SMMART 2 (Scottish Mixed Martial Arts Rookie Tournament) Review

posted 14 Nov 2012, 15:55 by Master Wang   [ updated 15 Nov 2012, 13:33 ]

This past Saturday, the Aberdeen University All Around Fighting Club held their second SMMART (Scottish Mixed Martial Arts Rookie Tournament) event. After the success of their first event, the second event attracted a massive 41 entrants spanning across 4 weight classes; Featherweight (66kg), Lightweight (70kg), Middleweight (84kg) and Heavyweight (100+ kg).

This many competitors made the event one of the largest MMA events in Scottish history, all be it an amateur event. There were competitors from many different clubs ranging from Fife Clubs to clubs in Shetland and Inverness and The MMA show were there to cover the event! 

The first order of the day was the rules meeting. 

The basic rules of the fights were as follows; 

The fights would take place in a tournament format

You can compete in SMMART a max of 3 times but can not compete in SMMART if you have competed in C Class MMA or are too high a level grappler or striker.

All competitors were to wear a head guard, shin guards and 6oz gloves

No kicks to a grounded opponent – a new rule introduced after a freak accident at the last SMMART event. It is good to see that the organisers are willing to adapt the rules as they continue to learn the best way to keep fighters safe.

Knees to the head were forbidden at all times as were heel and wrist locks. Elbows were permitted to the body only.

Fights would take place over 2 three minute rounds

Organiser Marc Howes then stressed the core values of SMMART event which are safety, fun and friendship. Howes made it clear that he would stop a fight as soon as he thought someone was in any danger and emphasised that he did not want to hear the kind of shouting that is common place at most MMA shows (kill him etc). 

SMMART is designed to let rookies try competing in MMA in a safer environment than the standard C class rules. It allows people to see if MMA is for them and is much safer than your first fight being under the new C class rules. I wish such an opportunity had been around for me before I took my first C-class fight. There are many good reasons for competing in SMMART.

One such person who was using SMMART as a test of whether they wanted to compete in C Class MMA was Kevin McAloon. He told me that he wanted to try SMMART first and see how it went, before he thought about a C Class fight. This was the attitude of many of the competitors. I spoke to Kevin’s MMA coach Jimmy Grigor and he had pupils who were entering SMMART for the second time, which shows how much he values the event as a way for his students to progress. He told me about one of his students who after competing in SMMART 1 decided to compete in a C Class fight.

My friend Mark Keegan represented another good thing about SMMART – he has no aspirations of competing in C Class MMA but he wanted to test the skills he has been training in for the last couple of months. SMMART gives guys like Mark a platform to test their skills in a competitive environment without taking the plunge into C Class MMA.

I also spoke with a boy called Shawn Jameson from Dundee who entered after only 3 months of training. It would be madness for him to compete under full C Class rules, but the SMMART event gives him the chance to get a taste of competing MMA without having to take the risk of getting badly hurt in a C Class fight where there are no headguards and it’s a totally different ball game.

There were 37 fights in all in what was a very long but very well organised day. I have written a full breakdown of every fight, many of which I have also posted videos of. But I appreciate that is quite a long read, so here is a summary of how the day went.

Featherweight – Andrew Scoular from headhunters blitzed through his first opponent in devastating fashion. So devastating that the person scheduled to fight him in the semi finals pulled out as he did not want to get hurt. Scoular faced game opponent Cameron Hyde in the final. Hyde did his best to take the fight to Scoular but Scoular was just too good for Hyde and cruised to a decision. Scoular is more than ready to make the move to C Class MMA and I hope I don’t see him at another SMMART event – he is at too high a level for SMMART.

Lightweight – this for me was the story of the day. As I was typing away during a match, a chap called Dylan Cameron from Internal Warrior in Dundee casually mentioned that he had come from Dundee with NO CORNERMEN. He didn’t even have his hands wrapped. I offered to corner him. In his first fight he won with a guillotine. In his second fight he won via DQ. At the other end of the bracket, Spartan’s Ryan Hulse made his way to the final with a TKO and a submission win showing crisp striking skills on the way. Dylan met Ryan in the final and in just under 30 seconds, despite having the most awkward stand up I have ever seen (think Keith Jardine with long hair), Dylan completed the ultimate underdog story by knocking Hulse unconscious with a hook. Dylan was ecstatic. 

Welterweight – I was pleased to see two of my friends make it to the final. My team mate Mark Keegan from GCG used a disciplined wrestling game to dominate his two opponents en route to the final and Kevin McAloon surprised me by using his striking to get to the final. When they met in the final, Keegan’s wrestling was too much for McAloon and Mark Keegan took home the gold medal. However, McAloon was the most well rounded fighter on display showcasing both striking and grappling to a decent level. I expect McAloon to do very well if he does compete in C Class – was really impressed by his striking and I know first hand how good his grappling is.

