Cote Takes TKO Middleweight Title

By Freddie DeFreitas and Al Quintero Jun 2, 2007
MONTREAL, June 1 -- It had been a long time coming, but the rabid mixed martial arts fans at the Bell Centre finally welcomed back Patrick Cote (Pictures) to the TKO cage Friday evening.

There was more than just the TKO middleweight title on the line tonight: a potential second chance for Cote, or first crack at the UFC for his opponent in the main event, Jason Day.

Taking this bout on just two weeks noticed, Day knew this was an opportunity for him to showcase his skills against a recognizable name in the sport. After a brief opening exchange, Day tried to take it to the mat but Cote, a former TKO 205-pound champion, landed in side-control and, for a moment, almost took Day's back.

The two fighters swapped fighting on the feet for fighting on the floor several times before Cote trapped one of Day's arms with his right knee and proceeded to hammer away with right hands on his defenseless opponent until referee Phillip Chartier was forced to call a halt to the action. With the win at 4:05 of round one Cote added a TKO middleweight belt to his collection.

Jonathan Goulet (Pictures) found himself, again, not staring across the cage from Steve Vigneault (Pictures). Injuries play their part in this sport, and Goulet did not want to lose another opportunity to fight even if it was a full 15 pounds heavier. Prince Edward Island's Travis Axworthy (Pictures) stepped up to take on the TKO welterweight No. 1 contender.

The crowd was abuzz as Goulet made his way to the octagon while a relaxed and composed Axworthy waited patiently in the cage. The opening bell had barely finished resonating when both Goulet and Axworthy launched high kicks. Goulet's connected, and the bells seemingly continued to ring for Axworthy as he crumpled to the mat with only Yves Lavigne rushing in to save him from any more punishment.

In a shocking eight seconds, Goulet took the contest.*

Perhaps the most anticipated match of the evening oddly enough featured a fighter who was making his MMA debut and another who was looking for his first win.

Steve Bosse, better known for his tenure in the LNAH (Ligue Nord Américaine de Hockey) was making his much hyped MMA debut against David Fraser, who in his previous two appearances in TKO did not look overly impressive.

Many in attendance expected Bosse's entrance to outlast the actual time of the contest, but Fraser didn't fold as quickly as anticipated. As the round opened, Bosse connected with a right hand and Fraser clinched almost immediately as he looked for a takedown. Fraser landed a knee to the face, and received a reaction from the pro-Bosse crowd.

Bosse broke free and resumed his stalking. Fraser, wanting no part of the stand-up, back peddled but found himself eating more and more leather as the seconds ticked away.

Fraser's desperate takedown attempts often resulted in awkward positions, and early in the first, he left himself wide open for a Bosse uppercut that dropped him almost immediately.

Cruelly, Fraser found his footing and was met with another barrage of punches by the former hockey enforcer that sent him back to the mat. Bosse followed and landed more shots, and it was at this point that the referee jumped in to call the contest at 2:02 of the first round, giving Bosse a win in his MMA debut.

Martin Grandmont (Pictures) and Tyler Jackson (Pictures) provided fireworks throughout their three-round bout as the two traded a variety of jabs, straights, low kicks … basically everything but the kitchen sink.

Grandmont, a seasoned kickboxer, held the advantage on the feet through the fight while Jackson, a good boxer in his own right, was looking to close the distance and shoot for the takedown. Grandmont, who has never been known for his takedown defense, did well at keeping Jackson at bay. Yet even still, Jackson managed to put the fight on the floor, albeit briefly.

Round two began with Grandmont working neatly behind his jab. Both fighters appeared as though they are loading up to land one big punch at a time.

Consistently looking for the takedown, Jackson managed to get into range, shot and scooped up Grandmont high in the air, slamming him hard to the mat. For all that trouble, Grandmont simply scrambled back to his feet. As round three commences, we begin to see Grandmont getting a clear upper hand as a flurry landed and Jackson found himself in trouble against the fence.

With less than 10 seconds left in the round, Grandmont connected again with an overhand right that sent Jackson staggering. He managed to defend well as the bell sounded to end the fight, and Grandmont earned a unanimous decision.

The fans at the Bell Centre witnessed TKO history when the promotion held its first female mixed martial arts bout. British Columbia's Sarah Kaufman faced off against hometown favorite Valerie Letourneau (Pictures). This bout had action a plenty as the ladies came out giving it their all.

Trading punches in the center of the octagon like prizefighters in the championship rounds, Letourneau leaped up and tried to secure a guillotine choke while pressed up against the cage in the clinch.

Kaufman hoisted Letourneau up, calmly walked over to her corner, and slammed her down. While in Letourneau's guard, Kaufman hammered away at the body until they separated and started back on their feet.

They went back to trading punches when Letourneau launched a high kick that landed flush to the face, sending Kaufman reeling to the mat. Sensing the end was near, Letourneau pounced and looked to finish with a rear-naked choke before switching to armbar. However Kaufman escaped and continued pounding away until they found themselves back on the feet yet again.

Round one came to an end as Kaufman flurried, putting Letourneau on the retreat. The bell to begin round two sounded and Kaufman came out bombing. A middle kick and overhand right both find their mark and Kaufman unloaded one-two combinations as she chased Letourneau around the cage. Looking to her corner for a way out, the referee obliged, giving Kaufman the win at 1:36 of round two.

In other action:

Yves Lemelin def. Steve Pouliot split decision
Sebastien Gauthier def. Jon Mirasty TKO 4:10 R1
Stephane Dube (Pictures) def. David Medd (Pictures) TKO R1
Syd Barnier def. Eric Leclerc TKO 0:50 R2
Marcus Celestin (Pictures) def. Brett Pierson Kimura 2:20 R1
Adrian Wooley def. Guillaume Lamarche TKO 1:51 R3

* incorrectly reported that Goulet had won the TKO welterweight title.
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