The last time I went to a Total Combat show was about one year ago when it was held in the aging iPayOne Center here in San Diego. The event marked the MMA debut of a gentleman named Thierry Sokoudjou, now on everyone’s radar after having knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona in his last two appearances. It’s hard to believe the transformation Sokoudjou’s made over the past twelve months, considering in his debut appearance he eked out a rather unnotable decision victory over Gary Padilla.
Similar to the emergence Sokoudjou has made, Total Combat seems to me to be a very different animal entirely than the promotion I saw last July. I will be honest with you: I left before the fights ended last time. The fighters seemed very mismatched, making for quick and lopsided victories, and the amount of time the Total Combat ring girls, the “Combat Dolls”, spent dancing far outweighed the time one spent watching fights. This time around however, the fighters were much more evenly matched, and the dancing was judicious. (I have to give my vote to Total Combat for having the most attractive ring girls of all MMA promotions.) I’m sure my change of opinionis also due to it being held in a much nicer and more intimate venue, a place called the 4th & B.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was on hand to enjoy the fights, and was quickly swarmed by fans for the duration of the night. Like Tim Sylvia, Rampage seems to be wearing his belt whenever he goes out in public since his victory over Chuck Liddell. Unlike Tim Sylvia, I don’t think Rampage will take much slack for it. Rampage has fan goodwill in surplus. Other MMA fighters of renown who were present included Jason Lambert, Eddie Sanchez, Dean Lister, and of course Thierry Sokoudjou.
Two of the Combat Dolls
- Team Hostility’s Jesse Newell defeated Matt Covan in round three by verbal submission
- Chuck Graves won a unanimous decision over the aggressive Frank Lester
- Joshua Williams of the San Diego Fight Club destroyed Danny McWilliams in round one.
- Courtney Thomas manhandled his opponent Paul Almanza for a first round TKO.
- The popular Shannon Gugerty triangled Joe Moreira’s fighter Joe Nicholas by a triangle in round two.
- Team Quest’s Jesse Taylor beat Jorge Ortiz by TKO in round two. For nearly every moment of this match the imposing Taylor rained punches onto Ortiz from inside Ortiz’ guard.
- Joey Beltran of the North County Fight Club defeated Tony “The Tiger” Velarde by kimura in round one from half guard to win the Total Combat heavyweight title.
- Toby Imada defeated Zack Light by armbar in round one.
In sum it was a terrific night and I will definitely try to not miss future events. Thank you Total Combat for renewing my faith in local shows.