Middleweight – two middleweights looked head and shoulders above the rest. Andrew Stevenson from Headhunters and Edgar Posnevic from ARFC dominated their opponents on the way to meeting each other in the final. Stevenson looked phenomenal all day and it was quite the upset when Posnevic floored him, and stopped him, with a crushing left hook. Despite the result, Andrew Stevenson is the name I expect to make most impact in Scottish C Class MMA when he makes the move.

Heavyweight – Lee Walker from TEI Karate won a sloppy fight against Craig Mitch from Immortals Gold Team to win the gold medal.

Round 1 of Heavyweight Final -

Round 2 of Heavyweight Final -

It was a great day of fights showcasing the up and coming talent in Scottish MMA with Scoular, McAloon and Stevenson all standing out as top prospects for the future. The level of striking was far ahead of the grappling on display with only a few fighters showing really good grappling as opposed to the many who showcased impressive striking skills. There were some really nice knock outs but very few submissions from the bottom. I am sure that I will see some of the fighters on show here fighting in C Class shows very soon. 

At the end of the show organiser Marc Howes announced that SMMART 3 will remove headguards and move up to 10oz gloves. This was greeted with cheers and was a popular move. It is good to see that the organisers of SMMART listen to feedback from coaches and fighters. I think it is a good move as it will provide an even more realistic picture of MMA to those who are doing it with a view to eventually competing in C Class MMA. For anyone thinking about competing in C Class MMA, I really can not recommend competing in SMMART enough. I caught up with Kevin after the show and he was glad he competed, as were all of the other fighters who entered. Well done to the Aberdeen Uni All Around Fighting Club for putting on the event and well done to ALL the fighters who stepped up to compete.

Fight of the night – Piotr Jachym (ARFC) v Andrew Stevenson (Headhunters)

KO of the night – Dylan Cameron

Sub of the night – Nikolas Dragovic

After the jump is a full review of every fight on the show, and plenty of videos of some top Amateur MMA action!

Featherweight – Quarter Finals

Abzal Bekin (ARFC) v Andrew Scoular (Headhunters) – Scoular drops Bekin with an impressive headkick straight out of the gate. Scoular doesn’t follow him to the ground and ruthlessly forces Bekin to stand back up. Scoular defends all of Bekin’s takedown attempts and continues to pick Bekin apart with his striking skills. Scoular drops Bekin again with a vicious leg kick and the referee stops the contest. Really impressive start to the show from Scoular. Crowd are stunned by Scoular with many audible “holy sh*ts” during that fight.

Derry Irvine (TEI Karate) v Vlad Marchis (ARFC) –  early takedown from Irvine.  Marchis attempts a guillotine and Irvine eventually escapesm using punches to soften Marchis’ grip. Irvine throws some weak strikes from top. Marchis ties him up and there is really not much going on. Referee stands them up and there is a nice head kick from Marchis. Marchis lands another one then gets a takedown into guard top. Marchis is unable to do much on top and Irvine throws up a triangle Marchis does the first Rampage slam of the day but the triangle is still on. Marchis starts throwing knees to the ass and escapes, ending the round in mount. 10-9 Marchis. 

Round 2 - Marchis comes out with wild punches. Irvine gets the takedown and has the back. Irvine comes too high on the back without hooks and Marchis scramble to guard top. Marchis passes to side control and is unloading some ground and pound, especially knees. Marchis moves to mount and this quickly becomes high mount. Lands some power strikes and with Irvine unable to defend himself, the referee stops the contest.

Nijinsky Reed (Headhunters) v Cameron Hyde (ARFC) – Hyde out of the gate fast, landing punches, a vicious knee and then stuffs a takedown attempt from Reed with an excellent sprawl. Hyde stands up, forcing his opponent to do the same. Nice leg kick from Hyde and a straight right drops Reed. Reed tries for another takedown and is clinging on to Hyde’s leg but eating shots. Reed finally lands the takedown but straight into a guillotine. Reed taps out fairly quickly. Impressive win from Hyde.

Andrew Wilkie (TEI Karate) v Ed Reynolds (ARFC) – worth noting that Wilkie weighed in at 53kg which is 13kg under the featherweight limit and at least 7 kg lighter than anyone else in the featherweight division. The two fighters clinch right away and Reynolds lands some nice uppercuts. Reynolds looks for the takedown and gets it. Wilkie turtles up and Reynolds is relentless with ground and pound. Reynolds looks for a guillotine choke and Wilkie taps quickly. Impressive domination from Reynolds but Wilkie is not happy with his performance.

