Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Recaping ONE FC Honor and Glory

Recaping ONE FC Honor and Glory
by rick olivares

Nik Harris wins 2nd ONE FC fight against Brad Robinson
In all of Malaysian Nik Harris’s victories, all of them have come by way of stoppage. During ONE FC Warrior Spirit in his hometown of Kuala Lumpur, Harris beat the crap out of Indonesian foe Zuli Silawanto that he chose not to answer the bell for the third round giving the former his first ONE FC victory and fifth win in seven matches overall

Watching Harris from up close and from afar in the days leading to ONE FC Honor and Glory, he seemed like someone who was going for a pick-up basketball game rather than a MMA fight. He was animated, noisy, and even overly ebullient.

Against American Brad Robinson, he looked even more out of place as he was scrawny and lacking that chiseled and tattooed body that seems to be prevalent among MMA fighters. And unlike his match against Silawanto, Harris was more cautious against the American.

The first two round saw both fighters trade punches but no haymakers. Harris did land more and telling kicks. Robinson backed him up against the cage to attempt to batter his foe or set him up for a takedown but Harris proved stronger than he looked.

An unfortunate kick to Robinson’s gonads forced a temporary stoppage as the American needed a breather. Upon the fight’s resumption, Robinson, known as “Vanilla Gorilla” vented his anger and frustration by landing a couple of solid shots on Harris. But the Malaysian countered and proved difficult to put away.

In the third round, Harris landed a kick on Robinson but got hurt in the process. As he backpedaled, the American quickly realized that he had an opportunity to put away the Malaysian. Harris kept a clear and good head about him not succumbing to panic. He managed to hold Robinson at bay while landing some solid shots and his one and only one-two combination. Then he gave Robinson a different look with a running kick that surprised the American.

Harris’ aggressiveness in the last round and terrific defense against a takedown attempt gave him some points that served him well in a split decision awarded to him.

The Malaysian’s streak of stoppages ended but the sixth win, second in the ONE FC, was the more important one (while Robinson suffered his first loss in three matches).

Expect more from Harris in the cage. Not on the basketball court.

Rahman rocks Tan like a hurricane
Radeem Rahman gave his hometown Singapore fans plenty to cheer about when he rocked Malaysian Raymond Tan like a hurricane in the first match of the main card of ONE FC Honor and Glory.

Entering the Singapore Indoor Arena to The Scorpions’ heavy metal classic, “Rock You Like  A Hurricane,” Rahman soaked in the cheers of support for a crowd hungry for a homegrown fighter to bask in ONE FC glory.

Unfortunately, at least for the first round, it didn’t appear they’d get their wish.

Dazed and bleeding after a first round beating from Tan who staggered the Singaporean with a nasty upper cut that had Rahman weak at the knees, the hometown hero, back in the ONE FC cage after three years, showed no signs of ring rust as he came back mightily in the second round. Rahman actually mounted some late offense in the first round with a takedown but Tan quickly reversed it and landed some hammer fists.

Tan, standing six feet tall, used his length and superior reach to devastating effect. As he closed in for the kill after the first round uppercut, it looked like the crowd that cheered Rahman’s entrance would have to watch the rest of ONE FC Honor and Glory in silence and disappointment.

But Rahman took down Tan twice in the second round. He attempted to slip in an armbar. When that didn’t work, he gave Tan a dose of his own medicine by whaling away at the fallen Malaysian.

The referee stopped the fight when Tan could no longer defend himself giving Rahman second win in two outings. Tan fell to 2-2 with the loss.

Parry-Ngalani bout declared a no contest
Englishman Chi Lewis Parry was aggressive from the opening bell as he attacked Hong Kong national Alain Ngalani.

Dwarfing the smaller Ngalani, Parry looked to make short work of his foe. Except a powerful knee – intended for the stomach – instead hit the former in the crown jewels.

After several minutes of stoppage, Ngalani said he could no longer continue forcing the referee to declare the fight a no contest.

Frankly, I think Ngalani punked out after seeing that there was no way he was going to defeat Parry. Don’t think we’re going to see this dude in the ONE FC again.

