Favorites Struggle, Fall at WFC 13 in Serbia

By Tim Leidecker Apr 17, 2011
Thirteen was no lucky number for many of the favorites at World Free Fight Challenge 13 “Heavy Hitters,” which took place at Pionir Hall in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Sunday before an estimated 3,000 spectators.

The Balkans’ biggest MMA event took some heavy hits even before the opening bell, as the scheduled headliner between vale tudo legend Jose Landi-Jons and Bulgaria’s Lubomir Guedjev was scrapped on 48 hours’ notice due to a “Pele” leg injury. German duo Jonas Billstein and Andreas Birgels also had to be replaced shortly before the event.

In the makeshift main event, WFC mainstay and hometown favorite Aleksandar Radosavljevic faced Curacao-born journeyman Autimio Antonia. A borderline Top 20 light heavyweight in Europe who has often been criticized for his inconsistency, “Rodja” showed good form in walking through the Vienna-based Antonia. After a very brief exchange on the feet, Antonia went down and Radosavljevic laid waste to his opponent with some heavy punches. Referee Grant Waterman came to the rescue just 38 seconds into the first round.

In the co-headliner, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jair Goncalves proved that there is an ocean of skill between him and Austria’s Gerald Turek, one of Central Europe’s better heavyweight prospects. “Sorriso” dictated the whereabouts of the fight from the opening bell, pressing the action before taking Turek down with an inside trip and easily submitting him with a textbook armbar at the 3:32 mark. Goncalves -- who had an average run at light heavyweight between 2005 and 2009 -- will now face Turek’s teammate, Nandor Guelmino, at WFC 14 on June 12 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

In the most hotly contested heavyweight clash of the night, the “EA Sports MMA”-featured Andreas Kraniotakes and Mirko Filipovic sparring partner Ajlin Ahmic went back and forth for the better part of two rounds. Kraniotakes almost had the fight won in the first round when he pounded from mount position, but Ahmic was able to survive. In the second, “Big Daddy” worked from crucifix position, but again could not finish. As time ticked down, Ahmic sprawled on a Kraniotakes takedown attempt and anticlimactically ended the bout via armbar with 27 seconds left on the clock.

The closest fight took place between Serbian kickboxer Dusan Dzakic and Turkish BJJ stylist Ertan Balaban. A purple belt under Brasa’s Felipe Costa, Balaban dominated the first round with superior ground movement and positioning. The second round belonged mostly to Dzakic, who scored with kicks to the legs and body of his foe. With the fight knotted and both men visibly tired, Balaban controlled the majority of the round from back-mount. Dzakic finished strong, however, ground-and-pounding Balaban in the final minute to steal the round and the majority decision.

On the undercard, short-notice stand-in Ivica Truscek made the most of the opportunity by beating down hometown boy Josif Al Said. The Serb mounted a brief comeback, garnished with stomps and soccer kicks, but ultimately succumbed to Truscek’s big punches from mount at 2:43 of the second round.

WFC mascot Bor Bratovz made short work of MMA rookie Davor Vidovic by using superior wrestling and power. Ninety seconds into the bout, he trapped his Serbian opponent on the mat and rained down hammerfists, prompting referee Waterman to halt the action at 1:47 of the first frame.

In the evening’s opener, Bellator signee Dragan Tesanovic was upset by Bulgarian newcomer Svetoslav Savov. “Gagi” came close to ending the fight in the opening round using a triangle choke, but was forced to submit to a Savov guillotine in the second.

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