Featherweight – Semi Finals

Andrew Scoular’s potential semi final opponent pulled out as he did not want to get hurt, so Scoular advanced to the final.

Andrew Wilkie (TEI Karate) v Cameron Hyde (ARFC) – Wilkie rushes out the gate with a big power punch and they clinch. Frantic back and forth battle. Beautiful hip toss from Hyde who secures a crucifix from side control and latches onto a kimura. Wilkie is forced to tap. Impressive display of grappling from Hyde, who books a place in the final with the scary Andrew Scoular. Talk about a double edged sword!

Featherweight - Final

Cameron Hyde (ARFC) v Andrew Scoular (Headhunters) – there is a clear buzz in the hall as we finally get to see Scoular fight again. Scoular is a specimen! Starts with a lightning quick leg kick from Scoular. Hyde rushes him and gets dumped on his neck for his troubles. Scoular is similar in style to his team mate Andrew Stevenson, but a bit quicker. Scoular warned for a kick on the ground. Scoular lets Hyde up just to chase him and floor him with another vicious leg kick. Frantic and impressive ground and pound from Scoular. Smashes past the guard into side control. Scoular stands up and lands some more vicious hammer fists. Hyde rushes Scoular and takes him down! Comeback is on. Scoular stands up and they both flying knee each other. Mental. Scoular rag dolls Hyde to the mat. They get back to their feet only for Hyde to get taken down again. 10-9 Scoular

Round 2 – Hyde comes out the gate with a spinning back kick. Fair play to him for keeping going, taking it to Scoular. Scoular just throws him to the floor. Passes guard easily. Scoular looking for a crucifix and he gets it and starts landing some punches. He is cooking Hyde in side control. He just holds the side control until the end of the round and picks up an easy decision and wins the featherweight gold.

Lightweight – Quarter Finals

Dean Spratley received a bye into the semi finals

Ryan Hulse (Spartans) v Damon Mckenzie (ARFC) – Hulse immediately establishes his range and is landing punches at will. Really impressive boxing on display from Hulse and Mckenzie has no answer for this. Hulse plants his feet and unloads on Mckenzie and the referee has seen enough. Very good striking display and victory from Hulse.

Dylan Cameron (Internal Warrior MMA) v Anthony Palmer (Fusion) – Cameron straight out the gate with what seems like a dozen hooks. His hooks are a strange sight to watch, being thrown in a very awkward/unique way. The fighters clinch and Palmer lands a few knees but Cameron is still relentlessly throwing straight punches. A nice leg kick lands from Palmer. Palmer looks for a body lock takedown and gets caught in a guillotine. Cameron falls to his back with the guillotine sunk in deep and Palmer is forced to tap. 

Stuart Baxter (Urban Disturbance) v Ablaykhan Beken (ARFC) – a lot of attention paid to this fight as it is the debut of the infamous Stuart Baxter aka RomeoBlood. Baxter wearing rainbow spats. They exchange hands and Beken shoots for a takedown. Baxter does well to sprawl. Really good sprawl from Baxter and he stands up after landing one nice punch to Beken. Beken throws a kick but Baxter lands a hard stiff jab. Beken looks for the takedown and this time gets on top. Baxter doing a good job of controlling Beken’s posture from the bottom. Referee stands them up due to inactivity. More nice straight punches from Baxter to back Beken up in the corner. Again Baxter sprawls on a takedown from Beken. Beken ends the round with a lovely judo hip toss. 10-10 in my opinion. Baxter dominated the stand up and although Beken spent a large portion of the round on top, he did nothing with it.

Round 2 – Beken opens the round with a front kick to Baxter’s face. Then a jumping front kick to the face! Followed by a jumping front kick to the stomach. One last front kick to the stomach crumples Baxter and the referee stops the contest. I would love to know what Beken’s corner said to him in between rounds.

Lightweight – Semi Finals

Ryan Hulse (Spartans) v Dean Spratley (Urban Disturbance) – Spratley opens with a body kick and that leads to a flurry of punches  with Hulse backed up in the corner. An overhand right gets Hulse and then another perfectly aimed overhand right from Hulse has Spratley hurt. Another overhand right from Hulse who is now pushing forward, having found his range. Hulse catches a kick but Spratley manages to stay upright. Spratley latches onto a guillotine and falls to his back, then rolling to mount. Hulse pulls his legs over Spratleys head and uses that to escape the mount. Hulse effortlessly passes to side control and starts connecting with ground and pound. Spratley gets to his knees and looks for a take down. He falls straight into a guillotine and is forced to tap out. Great back and forth fight, with Hulse showing nice submissions to complement his earlier TKO victory. 

