills. Barnett dominated on the mat with utilising Catch Wrestling skills but in the process took some heavy hits from the dirty Dutch Yvel. Barnett maintained the advantage attempting many submissions and pounding punches from the top position nearly winning many times. Whenever Yvel did manage to break free of Barnett”s ground grappling Yvel was soon brought back down again. Eventually Yvel could take no more punishment and taps, wanting no more punishment.
I have got to say as a long time pro wrestling fanatic I loved it when Barnett followed Yvel”s tapping out by doing a “throat slit” signifying the end! Paying homage to wrestling greats former Four Horseman Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit.
Post fight there are boos, but were they directed at Barnetts”s unspectacular win or towards Tito Ortiz as he quizzes Josh on being a possible challenger to Fedor”s throne? Josh shares with us that he wanted to give the fans a classic finish by knockout or submission victory but struggled with breathing problems due to a nosebleed and constant swallowing of blood.
Result: winner – Josh Barnett Tap Out due to strikes in round 3