The line-up had been overhauled and improved in the days leading up to the eXtreme Fighting Championship 8 Event in Vernon, BC. The seats were nearly sold-out by fight time on Saturday, October 10th. The under card and main card were action packed. The crowd was boisterous and obviously very glad to be there. In short, everything seemed to be going off more-or-less without a hitch.
Then, after an unforeseeable turn of events, the main event was canceled. Bill Mahood (17-7-1), the event's primary organizer and current King Of The Cage light-heavyweight champion, personally broke the news in the ring. Though visibly disappointed, the crowd was more-or-less accepting of the announcement. It was difficult to be upset because the scheduled main event, between Tyler Jackson (8-6-1) and Nolan Clark (3-5), was called off by a doctor when Clark developed a serious case of vertigo backstage. It's easy to speculate that nerves may have gotten the better of the Kamloops native, but, unless you've ever fought professionally, and I certainly have not, you're in no position to criticize. That's for sure.
Clearly, the blown final fight can't be blamed on EFC 8's capable team of organizers who hailed from Langley's Revolution Fight Team. As well as running the event, they also brought several members of their stable of fighters to entertain the crowd. It was a good night for their gym, with Revolution's fighters going 2-1 in their pro fights and 4-1 overall.
The gym's stand-out performer was easily Charlie Zac (2-2) who beat Kelowna's Brendan Frost by TKO in an official time of just 12 seconds. To be honest, it seemed even quicker. Zac was gracious in victory as he humbly thanked his trainers in a thick European accent. Revolution's Rakan Khatib also finished his pro fight in the first round. To his credit, Khatib's opponent, Kelowna's Derek Marchand, had been very game up until being finished by arm bar submission. Revolution Fight Team's only loss of the evening came when Iron Dragon MMA's Leith Optland (1-1) slapped an arm bar on Revolution's Jules Russel. Optland weathered an early storm from Russel that included some punishing take downs, but the Westbank-based fighter persevered to lock in the submission in the dying seconds of the first round. In his post-fight speech, Optland got a laugh from the crowd when he gushed over Russel's power and openly stated that he really didn't expect to win. It was a great show of class and sportsmanship. Congratulations are in order to both fighters for this highly entertaining scrap.
Iron Dragon MMA's other pro fighter, Brian Coldwell (2-0), was also victorious. Coldwell, who was originally scheduled to appear in the night's main event, scored a TKO over Toronto's Micheal Khardas. Coldwell appeared much larger and better conditioned than his self-taught opponent. Yet, Khardas, the smaller man, opened up the fight with some effective striking and a solid take down. As the fight wore on, Coldwell began to inflict damage with increasingly powerful ground-and-pound before ultimately finishing his turtled opponent with piston-strikes from above. It was, nonetheless, an inspiring performance by the clearly outmatched Khardas, who got a rise from the fans by entering the ring dressed as a Hasidic Jew.
The only professional fight that did not involve fighters from either Revolution or Iron Dragon was a highly technical dust-up between Mark Delgato (0-2) of Kamloops' Champion's Choice and Dan Lin of Vancouver's Franco's Pancration. The tussle began with some leg kicks by Kamloops' Delgato, but the match soon became a back-and-forth ground battle. At one point, Delgato had a triangle locked in pretty tight and was attempting an arm bar as he dangled from a standing Lin. Mark Delgato even managed to transition that position into a full-mounted triangle. From there he was able to rain down a few unanswered blows to Lin's head. However, it was Vancouver's Dan Lin who ultimately won by ankle lock late in the first round. This was a truly great fight for grappling aficionados, and anyone who appreciates outstanding athleticism.
Of course, there were many noteworthy moments on the amateur card as well, but you'll just have to pay to get in next time to find out about all that...or you could check out my quick results below. Ha! Seriously though, watching MMA live is something I do whenever I get the chance and I can't recommend it highly enough to any MMA fan. I'd also like to thank the organizers, particularly the guy working the door. Despite being obviously busy, he took time to chat me up a bit about the card as I was waiting to get in. He was a great ambassador for Revolution MMA, which (again) organized the EFC 8 event. A big thanks to everyone involved.
A few more notes:
~ It was announced that eXtreme Fighting Challenge will return to Vernon in April of 2010.
~ Bibiano Fernandez (7-2), a Revolution fighter and the recent winner of DREAM's Feather Weight GP and championship title, made an appearance as a guest judge for an exhibition grappling match between two fifteen-year-olds. By the way, one of those young fighters finished with a slick triangle choke.
~ The Vernon Morning Star is reporting that King Of The Cage is trying to line up a November 28th show for Vernon's 3000+ capacity Wesbild Centre.
~ Apologies to Iron Dragon MMA, I would have linked to your site if I'd been able to find it. Contact me any time you want at firstname.lastname@example.org