KOTC 10 Tournament Review

Just a little background: KOTC 10- Critical Mass took place in 2001 and featured a one-night, eight-man heavyweight tournament as well as several regular bouts (Most notably Duane Ludwig vs. Krazy Horse). The tournament utilized one seven-minute round per fight, allowed for grounded knees, and gave virtually no leeway in terms of inaction on the ground. Once you hit the floor, you had to follow the ABC rules: Always Be Coldcocking. If you weren’t ground-and-pounding or going for submissions, you would get stood up even if you had mount.

Here are the players:

Fred Floyd– A 380 lbs PKA kickboxer and “Budokan Kung-Fu” stylist. He was an oldschool NHB fighter who suffered a memorable beating at the hands of I.G.O.R. back in the day. He did have a notable victory against WCW jobber Jerry Flynn, however, and might’ve appeared on an old Seinfeld episode as a bouncer. He’s easily the fattest man in the tournament.

Wade Shipp– A young Lions Den fighter with a shaved head and goatee. He’s making his debut here.

Kauai Kupihea– This dude looks like Pedro Rizzo with the body of Cain Velasquez. He has a fair bit of experience, coming into the tournament on a loss dealt to him by Bobby Hoffman in a title fight at KOTC 9. He claims to be a Muay Thai/BJJ fighter, but it quickly becomes obvious his forte is wrestling. Sneaky bastard.

Josh Dempsey– Jack Dempsey’s grandson, a former professional boxer with a 19-4-0 record. He’s apparently a former state champion wrestler and trained with the likes of Mark Kerr, Rigan Machado, and the McCully brothers (Sean and Justin). The only credential he lacks is having cybernetic limbs. Despite this tournament being his debut, he’s one of the favorites.

Giant Ochiai– A flabby Japanese guy with an afro. He’s a Judoka and pro wrestler managed by Masaaki Satake. He previously fought in Pride 10 and lost to Ricco Rodriguez by smother.

Zane Frazier– A Kenpo stylist who almost died in UFC 1 and later almost killed a man in UFC 9. He once beat up Frank Dux in a hotel lobby, and claims that he’s banned from training BJJ by the Brazilians. He’s 38, asthmatic, and 1-8-0 coming in, but is VERY buff on this particular night.

Eric Kleper- At 6’7″, he’s the tallest man in the tourney. He claims a boxing/kickboxing background, and is the heavyweight champion for Mark Hall’s Cobra Fighting Federation (Remember Mark Hall? I do). His shorts have a smiley face on the crotch.

Mike Bourke– Normally a fatty who fights with his shirt on, but for this tournament he’s yolked himself up and looks like a powerlifter. His background is two seasons of highschool wrestling. Beyond that, he trains once a week in Judo with some guy named Mollen Kramer (Yeah… Only once a week). He’s a KOTC perennial, being their open weight champion, and also fought in Pride 11 where he was double-armbarred by Alexander Otsuka (Just to note: KOTC had pretty close ties with Pride back in the day and a lot of fighters express a desire to fight there). He has an unfinished Tasmanian Devil tattoo on his shoulder.

Keith Richardson– The alternate who fought in a dark match. He’s a pear-shaped dude who sports a matching black singlet and t-shirt. His style is “Vale Judo.”

Fight 1: Fred Floyd vs. Wade Shipp

After a brief stand-up exchange, Floyd makes a sort of awkward lunge and ends up on his back and mounted. Shipp lands a few big punches before submitting him with an armbar less than thirty seconds in. Floyd never fought again.

Fight 2: Kauai Kupihea vs. Josh Dempsey

A brutal and exhausting back-and-forth ground battle. The gist of the fight is that Kupihea would score a takedown and the two would then take turns being on top and pounding each other. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it wasn’t a sloppy shitfest either. Kuiphea hit some nice switches and landed a few big grounded knees. Dempsey’s grappling training shone through and he had Kupihea turtled up at several points. After seven minutes, Kupihea would end up getting the split decision based mostly on his takedowns a grounded knees. Dempsey only had one other MMA fight, a victory over Cyrille Diabate.

