The home of the 3-peating NZ Breakers Championship Basketball team was already packed as I arrived, (later than planned), for another stacked MMA event hosted by a foundation of NZMMA – Shuriken MMA NZ. The Ultimate Writer was there cage-side at Proving Grounds and covering the fights blow-by-blow LIVE on twitter – @TheUltim8Writer.
A huge thanks to Jason from Shuriken MMA NZ, truly a visionary and one of the hardest working men in MMA!
The event kicked off around 6pm as Lieutenant Dan Hennessey revs up the already feverish kiwi crowd.
Fighters, coaches, trainers, training partners, referees, medical professionals and supporters have come here from the 4 corners of Aotearoa to celebrate mixed martial arts and the New Zealand fighting spirit.
Great start to the card with a hard-fought 3 round tussle that was a little stop-start due to numerous accidental cup-shots. Both men starting round 1 at pace and throwing good heavy strikes as they probe and find range, both landing significant strikes, Pang edging out the round. Round 2 carries on it similar fashion with Pang showing more caution and measuring his shots. BIG combos in the middle of the cage sees Pang winging a few shots as his corner call for technique and composure, Maxwell lands a combo and Pangs corner call for the take down as the round ends. Both men are reserving energy and picking their shots in the final round. Maxwell appears to be hit by a low blow just as he delivers a low-blow of his own that floors Pang – corner ask him to ‘flip the switch’ as he recovers. The round ends with both men throwing heavy leather as the already full crowd are behind both fighters. Lt Dan brings the fighters into the center of the cage and announces a Unanimous Decision to Maxwell in a very close fight – great work from both camps and both fighters.
When composing this i was referring back to the notes I made while writing about each fight. The 2nd fight of the night saw Shuriken MMAs very own Luke Fruean and was one that I’d been told to watch out for in the build up to the event. When I consult my notes about this fight, there is only 1 thing written, it’s not even a sentence..
Fruean 14 second armbar: Now that doesn’t tell the whole story, so here it is – The bell sounded and the ref starts the fight. Quesada is agressive and lands a strike as he goes for a take-down and lands. Quesada pours in over the top with fists and gets caught inside with a very slick armbar from the bottom in a new Shuriken MMA NZ record for the fastest submission ever. Well done Luke.
Ripo vs Jackson saw another Lions Den fighter in Stefan Ripo take on Undisputed Fitness & MMAs Dante “Sizzle” Jackson. Sizzle was dominant in the stand-up and on the ground and really showed an incredibly well-rounded performance. Heavy top game and methodical striking lead to a well-won UD for Jackson and Undisputed.
Hogan vs Ewen was Shuriken vs Lions Den and was a real fight between 2 of the biggest men of the night. The fight starts with both men being methodical and measured. Ewen working kicks as Ryan “Polar Bear” Hogan throws and lands some over-hands. Polar Bear mauls Ewen against the cage as he starts to land and build momentum into the 2nd round. Hogan makes an onslaught and drops Ewen with a devastating liver-shot that ends the fight immediately in a great win by Polar Bear.
From here the night goes up a notch as the MMA A-Class fights begin!
Teasdale vs Davis – Morgan Teasdale came out incredibly strong and looked like a complete fighter. He landed heavy shots and was dominant from the bell – finishing the fight in the 1st round by heavy ground and pound.
Wetere vs Hughes – Lions Dens Talor Wetere fights a hard battle standing and on the ground to come away with a very nice submission win via Americana in the 2nd round. I’ll be doing an interview with Talor in the coming weeks where we’ll chat about him, his faith and where he wants to be in this world. Great win Talor.
Brewin vs Smith – Auckland MMAs John Brewin goes toe-to-toe with Integrated Fightings Paora Smith in one of the best bouts of the night with both men showing high-level ground game as they exchange sweeps and submission attempts through-out the 1st round. The 2nd kicks off with much of the same and the fight ends as Paora Smith catches Brewins arm and sinks in the arm bar. Impressive win and impressive account by both gyms and fighters.
