After Belgium Beatdown, it’s now the time for Fightor. It’s been more than a year and a half that Belgium hadn’t a professional MMA event organized on their land. In May 2013, the 4th edition of Belgium Beatdown, organized by Ludo Boulvin was a real success for the fans, but it was a bit more complicated for the organizer, on a financial point of view. MMA is still young and rising on the flat country and it isn’t yet recognized.
However, this is a challenge that Jafar Hilali wanted to take on and invest in Fightor. He decides to organize its first edition at the Spiroudome, in Charleroi. At first, it was supposed to take place in December, but for several reasons, it’s been delayed to the 17th of January of this new Year. Nevertheless, the event was a big success for the spectators:
The organization that we feel young and fresh, which is logical, can be happy for their first edition. Even though some processes aren’t perfect just yet, and although they had some technical issues, the evening lived up the expectations, especially for the fans. Finally, the main goal has been achieved. Among the issues, one stood out, but it’s not on the organisation; the securized ring, also called the cage, could not be used because it isn’t yet 100% authorized in Belgium. Hence, at the last minute, after the injury of Boubacar, and the injury of Christian M’Pumbu’s opponent, Fightor had to use a boxing ring, instead of a cage. Nevertheless, this will be a positive issue for the future; no accident happened during the evening, but it was chrystal clear that a boxing ring is very dangerous for such a sport. A Belgian Minister representative attended the event in order to help MMA grow in Belgium and he realized how important it is to use a securized ring to protect the safety of the athletes. Therefore, he’ll write a report down to push the authority legalize the utilization of a securized ring for Mixed Martial Arts events.
Finally, a last issue touched Fightor as on fight day, one of the organizer who was also set to fight on the card had to cancel his combat because his opponent didn’t show up. This unfortunate athlete is the BMMAF’s president, Ludo Boulvin, who saw his hours of training and diet efforts ruined. Needless to say that he, and his several fans, were dead disappointed.
Anyway, the event started almost on time, which is pretty rare, and it was a big show, although the first fight was a bit frustrating; Miguel Baudour was the first athlete to enter the ring and he faced a Spanish opponent who seemed to put his foot for the very first time in a ring. He simply turned his back, litterally, to the fight within the first 30 seconds, and the referee had to stop the fight.
The second amateur fight was more fun; Nicolas Di Franco and Ulrich Agbessi, two well-known athletes in Belgium are up-and-comer young artists and they finally meet ! Shaolin Team’s 19 year old dominated the boy from Team Souyouf, especially in the grappling aspect, using a great control and good postures. A bright future for Di Franco !
The last amateurs entered the ring; Ramani Liridon and Bouaziz Abderrahman was a bit less exciting and at the end of the 10 minutes, Ramani got the Majority Decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19).
The fans now get a break before witnessing the 10 professional fights planned for the evening. The break was longer than expected as some fighters were late for the medical check that had to be done during the break – it should normally have been done before the event started. Anyway, after the break, the fans’ satisfaction could be heard from the first seconds of the first professional appearance. Jaime Serradina, from the Netherlands, takes Hasni down and secures quickly a body triangle. He works on a Rear Naked Choke and secures it twice. It was deep, as deep as fans, judges and trainers are probably still wondering how Hasni got out of it and didn’t tap out. Once out of the choke, he got out of the body triangle, turned himself into Jaime’s guard and didn’t wait any second to ground and pound him on his way to a TKO victory, 25 seconds before the end of the round. What a come back, what a start !
Nayeb Hezam then faced Raymon Jarman and they kept on delivering for the fans. The French was comfortable on the ring and directly dominated him on the feet with an excellent timing. He faked a jab and went for a successful takedown; his ground and pound from the guard was relentless. 90 seconds before the end of the round, Raymon wanted to get back to his feet but Karl Amoussou’s training partner secured a standing guillotine and forced him to tap. It was a very impressive performance !
The first professional athlete from Shaolin Team is set to fight as Gaetano Pirello had to face Joziro Boyle, from the Netherlands. It was not long before « El Tigre » imposed his pace and his gameplan. Only one minute 40 after the round started, he delivered a knee to the face and his opponent fell faceplant unconscious on the canvas. Joziro woke up pretty quickly and showed a lot of fair play to his opponent. By the way, all fighters but one showed a lot of fair-play and respect during the event; they all hugged after their performances and congratulated each other. MMA really is a great sport with disciplined and complete athletes.
After these 3 amazing fights, Rafael Macedo Da Silva from Brazil faced another dutch professional in Hyram Rodriguez. The Brazilian didn’t hide his intentions as he tried to take the fight to the ground from the bell. He succeeded his second takedown attempt, but wasn’t too active, he didn’t hit his opponent, he was just looking to improve his position, looking from time to time to submit him, without any success. The ref had to break them and restart the fight on the feet but Hyram couldn’t do much with Rafael’s grinding style. In the second round, the Swedish Top Team fighter took Hyram down again and secured an armbar. The Dutch verbally tapped out. Unfortunately, he didn’t accept his loss; probably unaware of the rule that screaming out of pain is a way to tap out. The referee, Serge stopped the fight and made the right call to protect the safety of the fighter, as stated in the rules.