Fight 3: Giant Ochiai vs. Zane Frazier

Right off the bat it becomes apparent that Frazier is substantially faster, more powerful, and more technical than his Japanese opponent. Despite having “Giant” in his name, he’s three inches shorter than Frazier and forty pounds lighter (As a matter of fact, he’s one of the smallest guys in the tourney). Ochiai can offer little in the way of offense for most of the fight, as Frazier effortlessly shrugs off his takedown attempts and picks him apart with strikes. The announcers compare the one-sided affair to Gary Goodridge vs. Osamu Kawahara (Where Goodridge uppercutted the shit out of him).

After a while, however, Frazier’s asthma, age, and heavily muscled physique conspire against him and he gases hard. He takes mount at one point but is too exhausted to do anything, an the two are stood up. With about a minute left, Ochiai hoists Frazier up in the air and drops him to the ground (The impact is mitigated by Frazier’s fence-holding). The rest of the fight would see Ochiai just wailing on his American opponent. If he had only managed to do that a little earlier, he could’ve gotten the stoppage. In the end, however, it went to decision and Frazier’s hand was raised.

Judging from this fight, it seems that Frazier’s record doesn’t do him justice. He had an impressive amount of talent and ability, but was hindered by a severe physical limitation. After pulling out of the tournament due to exhaustion he would go on to fight well into his forties, only scoring two more victories (To his credit, he at least won the title of some Z-level promotion). Ochiai would go on to rack up a string of three victories in Pride, but would tragically die in 2003 while training. In life, he looked like a chubby Weird Al Yankovic and was awesome.

Fight 4: Mike Bourke vs. Eric Kleper

Bourke’s primary mode of attack is charging forward face first with no clear idea of what to do after that. We’ll call this the Rhino Charge, being that his nickname is in fact “The Rhino.” Anyway, Bourke Rhino Charges Kleper into the fence, who responds by spazzing back with straight punches. Kleper attempts a flying guillotine, but Bourke pops out of it and goes ape-shit with ground-and-pound until Kleper taps out.
The two would meet again a few months later in Gladiator Challenge, both in substantially worse shape than in this tournament. Bourke KO’d him after four minutes of inaction.

Fight 5: Wade Shipp vs. Kauai Kupihea

I’m impressed Kupihea is even coming out after his tough fight in round one. Shipp comes out aggressive clonking him with some good strikes standing up. He’s sharper than Kupihea. Kupihea gets it to the ground at various points, but it’s still pretty close. Eventually, though, the larger Kupihea nails him with a barrage of grounded knees that open up a cut on Shipp’s head. From that point on, Kupihea mounts him and pounds him for the next several minutes. The ref really lets this go on for WAY too long. He even misses the towel thrown in at the six minute mark, so the timekeeper rings the bell prematurely to stop the fight.

Shipp would go on to have a respectable record of 10-5-0. He would even make it to UFC 47, but would lose to Jonathan Wiezorek. Wiezorek entered the fight with a broken back, but Shipp’s defeat is more of a testament to Wiezorek’s uncanny balls than Shipp’s ability. On the subject of broken backs… Well, we’ll get to that (Hint! Hint! Spinal injury coming up!)

Fight 6: Mike Bourke vs. Keith Richardson

This is easily the funniest fight of the night. Bourke looked like a frustrated father trying to give his son a whooping, but realizing that his boy has grown too big for him to kick his ass like he used to. After a Rhino Charge, Bourke attempted to throw Richardson to the ground using no semblance of technique, but this didn’t work because Richardson is 270 lbs. After a while, Bourke finally managed to hit a blast double, but gets caught in a sidemounted guillotine choke that makes him spit his mouthpiece out. Bourke eventually escapes but gets stood back up.

On their feet, Bourke clocks Richardson with a few wild right hands (The announcers say Bourke has a boxing trainer, which I doubt). Richardson immediately looks like he doesn’t want to be there, but Bourke refuses to follow it up either due to fatigue or lack of confidence. Most of the rest of the fight is spent in a clinch up against the fence, and would end with Bourke getting a very exhausted arm raised.

