Event 11 of Karate Combat's third season featured three world-class fights in all, and culminated in one of our most crowd-pleasing, action packed battles thus far.
We kicked it off with a great one, too.
Leg kicks started early for both men, but Thorpe got the better of it, blasting Zsiga's front leg out from under him.
It didn't take long to learn we had a fight on our hands, when Zsiga returned fire with a spinning back kick to Thorpe's abdomen. There looked to be a footprint left in the sand of his belly.
Thorpe's leg kick is about to pack a wallop
And off we go! Shins were flying in the first round of the event.
The Englishman employed a well-rounded strategy, doubling up on kicks (at times low, medium, and high) and scoring takedowns.
Round 2 saw body-kicks leading into takedowns for Thorpe, with better results following on the ground.
Thorpe, nicknamed Ghost, fought less like a banshee and more like a British Bulldog. His aggressive forward momentum pressed Zsiga's back against the Pit wall again and again.
When an opponent is laid upon the 45-degree Pit wall, they are not considered a downed opponent. And so an unlimited barrage of strikes awaits them if they do not escape their situation.
So Thorpe bombarded Zsiga with hooks when the Hungarian found himself stuck against the side of their battleground.
If that weren't punishing enough, Thorpe repeated the tactic again and again to thrilling success! During his final opportunity of the round, he blasted Zsiga with TWELVE HARD RIGHT PUNCHES TO THE BODY.
Round 3 saw a retaliatory effort by Zsiga to get back into contention, landing the first significant blow of the round.
Wild and dangerous creativity, by Zsolt Zsiga
Zsiga also employed great creativity in spinning techniques, flying techniques, tornado kicks, and just about all the flash and thunder he could muster.
Nevertheless, Mitchell Thorpe found ways to escape danger (ahh... "Ghost!") and close the distance with strikes from all angles, takedowns, and his own creative attacks whenever his opponent got trapped back-to-the-wall.
Mitchell Thorpe won by Unanimous Decision.
Alberto Ramirez was put in uncomfortable positions by Ikboljon Uzakov
A methodical first round established dominance of the Pit's real estate by "The Samurai" Uzakov, however. And though the damage to Ramirez was not severe, Ramirez could not regain access to the center of the Pit at any time, despite several unrealized takedown attempts.
Round 2 opened with a successful head-kick by Uzakov!
But Ramirez endured, and went on to land solid calf kicks throughout the round.
Nevertheless, Pit-control by "The Samurai" remained intact, and Ramirez started to show signs of fatigue after being hip-tossed onto his back, thrown, and spinning back-kicked in the belly at various moments.
Round 3 demanded aggression from Ramirez, but he was quickly put on his back.
Uzakov landed significant ground-and-pound within the first minute.
The Venezuelan returned to the leg-kick he had found success with, for yet more results.
But it was a crushing body kick for Uzakov that came next. Then, a counter punch to the head.
Ramirez remained defensive-minded at a time when the commentator team believed he needed maximum urgency. Leading to the ultimate result...
There would not be redemption for Ramirez.
Ikboljon Uzakov wins by Unanimous Decision.
The Main Event at our Future Super-Arena
One "O" had to go.
But Round 1 proved neither man was interested in sullying their Karate Combat record.
While it was a stronger first minute of fighting for Antokhii, who navigated the distance best to deliver his own strikes during that time, we ended up in a whirlwind of simultaneous attacks throughout the second half of the round.
One exchange nearly ended the battle - for BOTH men!
Each landed their own tremendous head-punch resulting in a double-knockdown!
But in Karate Combat that doesn't stop the action, and we saw both men rally back to their feet right away.
Another brilliant punch by Moreno-Paz sent Antokhii briefly down onto one knee.
Round 2 started off with more tentativeness, but descended back into wild, delightful madness once again.
Antokhii momentarily threw best defensive practices aside to rush Paz with looping hooks, and Paz made him pay for it with a counter left hand that rocked him.
Yet it would be defense-by-offense as Antokhii rallied with a flurry of punches instead of clinching or turtling up. One left hand evened the score.
A spinning back kick to the body may have squeaked this round out for Moreno-Paz, when Antokhii erroneously ducked into it.
The Fury of Vasilii Antokhii, Determined to Finish Strong
Round 3 continues the theme of martial chaos.
Each man lands on the other, each man scores a takedown on the other.
Then a leg-kick knockdown for Paz!
Vasilii Anthokii would not be deterred, however, and got up mounted a forward assault starting with pressure punching and finishing with a great big slam.
It's a shame anyone had to lose this one.
And while the fans would have loved a fourth round,
Vasilii Antokhii won by Unanimous Decision, moving to an impressive 4-0, and placing himself firmly in the conversation for championship contention, in a weight division otherwise dominated by champion Joshua Quayhagen.
Don't miss our Season Finale, September 16th, featuring the first Karate Combat Bantamweight Championship.