Nick Palmisciano sent along the following:
2007 All Army Combatives' Invitational
at Ft. Benning GA
Monday Oct 13-14th, 2007
Close with and destroy the enemy.
That's what soldiers get paid to do.
And their ability to do just that was on full display during this weekend's All Army Invitational Combatives Tournament, which took place from 13-14 October, 2007 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The tournament, which pitted the best fighters from every Army unit against each other, is likely the most intense MMA event that you will find anywhere. To a man, every fighter in the competition was bent on the total annihilation of his opponent. Points were immaterial --they would mean nothing in combat.
That raw intensity, coupled with each warrior fighting as many as ten fights and no fewer than five in order to reach the championship and consolation rounds, made this an event that kept fan energy at a virtual frenzy. One MMA commentator, who requested anonymity, stated "This is amazing. The semi-final Pancrase rounds were better fights than any pro card I've seen this year."
While the whole field was impressive, the Fort Bragg team, led by team captain SSG Tim Kennedy, an undefeated IFL fighter, Iraq veteran, and Ranger Up TM Combatives co-founder; and coached by Greg Thompson of the always impressive Team ROC, was an unstoppable juggernaut throughout the event.
Kennedy's five fights lasted less than ten minutes. In the preliminary grappling rounds he dispatched his three opponents effortlessly, submitting by guillotine choke in 19 seconds, full mount arm bar in 2:47, and full mount collar choke in 1:42.
What did the hand say to the face? Slap!
In the Pancrase semi-finals, after receiving a full fisted punch to the face by an overzealous opponent, Kennedy shot a powerful double leg takedown, resulting in a full mount, and the onset of the most vicious series of open-handed strikes I have ever seen -- so much so that when the referee called a stoppage, the audience breathed a collective sigh of relief.
In the finals, which consist of full-contact rules sans elbow strikes, Kennedy faced one of his students, 1LT Carpaccio Owens, perhaps the most powerful fighter in the competition with a physique that would make Adonis feel like a schoolgirl. At the bell, Kennedy hit Owens with a right hook that left him dazed, and quickly achieved a takedown, resulting in a tough scramble where Kennedy took the rear mount and finished by rear naked choke. Kennedy's win made him the only three-time All Army Combatives Champion in Army history.
But Kennedy wasn't alone in the finals. Sgt James Tomko was the first Fort Bragg champion, winning the 125 pound flyweight division championship by referee stoppage due to strikes from the rear mount in the second period.
Tomko was followed by SGT Jason Kwost, who won the welterweight title when his opponent illegally spiked him into the ground in desperation after Kwost had locked up a devastating straight arm bar.
SO1 Dale Wooden, the only Navy representative in the competition, fell short of the finals when he was caught by an arm bar in the last seconds of his semi-final match, but fought back to win a decisive victory for third place when the referee stopped his match due to strikes in only 1:13 of the first round.
The Heavyweight finals were bittersweet for the Fort Bragg team. MSG John Long, a previous second and fourth place finisher in the tournament, finally achieved championship status with an impressive victory over his teammate, SGT Jeffrey Yurk. The fight ended when the referee stopped the fight due to strikes delivered to Yurk's ribs and face so powerful that the crowd was wincing with each landed blow. Until the finals, Yurk had torn through the competition.
When the smoke cleared, Fort Bragg had achieved 232 tournament points, and just like in 2006, sat atop of the Army's elite as the All Army Team Combatives champions. The next closest team was 95 points away. When asked about his team's success, Greg Thompson showcased his trademark modesty:
"I am just really lucky that so many talented guys ended up in my gym. I had very little to do with their success."
While we all appreciate Greg's desire to focus on his fighter's accomplishments, that's kind of like saying that Bill Belichick's been a "little lucky" to win a few games in the NFL...
Complete Tournament Results:
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT FLYWEIGHT 125 LBS
SGT TOMKO DEFEATED PFC POBLETE AT 2:28 IN THE SECOND ROUND DUE TO REF STOPPAGE
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT LIGHTWEIGHT 140 LBS
PFC BRAY DEFEATED SGT PORTILLO AT 3:21 IN THE SECOND ROUND DUE TO SUBMISSION
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT WELTERWEIGHT 155 LBS
SGT KWAST DEFEATED SPC NELSON DUE TO DISQUALIFICATION
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT MIDDLEWEIGHT 170 LBS
SGT COOPER DEFEATED SGT FOMIN BY UNANIMOUS DECISION
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT CRUISERWEIGHT 185 LBS
SSG SOUTH DEFEATED PFC TATE AT 2:08 IN THE FIRST ROUND DUE TO SUBMISSION
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 205 LBS (below)
SSG KENNEDY DEFEATED 1LT OWENS AT 2:22 IN THE FIRST ROUND DUE TO SUBMISSION
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT HEAVYWEIGHT 205 LBS
MSG LONG DEFEATED SGT YURK AT 1:37 IN THE FIRST ROUND DUE TO REF STOPPAGE
3RD PLACE BOUT FLYWEIGHT 125 LBS
SSG ROMERO DEFEATED SSG BIHL AT 3:34 IN THE SECOND ROUND DUE TO REF STOPPAGE
3RD PLACE BOUT LIGHTWEIGHT 140 LBS
PFC SANDEFUR DEFEATED PFC GEBHART AT 3:19 IN THE SECOND ROUND DUE TO REF STOPPAGE
3RD PLACE BOUT WELTERWEIGHT 155 LBS
SSG GUTIERREZ DEFEATED SGT PINIERO AT 4:40 IN THE SECOND ROUND DUE TO SUBMISSION
3RD PLACE BOUT MIDDLEWEIGHT 170 LBS
S01 WOODEN DEFEATED PFC STATON AT 1:13 IN THE FIRST ROUND DUE TO REF STOPPAGE
3RD PLACE BOUT CRUISERWEIGHT 185 LBS
SPC VILLA DEFEATED PFC GOEDE AT 1:13 IN THE FIRST ROUND DUE TO MEDICAL STOPPAGE
3RD PLACE BOUT LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 205 LBS (below)
SSG BRADLEY DEFEATED SPC LEHMAN AT 1:43 IN THE FIRST ROUND DUE TO SUBMISSION
3RD PLACE BOUT HEAVYWEIGHT 205 LBS
SPC SCHOONOVER DEFEATED SGT WIGGINS AT 2:18 IN THE SECOND ROUND DUE TO REF STOPPAGE
2007 COMBATIVES INVITATIONAL TEAM POINTS
1ST PLACE FT. BRAGG
2ND PLACE 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION
3RD PLACE 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION/ FT. BENNING
4TH PLACE FT. HOOD
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