Fight 7: Mike Bourke vs. Kauai Kupihea

The climatic final fight advertised on the front cover of the DVD case! Bourke’s back gives out after getting taken down and he submits 40 seconds in. Kauai Kupihea is the tournament champion!

Bourke would eventually get into some real training, but his youth passed him by and he would still end up losing a lot of fights. He was once slated to fight Kimbo Slice, but was replace by Bo Cantrell (Who previously defeated him). Late in his career he lost to Tank Abbott but retired on a high note by beating Ken Shamrock. For his part, Kauai Kupihea would get knocked out by Eric Pele on the next card and would go on to have a 15-11-0 record. His most notable victory was against Travis Wiuff.

Summary: For an early 2000’s heavyweight tournament in a B-promotion, this is about as good as you can get. The stalling rules seemed to effectively increase action despite abating what would otherwise be called bullshit standups. My favorite fight of the night was Frazier vs. Ochiai, because it was a David vs. Goliath match and Ochiai’s near-comeback towards the end had me bonering. Over all, I’d give the show a 15 out of 10.

Reasons to watch:

– Ring girl’s ass

– Grounded knees

– FAT GUYS!

– Keith Richardson’s bulge

– Ludicrious ruleset made the fights pretty head punch-centric

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David “The Boston Strangler” Hood

Record: 1-3-0
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 190 lbs-210 lbs
Born: 1970
Hometown: Walthan, Massachusetts-USA
Style: Jeet Kune Do, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Years Active: 1995-1997

Career Overview: David Hood was Boston-based fighter with a background instructing Jeet Kune Do.  Prior to making his official MMA debut, Hood claimed an undefeated 72-0-0 record in bareknuckle fighting.  Credentials such as these were often fabricated in the early days of MMA by the promoters and the fighters, although it’s possible Hood may have had some bareknuckle experience prior to his first recorded fight.  He made his official debut as an alternate in UFC 7 against former football player fighter Scott Bessac.  Interesting to note was that Taimak, the martial arts movie actor who starred in The Last Dragon, was the referee of this bout:

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/vbtube_show.php?do=tube&tubeid=1171#watch

Bessac, a Lion’s Den fighter and Pancrase veteran with a 3-4-0 record at the time, was four inches taller and fifty pounds heavier than his Bostonian opponent.  The two met in the center of the cage, briefly exchanging strikes before clinching.  Both fighters attempted to hit each other with groin strikes before Bessac grabbed a hold of a power guillotine and forced Hood to tap out at 0:31.  It would be Hood’s last appearance in the UFC and Bessac’s last victory in MMA.

Following his defeat, Hood apparently began training with Rickson Gracie to prepare for future no-holds-barred fights.  His new skills would be put to the test a year after his UFC appearance when he fought in World Vale Tudo Championship 1 inTokyoBay.  The promotion, founded by Vale Tudo pioneer and Marco Ruas affiliate Fredrico Lapenda, featured an eight-man tournament which Hood took part in.  His first fight of the night would be against Okinawan karate stylist Todd Butler, who claimed kickboxing and wrestling credentials along with his point karate experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vguF-FQ1oo

The fighters started off with a quick striking exchange before tying up against the ropes.  They struck each other with short blows while jockeying for position, with Hood showing evidence of his jiu-jitsu training by attempting several standing guillotine chokes (In the manner Bessac had finished him off in the UFC). Butlereventually brought the fight to the ground, and from this point on the match looked more like Wrestling vs. Jiu-Jitsu than Jeet Kune Do vs. Okinawan karate.  The two traded strikes from inside Hood’s guard for several minutes untilButlereventually tapped out at the 9:33 mark.  There was no finishing hold employed;Butlerjust seemed uncomfortable working from the guard and didn’t know how to stop being hit by Hood’s short punches.  He later went on to fight Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kevin Jackson in the UFC and fought Jeremy Horn twice, dropping all three fights. Butlereventually picked up a lone win against one Adam Harris in 1999. 

Advancing to the quarterfinals, Hood next took on Irish-American grappling stylist Richard “Red” Heard.  Heard was similar to Hood’s earlier opponent Scott Bessac in that he was a former football player and had a height and weight over the Jeet Kune Do stylist.  Claiming experience in Judo, SAMBO, and wrestling, he took on Hood after having submitted his previous opponent, Scott Grof, via strikes in little over a minute. 

