THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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My latest review sees me going back to an arena I know quite well, the Waveney Sports & Leisure Centre in the Suffolk coastal town of Lowestoft. I’ve reviewed quite a few professional wrestling shows there, but I’m not reviewing a wrestling show now. We’re going to take a look at the DVD release of MMA promotion Fight Factory’s debut show Relentless, held just over a year ago.
The show features nine fights, and begins with a grappling contest featuring Fabio Ferrari and Loia Bamgbaia. I suppose you could really call this an exhibition more than anything else, as it was fought over a solitary five minute round. There was lots of feeling out early on before Bamgbaia got the first take down, before Ferrari showed some good transitions. There were a couple of submission attempts, but neither man could get the decisive win, leaving the decision for the judges, who awarded the fight to Ferrari. This wasn’t too bad I suppose, but I think that this sort of contest will take some getting used to.
Then it was on to the first MMA fight of the show, beginning with a semi-pro lightweight fight pitting Tom Tailford, the guy who asked me to review this DVD, and Will West. This proved to be a very interesting contest, with both men putting in a good account for themselves, with the pace slowing down somewhat in the second, although Tom put in a bit more work. This was enough to earn him the win. I think the best way I could describe this fight is that although it was enjoyable, both fighters looked a little rough around the edges at times.
Ricky Bryans against Mill Millican at welterweight was next. This was a highly impressive performance from Millican as he went forward early on and scored with a quick take down. From there he showed some good transitions, before Bryans verbally submitted as Millican rained down with a torrent of blows. A good performance from Millican here, while Bryans didn’t really seem to have any answer to the onslaught that defeated him.
There was then a break from the MMA action as Jed Molyneaux faced Dan Weiss in a kickboxing match. This was a messy, bad tempered affair, and wasn’t that good to watch if I’m being totally honest. There were low blows, punches to the back of the head, long rest periods because of the rules infringements and lots of complaining, which is probably why the performances of both fighters were scrappy to say the least. Weiss won the judges decision, but neither fighter did themselves any credit here.
The next two fights were the proverbial blink and you’ll miss it affairs, beginning with Ashley Winn facing Paul Barnett at middleweight. Winn got the quick take down, went for the ground and pound, then took Barnett’s back before tapping out after more of Winn’s ground and pound. Nice work from Mr. Winn here.
Alex Morris against John Mezzetti at lightweight followed. I’m going to be totally biased with regards to this particular encounter. John Mezzetti and I went to the same school. I was in the same class as his sister Maria, and his Gran and Uncle used to live over the road from me. John also runs the Fighting Fit Martial Arts Academy in my hometown of Cromer. So, with all that out of the way, this one was even quicker than the previous fight. John connected with a hard kick to Morris’ ribs. Morris fell to the canvas, and the referee stopped the fight, giving Mezzetti the ten second knock out win. The kick was so loud everyone in the arena probably heard it, and it came as no surprise that Morris was sporting a nasty bruise as the announcement was made. Nice one John.
Light heavyweight action was next, with John Calderwood taking on Francesco Zand. This was another semi-pro fight that went the two round distance. There were quite a few periods of inactivity in the first round, although Zand did pull off a few good transitions. The action slowed down quite a bit in the second, with both men showing some good ground and pound. The judges couldn’t separate them though, and declared the fight a draw, although I thought Zand just edged it.
The penultimate fight saw Lee Elliott face Matt West at lightweight. For me this was the perfect example of what a referee shouldn’t do. Elliott was absolutely relentless with his punches here, and when the fight went to the ground his ground and pound was even more so, and when West was offering no defence I kept wondering why the referee didn’t step in to save him. He soon had to though, as Elliott soon synched in a guillotine choke for the submission win, and while this was a good performance by Elliott, the referee should have ended it much sooner.
The final fight saw Shaun Gruncell facing Dan Cubitt in middleweight action. British MMA fans may remember Cubitt from his appearances for Cage Rage and Ultimate Challenge UK. Cubitt also trains at John Mezzetti’s gym, so I can’t be completely unbiased here, although I don’t really need to, because Cubitt put in a great performance here, almost dominating in every aspect of the fight, from the stand up game to the ground and pound. But he was somewhat unlucky though, in the sense that he couldn’t finish Gruncell off, even though he went for a few arm submissions. It wasn’t surprising when Cubitt got the judges decision after three rounds of hard fought action. It was a well deserved win.
In conclusion, apart from the messy kickboxing bout, this was a very good show. Granted, a couple of the fighters looked a little rough and ready, but overall this was a very enjoyable show, and although some people may be put off by the lack of commentary, I would definitely recommend to MMA fans who want to sample MMA outside of a UFC octagon.
With thanks to Tom Tailford for supplying a copy of this release. For more details of this release, visit www.fight-factory.co.uk.