Dylan Cameron (Internal Warrior) v Ablaykhan Beken (ARFC) – Cameron again showing off his somewhat unorthodox boxing guard (it really has to be seen to be believed). Cameron throws a flurry and Beken secures a body lock. Cameron does well to reverse and end up on top. Cameron continues to throw flurries from guard top, just as he would if he were standing. Beken doing a good job controlling Cameron from the bottom although not threatening with submissions or sweeps. Cameron lifts Beken up, who takes his chance to double leg Cameron and get on top. Beken drops for a foot lock and Cameron stands up. Both back to their feet. Beken throwing more front kicks that had success for him in his first fight. Beken shoots, Cameron sprawls and ends the round on top. 10-9 Cameron

Round 2 – Beken opens up with a nice leg kick which leads to an exchange of hooks between the two. Cameron attempts a head kick and Beken responds with a few straight punches. Cameron backs Beken up to the turnbuckle and these two are swinging! Beken starting to find a home for his jab. Beken shoots for a double leg but Cameron stuffs it easily and winds up on top. Cameron doing his best to stay busy on top with punches. Beken rolls Cameron and gets on top. Cameron throws up a triangle and rolls to mount top. Beken attempts a heel hook which is illegal and the referee disqualifies Beken, again showcasing the event’s absolute emphasis on fighter safety. 

Lightweight – Third Place

Ablaykhan Beken (ARFC) v Dean Spratley (Urban Disturbance) – Beken lands a hard body kick to start the fight. Spratley lands some punches in the corner. Beken catches a kick and gets on top. Beken quickly begins a ground and pound assault and grabs a guillotine as Spratley tries to get to his knees. Beken rolls to mount and this one is over as Spratley taps out.

Lightweight – Final

Ryan Hulse (Spartans) v Dylan Cameron (Internal Warrior) – Hulse lands first with a body kick and follows it up with a nice jab. An overhand right from Hulse just misses and they clinch. Cameron pressures Hulse into the corner and starts throwing a wild flurry of hooks. One of them lands right on the button and Hulse is knocked unconscious. Cameron wins the lightweight tournament and the ultimate underdog story has a happy ending. Incredible KO.

Welterweight – Last 16

Kirk Craigan, Kevin McAloon, Mark Keegan, Andy Dunton and Chris Kearney all receive byes to the quarter finals.

Shawn Jameson (Internal Warrior) v Akan Samenov (ARFC) – Jameson pushes Samenov to the corner but the headguard comes off, so we get a restart. Nice hip toss from Samenov and he quickly moves to mount. Jameson is trying to buck him off but it’s not working. Eventually Jameson does scrable to guard top but is caught in a guillotine. Jameson is forced to tap when Samenov really cranks the choke.

Geroge Klados (ARFC) v Tomasz Kopka (Headhunters) – both throwing kicks to start the action. Klados has a HAIRROW! Nice right hook from Kopka opens up Klados for a flurry. Klados is hurt and Kopka is stalking him around the ring unloading with big bombs. A stiff jab hurts Klados again and Kopka lands a few more that drop Klados. Kopka quickly takes the mount and starts to unload. Referee stops the fight. Pretty impressive striking on show there from Kopka.

Alex Shaltout (ARFC) v Greg Smith (Satorishido) – Smith is an early front runner for best team name of the day. Both fighters clinch and Smith gets a quick takedown. Shaltout is in the turtle position and Smith unleashes some nasty Ground and Pound. From there, Smith takes the back lightning fast and secures a Rear Naked Choke which forces Shaltout to tap.

Welterweight – Quarter Finals

Kirk Craigan (Fusion) v Akan Samenov (ARFC) – both throwing wild hands to begin. Craigan throws a flying front kick and this fight is wild. Phenomenal back and forth fight on the feet, neither fighter having established an edge yet. Craigan looks for the clinch. Samenov is pushing Craigan up against the turnbuckle.  Samenov’s back is covered in Craigan’s blood. Samnov pushing Craigan against the ropes and Craigan drops for a guillotine and the round is over. Tough round to score but Samenov controlled the centre for me. 10-9 Samenov. 

Round 2 - Samenov ties Craigan up against the ropes. Craigan reverses and lands a nice knee. Craigan gets a double leg but is rolled to mount. Samenov has the guillotine from mount top and Craigan is forced to tap. Good fight. Medic in to check on Craigan. 