Heard started off that match with a strong double-leg takedown that put Hood on his back.  Hood quickly climbed to his feet, however, with Heard still holding a single leg.  While Heard attempted to kick his leg out from under him, both fighters fell to the ground and rapid scramble occurred.  Hood got to his feet first and kicked his opponent in the face, bloodying the grappler’s mouth.  Hood spent the next several minutes in Heard’s guard, landing some effective ground-and-pound before both fighters slipped from the ring and out onto the floor.  The Jeet Kune Do fighter seemed slow climbing back into the ring, but when the match was restarted standing he opened up with a flurry of punches before pulling guard.  This proved to be a mistake, as Heard quickly latched on to an Achilles lock and forced Hood to tap at 4:26. 

Heard would end up winning the tournament that night by defeating superheavyweight Fred Floyd.  The damage Hood had done to him in his previous fight came into play during his championship bout, as the match had to be paused to reclose several of the cuts Heard had accrued on his face.  Despite being submitted, Hood’s training with Rickson Gracie was very evident in his performance that night.

“The Boston Strangler’s” final MMA fight occurred in 1997, when he took on wrestling coach John Bechthold in the IFC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6_olo8kiSc

Bechthold started out by bulling his smaller opponent up against the fence.  Following an exchange of sideways headbutts, the wrestler took Hood to the ground with a straight headlock but quickly got his back taken.  After an armbar attempt, Bechthold escaped and managed to scramble to a dominant position.  Hood attempted an ankle lock, but Bechthold kept a stable position and landed some steady ground-and-pound until Hood relinquished the hold.  Bechthold held the top position and landed several headbutts until the referee initiated a stand-up.  The reset in position did not prove to be an advantage for Hood, who was quickly taken down and submitted via Cobra Choke at 6:55. 

Bechthold would go on to lose to Judoka Robert Lalonde later that night in his only other MMA bout.

In my opinion, David “The Boston Strangler” Hood was a quick and athletic fighter whose record does not necessarily serve him justice.  He had a solid striking game and was in the right company to make good strides in grappling.  Being more of a natural middleweight, he might’ve been more successful had he not been matched up with all of those beefy wrestlers.  The rugged grappler “Red” Heard, who only lost to Pedro Rizzo in MMA, had his hands full with the scrappyBostonfighter. 

Fighters I would’ve liked to see him up against:

–          Fred Floyd

–          Erik Paulson

–          Don Frye

Kazunari Murakami

 
Record: (Official) 5-5-0 (Real) 4-5-0
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 212 lbs-220 lbs
Born: November 29, 1973
Hometown: Nei District, Toyama, Japan
Style: Judo
Years Active: 1995-2003
Overview: Kazunari Murakami was a Japanese-bred fighter with a Judo base. He made his debut in the Lumax Cup, a Japanese promotion that ran from 1994-1997. Lumax Cup events were run tournament style, and disallowed the use of strikes to the face on the ground. Gi’s and Shooto gloves were also mandatory. Murakami first fought in the 1995 tournament, losing in the first round to future UFC, Pride, and Shooto star Akihiro Gono by head kick at 2:25.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqCrFPWZNwU&feature=player_embedded

Several months later, Murakami fought again in Lumax Cup 1996. He fared much better this time around, submitting Isamu Osugi with an armlock and avenging his loss to Gono by decision. He ended up being bumped off in the semi-finals by Shooto fighter Masanori Suda by armbar in the second round. Suda would go on to lose to Sanae Kikuta in the finals.

