Another Early Wins Lands Hollett MFC Title

By Rob King and Chris Harding Aug 25, 2007
EDMONTON, Alberta, Aug. 24. -- Roger Hollett (Pictures) picked up his seventh victory tonight at Maximum Fighting Championship's "Lucky 13" card inside the River Cree Resort and Casino as he dismantled UFC veteran Victor Valimaki (Pictures) to win by referee stoppage at 2:06 of the opening round to claim the MFC light heavyweight title.

Looking calm and patient from the beginning, Hollett picked apart Valimaki on their feet on route to the stoppage.

"I stuck with my game plan," said Hollett, a 28-year-old product of Halifax, Nova Scotia. "My game plan was to keep it on the feet and pick him apart on the feet."

The fight began with Hollett looking to explode on his feet while Valimaki, not wanting to be a quick victim like so many of Hollett's opponents before him, awaited an opening. Valimaki saw one and shot in, but Hollett countered with an attempted guillotine.

After a break, the two exchanged a series of punches and kicks that were evenly matched. The tide began to change when Hollett landed a left jab that backed Valimaki off. While it looked like it was a clean power shot that stunned Valimaki, a swollen right eye seconds later suggested it might have been an accidental grazing of the thumb in the eye that caused Valimaki to back off, which he confirmed in a post-fight interview.

"I got caught in the eye and couldn't see anything out of my right eye," the 26-year-old Valimaki said in the ring immediately after the fight. "After that he hit me with some hard shots again and again until it was over. I want to fight him again."

After the fight, doctors rushed Valimaki (9-5) into his trailer, where media was not given access and the fighter did not avail himself for further comment.

"I hit him with the left hook and that was effective. If there was any contact with the eye, it was unintentional," Hollett told Sherdog.com.

Hollett then closed in on his victim, stalking Valimaki around the ring before catching up and landing a kick to the head that sent the UFC veteran back into the ropes and down to the canvas. Hollett followed him down and landed hammerfists to the back of the head before Valimaki said no more and tapped to the punishment at 2:06 of the first round.

"I knew I hurt him," said Hollett. "I knew I hurt him and I just hit him again and again and again and that was it."

Valimaki, with his eye swollen shut, give the champ his props after the fight but clearly showed disappointment in his performance. It appears he will get a chance at redemption on Oct. 13 in Halifax at the next Extreme Cage Combat show, which will feature a rematch between Hollett and Valimaki, this time with both the MFC and ECC light heavyweight titles on the line.

"It sounds good to me," Hollett said after the fight. "I knew I had to be careful; Valimaki was the champ for a reason and I had to be careful. But my game plan worked to perfection."

Watching from ringside, UFC fighter Jason MacDonald (Pictures) agreed.

"Roger fought that fight to perfection," MacDonald said. "He looked fantastic. The question coming in for me was the experience: did Roger have the experience to hang with Victor. He answered that. He landed hard and his game plan was done magnificently. He showed some skills with both his hands and his feet. Excellent performance from Roger."

If his next fight against Valimaki goes the same way, the UFC could be in the not to distant future for the exciting Hollett, who has yet to see the second round in his undefeated professional career.

And if the UFC does come calling for Roger? "I'll be ready," he promised.

Representing Fit N.H.B, the co-main event saw Albuquerque, New Mexico's Donald Sanchez (Pictures) face Ryan MacGillivray, the man hyped as the next MFC poster-boy.

Dropping down to 155 pounds for the first time in his career, Sanchez was to be the biggest test to date for the young 20-year-old MacGillivray, fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

And what a test it turned out to be.

The first round was a sign of things to come as Sanchez landed some good Muay Thai strikes to open the fight. MacGillivray, not liking the bad end of these exchanges, shot in for a takedown and ended up on top. Sanchez did not allow MacGillivray to land anything solid and had the better offense from the bottom, twice in the first round going for arm-triangles. After being stood up, Sanchez again landed effective Muay Thai combos that forced MacGillivray to bull rush in for a takedown. Sanchez, with the superior stand-up and submission attempts, took the first round on the Sherdog scorecard, albeit by a small margin.

The second round was the same as the first: Sanchez landing the clean and effective combos on the feet and MacGillivray realizing he was not winning the fight, driving in hard for the take down.

While on top he was rather inactive, although some of that was due to Sanchez's superior control from the bottom. The two stood and went to the floor three times during the round. Sanchez again was active from the bottom with submission attempts and took the round on the Sherdog scorecard.

