With Legend FC 9 right around the corner on 16 June in Macau at City Of Dreams, Commentator Vaughn ‘Blud’ Anderson (and 16-1 pro MMA fighter, coach, jiujitsu fiend, world traveler, man-in-the-know and all around badass) is studying up on the next card. Here’s his look at the fighters and how he sees the bouts going down. You won’t get a better understanding of the action, unless your ringside.
Koji Ando vs. Rob Hill
This is Hill’s second fight during his ‘year off to study accounting’ (LOL!). Not sure how that idea EVER entered his head, but glad he has come to his senses and is back pulling off bonus-winning performances. The Aussie’s weird tricks look totally fluke at times, but he insures they are all just too technical for me to comprehend- either way, they work and win for him.
Ando looks huge for 70 kgs and held his own on the feet with KO sensation Wang Guan for the full 15 minutes! Then he came back and pulled off a beautiful sub-of-the-night triangle transitioned from back mount. He has earned his spot across from Hill.
Rob leaving the ring with bonuses is more common than not now. But, just like in video games, the further you get in Legend, the scarier your challenges become. Ando is the monster on this level and he will put Hill’s funky escapes to the test. Both recent sub-of-the-night winners, both excellent strikers- this could easily be one of the best fights ever.
Li Jingliang vs. Dan Pauling
Pauling would love to leave his Legend debut with a W over the welterweight top contender. Shin Do Dojo in Gold Coast Australia is famous for producing fighters that win off of their backs! Very impressive.
The Leech is well-known to fight fans in Asia, narrowly losing his last fight to Bae Myung Ho – giving the champ his toughest title defense yet. Li has won all his other welterweight fights- many unforgettably. Li won’t have a height advantage for a change, but Pauling is likely more interested in letting Li double-leg him and working his guard magic. That is something I would never dream of, but Pauling has a rep for pulling this off now – he knows what he’s doing.
Wu Haotian vs. Damien Brown
Wu has tremendous power. In his last fight he cinched the choke so hard, it not only made blood squirt out of Hooker’s head wounds, but also put him to sleep… and the choke wasn’t even in, it was on Hooker’s jaw! He dabbles in Sanda and boxing, but his background is in Chinese wrestling and his focus for many years has been BJJ. He doesn’t avoid attacks much and is happy to trade on his way to the body lock as his takedowns are, so-far, always sanda style td’s.
Brown also looks to be in amazing shape, and the low kicks he pelted Koji Ando with in Legend 7 could cause huge problems for Wu who has had a tough time dealing with low kicks previously. Don’t count Brown out on the ground either though; he’s fresh off a 57 sec guillotine win last month!
Yao Honggang vs. Augustin Delarmino Jr
I remember thinking ‘Delarmino who?’ That was before he ended his Legend debut in 44 seconds claiming the KO-of-the-night. Then he came back and won KO-of-the-night again. So, a bantamweight with back-to-back KO-of-the-night wins? What! We all know damn well who Delarmino is now.
Yao is our former champ, and got there with impressive slams and ruthless determination. Though he once claimed the title, his weakness has always been his striking and that obviously isn’t good going into a fight with Delarmino. Yao will look to ground Delarmino early and smother him with sub attempts and GnP. We all know what Delarmino’s plan is, don’t we?
Pat Crawley vs. Hideto Tatsumi
Despite Crawley’s reach DISadvantage, we saw him tee-off on Li Jingliang, retiring a great striker from middleweight. I feel that was the best display of boxing we have seen so far in the Legend ring.
Our Judoka is back, hopefully looking to ground Crawley early. If he keeps it standing like he did against Hungry Yang, I doubt it will take Crawley long to fill those holes in Tatsumi’s guard with leather and put the lights out quickly. If GnP is Tatsumi’s thing he needs to get to the ground ASAP!
Taiyo Nakahara vs. Jo Nam Jin
Here’s my call for fight of the night! Fingers crossed that Nakahara plays by the rules this time. This fight should be fast-paced, theatrical, all over the place, as well as a very even match-up. Both these guys kick ass and go balls out from beginning to end. This is an awesome match up. I have no favourite here; I will just be cheering for violence.
Ji Xian vs. Jack Gooderham
“The Handsome Executioner” Ji will be looking to add ‘Australian’ to his long list of nationalities he’s tapped out. But it’s not gonna be easy. Gooderham is cool; we just fought on the same card in Australia last month. I watched him warm up in the back working his Shin Do guard skills, then he put on a ‘The Flash’ mask, walked out and won with a 6-second head kick KO! WTF? I am not even kidding. Legend fans you’re gonna like this kid.
Choi Yeong Gwang vs. Rob Lisita
Choi is bad ass. I’ve known him since the Art Of War days, he’s a very fun fighter to watch. On the feet he is trouble, and on the ground well, he’s trouble there, too. Lisita, I admit, I had to google. There was a time not so long ago I needed to google Agustin Delarmino Jr. too, and Lisita is not doubt preparing to burn his reputation into our minds permanently much like Agustin has. Both these guys are submission wizards. Let’s see what Legend newbie, Lisita, has in store for “Dr Footlock”.
Daniel Hooker vs. Wu Chenjie
Calm, confident Hooker did very well against potentially the best Chinese lightweight in Wu Haotian. He also showed us his big heart by fighting ‘til unconsciousness, not tapping out early. His calm, technical style is totally opposite to Wu Chengjie’s who comes out like a rodeo bull!
Hooker’s tight straight punches will give Wu’s wild bombs trouble, especially considering his massive reach advantage on Wu. Wu is no pussy though. He took both Tirta AND Kawanago the distance. Wu will probably do better on the ground in this fight, but Hooker’s ground, in my opinion, is just the lesser of two evils – after all, Hooker wins most fights by submission – Wu still has to be careful there. In a very interesting match up, this will be the sniper versus the raging bull – these are always fun to watch!
Muhammad Hanif Bin Zainal vs. Diego Cuenca
Muhammad Hanif Bin Zainal hopefully has a fight name that’s easier to spit out, or I’m in trouble. Undefeated in 3 fights, this striking-based Malay says himself he wants to be a ‘good ambassador for Malaysian MMA’ – smashing Cuenca would further drive him toward this goal.
We haven’t seen Cuenca fight yet, but we saw his teammate, Terrance Chan, kick ass in his debut versus veteran Alex Lee. I expect the same strategy here in Cuenca’s pro debut. Training at Grips in HK under Rodrigo Caporal, not to mention having a purple belt of his own, expect Cuenca to hunt for submissions like his coach and Terrance do. My guess is “MBHZ” will have a better chance of maintaining his unbeaten streak with sprawl and brawl. Good luck guys!