Manase vs Wetere Saw fellow Auckland MMA fighter and crowd favourite Ina Manase take on another member of Lions Dens Wetere brothers in Chris Wetere. Manase starts off strong and fast with excellent stand-up and patience, eventually working to a clinch and then a heavy judo hip-throw technique landing on top and working ground and pound as the round ends. Round 2 is methodical as the fighters regroup and probe with stand-up. Clinch work is heavy as both fighters grapple and work for position against the cage. Chris Wetere finishes the round with a flying armbar attempt as the bell sounds and both men smile and embrace showing great heart. Round 3 again slow start until Wetere lands an explosive take-down and works a very heavy top-game. More back and forth before they work to their feet and the fight ends with both men swinging beyond the fences – what a fight. Manase takes it by UD as the crowd give a standing ovation to these 2 warriors!
Now we get into the Professional MMA gyms and fighters.
1st up: Devereux vs Agnew – Oliver MMA vs Ground Control. Both fighters start controlled showing patience and technique in a feeling out process. Deveroux faints and then exploded late in the round to take the finish via stoppage with 20 seconds remaining. Oliver MMA start strong as a very vocal contingent give a standing ovation.
Tetai vs Cambell [Co-Main Event] – Oliver MMA faces Gracie Gym NZ. Both men come out strong and land early shots. Tetai looking tentative as he eats strikes from Pumae Cambell. Cambell lands a take-down as both men spring back up only for Cambell to land another take-down and have both men spring to their feet again. Tetai lands a hip-toss 20 seconds from the end of the 1st and remains in side control. Round 2 sees more strikes and spinning techniques. Pumae lands a heavy take-down and works to full-mount attempting a mounted triangle then abandoning it as he is swept. The pro-Oliver MMA crowd call for Tetai to take the back as the bell sounds setting the scene for a huge 3rd round!
Sadly Pumae signals his corner that he has a suspected broken hand and they throw in the towel between rounds leaving a disappointed Cambell in defeat as an equally disappointed Ben Tetai wishes Pumae a safe recovery and both men embrace in a show of heart before a now feverish crowd.
Lt Dan Hennessey steps into the cage as BJ Bland makes his way to the cage looking huge, focused and in the right state of mind. Next is Kelvin Joseph who looks equally intense in his blue Gi. Dan calls for “somebody somewhere.. make some NOISE!” as the full crowd lose it and everyone is standing!
Solid striking starts the fight as both men trade near misses and glancing blows. Joseph, a BJJ instructor and beast on the ground takes the fight down and starts working for a knee bar before both men stand again and resume feeling each other out. Bland settles 1st and starts landing significant strikes that include body-shots and leg kicks. BJ presses in for the clinch and lands a knee that drops Joseph as the round ends.
Round 2 is a grueling affair with both men working clinch game and pressing heavy against the cage. Bland lands more body-shots and Joseph starts to settle and work better head movement and clipping BJ with counter shots. Joseph lands a take-down and is landing heavy shots and threatening with submissions as he finishes the round on Blands back.
Round3 starts at pace with both men lifting their game and coming out swinging. Bland lands a take down and in the process Joseph grabs an arm and hangs on for dear life as he works a very tight looking armbar. BJ Bland is forced to submit and tap as Kelvin Joseph becomes the NEW Shuriken NZ Welterweight MMA Champion. A huge congrats to both men on an excellent main event fight that showed high-level striking and ground-work.
Truly a pleasure to attend and cover these fights and again a huge thanks to Jason from Shuriken NZ for working with me. The 1st of many LIVE Twitter #PlayByPlays I’ll be doing, covering our New Zealand MMA scene!
Looking forward to talking to Lions Den Ministries Talor Wetere along with other fighters and also catching up with Dan “The Hangman” Hooker before he flies out to UFC Japan later this month.
As always – read me here and follow me on my Twitter @TheUltim8Writer!