The Weekly Wrap: June 27 - July 3

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By Jack Encarnacao Jul 4, 2009
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.

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Bobby Lashley, the 255-pound muscle-bound former professional wrestling star, cruised to victory on June 27 when he faced one of the few opponents who can greatly outsize him. Lashley improved to 4-0 in mixed martial arts, as he hit a double-leg takedown on the 322-pound Bob Sapp and forced him to tap out to ground-and-pound while inside the half guard of “The Beast.” There was not much to glean about Lashley from the 3:17 fight. His potential in the sport has been a consistent topic of discussion in the MMA blogosphere following the crossover success of another massive former professional wrestler, UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

The super heavyweight bout served as the main event for a rather odd pay-per-view, Fight Force International “Ultimate Chaos,” staged at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss. While the charismatic Sapp has for years been one of the top MMA attractions in Japan, this was his first time -- and likely last -- headlining a stateside pay-per-view. Lashley, who as a professional wrestler was prominently featured in the most-bought PPV in World Wrestling Entertainment history in 2007, was headlining his second MMA pay-per-view; he received top billing on a Roy Jones Jr.-promoted event in March. While salaries for the show were not released, Lashley was reportedly set to earn $80,000 for the fight and Sapp $70,000, plus a $20,000 bonus if the pay-per-view topped 100,000 orders, according to the Wrestling Observer.

Lashley, who trains with American Top Team, told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show he wants to fight twice more in 2009, with the next bout in late August or September. MMA pioneer Don Frye told Fight Network Radio he’s in negotiations to fight Lashley, who revealed plans earlier this year to compete inside the Florida-based Extreme Fighting Championship promotion in September.

“Ultimate Chaos” was the first MMA pay-per-view promoted by Full Force International and Prize Fight MMA. Fight Force has been running boxing and MMA events in the Gulf Coast region since 2001, and Prize Fight has promoted boxing events in the region for years. Prize Fight created an MMA arm earlier this year after the sport was legalized in neighboring Tennessee. While the team had experience promoting live fights, there was a noticeable lack of savvy on the television side. The production values of “Ultimate Chaos” left a bit to be desired, at times resembling the awkwardly paced, dingy presentations of the early 1990s UFCs. Sponsors did in-ring interviews in between fights in place of commercials. Ringside commentators were “Colonel” Bob Sheridan, Seth Petruzelli and Dave Ferguson.

In the night’s co-main event, Gilbert Yvel knocked Pedro Rizzo unconscious in an emphatic first-round victory. Yvel threw a head kick that grazed Rizzo and caused him to drop for a woozy takedown attempt. Yvel rained down devastating punches until Rizzo was out cold, the referee allowing at least three more shots than were necessary before stepping in. Both heavyweights were loaned to the event by Affliction, who has them under contract.

“Ultimate Chaos” ended up having a significant bearing on Affliction’s Aug. 1 “Trilogy” event. Yvel’s victory earned him a match against Paul Buentello on the card, this after Buentello’s original opponent, former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, was forced off after being knocked out by Roy Mercer three weeks ago. Brett Cooper, who was set to face Deividas Taurosevicius at “Trilogy,” had to bow out following his knockout loss at the end of an overhand right from Waachiim Spiritwolf. Mark Hominick will reportedly replace Cooper against Taurosevicius on the Affliction show. Finally, a medical complication with UFC veteran Din Thomas forced him off “Ultimate Chaos,” which opened the door for his planned opponent, Javier Vazquez, to secure a spot at “Trilogy,” as well. Vazquez told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” he will likely fight L.C. Davis in a featherweight matchup on the Affliction card.

A last-minute medical complication threw the Vazquez vs. Thomas bout out of whack. Thomas weighed in at 146.6 pounds and claimed he was given the impression he had made weight. He began to rehydrate but was later told by the athletic commission that he needed to hit 146. He attempted the cut again, a process that caused medical problems, including vomiting. Thomas told MMA Junkie Radio that Vazquez’s camp insisted he pay Vazquez 20 percent of his purse for the fight, but he declined. Vazquez admitted he did tell the commission he wanted Thomas to make weight but did not personally make a big issue out of the situation nor insist on the cut of Thomas’ salary. Mark Kergosien, a Gulf Coast fighter, stepped in for Thomas and was put away in a minute via a seemingly effortless Vazquez guillotine choke.

Affliction’s front man, 42-year-old Tom Atencio, also competed at “Ultimate Chaos,” as he defeated local John Dixon trainee Randy Hedderick in impressive fashion. It was Atencio’s second professional fight. Hedderick dropped Atencio twice in the first round, once with a series of right hands and later with a body kick when Atencio attempted a spinning back fist. Atencio was in peril but came out stronger in the second round and laid in hard ground-and-pound. Hedderick suffered a rib injury during the blitz, which prevented him from answering the bell for the third.

Also picking up wins at “Ultimate Chaos” were Chris Horodecki (rear-naked choke submission against William Sryiapai), Colin McKee (tapped out Lance Thompson with strikes), Brandon Harder (an arm triangle submission against John Harris) and David Orso (defeated “The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Danny Abbadi by unanimous decision in the main card opener).
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