Kevin McAloon (Focus on the Ground Gold Team) v Tomasz Kopka (Headhunters) – great hook from McAloon rocks Kopka. McAloon follows that up with a few front kicks and a hard leg kick. McAloon continues to pepper Kopka with hard punches. Referee stops it due to a nasty cut caused by the very first hook. McAloon looks a killer in there – very impressive how he handled Kopka, considering Kopka’s impressive performance in his earlier fight.

Mark Keegan (GCG) v Andy Dunton (ARFC) – Dunton lands a jab early but Keegan rushes him against the ropes and lands a huge takedown into side control. Dunton gets back to half guard. Keegan moves to mount. Postures up and lands some heavy shots. Keegan doing a great job of holding the mount. Postures up again to land even more strikes. Dunton trying everything he can, but he can’t get Keegan off of the mount. Keegan moves up to a high mount. At the end of the round Dunton bridges and rolls Keegan and ends up in guard top but it’s too little too late. 10-9 Keegan

Round 2 – Dunton misses with a leg kick. Keegan pressures him against the ropes and takes the back standing. Beautiful leg trip takedown from Keegan into side control. The most impressive wrestling of the day so far (and I’m not just saying that because I train with him. Keegan again moves into mount but Dunton escapes his hips quickly this time. Dunton tries to stand up but Keegan takes his back. Dunton shakes him off and is in guard top. Nice reversal from Keegan who moves to half guard top. Great top control from Keegan, who looks very comfortable on top. Keegan ends the round on top and wins a clear decision.

Greg Smith (Satorishido) v Chris Kearney (Urban Disturbance) – both exchanging kicks to the legs and to the body to begin with. Kearney lands the right leg kick a few times and Smith responds with a left body kick. Kearney easily stuffs a pretty horrible takedown attempt from Smith. Smith throws a hard right straight at Kearney but Kearney blocks it. Smith ducks under a right hook and drives Kearney to the turnbuckle. Kearney ties him up and lands two hard knees to the gut. Smith tries a leg trip takedown but still can’t get Kearney down. Again, they are both throwing kicks at each other, neither an really dominating the kicking battle. Kearney lands a hard leg kick which buckles Smith. They clinch and Smith lands a nice knee. Two consecutive leg kicks from Kearney. Stiff jab from Kearney visibly hurts Smith who again tries a takedown. They clinch and Kearney throws a few knees, but one goes low. Smith gets time to recover. They restart and Kearney lands a beautiful right hook – by far the cleanest punch of the day and Smith is rocked. Smith desperately looks for a takedown but ends up on his back in guard bottom. Kearney passes to side control to end the round. 10-9 Kearney

Round 2 – vicious leg kick from Kearney and another one drops Smith. They clinch and exchange knees and one particularly brutal knee from Kearney sends Smith to the canvas and the referee stops the contest. Kearney showed good takedown defense in this match and good striking – impressive performance.

Welterweight – Semi Finals

Kevin McAloon (Focus on the Ground Gold Team) v Akan Samenov (ARFC) – McAloon opens with an attempted front kick to the face. McAloon lands a nice head kick. Then another one which rocks Samenov and McAloon instantly follows that up with a powerful left hook that finds the mark. Samenov pushes McAloon against the turnbuckle. McAloon trying to keep Samenov at bay using a diverse kicking game. Nice stiff jab from Samenov. McAloon remembers he is a grappler and hits a beautiful double leg takedown, by far the best takedown on the day so far. McAloon looks really good in half guard top, showing a solid top game and ending the round in control on top. 10-9 McAloon. 

Round 2 – McAloon opens with a nice leg kick and lands a hook. Samenov misses with a wild right hook. McAloon tries a head kick but it’s off the mark. Nice body kick lands from McAloon. Samenov pressures McAloon to the turnbuckle but McAloon pummels to double underhooks and reverses. They battle in the clinch and McAloon has found his way round to the back standing! They fall to the ground and McAloon sinks in the rear naked choke for the submission win. McAloon showing his grappling skill in this fight in addition to the excellent striking he has displayed in both his fights. Without doubt the most well rounded fighter on display.

Mark Keegan (GCG) v Chris Kearney (Urban Disturbance) – Keegan throws a few straights immediately initiates a clinch and lands a leg trip takedown straight into half guard top. Impressive, considering how excellent Kearney’s takedown defense was in his first fight. Keegan lands a few shots from half guard top but Kearney recovers to full guard. Kearney scrambles up but Keegan gives him no air and sticks to him with a bodylock. Another leg trip takedown from Keegan into half guard top. Keegan passes to mount and instantly takes a high mount. Keegan unloads with multiple vicious hard right hands – at least 12 unanswered strikes from top. Keegan lands another ten or so straights and with Kearney showing no signs of escaping and not defending himself from the barrage of strikes, the referee stops the contest.

