Friday night, Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas was host to Titan Fighting Championship 18. The event featured ex-UFC and WEC fighter Jens Pulver (who had previously said he was going to retire after losing 6 fights in a row, but did go on a 3 fight win strike afterwards on some smaller shows) vs. Brian Davidson. It also included the Rosholt brothers (Jake and Jared) in separate matches.
In the first first fight of the night, lightweights Sean Wilson and Deryck Ripley fought to kick things off. In the opening seconds, Ripley went for (and was successful with) a takedown attempt. Ripley controlled, got to full mount, and then, somehow ended up having Wilson's back and was in good position to to take the fight via RNC. Wilson shook him off rather easily, and then moved into Ripley's guard. Ripley went for a leg triangle, but Wilson was able to get out immediately. Directly afterwards, Wilson grabbed one of Ripley's legs, rolled with it, and was able to get Ripley to tap instantly to a kneebar at 3:00 of Round 1.
Fight #2 saw Jesse Zeugin take on Joe Wilk (who took about 5 minutes to get the ring due to Wilk feeling the need the act out his walkout song with full pantomime--something that no one seemed to appreciate but him). The opening round started off with about a minute and a half of dirty boxing, knees and a battle for positioning against the cage. Wilk was able to get the best of the positioning, as he maneuvered the sweep and took Zeugin to the ground. Wilk spent the next minute or so on top, softening his opponent up and looking for an opening. With 1:24 left in Round 1, he finally found that opening, locking up a tight D'arce choke that was made even tighter by rotating counter-clockwise on the canvas until Zeugin had no choice but to tap.
In the third fight, Nick Budig went up against Bobby Cooper in a catchweight (176 lbs) match-up. This was the first fight of the night that made it past Round 1. It was also the first fight that did not go to the ground. The two fighters seemed happy to stand and trade, and trade they did. Budig did a good job of staying on the inside where his reach and height disadvantage were not as much of an issue. He was able to land a lot of good, precision strikes. Cooper did hit him with a few very nice leg kicks near the end of the round, but it wasn't enough to win the round (IMO). I scored it 10-9 Budig. (Note: Schiavello gave it to Cooper which made me feel even better about scoring it for Budig).
In the 2nd round, Budig looked winded. Cooper started to really make good use of his jab and leg kicks to keep Budig at bay. By the end of the round, Budig's left eye was almost completely swollen shut, due to a plethora of well aimed/timed jabs. Cooper controlled the stand-up in this round. Sadly, I had to agree with Schiavello and say that Cooper won Round 2 (10-9).
At the beginning of the third round, Budig came out throwing a flurry of punches. Most of them landed, but they didn't seem to do any real damage. After about 30 seconds of the onslaught, Cooper wrapped him up in a Muay Thai clench and knee'ed his way out of trouble. From that point on, it just looked like Budig had nothing left. His vision had to have been affected by the mouse under his left eye. Cooper continued to time his jab and leg-kicks, and earned a well fought victory in the process.
In a heavyweight matchup, Jared Rosholt took on Kirk Grinunton, who was pretty much fed to the wolves in this one. Rosholt, who came in with a lifelong wrestling pedigree, was able to get the double leg takedown about a minute in. After the TD, Rosholt pounced on Grinunton, causing the fight to be stopped at 3:25 due to some violent ground and pound.
The next fight saw Darryl Cobb taking on veteran fighter Rudy Bears in a middleweight match. This was a very exciting fight that never slowed down for one second. The two fighters met in the middle and started exchanging from the opening bell. Bears put on an absolute clinic on kicking, and lit up his opponent in the process. With about 2 minutes left, Bears used a legkick to set up a right hook that clipped Cobb and sent him to the floor. It looked like Bears was going to be able to secure the RNC, but Cobb fought through it and escaped to gain top position. It was a moot point though as Rudy Bears escaped, captured Cobb's back once again, and ended the fight at 3:30 of Round 1 with an impressive rear naked choke submission win.
John Ott looked to rebound from his recent loss to ex-WWE'er Bobby Lashley in another catchweight fight (can't these guys just pick a weight class?) vs. Jake Rosholt at 200 lbs. Ott started out the first round impressively, landing some good strikes, and nailing a takedown. It was interesting to see Ott make the move to take the fight to the gorund against Rosholt, a decorated wrestler. The move proved to be ill-advised as Rosholt was able to get full mount with a little less than 2 minutes left, and stayed there until the end of the round (all the while raining down elbows). I gave the round to Rosholt 10-9 (only reason it wasn;t 10-8 was because of Ott's effectiveness early in the round).
One minute into Round 2, Rosholt landed the takedown and immediately took side control. Ott was eventually able to escape (after eating about 10 elbows), but paid the price on his way up his feet, getting hit with multiple strikes to the head by Jake Rosholt. Ott got put on his back again almost instantly. Rosholt stayed on top of Ott for most of the round, never really getting close to a finish, but he had clear control. Round 2 to Rosholt, again, 10-9.
Rosholt completely dominated Round 3, landing takedowns, as well as a bevy of brutal head strikes on the feet. With 2:55 remaining, the fight was paused so a doctor could look at Ott, whose face was completely covered in blood at that point. His nose was clearly broken, and his face was a disgusting mess (Note: Schiavello hit us with one of his 'gems' by stating that: "the blood is just pissing out of his forehead. Surprisingly, they let it go on. It was an unfortunate break in the action, because: A) they didn't stop it and they probably should have, and B) Rosholt seemed to lose a lot of steam afterwards, and he really deserved to win this fight via finish. With 38 seconds left, controversy struck as Rosholt struck Ott with an illegal knee to the head as Ott stood to his feet. It was clearly unintentional, but it happened (Note: When it did happen, Schiavello bellowed out his signature "Oh! Goodnight Irene!" It wasn't goodnight, and it wasn't legal. Buffoonery at its finest). Afterwards, Ott tried to get up but crumbled into a pile on the floor, completely woozy and out of it. There was no way he could continue fighting. The fight was stopped, but there seemed to be a ton of confusion as to what was going to happen (DQ? ND?). All the while, some random lady was allowed to come up to the cage and hurl insults at Rosholt who was minding his own business the whole time. I guess Titan can't afford security. Pretty bush league. After about 10 painful minutes of waiting, they finally called the fight a disqualification and gave the win to John Ott.
This fight could hardly have been handled any worse. The fight absolutely should have been stopped with 2:55 left when the doctor looked at Ott's terrible cuts. Fans should never be allowed to have that kind of interaction with the fighters (it played terribly on tv and looked VERY amateur). Calling the knee an "intentional foul" was an absolute joke. Rosholt should be publicly apologized to, and Titan should be embarrassed.
In the main event, Jens "L'il Evil" Pulver went up against Brian Davidson in the third catchweight fight of the night (this one being at 140 lbs). Brian Davidson jumped all over Pulver from the get-go. He threw combinations galore that resulted with a cut under Pulver's right eye, and a massive bruise on his right thigh. After wobbling him with strikes, Davidson was able to pounce on Pulver and finish him with an RNC. Davidson looked fantastic. Pulver looked out of his element.
It just seems like this is the story of Jens Pulver's career. He goes through streaks where he looks unbeatable, and almost as quickly as the accolades come, it seems like he's right back in the middle of an interview about whether or not he's going to retire. I personally love the guy, but it's hard to watch his dramatic swings.
After the fight, Brian Davidson said that he plans on going back into retirement and will continue to train and coach.