Jansen, Team USA Conquer Brazil in M-1

By Mike Whitman Feb 22, 2009
TACOMA, Wash. -- Undefeated lightweight and Team Quest standout Dave Jansen led Team USA to victory over Team Brazil by a 3-2 score in the M-1 Challenge 2009 season opener on Saturday at the Emerald Queen Casino.

Self-billed as the World Cup of mixed martial arts, M-1 Challenge pits teams of fighters from all over the globe in best-of-five competitions.

Jansen (9-0), filling in for the UFC-bound Brian Cobb, earned a hard-fought unanimous decision over Rio Heroes veteran Flavio Alvaro (22-6) in front of a sold-out crowd, despite fighting just two weeks ago at the World Cagefighting Alliance premiere in Atlantic City, N.J.

“Actually, I think [fighting two weeks ago] gave me some confidence,” Jansen said. “I ran through Matt Lee, and he’s a tough son of a bitch. I watched Alvaro in Rio Heroes. It didn’t scare me. Gloves are an advantage for me. I can hit harder with gloves on.”

Jansen controlled the pace from the opening bell, finding his range standing and scoring with takedowns.

“He hit hard, but I didn’t back down,” Jansen said. “This was for my country. I want to continue to shock the world until they believe I’m for real. My goal is to be number one in the world.”

Also victorious were Americans Reggie Orr and Raphael Davis, defeating Juliano Cioffi Belgine (9-3) and Jair Goncalves (6-3), respectively. King of the Cage veteran Orr (8-5-1) eked out a split decision, while his teammate, Davis (5-1), stopped his opponent on punches late in the first round.

For the Brazilians, former International Fight League competitor Eduardo Pamplona (10-2) scored a technical knockout over Dylan Clay (5-2) after the fight was ruled too close to judge and sent to a third round. It ended 2:48 into the third. In the last fight of the night, Brazilian heavyweight Jose Edson Franca (9-2) won an uneventful split decision over Elite XC vet Carl Seumanutafa (4-2).

After three consecutive losses last season, Team South Korea finally gained a measure of revenge against the Russian Imperial Team, defeating the former Red Devils by a 3-2 count.

In the “Fight of the Night,” South Korea’s stocky light heavyweight, Jae Young Kim, knocked out Russia’s Mikhail Zayats with a lead-leg head kick 4:02 into the second round.

“It was a good experience to step up to the next level,” Kim said through his translator. “[The head kick] is my best skill. People don’t expect to get hit with it when they fight me.”

Throughout the first two rounds, both fighters kept a quick pace, giving the crowd in attendance nonstop action, both standing and on the mat. Late in the first round, Zayats (8-2) locked on an armbar and appeared to have the fight won as he hyperextended Kim’s elbow. Though he admitted he heard something in his arm pop, Kim (12-6) refused to tap and somehow escaped the hold. As the action progressed into the second round, it became apparent that both fighters’ gas tanks were running on empty. Then came the kick.

“I was tired, but I didn’t want him to know,” Kim said. “I had to keep my poker face on.”

South Korean lightweight Do Hyung Kim overcame an accidental clash of heads to defeat Mikhail Malyutin by unanimous decision. Kim worked rubber guard effectively in round one after a Malyutin (9-7) takedown, neutralizing any offense the Russian could muster. Round two was filled with scrambles and reversals, with Kim (6-2) usually getting the better of the exchanges.

Joining the two Kims in victory was their welterweight teammate, Myeon Ho Bae, who forced Bodog Fight veteran Erik Oganov to submit to a rear-naked choke 2:12 into the second round. Bae (7-3) was the aggressor from the opening bell, scoring takedowns and using strikes to force Oganov (9-9) to give up his back and eventually his neck.

Russians Dmitry Samoilov (7-3-1) and Alexey Oleinik walked away with wins for the Imperial Team, defeating Hyun Gyu Lim (4-2-1) and Sang Soo Lee (11-6) by unanimous decision and Ezekiel choke, respectively. Oleinik (24-4) cinched his choke 4:27 into round two.

Team Finland dominated Team Benelux 4-1 in the first matchup of the night.

The lightweight opener between the two squads did not disappoint, as Benelux’s Danny van Bergen (6-4-3) fought through a significant reach disadvantage and a bloody nose to secure a close but unanimous decision over Finland’s Juha-Pekka Vainikainen (10-4). The crowd erupted several times during the two-round slugfest, as both competitors found their range standing. Equally loud were the cheers for nearly missed submission attempts.

Heavyweight Toni Valtonen brutally finished Benelux’s Sander Duyvis (2-2) by knockout in a mere 18 seconds. Caught in a Valtonen double-leg takedown, Duyvis’s skull bounced off the mat with an audible thud, knocking him unconscious instantly. Valtonen (18-8) followed up with two stiff shots on his sleeping opponent before the referee intervened.

“My strategy was to take him down,” Valtonen said. “I knew he was out, but I had to keep punching so the referee would stop it.”

Finland’s Janne Tulirinta finished Tommy Depret early in round one with a standing D’arce choke in the welterweight contest. After Tulirinta (10-3) secured the takedown, Depret scrambled to his feet but was quickly caught in the D’arce. Depret (4-1) leaped in the air and twisted, attempting to lessen the pressure, but he only succeeded in tightening the hold as he crashed to the canvas. The tapout came 2:30 into the opening period.

“Luckily, it went easy,” said Tulirinta. “It’s my favorite choke. I had it perfect. When I get it locked on, they tap.”

Finland’s dominance continued, as middleweight Lucio Linhares defeated Kamil Uygun (6-4), finishing the noticeably smaller fighter by armbar just 1:22 into the first round. Linhares (10-4) has won back-to-back fights.

After a lackluster first round from both light heavyweights, Finland’s Marcus Vanttinen quickly secured the mount after his fight wit Jason Jones hit the floor early in the second. Vanttinen (9-1) rained down shots, eventually causing Benelux’s Jones (8-5) to surrender his back. The two fighters remained in that position, with Vanttinen unable to finish the fight but securing a unanimous decision nonetheless.
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