Welterweight – Third Place

Chris Kearney (Urban Disturbance) v Akan Samenov (ARFC) – Kearney lands a nice jab. A hard leg kick from Kearney briefly drops Samenov who gets straight back and launches a flurry of his own punches. They clinch and there is a frantic exchange of punches between the two. Samenov is finding a home for his jab. Really nice jab, leg kick combo from Samenov. They clinch and after a brief battle, Samenov lands a trip takedown into half guard. Samenov passes to side and then quickly to mount. Samenov locks in a guillotine from the top and Kearney is forced to tap out.

Welterweight – Final

Kevin McAloon (FOTG Gold Team) v Mark Keegan (GCG) – no surprise to me that the two best grapplers in the whole competition meet each other in the final. Keegan shoots straight away and McAloon does better than all of Keegan’s previous opponents. He stays upright and lands some knees from the resulting clinch. McAloon reverses and has Keegan pushed against the ropes. They separate and both miss with punches. McAloon throws a leg kick and Keegan times his shot perfectly and wraps McAloon up in a bodylock. Keegan really fighting for the leg trip takedown but McAloon is doing a good job of staying on his feet. Keegan presses McAloon up against the turnbuckle. McAloon lands a nice knee and fights his way out of the turnbuckle. Another knee has Keegan back pedalling and McAloon follows up with two straight punches. They clinch and a knee from McAloon has Keegan down on one knee. Keegan manages to get a trip takedown from the position and ends up in half guard. Keegan stays on top until the end of the round. 10-9 Keegan – he controlled the ring and the takedown made all the difference in a tight round.

Round 2 – McAloon keeping Keegan at bay with the jab to begin the round but Keegan spots his chance, throws a straight right and gets a body lock on McAloon. Yet another leg trip takedown into half guard from Keegan, a takedown that nobody has been able to stop. Keegan looks comfortable on top and is holding the position well. McAloon eventually manages to recover guard and throws up a triangle but Keegan postures out of it and settles in guard top. Keegan tries to pass but McAloon does well to retain guard. Keegan content to stay in top position but then throws some big strikes from the top. McAloon throws up a hail mary triangle but it’s too little too late and the round is over. 10-9 Keegan – he spent almost the entire round on top. Keegan wins the decision and takes home the welterweight gold medal after three excellent performances. That was the most technical fight of the day. McAloon is devastated at the end but he has no need to be as he was easily one of the most impressive fighters of the day, and certainly the most well rounded fighter on display.

Middleweight – Last 16

Edgar Ponsevic (ARFC) v Csaba Hajszian (Fusion) – both these guys are physical specimens and there is a clear buzz in the hall when these two step in the ring. Both bears! The excitement is lifted further when the very first uppercut from Ponsevic sends Hajszian’s headguard flying off. They reset and there is a vicious leg kick from Ponsevic. Hajszain is literally chasing him round the cage. This is insane. Hajszian rocks Ponsevic with one of the many haymakers he throws. Ponsevic recovers and is pushing the pace controlling the ring. Ponsevic throws another nasty nasty leg kick. Ponsevic drops his hands showboating and then drills Hajszian with a left hook followed by three straight rights. Another leg kick from Ponsevic followed by three more straights. Finally, the two behemoths catch each other and clinch. Ponsevic shrugs Hajszian off. Nasty teep from Ponsevic to end the round. 10-9 red. 

Round 2 - Left right combo from Ponsevic and Hajszian is staggered right out the gate. Hajszian is backing up a lot in this round being very defensive. Ref steps in to check on Hajszian and he’s fine to continue, even though he is bleeding a bit. Nearing the end of the round and both are gassed. 10-9 red. First decision of the day goes to Ponsevic. 

Rejus Zemaitis (ARFC) v Jonny Manson (Jigoku Shetland) – both trade kicks early. Zemaitis stuffs a poor takedown attempt from Manson. Zemaitis receives a warning from the referee after punching Manson whilst he was adjusting his headguard, again re-enforcing the show’s emphasis on safety. Zemaitis has an advantage on the feet and he’s doing a good job stuffing takedowns. They clinch and Zemaitis drops Manson with a nasty knee and this is over. 

Andrew Stevenson (Headhunters) v Pawel Rozenbajger (ARFC) – both throwing wild hands to kick things off. Stevenson is pushing the pace and finding a home for his strikes. Stevenson easily stuffs a takedown and moves to the back. Stevenson keeping busy with ground and pound. Rozenbajger rolls to guard bottom but Stevenson is keeping busy with the ground and pound.Blue in guard top keeping busy. Rozenbajger throws up a hail mary triangle attempt and it looks close, but Stevenson is saved by the bell.10-9 Stevenson.