Major Overall preempts the World Cup with a kicking finish
Major Overall made a stunning ONE FC debut when he knocked out Brazilian No-Gi champion Bruno Pucci with a powerful right and a soccer kick to the head in the first round.

Pucci looked to overwhelm his American opponent on the canvas but the wily Overall slipped away. With Pucci on his back, Overall pretended to wade in and kick at him.

Referee Yuji Shimada stepped between them as a precaution as the American backed away with a grin on his face.

Moments later, he landed a solid right that caught Pucci flush on the face. As the Brazilian fell, this time Overall rushed forward and kicked him at the head for the knockout.

Major Overall went to 4-1 while Pucci suffered his first loss in four matches.

Fodor forces Ni to submit
Caros Fodor finally got that badly needed win when he forced Dutchman Willy Ni to submit via kimura in the first round.

Fodor was all over Ni from the get-go. After taking down Ni, he popped the Dutchman with an elbow that saw his forehead balloon real fast. Seconds later, he was able to slip in the submission move to his ninth win in 13 matches.

It was a huge win for Fodor, the former King of the Cage, Strikeforce, and UFC fight who has lost three of his last ONE FC fights. Unfortunately for Fodor, a former US Marine, those three loses – including his ONE FC debut win against Yang Seung Ho -- all came via decision whether unanimous or split.

This time around, he left no doubt as to the outcome with a telling victory.

Jadambaa deals Banario his third consecutive loss via UD win
Honorio Banario fighting to regain his honor and lost glory will just have to wait for another opportunity. If it comes his way. The former ONE FC featherweight champion lost steam and the fight to Mongolian Narantungalag Jadambaa via unanimous decision after taking a pounding in the third round.

The lone Filipino bet in ONE FC Honor and Glory looked good in the opening round as he staved off the Mongolian with a variety of strikes and stinging kicks. But Jadambaa showed he was rock solid in absorbing the Filipino’s punishment. He served it back in the second round but the Banario came back strong to finish the round.

With the match pretty much even at that point, Banario gained some huge points with two takedowns including a body slam. But the Mongolian – as he did throughout the match – displayed terrific takedown defense. He threw four solid shots to Banario’s right side. When he backed him up against the cage, Jadambaa hit him with some solid knees or punches to the midsection.

When it was all said and done, the 38-year old Mongolian proved to be tougher as he raised his win total to 9-3-0. Banario fell to 8-4 with four loses in his last five matches.

Vincent Latoel knocks out Eddie Ng in controversial referee stoppage
Vincent Latoel decked Eddie Ng with a right. Before Ng could get up, the Dutchman threw two lefts that had the Hong Kong national staggering backwards. Thinking the fight over as the referee waved him off, Latoel turned around but spied Ng getting back up. Thinking it was still on, Latoel lunged to take another shot but Yuji Shimada pushed back Ng.

The fight – the co-main event of  ONE FC Honor and Glory -- was over and Latoel had his 19th win in 35 matches as Ng tumbled to 7-2-0.

As the crowd angrily booed what they thought was premature stoppage, Ng, in one of the classiest moves I have ever seen, graciously told the crowd to respect the referee’s decision because fighter safety was paramount. As Shimada was separating him from Latoel during the stoppage, Ng looked bewildered and surprised that the fight was over. For the fans, it didn’t look like it was over and that he merely took some hard shots. His takedown defense before the end was terrific as Latoel couldn’t send him to the canvas.

The crowd applauded politely after Ng’s gesture but the grumbles and boos continued until the main eventers were ushered in.

Askren's smashing debut
Bakhtiyar Abbasov sent a message by taking down Ben Askren with a monstrous slam. But the takedown, using Askren’s words, was “like the fly falling into the spider’s trap”. Once on the mat, Askren’s wrestling pedigree shined. He reversed the position from the bottom and dominated the rest of the round by holding a hapless Abbasov down. The Azerbaijani absorbed so many head shots that he switched into an indefensible position where Askren forced him to submit via an arm-triangle submission. In his post-fight victory, Askren called out current ONE FC Welterweight World Champion Nobutatsu Suzuki to defend his belt in their next scheduled bout.

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