Rizzo Stops Monson; Horn Taps Out

By Scott Holmes and Dave Mandel Sep 2, 2007
DALLAS, Sept 1 -- Sun Sports Entertainment put on the third installment of their "Art of War" fight promotion and it was the most ambitious event to date, both in terms of production and the quality of talent on the card.

This time out, Art of War featured names like Rizzo, Waterman, Horn and Monson for an event that had over 7,500 Texans turning their eyes away from the football field for a few hours to see some great fights. Even current and former Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo, Michael Irvin and Tony Dorsett made it out to cheer on the fighters.

"Art of War" had billed this event as a night of USA vs. Brazil as they matched up American fighters a Brazilian contingent made up of fighters from the Chute Boxe, Ruas Vale Tudo and Machado camps to take on American bred talent.

It was a night of surprises since some ground warriors chose to stand and bang while only two submissions came down from the Brazilians.

The main event featured Jeff Monson (Pictures) and Pedro Rizzo (Pictures), both previous challengers for the UFC heavyweight belt, in a true clash of styles with the former Abu Dhabi grappler meeting the former kickboxing champ in a fight that the potential of being a barnburner or a snore fest. Luckily there wasn't any snoring since Monson curiously chose to stay up and throw with Rizzo in every round.

Monson came out pressing the action and it looked as though a thumb from one of his punches had Rizzo's right eye swollen and bloody in the early moments.

Despite a reach disadvantage, Monson was able to get in some good punches and even a clever body shot. Monson finally went for a takedown but his shot from the outside was stuffed and he was planted on his back by Rizzo.

In the second Rizzo seemed a little tentative while Monson scored with a nice left jab followed by a leg kick. Rizzo finally began to start finding his range and used some straight left jabs to keep Monson back at arm's length. A few more jabs and leg kicks had Monson beginning to drop his hands a bit. Monson tied for his second and third takedown attempts only to have them thwarted by a sprawling Rizzo.

The third round began with Rizzo looking like he might pick Monson apart with more leg kicks and straights. Monson countered with an overhand right that snapped Rizzo's head back before connecting again with a straight to the body.

Both men's faces looked like they'd been in a fight with a bear trap. Rizzo continued to attack Monson's lead leg while keeping the grappler at the end of his punches.

Rizzo finally found the combination he'd been looking for all night and Monson, with one less tooth than he had before the fight, fell to the canvas. The Brazilian heavy-hitter jumped on Monson only to be pulled off by the referee. Monson loses by knock out for only the second time of his career and a tooth in the process.

Rizzo was shocked that Monson chose to stand with him saying, "It was a big surprise. We expected him to box a little and shoot a lot. So I was waiting for the shooting but the shooting never comes."

Rizzo also mentioned that Monson tagged him a few times. "I had to take care of his power," said Rizzo. "He's 247 pounds and he hits hard."

Rizzo seems comfortable in the ring again and he's certainly not missing any of his trademark power. The Art of War organization might have to go through a few more heavyweights before they can find somebody to give Rizzo a loss.

In one of the most anticipated fights of the night, Jeremy Horn (Pictures) met Jorge Santiago (Pictures) in a battle of former UFC vets. Jeremy Horn (Pictures) has been working on his boxing as of late and it looked like he might start out this fight by duking it out.

After a high knee attempt that helped Santiago lift and slam Horn, Gumby was back in his old world. But it wasn't the typical outcome for Horn as Santiago secured a triangle to force a tap at 3:02 of round one.

Horn, fighting in what was billed as his hundredth professional MMA fight, seemed very disappointed as was the crowd.

The cage didn't seem strong enough to hold the fight between super heavyweights Ron "H20" Waterman and Mario "Big Hurt" Rinaldi. Ringside spectators looked like they'd rather see them handle this fight in a cage at the zoo.

Rinaldi absolutely dominated Waterman to start the fight by getting him on his back and mounting the muscle-bound veteran, and it looked as though he would end it quickly. For a big man, Rinaldi was awfully spry on the ground and he easily transitioned from various positions while peppering Waterman with punches.

After an attempt to take Waterman's back to end the fight, "H20" stood up with Rinaldi on his back and was able to get out. Free, Waterman decided to throw some heavy leather despite having an almost completely closed left eye. Waterman brought the fury by getting in a punching exchange that had Waterman jabbing with his left for a few to set up the right hand.

Waterman showed some impressive wind, throwing his hands non-stop and after about 15 or so punches connected the ref stepped in and Rinaldi crumpled against the fence in a haze.

There was quite a bit of drama going into the fight between Fabiano Capoani (Pictures) and Alex Andrade, as both fighters were not too keen on each other. Andrade, a former PRIDE competitor continues to march through opponents on his re-entry into the game. It was a fight that had some star power behind it with Bustamante and Carlos Machado in Capoani's corner and Tra Telligman (Pictures) and Kenny Monday backing up Andrade.