Round 2 - Rozenbajger throws a leg kick, slips, and eats a few shots. Stevenson easily sprawls on a Rozenbajger double leg attempt. Stevenson moves to side control and sets up a crucifix and this is bad. Rozenbajger gets back to guard eats more shots. Stevenson survives another triangle attempt and passes to side control. Stevenson landing some nice ground and pound, holding side control well. Stevenson moves to mount.  Arm triangle and this is over. Rozenbajger did well to survive as long as he could but I am not sad to see him go as his name is a nightmare to type! Stevenson looked like a killer in there.

Eduardas Stankevicius (ARFC) v Connor Faichney (TEI Karate) – Stankevicius drops Faichney with a punch and ushers him back to his feet. Stankevicius throws Faichney to the ground and steps away again. Stankevicius throws a kick and he is on his back after Faichney catches it and takes him down. Faichney lands some nice shots from on top. Stankevicius scrambles to guard top and shows some really nice ground and pound. Faichney gets the sweep and is in mount. Then moves to the back with hooks in. Ten seconds left and Faichney can’t get the choke but ends the round on the back. 10-9 Faichney for this judge – he was on top for longer even though he ate more shots. 

Round 2 - Faichney lands a superman punch and almost a head kick. Massive overhand from Stankevicius misses and Faichney tries a takedown but winds up on his back. Stankevicius looking for mounted guillotine. Stankevicius rolls to his back to try and finish the choke. Big mistake as Faichney winds up in side control top. Faichney with elbows to the body and then he gets a crucifix. Faichney moves to mount and lands some real hard shots and the ref lets it go as long as he can. Ref stops the fight. Stankevicius showed real talent in glimpses but just made a few positional mistakes. 

In one of the weirder images of the day, I see two men swap cups!?

Craig Guthrie (Spartans) v Nikolas Dragovic (ARFC) – the trend of each middleweight fight having one name that is impossible to spell continues. Guthrie opens with a nice leg kick. Guthrie attempts a takedown and after a bit of a battle against the ropes, he gets it, landing in half guard top. Dragovic catches a kimura that looks nasty and rolls Guthrie over and yanks the kimura from the top, forcing Guthrie to tap.

Middleweight – Quarter Finals

Michal Szczepanek (Immortals Gold Team) v Nikolas Dragovic (ARFC) - Dragovic rushes forward with strikes and Szczepanek takes him down. They scramble to their feet and Dragovic winds up in guard top. Not much happening. Dragovic postures out of an armbar and they’re back standing. Nice stiff jab from Dragovic. Both are now  throwing haymakers. Dragovic shoots and Szczepanek is sprawled on him. Tough round to score, I’d actually call it a 10-10. 

Round 2 - Some nasty knees from Dragovic in the clinch. Szczepanek takes him down into guard top. Stalemate on the ground for quite a while. Referee finally stands them up. Dragovic rocks Szczepanek to finish the round. Another close round as Szczepanek was on top for most of the round but did nothing with it and then Dragovic rocked him at the end of the round. I am inclined to give another 10-10. Glad I’m not judging as we need a winner as it is a tournament. WOW, referee shocks the hall by calling it a draw and declaring one more round, TUF style! Dragovic sprawls on Szczepanek doing well not to get taken down. Szczepanek reverses to on top and stalls in the top position until the end of the round and wins the decision. His corner go absolutely berserk.
Piotr Jachym (ARFC) v Andrew Stevenson (Headhunters) – both exchanging hands to start. Stevenson has Jachym hurt. Stevenson landing a nice jab, right leg kick combo again and again. Stevenson sprawls on a Jachym double leg. Stevenson has the back and they scramble to their feet. Stevenson stuffs another takedown and this time winds up in side control. Beautiful reversal from Jachym to get back to the feet. 10-9 Stevenson.  Stevenson looked phenomenal in that round against a good opponent in Jachym

Round 2 -  Jachym floors Stevenson with a stiff jab. Comeback is on and the crowd are loving it! Jachym is a bit tired. Beautiful combo lands from Jachym back on the feet. Both guys swinging for the fences. Stevenson throws a nice left-right combo and follows it up with two hard knees. Both guys leaving it all in there. Vicious body and head kick from Stevenson to finish the round. 10-9 Stevenson. There won’t be a batter more skilled fight than that all day and that fight would not have been out of place on any established Scottish C-Class MMA event. Hat’s off to both fighters. Stevenson looks like the real deal.

