Saturday, 28 August 2010 - Rotorua Girls High School
The atmosphere was electric at the Rotorua Arena, with the crowd baying for the Honour Cage Fighting debut show to kick off, and deliver some action. UFC warriors battled it out on the big screen to keep the salivating masses in check, while the fighters finished preparing for a night of Mixed Martial Arts action.
The evening's action began with a novice bout between Corey Governor (Fight Shop NZ) and Ricky Campbell (Strikeforce). Corey stayed true to his name, and governed the fight from start to finish with an impressive wrestling and grappling display from the novice fighter. A unanimous decision was awarded to the Governor.
Kicking off the undercard fights was a light heavyweight battle between Scott Walker (Groundworx BJJ) and Mike Kirkwood (Faith MMA). Kirkwood started the fight with a fury, snarling like a beast and displaying some solid wrestling, but it wasn't enough to overcome Walker's classy BJJ skills. Despite a failed leg bar submission Walker put Kirkwood through, a Jiu Jitsu clinic in the second and third rounds secured a unanimous decision by way of nasty elbows from the full mount.
The next match up saw two gigantic heavyweights slug it out for MMA supremacy. Ron Amosa (Strikeforce) cast a shadow with his imposing 110 kg frame, but he paled in comparison to his 135 kg opponent Jaime Jolley (McGyver/Gracie). Jolley clearly had an energised crowd on his side, which went wild when Amosa failed a takedown attempt on his vastly heavier opponent. But realising he wasn't going to get Jolley on his back with his wrestling, Amosa decided to put him on his rear with his fists. He launched a massive right hook to Jolley's temple to earn a knockout victory 55 seconds into the first round.
Fight four was a titanic battle between two 90 kg behemoths: T J Masters (McGyver/Gracie) and Tipene Bond (Ngakaunui). Masters suffered early on against Bond's clinch knees and rear naked choke attempts, but came back in the third round, unleashing a thunderous right hook that sucked the fight right out of Bond, and splattered crimson all over the tarmac. That lethal punch earned Masters a unanimous victory.
Fight five upped the stakes even higher, with Vaughn Antonio (Fight Shop NZ) overcoming Shannon Dillon (Strikeforce) in the opening seconds with a big right hook. But Dillon showed the heart of a lion, and brought the pain to Antonio in the second round with some meaty takedowns and stinging ground and pound. The pair exchanged exhausting periods on the receiving end of good BJJ, bringing the fight to a climactic slugfest with neither warrior gaining ascendency. The duel ended in a rare majority draw.
Glen Le Couteur (McGyver/Gracie) proved he had an iron jaw, absorbing three rounds of clinical striking from Dominic Bond (Faith MMA). Bond's efficiency proved he was the better fighter however, and he took the bout unanimously.
The intensity of the show kicked up a notch when Mark Aberlardo (Strikeforce) and Pauma Campbell (McGyver/Gracie) squared off to decide the better middleweight warrior. Campbell couriered a stunning spear knee straight into Aberlardo's torso early in the first round, sending him straight to the deck. But Aberlardo surprised the crowd, getting straight to his feet and fighting back with a series of successful takedowns, coupled with vicious ground and pound. Campbell continued to use his knees with deadly accuracy, but lacked the power to halt Aberlardo's steady dominance; Aberlardo won the fight by split decision.
A hatrick of knockouts followed. Bjorn Reiresson (Fight Shop NZ) finished the main card off by delivering a stabbing knockout punch to Yakob Brown (McGyver/Gracie), 33 seconds into the first round. Roman "The Legionnaire" Hunt (Strikeforce) gave Danny Wairasi (Faith MMA) a painful surprise in the first of the main event fights. Wairasi oozed cockiness, running his hands through his 80s perm before touching gloves with his opponent. But 'The Legionnaire' was on the hunt for a knockout, and delivered a devastating overhand right that sent Wairasi sprawling, and counting fingers. 'The Legionnaire' got the win, and the prize for best knockout with his evening record 15-second power punch.
The main event delivered what was almost a replica, much to the crowd's disappointment. Ali Clarke (McGyver/Gracie) proved he owned a slice of his namesake, and unleashed a barrage of heavy punches that quickly overwhelmed his opponent Rob Joyce for another 15 second knockout (Fight Shop NZ). Despite a brief main event though, crowd consensus was ecstatic - Honour Cage Fighting has begun!