Monday, May 30, 2011

A valiant effort

Unfortunately the ride for Maryland's current favorite son in mixed martial arts has come to an end.

Much has been made in the local media about Zach Davis from Evolve Academy's ascent on this season of "The Ultimate Fighter", where he scored a first-round submission victory over Chuck O' Neil in the preliminary round. Zach has made the rounds on local TV and newspapers since it was announced he would be part of the show, including on local TV stations like Comcast SportsNet, WUSA-9 and newspapers like The Washington Post.

Unfortunately for Zach, O' Neil was given a chance at redemption when the two met in a rematch in the quarterfinal round. Zach didn't have a chance to apply the same magic he did in the preliminary round, as a seemingly reinvigorated O' Neil was tenacious and set the tone from the beginning, not giving Zach time to breathe as he secured a unanimous decision victory.

News of Zach's defeat spread locally and he was understandably upset after his loss, but that shouldn't diminish the significance of what Zach accomplished. It didn't seem that he was pegged as one of the early favorites, while some who were found themselves on the losing end early. For Zach to overcome a debilitating eye injury to boot only magnifies the strides he's made in his MMA career.

Even when fighters lose prior to the final rounds on "The Ultimate Fighter", the UFC will still occasionally give those fighters an opportunity and I hope Zach gets his. He's shown the kind of guts and determination to work his ass off that guys like Dana White love to see.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Locals recapping locals

Unfortunately I was not able to make it to the latest installment of Shogun Fights last month, as I instead elected to introduce my friend Sandi to the world of mixed martial arts by taking her to a local Buffalo Wild Wings to watch UFC 129, where we saw Randy Couture end his career on a less-than-stellar note and watched Georges St. Pierre dominate Jake Shields, even though GSP couldn't see out of his eye for the latter part of the fight.

But I have since heard that the latest Shogun Fights was yet another rousing success and I came across an excellent recap here, through a local Baltimore sports website. Having read over the recap, a few things stick out:

- Ryan McGowan received his first taste of defeat. I've seen McGowan compete at previous Shogun Fights and in addition to being a very large man, he has devastating power in his punches but unfortunately did not seem to have the opportunity to display them in his latest fight. The ref stopped the fight in the second round after McGowan did not answer back from his opponent's strikes. I'm sure McGowan will learn from this experience and will come to the next Shogun Fights hungry for redemption.

- Local MMA hero Binky Jones finally ended his run of bad luck at Shogun Fights with a win. The first time I saw Binky compete at Shogun Fights, he was submitted quickly in the first round. His next run didn't go much better as the ref stopped the fight due to an injury by Binky, though he felt he could continue. Binky has always been a fan favorite at Shogun Fights and probably received quite a high from emerging victorious in front of his hometown crowd.

- Team Ground Control, the Baltimore gym that always has several of its fighters compete at Shogun Fights, once again ruled the evening. Although McGowan lost for the first time, other Ground Control fighters like Jones, Dave Daniecki and Ryan were all victorious. The gym's head trainer, John Rallo, is also the founder of Shogun Fights and the passion he has for MMA is showcased through his fighters. They always seem to bring their best to every fight, especially in Charm City.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A good first impression

Much has been made about local mixed martial arts fighter Zach Davis from Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg being a competitor on this season of "The Ultimate Fighter". When news broke that Zach would be a part of this season's cast, he seemed to conduct interview after interview with local news outlets, which I'm sure brought him more attention than he expected.

But if Zach was feeling any pressure as he prepared for his first fight on the show, he sure didn't show it once he stepped into the cage. He made relatively easy work of Chuck O' Neill, a game fighter who competed for Team Lesnar, with a first round submission victory via triangle choke.

Tonight we will learn Zach's fate for this season's quarterfinal round. But while it still remains to be seen whether Zach will be a part of the UFC or not, two of his Evolve Academy teammates are experienced success of their own.

Jason Morris and Marshall Thompson both won their respective fights at Shogun Fights IV, which was held late last month in Baltimore. Jason won his fight via first-round submission while Thompson secured a unanimous decision victory. Although I did not attend the event, I will post a more comprehensive recap of the show in the coming days. I have done a little training with Jason previously and the fact he won in the first round is not surprising at all.