Andrade rushed Capoani to start the fight and Capoani played his hand immediately by trying to pull guard. Alex wasn't having any of it and taunted Capoani by dropping down to a knee and standing back up. Capoani stood and after missing wildly with a high kick, he clinched up the shorter Andrade. Andrade doesn't rest and pounds the Capoani's side with 20 or so body shots that turn the side of his torso pink as gum.

In the second round Capoani finally pulled guard but it's a bad decision since "El Toro" begins to rain down heavy shots from just about every angle, whipping the crowd into frenzy. Capoani takes an absolute beating for the next minute or so eating shot after shot that rock his head to and fro until the ref finally steps in and calls a TKO at 2:20 in the second round.

In one of the few decisions of the night, Carlo Prater (Pictures) met with Keith Wisniewski (Pictures) at 170 pounds in what was one of the slower bouts of the night. Prater seemed content to win the position battle by keeping Wisniewski at bay for most of the rounds.

Wisniewski had a few moments that went his way but for the most part he was neutralized. Prater's shining moment came with a knee that had Wisniewski's stunned and bleeding. Prater held on to win a split decision.

In a bout that many people came to see, Lana Stefanac fought Franita Gathings in a quick fight that showcased a heavier and more technical fighter, sloppily beating on a smaller woman until she slumped to the floor and signaled to the referee that she was done getting punched in the face about a minute into the fight.

Jason Maxwell (Pictures) came out strong in his fight against Thomas Schulte (Pictures) at 155 pounds, dumping Schulte on his back after elevating him. After some inaction on the ground the two are told to get back up on their feet where Maxwell connected with a left knee that wowed the crowd. In the second round Schulte found himself in Maxwell's guard, but is unable to pass or inflect damage with Maxwell controlling his arms.

The ref stood both men up and Maxwell connected with a right hook that hit Schulte on his back. Maxwell has a busted lip that has blood all over his head to end the round.

In the last round, an exhausted Maxwell used a smart attack to keep things in his favor by throwing hard punches, locking up with Schulte then leg tripping him onto his back. Maxwell repeated this sequence several times to grind out the final round and won a unanimous decision 30-27 on all judges score cards.

Damien Stelly has looked good in the first two Art of War events, winning both nights but his perfect run with the organization came to an abrupt end when undefeated Luis Arthur Cane made his American debut against Stelly on Saturday night.

Stelly looked game until he ate three or four knees that made him crumble to the floor. Cane knew his opponent was in trouble and kept piling on with more punches until he decided to stand back up and get out. Stelly tries to grab onto a leg but doesn't have enough strength to do anything with it. Cane lets him stand up but the second Stelly is off his knees he eats another violent knee that drops him unconscious, collapsing awkwardly on his own leg. Cane jumped on him for a few more shots until the ref intervened and calls the fight. Hector Munoz is one of Dallas's local favorites in the MMA game and has shown great skills but when you are facing a guy that has hands out the BJJ belts to Chute Boxe…you might be in for a tough night. Christiano "Mr. Hey" Marcello was in town to fight Hector at 155pounds.

The two men come out swinging and Munoz lands a high kick that "Mr. Hey" shrugs off.

Marcello put Munoz on his back and landed a hard punch but that bounced head off the mat. Munoz kept his wits and picked the right moment to pop up, grab Marcello's legs and put him on his back.

This time Munoz landed several hard punches that caused Marcello to roll over. Marcello listened to his corner and tried an armlock that distracted Munoz enough to connected with an Marcello and we'll be back a better position. Back on top, Marcello landed an elbow and a punch that caused Munoz to roll over and give up his back and begin fending off chokes until Marcello finally sinks it in with two seconds left in the first round.

Anthony Njokuni and Keyon Mike Jackson started things off at 170 pounds. Jackson must have done his homework on Njokuni has he came out jabbing only to back up Njokuni to the fence. Jackson quickly ties up and looks to take Njokuni down. Njokuni uses technique and a daired of raw strength to keep the grappler from putting him on his back. Njokuni remains patient and sneaks in jabs and knees to the body until they hit the ground. Njokuni is on top and listening to his corner begins to throw some elbows until Jackson scrambles to his feet. Njokuni uses his under hooks to stuff a body lock and throws Jackson off of him. Jackson puts his head down for a takedown and Njokuni sees his opportunity knocking Jackson out with a right knee that catches him flush on the nose and drops him to the canvas for the knock out.

All in all it was another successful night for the Art of War event (pay per view numbers not available) and it's nice to hear all the fighters rave about their treatment from the organization. We'll catch up with them again in October.
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