First things first,
Welcome aboard, Lyoto Machida!
Lyoto "the Dragon" Machida joined the Karate Combat commentary team for Event 9
Now for the action:
The young guns kicked off Event 9!
The opening fight featured 22-year-old Kudo-champion Dmitri Novikov 🇷🇺 vs fellow bantamweight, 20-year-old Nikolasz Lukacs 🇭🇺.
The 5'2"/160cm "Pocket Ninja" (Novikov) took clear control of the first round, landing sharp boxing combinations and occasional kicks. Whenever Lukacs attempted to bring the fight to the Russian, he got tied up in clinches, or couldn't pass guard.
You can see why they call Novikov the "Pocket Ninja"
Novikov's punches-in-bunches resumed all throughout the second round. Frequent, accurate, diverse boxing combinations, to both sides of the body and head, landing for the Pocket Ninja as Lukacs presses forward through the damage all-round-long.
Hoping for the come-from-behind victory, however, the super-durable Hungarian "Red Fox" pushed hard in the final round!
Having endured the onslaught with a rock solid chin and impressive cardio, Lukacs turned a one-sided affair into an intense and entertaining battle! He connected with significant strikes throughout the round, capitalizing on a more tired opponent.
Novikov, however, demonstrated a chin of his own in the final round, and earned himself a Unanimous Decision victory.
There was more weight bearing down on Jorge Perez than usual...
Jorge Perez 🇩🇴 vs Igor De Castañeda 🇪🇸 was the next match in our three fight card, and its story begins with some Middleweight intrigue.
Recently, at Event 5 of this season, Jorge Perez earned a TKO victory at 84kgs/185lbs. For this bout versus "the Iberian Bull," however, Perez weighed in six kilos (~13lbs) underweight!
That rather extreme size disadvantage (by combat sports standards) could spell trouble against an opponent such as Castaneda, who boasts an especially aggressive style (hence his nickname).
The size difference didn't serve much of a factor in Round 1, with Jorge Perez often the aggressor. Yet it was Castañeda fighting off the back foot.
In Round 2, Perez turned the aggressive pace up even higher.
...And the Iberian Bull continued to counterstrike like a master striker.
It was one stop short of a "walk-away" KO win for Castañeda(!), who resisted the urge to follow Perez to the floor after he landed his walloping right hand to the chin, but didn't quite step away as he howled in victory!
Surely that extra weight on the punch didn't hurt!
Ross Levine vs Andrei Grinevich in the Main Event
Ross Levine 🇺🇸 vs. Andrei Grinevich 🇧🇾 marked our Main Event.
One part Doctor of Physical Therapy, one part KO-specialist, American Ross "Turbo" Levine debuted against an opponent eager to get into the win column.
Andrei Grinevich blitzed early, planting Levine onto the Pit multiple times.
Famous for head-kicks, "Turbo" Levine connected, but got taken down in exchange.
In the second round, Levine consistently trapped Grinevich in the corner of the Pit by threatening faints and pushing forward. His low leg kicks were extremely disruptive to the movement of Grinevich.
One calf kick by Levine spun his opponent around 360-degrees!
In the opinion of this writer, it was a 1-1 situation heading into the final round. With everything on the line, then...
Levine stalks Grinevich but does not engage on the ground.
True to his name, "Turbo" began throwing turbocharged punches at great speed. With his opponent rightly concerned about getting punched in the face, Levine delivered sneaking, crushing kicks to his calves.
Two low-kicks blasted Grinevich to the floor. Ouch. Yet each time, Levine waived his right to ground-and-pound, confident in his command of the stand-up.
With his opponent focused on defending his own lower half... boom, a head-kick knocks Grinevich onto his back against the Pit wall.
A chin on display for Grinevich, but a crystal clear Unanimous Decision for Ross Levine, who sends his opponent home with a considerably damaged leg, following a fantastic third round.
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