The third period was a repeat of the first two. Sanchez won the stand-up, while MacGillivray scored takedowns. After each stand-up in the third, Sanchez's leg kicks found their target with regularity and MacGillivray's face showed signs of frustration with each landed leg kick.

Despite the sold-out crowd being solidly behind the Edmonton fighter, MacGillivray could not muster much offense in the third round as each passing leg kick wore him down. When the bell tolled, judges scored a unanimous decision for the New Mexico fighter with scores of 29-27, 30-27, and 29-28. Sherdog agreed with the 30-27 score.

"I worked him on the ground and got him to stand-up with me through the whole fight," said Sanchez (8-4) after the fight. "I was trying to get those submissions from the bottom but he was slippery and I could not get him so I stuck with the game plan on the feet. I felt him fading right from the first round. He wasn't checking my kicks so I took what he gave me."

Tom Vaughn, head trainer at Fit N.H.B., was very impressed with his fighter's performance. "He fought that fight to perfection," said Vaughn, who also oversees WEC champion Carlos Condit (Pictures). "We had a game plan to work him on his feet and Donald did that beautifully."

Had MacGillivray (5-1) won it was rumored he would fight for the vacant MFC lightweight title next. Sanchez, however, has not heard of himself being granted a title shot from the MFC.

"This was a one fight shot as of right now, but I would love to come back and fight for MFC again," he said. "It is an excellent organization."

While MacGillivray still has a bright future ahead of him, the role of MFC poster-boy may well now fall to Ryan Ford (2-0), another Pro Camp fighter out of Edmonton. He was in the ring tonight against Randy Valette, who was making his professional debut.

With the sold-out crowd solidly behind him, Ford put on an exciting display, albeit not the most technical -- but in this case, perfect technique was not needed.

Ford overwhelmed Valette from the start, connecting on three big slams that brought the crowd to their feet each time. A non-stop barrage from the opening bell never let up and, after landing a series of elbows to the back of Valette's head, Ford forced referee Brian Bernhardt to stop the contest at 2:07 of the first round, earning Ford Knockout of the Night and an extra $500.

"Keep lining them up, and I'll keep putting them down," he said.

Ryan Heck, another potentially bright prospect from Edmonton, put together a solid effort as he kept his perfect record intact, defeating Mike Bell with a rear-naked choke in 3:44.

Heck looked for a takedown right from the start but Bell did a solid job of keeping the fight standing. When Heck finally did get the takedown, he used his elbow to slam Bell's head into the mat numerous times. Bell tossed Heck off and a scramble ensued. when the dust settled, Heck had back-control. From there, it was only a matter of time before Heck (4-0) got both his hooks in and the tap.

In other action, Brad Zazaluk defeated Luke Harris via TKO stoppage 1:27 of the first round. When Harris reached out to touch gloves to begin the fight, Zazaluk responded by throwing a high kick. Zazaluk took Harris down and ended up in Harris' guard. After a minute of action, Zazaluk backed out and as Harris stood, Zazaluk ran in with a barrage of punches that sent Harris to the mat he ate shots before the fight was called.

Dwayne Lewis, with former UFC lightweight champ Pat Miletich (Pictures) in his corner, took the fight to Clay Davidson from the opening bell. Lewis got the takedown, then worked his way from guard, to half-guard, to side-control, and finally to mount, where he connected with unanswered punches to Davidson's head resulting in the stoppage at 1:41 of the first.

Jason Kishera exploded out of the blocks in his fight with Steve Dubeck. Before Dubeck even knew what hit him, Kishera connected with a series of solid punches on the feet and the ground, causing the referee to call a halt to the action in just 28 seconds.

Nick Penner opened with a bang, but needed a little bit of time before defeating David Lainoff. Scoring a knockdown off the first punch, Penner worked the clinch effectively before the fight went to the ground. Penner started to look for an armbar, but then switched to a Kimura and got the submission victory in 1:57.

Mike Gates made the trek across the border from Montana to fight Jason Biggeman. The fight hit the ground immediately and Gates managed to roll through from half-guard to grab an exposed arm just 83 seconds into the fight. Gates' slick armbar submission earned him Submission of the Night honors from the MFC.

Mike Sorenson and Josh Fletcher had a competitive back-and-forth battle. The first round was a nice mix of ground fighting to Fletcher's advantage and stand-up fighting, which favored Sorenson. Late in the second, Sorenson trapped Fletcher along the ropes and connected with a series of shots to the head and body from the clinch to earn a stoppage victory 4:46 into the frame.

Opening the evening, Jason Randle took out J.C. Cousins via referee stoppage 73 seconds into the first.
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