Saturday night's Jackson's MMA show delivered on all fronts. The music was good, UFC superstars were walking around like nothing, the presentation was awesome but the fights are the reason everybody was there and though El Paso's Hayashi's didn't get their wins (McGurk got undeniably robbed), all the participating fighters put on a show and it made for a great MMA night.
For the Main Event, El Paso's Mike 'The Storm' Chupa took on Coty 'Ox' Wheeler for what ended up to be a little bit of a disappointment, due completely to the horrible reffing job done in the match. The bout started with both fighters a little tentative. Wheeler closed the distance and pressed Chupa against the fence. From there, he worked until he finally got his takedown but once on the ground, Chupa completely neutralized Wheeler's offense. Chupa controlled both of Wheeler's arms and kept him from posturing up. From here, it was a minute or two of nothing which was neither fighter's fault. Stalemates are pretty common, and it's the refs job to keep those stalemates from eating up the clock but the ref was happy to let it ride out. Once outside of Chupa's guard and standing over him, Wheeler couldn't do anything without catching an upkick, so he didn't, and once again, the ref let it ride. Wheeler eventually ended up in Chupa's guard, and they stalemated it out until the end of the round. With virtually no damage done, the round was Wheeler's due to 'control', which consisted of being in Chupa's guard for a little under 5 minutes. Within seconds of the second round, Chupa shot in and got Wheeler down but left his neck out and Wheeler sunk in the fight ending guillotine.
Fabian Salas, another Hayashi's team member, took on a Jackson's wrestler and showed us why the 10-point must system we borrowed from boxing doesn't work as well in three round fights. The first two rounds were pretty close. Salas worked his leg kicks while his opponent focused on controlling him. It was in the third round that most of the damage was done. The damage to Salas' opponent's leg was obvious by then and with his mind on avoiding more damage to his lead leg, Salas was able to land his usual bombs, and plenty of them. With his opponent dazed throughout most of the last round, it was obvious the round went to Salas but because of the current acoring system, and because you could give the slightest of edges to his opponent during the first two rounds, Salas dropped the decision 2 to 1. That first round was crazy close and I think if he had held position when he got his opponent's back instead of trying to get his hooks in, which lost him position, he could've gotten himself that round and the victory. Either way, he once again proved he can land those those heavy hands on anyone and remains a huge threat in the local amateur scene.
In what was the biggest robbery I've witnessed since Leonard Garcia vs Nam Phan, Adam McGurk fought 15 extremely exciting minutes to a decision everyone assumed he had up until they announced the judges saw it differently. Even though his opponent was supposed to have the superior ground game, McGurk took it in every aspect of the fight. In the stand up, his opponent seemed to have the quicker hands but was never able to use that advantage with McGurk almost always out of reach of all those quick combos and using his reach to counter them with well placed, powerful punches and kicks. The wrestling also went to McGurk, who got the most takedowns in the fight, which I attribute more to his ability to mix them up and keep his opponent guessing than to his wrestling prowess. On the ground, McGurk never really had any trouble getting up when he was on his back, even reversing his opponent a couple of times, and held position really well when he was on top. His opponent did get an armbar attempt when they were on the mat but McGurk thought nothing of it, picking his opponent up and literally throwing him which got him out of the submission. The fight wasn't a domination. His opponent put up a great fight but the only round that was close was the first one, and even that one I saw McGurk winning. I'll pretend I never heard the official announcement, chalk it up as another win for McGurk, and look forward to his fight with Derek Cranford, which is going to be a war between two deadly El Pasoans.
Also on the card were fighters from Concrete Jungle and Fighter's Physique, of which the guy from Concrete Jungle impressed with his 'circle, evade, counter' style. He did keep circling towards the power hand but he got the win and it'd be interesting to see how his style fares against a more aggressive or strike savy fighter.
Though the show was great, it's frustrating to see supposed experts not have a clue as to how to do their job. Mike Chupa knew what he was getting into and what to expect when he accepted the fight with hometown boy Wheeler, a lot of booing in his direction and just about everyone in the stands cheering his opponent on. That's as far as the home advantage should've gone. Instead, it seemed the ref was more worried about being popular than doing his job. It was his job to intervene when the fight was stalled but because Wheeler was on top and the decision would've been unpopular, he let it ride. You can bet if it had been Chupa on top, the crowd would've booed within 20 seconds and the ref would've stood it up immediately, I'm guessing because he wanted to have a good tine at the after party. The judges, too, seemed to be swayed by outside forces rather than doing their job and judging based on what they so carefully should've been watching unfold in the cage. Maybe they came in with the preconceived notion that Greg Jackson's fighters were going to win because they're better than everyone. Maybe it was just because they knew so little of the sport that they just took the fighter's word when he raised his hands after the fight as if to say,"I won" or they were misinformed as to who was who (which could very well be what happened). Either way, had they known what was going on, they would've known McGurk was the winner. I might sound like a bitter guy from El Paso who's mad cause his fellow 915ers didn't get their wins, but the fact is, I know enough to know the people officiating on Saturday didn't know shit. But meeting Carlos Condit AND Jon Jones was the bee's knees, the show was top notch, and the promotion had nothing to do with the incompetence shown by the officials, so the anger is pointed at you New Mexico State, not Jackson's MMA.