Emlianenko vs Gonzaga topped RCC2

RCC 2: Aleks Emelianenko KOs Gabriel Gonzaga, Ivan Shtyrkov Escapes with a Draw

Yekaterinaburg, Russia – For many former UFC contenders, a main event spot in Russia versus a domestic legend grades out as little more than an opportunity for a jetlagged beatdown and a sizable paycheck. Gabriel Gonzaga (17-12, #40 World) made sure everyone knew he needed a lot of zeroes at the end of his check to come out of retirement, but for the first half of his bout with notorious GOAT brother Aleksandr Emelianenko (27-7, #28 World) it looked like “Napao” might also be on track to pulling the serious upset. Gonzaga avoided damage in round 1 by ducking under a punch to force Emelianenko to the mat and keeping it there. Round 2 was more of the same early, but the Brazilian had a lot less juice in his tank and suffered a referee standup midway through the round. That’s when Emelianenko burst into action with a flurry of wicked punches and knees that left Gonzaga curled up on the mat for the round 2 TKO victory! Gonzaga still looked like a legit world class heavyweight at age 38. But the real story was Emelianenko’s wicked striking skills, which he used to attain a fourth straight KO/TKO since his return from a stint in jail late last year. Alexsander’s very unfortunate criminal history is likely to keep him from competing anywhere other than Russia, these days, but his time in the clink appears to have rejuvenated the 36 year old’s MMA skills at the very least. Given the depth of heavyweight contenders in Russia, I wager we’ll see plenty of the 6’6″ Stary Oskol native in the next few years.

Male world rankings via Fightmatrix, female world rankings and regional rankings via Tapology.  All rankings are pre-event, records are updated post-fight.

 

RCC 2 Co-Main Event – The Ivan Shtyrkov Show

Supremely musclebound “Ural Hulk” Ivan Shtyrkov (14-0-1) has proven to be the sort of heavyweight attraction that you can center a promotion like RCC around. Shtyrkov is clearly undersized at heavyweight, which is part of the fun since he has an extremely crafty takedown game and packs an outsized punch. Combine those talents with a solid chin and Shtyrkov has been able to run through an impressive slate of foes including Bigfoot Silva and Phil de Fries. After testing a cut to 205 last time out, Shtyrkov returned to the heavyweight ranks to take on another huge dude in woulda-been UFC talent Mondragon dos Santos (40-20-1).

Watching Shtyrkov ragdoll heavyweights is plain fun, and he had no trouble throwing the humongous dos Santos down to the mat early in the contest. Shtyrkov sealed round 1 with a sweet spinning elbow that briefly put the Brazilian on ice skates. Mondragon fired back in round 2 with one of his better punches of the fight, but the Russian ate it and returned the attack with a nice spin kick to the body. Dos Santos wisely used his size to bring things to the mat for a couple of minutes in the second frame, though he had to focus more on controlling the Ural bowling ball than inflicting damage. At the end of two it seemed likely that Shtyrkov and dos Santos were tied at one round apiece, though Shtyrkov has been the beneficiary of some very questionable officiating in the past so there were no guarantees.

Both of these monsters were flat-out gassed as round 3 started. Shtyrkov earned a chuckle from the crowd as he touched dos Santos with a comically low-power calf kick. Shooting for a takedown was a dicey proposition, given cardio factors, so the Russian pushed dos Santos against the cage until the Brazilian forced a break and referee timeout with a pretty blatant looking knee to the huevos. Dos Santos throw some decent hands when he could summon the energy, but much of round 3 featured Shtyrkov cage control and the Hulk pushed away from the Brazilian’s labored takedown forays.

That persistence and control was enough for Shtyrkov to earn the respect of his domestic judges, who ruled the bout a draw when itvery well could have been marked as a win for Dos Santos. It pains me to say as a fan of Shtyrkov’s skills and fights, but the man’s record is slightly embellished at this point between this draw and his referee-assisted win over Bigfoot Silva. That said, most of Ivan’s late fight problems seem to be the result of having to grapple and trade fists with much bigger men. Perhaps this close shave is the wake up call that will finally send The Ural Hulk back down to the more appropriate 205 pound weight class?

RCC 2 Featured Bout @ 185:  The featured middleweight contest of RCC 2 was all one-way traffic for 26 year old Yekatarinaburg resident and noted cat lover Mikhail Ragozin (11-3, #134 World). Ragozin held obvious physical edges in every area, a matter complicated by the fact that Wallyson Carvalho (8-5) didn’t appear to be in peak condition for this contest. Carvalho plodded about the cage while Ragozin picked away patiently for the first two rounds, seemingly uninterested in looking for a finish. The Brazilian decided to flop down to his back and see where guard would take him midway through the third. The answer: a one-way ticket to the losing side of the pay window, as the Russian battered away with ground strikes including a flush diving punch at the final bell that marked one of his best shots of the fight. Mikhail Ragozin kept it conservative throughout, even though it looked like he had the tools to add an eighth finish to his resume. Either way, Ragozin walked away with a very clear unanimous decision to build on his win over former Bellator 205 pound champ Christian M’Pumbu at RCC 1.

RCC 2 Featured Bout @ 135:  TUF Brazil Season 4 winner Reginaldo Vieira (13-5, #294 World) was evicted from the Octagon in record time for a TUF winner, as the UFC sent him packing after he dropped his first two regularly scheduled appearances to Marco Beltran and Aiemann Zahabi. Vieira found himself in hot water early on in his contest with unknown Denis Lavrentyev (5-0, #164 World), who planted the Brazilian firmly to the mat in the first round. Vieira flipped the script in round 2 with plenty of top control of his own, and both men were still full of energy and violence as they traded punches down to the round 2 bell. The fight appeared to be up for grabs as the third stanza progressed but Vieira put himself in a bad position when he whiffed on a guillotine intead of focusing on takedown defense. That mistake allowed Lavrentyev to work to side control and send the last half-a-round battering away on the erstwhile UFC vet. The judges were suitably impressed and awarded Lavrentyev his second straight unanimous decision in the nascent RCC promotion. For Reginaldo Vieira, it had to hurt to step back from the world’s biggest fight promotion and immediately suffer a clear-cut loss in a very winnable bout.

RCC 2 Prelims:

The RCC 2 prelims featured plenty of solid regional competitors in action as they sought to climb the Russian MMA ranks. Here’s a quick glance at the prelims results via @Tapology – click the pic to explore the results on-site.

 

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