Later, the highly anticipated Kriss « Kross » Larcin faced Mohammed Sahnoun for the Fight Of The Night that he won via a Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) after three action-packed rounds ! Spinning kicks, spinning backfists, aggressivity, intentions, takedowns, escapes, counter-strikes, every aspect of the game has been displayed in that single fight that was very appreciated by the fans. Kriss took the first two rounds home, which were close, but was tired in the last one in which the French was starting to pace up and kicked the Belgian’s leg more than 10 times. The leg was blue, turning purple but it wasn’t enough to get his hand raised after these intense 15 minutes !
A last break is decided after that exciting fight. All these finishes helped the organisation to make up the delay. The public is delighted by the diversity of the athletes and the sport and enjoy that break to finally get back on track with even more fireworks ! The next opposition was between Belgium Beatdown’s former champ Steven Cnudde and Sofiane Boufia. Everybody tought there were going to witness a huge upset when Sofian placed a solid uppercut that knocked Shocx’ fighter down in the first 30 seconds of the first round. Sofiane then jumped on him to try to obtain a TKO but Steven recovered quick and got back to his feet to finally take Sofiane down with a great takedown and secure a americana from the half-guard just 90 seconds in the fight. One of the best come back one could witness, very short but very intense fight !
Now it time for another anticipated athlete; Mike « Iron Mike » Wiatko hadn’t fight in two and a half year. What a come back fight. He only needed 22 seconds to throw a flying knee to Alejandro Kratz’ chin and knock him out cold to get his 10th wins in 12 fights.
There weren’t a lot of fight going past the first round and Tommy Depret, Cindy & Ben Dandois’ training partner, didn’t want to ruin the statistics. Against the tall Mateusz Strzelczyk, he came out with the perfect gameplan; going forward, forward, forward, he pressured the Polish athlete that did well in the first 3 minutes with awesome and well-timed counter-strike that Tommy ate pretty easily. Both active, both connecting, but 30 seconds before the bell, the Belgian found the efficient combo and knocked Mateuz out for another first round finish !
It’s already time for the co-main event between former Bellator’s title challenger Karl Amoussou and Felipe Salvador Nsue. The Spanish had a poor record of 3-6 and walked in as a huge underdog but in the first seconds, he impresses everybody and get in the French’s face and even get him in some troubles on the feet. Karl Amoussou get more comfortable on hid back, and goes for some submission, including a deep triangle. As deep as he told the ref Felipe is out, which wasn’t true. Hence, the ref requires the athletes to restard on the feet and Felipe Knocks Amoussou down with 15 seconds left, but he survived through the round. Second round, Felipe comes out strong, feeling confident he can upset the experienced adversary, but Karl’s high level experience was displayed 90 seconds later, taking Felipe down with an active control, ground and pound and submission attempts until the end of the round. Both were exhausted coming into the third, but Karl still had something in his gas tank, enough to secure a takedown and an armbar, Felipe taps out and Karl is relieved. It was an amazing display of grappling, right before the main event.
The main attraction of Fightor 1 is now in the ring, Dean Lister stands 7 meters away from his opponent, Michael Knaap for a classic grappler vs striker fight. With no surprise, Dean is looking to take the fight to the ground, which he is successful at from the first attempt. With no surprise, he goes for a leg submission, first a knee bar attempt, then a heel hook but the Dutch was ready for him and defends really well, then neutralize the position so the ref put them back on their feet. Of course, Michael wants to exchange in the striking, but his first low kick is caught and Dean takes him back on the ground, goes once again for a heel hook and he had no choice but to tap out ! The fight is over with 35 seconds left, another first round finish to end a spectacular night ! The UFC vet gets his 13th wins, 11th via submission !
The fans got back home with a huge smile on their face, they all enjoyed the first edition of Fightor; action-packed decisions, a unbelievable come back, very technical submissions and awesome knock outs for a complete night of Mixed Martial Arts that displayed every single aspect of this sport.
Also, the night was hosted by the brilliant Serge Rademacher and nobody can look past the people who worked in the shadows of the show. This includes the BMMAF’s president Ludo Boulvin, the event planning team, the voluntary leader Damien Vodor and his team, Ashadur, as well as the Belgian MMA athletic commission with the judges Axel Vankimmenade, Jean-Philippe Carboni and Christopher Genachte. The referees Koen Smets and Serge Vandroogenbroeck. The trainees Cedric Smeets, Vincent Goossens, Alison Vander Auwera and Ivan Moslavac. Without them, such an event wouldn’t happen !
All the pictures in this article have been taken by the talented Sébastien Laurent, via his concept: One Punch !