Later that year, Murakami traveled to America to compete in Extreme Fighting 3. Extreme Fighting was an early pay-per-view NHB promotion that attracted a considerable amount of media attention during the mid-90’s, comparable to the UFC. It had also introduced several innovations to the fledgling American MMA scene, such as weightclasses for tournaments and mandatory gloves. Murakami would square off against Bart Vale, a shoot-style wrestler who had been passing off his matches in Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi as real. Most notoriously, Vale claimed to have knocked Ken Shamrock out, even though it was a worked fight. Fans and promoters at the time believed his “shootfights” were legitimate, and he was often ranked amongst the top NHB fighters back in the mid-90’s. He did have two veritable fights outside of professional wrestling prior to fighting Murakami: A grueling NHB win over Kazja Patschull-affiliated fighter Mike Bitonio, and a quick defeat in K-1 at the hands of legendary karateka Andy Hug. Murakami was brought in to face Vale because the Japanese wrestling promotion Vale was under contract with at the time apparently did not allow Vale to fight “certain opponents,” and would only allow him to be matched with someone they approved of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5ukjiBc10I0

 

Murakami came out aggressive and quickly took his large opponent’s back. Vale tried to retaliate with a straight armbar (A defense I was actually taught at a Vale-affiliated MMA school), but when the fight hit the ground Murakami quickly took mount. The Japanese Judoka battered Vale with ground-and-pound, and continued to hit him after taking his back again. After a while, Vale managed to escape through the back door and attempted a standing guillotine. Vale didn’t lock the choke properly and instead tried to land several knees and punches on his shorter opponent. Murakami retaliated with a barrage of punches that put Vale on the floor, where he continued to batter him. The referee quickly stopped the fight at 4:37 in round one (Rounds were referred to as “phases” in Extreme Fighting).Murakami’s bout at Extreme Fighting 3 was actually a part of a four-man tournament to crown the promotion’s heavyweight champion. On the same card, former world kickboxing Maurice Smith did battle with Carlson Gracie black belt Marcus “Conan” Silveira to determine the second slot. Silveira was already considered Extreme Fighting’s heavyweight champion, having won the title in a four-man tournament in Extreme Fighting 1 and defended it against Carl Franks in the second event. Maurice Smith’s MMA experience prior to this fight mostly came in Pancrase, where he only managed to pick up one victory against Takaku Fuke while dropping fights to the likes of Ken Shamrock and Bas Rutten. Smith had been diligently training his ground game with Frank Shamrock, however, and was well prepared to take on the beefy jiu-jitsu fighter. Over the course of three rounds, Smith was able to wear Silveira down enough to be able to reverse the grappler on the ground and eventually knocked him out on his feet with a head kick. This was one of the earliest incidences in MMA of a striker defeating a grappler in a major championship fight.

In the main event of Extreme Fighting 4, Murakami and Smith would face off for the title:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UnkPMuhN6Bg

Murakami charged Smith right off the bat and floored the world kickboxing champion with a left palm strike. Smith ate some ground-and-pound, but managed to reverse the Japanese grappler and ended up in his guard. Smith stood up, but Murakami remained on his back, prompting Smith to kick his legs. This went on for several minutes until Murakami stood up as well, at which time he was knocked out with a crisp and heinously powerful right cross. Murakami was paralyzed for two hours after receiving that blow.Following that defeat, Murakami traveled back to Japan where he would perform in the first ever Pride event. Officially, his fight with John Dixson in Pride 1 was the first fight in Pride history, when in actuality the match was a work. PrideFc was originally intended to promote a variety of martial arts events, including kickboxing and shoot-style wrestling. The match between Dixson and Murakami was widely known by Japanese fans to be a planned work, but nothing of this is mentioned in the American commentary. The fight is also listed in every database as being legitimate (The fact that Dixson has an extensive MMA record adds to the confusion).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=91L3LC6hKs8

 

Murakami would later fight in two legitimate Pride bouts. The first was a first round TKO loss to karate champion and K-1 pioneer Masaaki Satake, which is the only victory in Sataake’s MMA career. The second fight was also a loss, a TKO at the hands of BJJ legend Wallid Ismail. His final MMA match came in 2003, where he scored a victory over one Lee Young Gun in the inaugural Jungle Fight show. In the same year, Murakami also lost to Stefan Leko in a kickboxing match by a right high kick KO in round one.Murakami was an aggressive fighter who always seemed to go after his opponent right off the bell. He made some mistakes on the ground and looked vulnerable to being knocked out, but was definitely a tough dude who could grapple and hit when he needed to. A worthy opponent to most who faced him back in the day.