Aurelio KOs Liguori at WCA Premiere

By Joseph Thompson Feb 7, 2009
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Marcus Aurelio knocked out local hero Chris Liguori with a second-round right hand in the World Cagefighting Alliance “Pure Combat” main event on Friday before a raucous crowd at Boardwalk Hall.

Aurelio (17-7) dominated the first round with his usual top control-centric strategy, as the 35-year-old Brazilian seized control of the match early. Round two, however, looked promising for Liguori (9-8), who peppered Aurelio with jabs and showed excellent movement.

Just when it looked as though the tide in the bout had turned, Aurelio landed a synapse-scrambling overhand right that put Liguori on the canvas and ended the fight. It was a dominant showing by Aurelio, a UFC exile who snapped a two-fight losing streak with the first knockout of his career.

After a botched run on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Paul Bradley earned a reputation as a human Lunesta pill. However, he shed that label in his showdown with Team Quest product Nathan Coy, as virtually the entire match was spent on the feet with both men trading strikes.

Bradley (10-0) had the quicker and more powerful hands, but Coy’s rangy southpaw punches and leg kicks kept him from cutting loose. The decision was ultimately left to the judges, who awarded the unbeaten Bradley a split decision. Fittingly, the decision split the crowd, as a smattering of boos showered the cage; Coy (5-2) exited with a disgusted look on his face.

The most competitive fight of the night paired Rich Ashkar and Tom Gallicchio in a welterweight dustup.

In what was a back and forth affair throughout, Ashkar opened the fight with a high-impact slam that had his opponent searching for answers. A scramble and escape followed, as Gallicchio landed a high kick that left Ashkar fumbling around on the canvas.

For a moment, it appeared as though Gallicchio had the victory wrapped, as he took the dazed Ashkar’s back and set up a rear-naked choke. The hold was deep, but Gallicchio tried to finish without sinking both hooks, and he paid the price when Ashkar (5-1) reversed the position and began a ground-and-pound assault that lasted the remainder of the fight. Though Gallicchio (9-4) put up a valiant defense, the referee was forced to stop the punishment 1:57 into round three.

One of the few matchups that did not feature a New Jersey native, the lightweight clash between Dave Jansen and Matt Lee was also one of the most memorable on the card.

Jansen (8-0), an undefeated Team Quest prospect, looked like a pocket Dan Henderson in the cage. Using a mixture of crouching overhand punches and stifling Greco-Roman wrestling, Jansen kept Lee (11-8-1) off balance and surprised everyone by putting away the veteran with a first-round anaconda choke. The end came 3:00 into the first period.

George Sullivan started his fight with Al Buck with a bang, but his thudding knee into Buck’s groin was hardly the start for which he had hoped.

Clearly frustrated by his own inaccuracy, Sullivan (5-2, 1 NC) switched strategies, took down Buck (3-4) and got in his face. The ground-and-pound flurry forced the referee’s hand 3:58 into the first round on a night loaded with decisions.

While plenty of unanimous verdicts rang out, few were as lopsided as the one Doug Gordon took against Mike Medrano.

Blessed with a massive welterweight frame and a mean mug, Gordon (9-6) kept the bout standing and left the evidence all over Medrano’s freshly mauled face. After three rounds, announcing Gordon’s unanimous decision win was nothing more than a formality. The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak for Medrano (4-3).

If mixed martial arts was a flying knee exhibition, Felipe Arantes would have won his fight with Steve Deangelis without much debate.

However, in between his opponent’s multiple botched flying knees, Deangelis kept busy and racked up points with takedowns and disciplined striking, both standing and on the ground. Ultimately, the judges saw through the flashy strikes from Arantes (1-2) and awarded Deangelis a unanimous nod. Deangelis (7-4) has won five straight.

Another local favorite, Kevin Roddy, learned that repeated submission attempts only go so far, especially when your foe body slams you like you’re his kid brother. Three rounds of Roddy struggling to cinch a submission against Anthony Morrison proved fruitless, as Morrison (7-6) used superior wrestling and sturdy submission defense to keep the judges on his side and win a unanimous decision. Roddy (7-7) has lost four in a row.

Other Bouts
Eric Henry def. Brian DeMuro -- Unanimous Decision
Ken Foster def. Mark Getto -- Unanimous Decision
Phillip Wiman def. Ryan Smith -- Submission (Triangle Choke) 2:17 R1
Anthony Leone def. Pat White -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 4:36 R1
Lester Caslow def. Joe Camacho -- TKO 0:51 R1
Brian Danner def. Daniel Tavares -- KO 1:48 R1
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