Edgar Ponsevic (ARFC) v Connor Faichney (TEI Karate) – Faichney opens up with a front kick. Ponsevic returns fire with a considerably harder hook and a knee which drops Faichney. Ponsevic lands a few shots on the ground but they’re quickly back to their feet. Faichney attempts a takedown clearly not enjoying standing with Ponsevic but ponsevic hits him with punches and he hits him hard! Ponsevic is an absolute bear. A mean knee from Ponsevic floors Faichney again and this time Ponsevic does not let him stand up. He pounces on the grounded Faichney and unleashes some of the most ferocious ground and pound of the day. Facihney is helpless and the referee rightfully calls a stop to the fight. Dominant performance from Ponsevic.

Rejus Zemaitis v Ventislav Mramorenski – Zemaitis throws a front kick and Mramorenski catches it and tries for a takedown, but is unsuccessful. Mramorenski lands a hard shot but gets a bit excited and slips, failing to capitalise. They trade punches and a hard left from Zemaitis has Mramorenski back pedalling. Zemaitis stalks him to the turnbuckle and sends him crashing to the floor with a flurry of punches. Ref checks on Mramorenski and he is OK to continue. Zemaitis lands the takedown and gets to mount almost immediately after the restart. He starts dropping punches and this time the referee stops it.

Middleweights – Semi Finals

Edgar Ponsevic (ARFC) v Michal Szczepanek (Immortals Gold Team) – there is a real atmosphere in the hall as massive crowd favourite Ponsevic takes on Szczepanek who has quite the army of (noisy) supporters himself. Both are tentative to start until Ponsevic lands a nice leg kick. Ponsevic hurts Szczepanek with a left hook. Another nasty leg kick lands from Ponsevic. Szczepanek seems very reluctant to throw anything. Szczepanek attempts a takedown and Ponsevic easily fends him off, throwing Szczepanek to the mat. Ponsevic pounces, showing more relentless ground and pound like we saw in his earlier fights. Ponsevic ushers Szczepanek to his feet and they circle for a while and the round ends. 10-9 Ponsevic

Round 2 – first significant strike is a hard leg kick by Ponsevic. Similar to the first round Szczepanek attempts a takedown and Ponsevic throws him to the mat. Ponsevic does not engage him on the ground and they’re back standing. Another leg kick from Ponsevic, who is finding a home for the leg kick everytime. Ponsevic easily stuffs another double leg attempt. Ponsevic’s cornerman complains about swearing from Szczepanek’s corner which is a shame to hear. Ponsevic lands a stiff right. 10-9 Ponsevic and Ponsevic takes an easy decision to advance to the final.

Rejus Zemaitis (ARFC) v Andrew Stevenson (Headhunters) – Stevenson gets a takedown and lands in half guard. Controls Zemaitis well and then moves to mount. He has a strong mount and ends the round in the mount. 10-9 Stevenson

Round 2 – Stevenson lands a nice jab. Both are trading and then Zemaitis drops Stevenson with a stiff hard jab. Back on their feet and Stevenson lands a single leg after a battle in the clinch. Stevenson from here passes to side control and then to mount. He holds the mount until the end of the round and wins a convincing decision.

Middleweight - Final

Edgar Ponsevic (ARFC) v Andrew Stevenson (Headhunters) – Ponsevic connects with a stiff jab. Stevenson comes in throwing but eats a hard uppercut which wobbles him. They trade punches for a while before Ponsevic unloads with a HUGE left hook that floors Stevenson and the pro Ponsevic crowd erupts as the referee stops the contest. Ponsevic takes gold in the middleweight category in what has to be considered an upset considering how sensational Stevenson had looked in his prior fights.


Lee Walker (TEI Karate) v Craig Mitch (Immortals) - you can tell these are the heavyweights because one of them tries to fight in a shirt. Walker drops Mitch with a punch and sprawls on him. Walker attempts a guillotine but fails. Someone is bleeding. Walker is picking Mitch apart on the feet and this is hard to watch. Mitch pins Walker against the turnbuckle and they both go crazy throwing punches from the clinch. Referee checks on Mitch and he is OK to continue. Mitch goes for his fourth double leg of the fight and for the fourth time fails. 10-8 Walker – that was an absolute beatdown.

Round 2 - Mitch really wants a takedown. Walker sprawls on another of his attempts and ends up in side control. Walker is grounding and pounding from side control. Walker moves to mount and starts teeing off. This is really nasty. Thankfully, the referee stops it before Mitch is badly hurt.

Winner and Heavyweight Gold Medallist – Lee Walker (TEI Karate)

James "decision " Scott