Go Big, then Go Home
by Toni Gannon
If this season of Karate Combat told us anything, it’s that the pit is accepted to infinity and beyond.
This episode - the third episode with Thor on commentary in Valhalla, and the last episode of Season 2 delivered such great content and incredible love for the sport that not only can we not wait to bring you a third season, but it was next to impossible to separate Thor from his new BFF, Bas Rutten.
I’d like to say that we just saw had the effect of lightening in a bottle, but we already know that with the Talent on our roster, as well as the people behind the scenes, it can only get better.
Let’s talk about tonight’s 3 incredibly impressive matches.
From their entrance to the portal, it was obvious that our newcomer was coming in strong. Josh Palmer:
“ I don't think Antokhii wants to waste too much time, here.” Josh Palmer observed. Bas Rutten agreed, “He wants to go. It's go time.”
Go time, it was, as the two hurdled toward each other, with Quirino coming in strong with a clip to the left, to the right, and then before he knew what hit him, Antokhii flipped the script with a Harai Goshi. Josh pointed out “That is the exact throw Quirino was caught twice with by Nikos Gidakos in his fight last time at Karate Combat.” Was this a cautionary tale for The Warrior, or just a coincidence?
The first minute and a half had us on the edge of our seats as we thought that perhaps, the newcomer was going to take an early win, but Quirino, realizing that Antokhii meant business, put everything he could into not surrendering, in pure Warrior fashion.
Gaining another ground and pound against the wall of the pit, Antokhii was certainly showing us what he was made of. Toward the end of Round 1, Bas noticed that “Quirino has his hands wide open, he's almost asking to get hit. He has to watch out, his chin is up. Also, very dangerous, especially against Vasilii. ”
On another note, he also offered up a bit of advice for Quirino “When he (Antokhii) misses, he misses big, you know. And Quirino, he should capitalize on that.”
I’m sure Quirino wishes he could have gotten that advice beforehand, because it certainly would have come in handy.
To Quirino’s credit, he landed a beautiful jack sweep on Antokhii, allowing him a powerful catch and takedown, letting us know he was fully present and not giving up easily.
Both fighters gave an incredibly impressive match to us, both showing confidence, perseverance, and as mentioned before, intent. While Antokhii felt that his fight IQ would carry him, his endurance was a worry as we started to see him slow down a bit. This would be the perfect time for Quirino to show his stamina, as Bas suggested.
A couple of times throughout this match, Thor was out of his seat, thinking the match would be called, but of course, with Antokhii being the favorite of the first round, and Quirino owning the second, we had to go to a third.
It was then that Josh Palmer dropped a bombshell on us all. “Vasilii Antokhii has never actually competed in a full contact rule set, as he lands a big overhand right. Does that surprise you with the viciousness and tenacity coming forward?”
That is impressively surprising.
The third round was full of strikes, stamina, and a clothesline to the neck of Willians Quirino in the final seconds of the third round.
The Winner announced, by unanimous decision, Vasilii Antokhii in his debut match here at Karate Combat.
Our second fight of the night involved a Devil and a Dragon, as Teeik Silva, from Brazil, took on Pedro Roman Roig, from Ibiza.
One may wonder if the Little Devil can tame the Black Dragon, or will it be the other way around. Luckily, we got our answer rather quickly.
Roig’s time during Covid-19 was to train, not only as he would, but also in dirty boxing, as he noted that Silva wanted to box close to him. Silva’s intent early on was a plain and simple plan: knockout.
Kicking off the fight, Silva quickly made the most of the pit wall, knocking Roig against it, but Roig, as if he were expecting it, rebounded quickly.
The two seemed to communicate in strong swings, kicks and punches, dancing across the floor of the pit, with Silva switching stance several times to keep Roig guessing.
Josh pointed out that they started to weed through “a bit of a feeling out process” with some quick jabs thrown in here and there.
Suddenly, the second spinning kick of the night from Silva once again just missed Roig in full contact.
With less than a minute left in the first round, Josh commented that you could see that “both of these guys offering so much respect to their opponents, really trying to pick and choose their moment to attack.”
Silva again offered a kick that just missed Roig’s head, and a fourth just as the round was called by Roig’s Cornerman, as The Little Devil retired on the stool, respectfully handing Teeik Silva the win.
A quick post-match update from Josh Palmer revealed “We’re being told that it was a looping right hand from Teeik Silva that caused him to lose his equilibrium, didn't feel safe continuing on the stool, and unfortunately, fighter safety, absolutely paramount here at Karate Combat.”
We hope that Pedro has recovered, as we congratulate The Black Dragon on another win.
Speaking of Dragons, Karate Combat woke up Silva’s former opponent and fellow Dragon, Bruno Assis from Brazil to fight Jesus Lopez, The Beast, from Peru in the 67 kilo category.
Here, there be dragons, indeed.
As the portal opened up, Josh joked that “The Dragon is breathing fire” and that Lopez looked slightly calmer.
As Josh noted, “Both these guys coming off wins, a knockout over Davis Ferrera for Lopez in a unanimous-decision win over Teeik Silva for Bruno Assis.” Additionally, Lopez’s father, Arturo, is his trainer and in his corner.
It was anyone’s win to take. Would Calm and Collected take it, or would Assis, at 3–0, with his boundless energy that we’ve all come to know and love, conquer?
Assis brought that energy and delivered a takedown, straight into the ground and pound within seconds of Round 1 kicking off. And while we’re on the subject of kicks, Assis stalked and landed a kick that I’m pretty sure was heard from space to the open side of Lopez’s head. Lopez answered with a swift liver kick to mark his opponent, which no surprise, got countered.
After a quick break, they reunited with open sidekicks, and then Lopez smartly ducked out of a hook from Assis. As Bas pointed out, “Brave counter there by Lopez.”
Lopez seemed to decorate The White Dragons body with red marks from various landings, as Commentary noted. It is almost as if he heard them, because Assis immediately dominated with another ground and pound.
Exactly as the first round ended, Assis found himself making contact with a kick to Lopez, to which he immediately apologized for. Bas gave an on-point character study of the young athlete by saying “ There was no way he could control it and still he apologized, that's nice. it says something about his personality. Great guy.”
In the second round, Lopez attempted to make contact with Assis, however Assis was able to turn it around by catching the kick and laying Lopez down. Assis then came after him with a body kick to the solar plexus.
Here, we saw Lopez get shaken up a bit, which is perhaps why he committed both arms around Bruno’s legs, and then a Harai Goshi, however Josh warned “he's going to have to be wary of not infringing upon the rules and invoking a point deduction from the referee.”
Assis gained another takedown from Lopez, and it was clear to see that this round belonged to him. Would Lopez start showing wear and tear, or would Assis begin to empty the tank?
With forward offenses, the highest scoring criteria, and his general energy and aggression, it would seem unlikely that he would suffer from a loss.
To quote Josh Palmer: “And this fight is called off! Bruno Assis lands a devastating midsection kick to dispatch Jesus Lopez and remain undefeated here at Karate Combat!”
When Layla Anna-Lee interviewed the elated Assis, she congratulated him on his dominance, to which the Undefeated Victor smiled and said, “ Bruno Assis: “I trained it for hours and hours and watch the fights of my opponent and to have the strategy before the fight enough to work so hard. So good. And I win this victory today.”
And with that, our time on this planet, and this season, has come to a close.
What will happen next season? One can only guess, but what we can say – without any spoiler alerts - is that we will not stop bringing you the best, most exciting matches and content on this planet, or otherwise.
We thank you, our Karate Combat viewers, for an amazing ride. We’ll see you soon.