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Ring Of Fire 30: Domination Detailed Results (9/15/07)

September 15, 1997 – Ring of Fire 30: Domination

Written by Bill Chamberlin

Easily the biggest MMA nights of the year in Colorado are Sven Bean's Ring of Fire promotions. Last night was no exception as we were treated to an 11 fight card that had it all.

The main event, was between UFC veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig and rising European star, Mario Stapel. Mario is a veteran of Shooto, Cage Warriors and hails from Hessen, Germany. Mario was a fill in replacement with two weeks notice due to the previously scheduled fighter having an injury. Even though he only had two weeks, he looked in great shape and seemed ready for battle.

When the bell rang, Duane's nickname became evident of why he has it. If some fighters have nicknames just to have one, Duane's is an informational one. He really does go 'bang' when he hits someone. Early in the first round, he cracked Stapel and gave an early knockdown. Not wanting engage on the mat, Duane let him up to continue the standup. Stapel wanted to take Ludwig down but was thwarted by an excellent sprawl defense. Ludwig dominated the entire time with heavy strikes and another knockdown from a front leg kick. His past K-1 experience demonstrated his excellent ring presence. Finally, after a heavy barrage of punches, the ref stopped the fight, TKO by way of strikes.

Later at the press conference, a gracious winner, Duane explained that he has had some problems staying focused for his career. A couple of wins, and then a loss and then some more wins. “Consistency”, he said has been his largest problem. When Stapel described Ludwig as a monster, and then was asked how to say monster in German, he replied, “monster” which drew a few laughs.

Possibly the bigger story of the night was the emergence of three fighters that had the crowd buzzing with their potential. These standouts were: Sean Doherty, Michelle Waterson, and Shawne Carwin.

Doherty, who recently fought in Tap or Snap, beat huge crowd favorite Miguel Martinez. Both fighters possessed mad grappling skills and while the crowd usually wants to see a standup slugfest, they cheered as these two rolled around in a fantastic display of Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Just when it seems that Martinez had the upper hand from the mount position, Doherty threw an arm bar on him. After Miquel did a masterful exit of the arm bar, Doherty put another arm bar on him again and finally won by submission. From cardio, coachablity, standup, grappling, clinch, Doherty is one of the best young prospects in the local scene.

If one fighter were to make it to the big leagues first, it would be Shane Carwin. Coming in at exactly 265, he looked like he cut weight for days to make it under the super heavyweight limit of 266. Build like a brick (out)house and showing an impressive standup, he completely overwhelmed his opponent Rick Slayton. Winning by TKO due to strikes in the first round, this was a total mismatch but at the same time, there just aren't many heavyweights that even look like he does or throw punches like him. It will be good to see him tested in the future.

If Carwin might have the best chance for the MMA big leagues, then Michelle Waterson is going to find stardom some time in the future with or without the UFC. Having appeared in the Oxygen channel's reality show, Fight Girls, and fighting most recently at Bad Boyz, she is doing everything right for her career. Oh yes. Did I mention she is hot? Known as the 'Karate Hottie', she has been a bikini model before but is now a full time fighter. Day job? “This is it”, she said. Modeling in the future? “Only if it relates to fighting”, she said. You would rather fight than be a model? “Absolutely, I'm all about becoming a great fighter”, she again replied and finally she was let off the hook. She really is committed to this and has stopped working her part time job and is focusing on her fighting career full time. She is tough, beautiful and she is smart too. This Aurora Central graduate was her Senior Class President, President of the National Honor Society, top 10 in GPA at her school. The only sports she did was cheerleading.

While her father is Caucasian, her mother is Thai. When her Thai grandmother become sick, Michelle left the U.S. to stay in Thailand helping her. It was in Thailand that she discovered Muay Thai. Growing up, she was always athletic and this gave her a way to continue he competitive spirit. Asked if she has trouble getting asked out, she laughed and said, “most guys have no idea what I do and also, I love to dress like a woman.” An answer without an answer.

Her opponent, Jaime Cook from South Dakota, came in with a strong standup rep and has won both her fights by TKO. Michelle mentioned that she prepared for Cook by watching her YouTube videos. When the round started, Cook stalked and threw punches and Waterson displayed excellent counter punching skills and ring presence. Most young fighters stand still and get hit and Waterson uses space to her advantage and can throw wicked punches and kicks while backing up. This fight would have ended standing up if Michelle wanted it too. After the first clinch and then ground game, Waterson submitted Cook with an arm bar for her second submission in a row.

The event itself was nearly a model of MMA promotion. While most local events bring in 800-2000 fans, ROF is consistently the big dog in Colorado. Even though Sven scheduled the event at the same time as the CU-FSU game only 7 miles away, the Broomfield Event Center (BEC) had approximately 4000 screaming fans. Compared to other venues, the BEC seemed more like a partner to Ring of Fire (ROF) in how much they helped run the show instead of leaving everything to the promoter.

Sven “Boogie” Bean is first and foremost a businessman that loves the sport. He sells when he is not trying to sell because of his enthusiasm. It would seem that ROF has sold every possible advertising spot in the arena. There are cards hanging down above the ring with ads, tons of VIP tables, vendors lined up in the hallway, the turnbuckles have sponsors, there are commercials on the big screen in between fights. With so many levels of revenue, it becomes evident why ROF is where it is.

It's not just the advertising that is different but also small details such as the long walkway the fighters enter too. The music starts, the fighter waits and then slowly enters so that when the song is nearly finished, they are in the octagon and they come into a professional light display, Before the fighters entered, a 30-second bio was shown on the big screen and ring girls would escort the fighters out to the octagon.

Of course, not everything in an event can run smoothly or perfectly. There were frequent sound problems with the music and then in between the fights, they would play hard-core punk. While I'm sure the fighters and their friends liked it, I think the demographic for the fans was missed. These were 80s rockers and didn't want to jam to teenage angst. On the program, there wasn't a red corner, blue corner format and the fighters didn't adhere to the red/blue format either. I mention this because it makes it easier to see who is whom during grappling and keeping score. Finally, there was no starting time for the event. I think the first fight started when they decided enough tickets were sold but the promotion didn't have a starting time listed that I could see. If you wanted to go, it could have been 1pm or 8pm for all you knew without calling.

When any event this size is run, its easy to nitpick small things to improve and these shouldn't take away from the fact that this was a classy promotion run by one of the best.

In the other fights:

In the first fight, Alfredo Corona took on Jason Ramstetter in the 155 lb prelims. Ramstetter dominated the ground game in all rounds and won by decision.

In the third fight, Brad Fox squared off against Ralston Baker. Both were strong in standup and Baker slightly won round one and two on the scorecard. Fox landed a brutal RLH kick and it seemed he would rush Baker for the win. Baker recovered and turned it on with a flurry of punches and eked out a victory. The ref stopped the fight due to strikes, TKO with a head cut.

Jesse Henley and Seth Bregman entered for the fourth fight of the evening. Henley took Bregman to the ground immediately in rounds 1 and 2 and delivered a lesson in ground and pound. Bregman proved that being covered in tattoos is no assurance for victory and was stopped by a rear naked choke.

Ken Seegrist and Anselmo Martinez both were willing to slug it out from the get-go. Both fighters expended a lot of energy throwing wild punches. While most were ineffectual, Martinez had the edge at the end of round 2. By round 3, both fighters had heavy head cuts and were bleeding profusely on each other, themselves, the mat, and anyone sitting nearby. This fight wins our “Rob Zombie” fight of the night for most bloodshed. The fight was eventually stopped by doctor's decision and while each was wounded, the win was given to Ken. Ken said something at the end that I didn't hear completely but he said thanks to his hairstylist or he said he is a hairstylist. Either way, it was good humor for the crowd.

In the 6th fight of the evening, Brandon Thatch took on Doug Saiz. Round one was dominated by Thatch in a mostly standup fight. In the second round, Thatch, taking instructions from his corner, took the fight down and gained full mount. From here, the fight was finished by TKO, ref stopped contest due to strikes.

In Jacob Hey vs. Jeff Striley, both were fighters from prominent camps and good resumes. Hey from the USAF and H.I.T. squad while Striley was from Scorpions Lair. However, the fight was lopsided and Hey won by TKO, ref stopped contest due to strikes.

In the 8th fight, Chad Reiner took on Chilo Gonzalez. Chilo pulled off one of the best local moves this year. Caught in a standing arm bar, Chilo picked up Reiner slightly above his head and slammed him back down, ala Quinton Jackson vs. Ricardo Arona. The crowd roared with approval and it seemed a victory was eminent. Somehow, Reiner pulled guard on Chilo and after giving a few strikes to the head, Chilo gave his back to him. It was a matter of time before Reiner won by a tap out via rear naked choke.

written by Bill Chamberlin

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