Piotr Hallmann (center) cashed in in Casino Fight Night's
one-night tourney. | Tim Leidecker/Sherdog.com
ERFURT, Germany -- It’s not easy to make a name for yourself as a
young Polish MMA fighter, particularly when you’re not a member of
a big show-affiliated team. Piotr
Hallmann can tell you a thing or two about it.
A master chief officer in the Polish Navy, the 23-year-old Gdynia
native is also in the midst of completing his diploma thesis, all
while training for a professional career in fighting. Hallmann sees
hard work and dedication as his way out of poverty.
Even after knocking out former KSW star and Mamed
Khalidov cousin Kerim
Abzailov in May 2010, decent offers were hard to come by for
the student of “sztuk walki” legend Grzegorz
Jakubowski. Looking to further improve his record, Hallmann
enlisted himself in an eight-man, no time limit, no judges,
165-pound tournament in Erfurt, Germany.
As fighting worldwide becomes more and more complex, Ready2Fight
Schwablein deliberately wanted to go “back to basics” for his
second VIP- and invitation-only “Casino
Fight Night” at Thuringia’s sassiest gambling temple, Erfurt’s
After driving 500 miles from the Polish Baltic coast to the heart
of Germany, wearing a sweatsuit and three layers of clothes on the
11-hour trip to cut weight on the way, Hallmann drew Georgian
Shoshiashvili in his quarterfinal matchup. The first three
tournament fights ended with a pair of quick knockouts at the hands
Dadaev and Yves
Marthaler, as well as an upset of local hero Thomas
Wichmann by Austrian all-rounder Michael
Hallmann destroyed Shoshiashvili.
Shoshiashvili, a top performer at German second-division judo club
JC RBS 1991 Leipzig, lasted all of 12 seconds against the
heavy-handed Pole. Hallman was cut on the eyebrow with an overhand
right, but rolled with the punch and came back with a huge left
hook that sent the Georgian crumbling to the canvas, where
Shoshiashvili remained in a state of unconsciousness for the next
few minutes. The knockout earned Hallmann an additional $300 bonus
of the fastest knockout of the night.
With the quarterfinals in the books, the wheat was separated from
On-site paramedics determined that Pfundner had fractured his right
hand in the dying seconds of his fight against Wichmann,
necessitating a replacement. Frenchman Wilfried
Wauters was already on his way to the hospital and Austria’s
Draxler was deemed unfit to continue by the promoter, leaving
Wichmann in line to face Hallmann. However, the German balked at
the challenge of facing the Polish “Mighty Bull,” thus granting
Hallmann a bye to the final.
“I was pretty disappointed when I found out that I would have no
opponent in the semifinals,” Hallmann told Sherdog.com after the
event. “Of course, I had to work less for my money tonight, but I
was looking forward to competing three times. The plan was to go
Meanwhile, Viennese youngster Dadaev punched his ticket to the
tournament final with a submission of Swiss representative
The Fight Club Zurich product displayed good takedown defense and
solid guard-play early, but Dadaev was able to take Marthaler’s
back after a leg lock battle and secure a fight-winning rear-naked
choke at the four-minute mark.
Dadaev choked out Marthaler
to make the finals.
After a couple kickboxing fights and a short break -- during which
the upper 10,000 were able to nibble their finger food -- it was
time for the big finale.
Hallmann -- who traveled to Germany with only his best friend,
Gulas, and younger brother, Pawel -- cut 20 pounds in the days
before the tournament, making his conditioning a question entering
the final. Another question mark came in the form of a cut Hallmann
sustained in his first fight of the night.
Neither played any kind of role, however, as the young Pole put on
a dominant ground-and-pound clinic against Dadaev in the final. The
crowd “oohed” and “ahhed” as Hallman’s punches rained down on his
opponent’s head and the wooden boards below the two-inch thick
mattress banged hollowly. Hallmann spent the majority of the fight
sitting in Dadaev’s half guard, looking to pound his head into the
Ten minutes in, Hallmann’s corner changed its strategy, instructing
their fighter to pass Dadaev’s guard and mount. Hallmann listened
and, after a couple more heavy blows, Dadaev could not help but
give up his back. In textbook style, Hallmann took advantage of the
position and forced Dadaev to tap out to a rear-naked choke at the
“I was very disappointed when I suffered my first and only defeat
in Germany last year,” Hallmann said after the fight. “I was very
ill going into that fight; that’s why I wanted to come back and
prove that I can do it better. Tonight, the German fans were able
to see the true Piotr Hallmann.”
Hallmann dominated Dadaev on
There was no time for Hallmann to celebrate his victory, however.
Just minutes after having his hand raised and being overwhelmed
with trophies of different shapes and sizes, he was sitting in his
too-small Fiat Punto again, making the 500-mile trip back to
Gdynia. Hallmann was to report to his Naval superior at 9 a.m. the
next morning. His diploma thesis was due in two weeks, and Hallmann
had yet to write a word.
Contact Tim Leidecker at www.facebook.com/Rossonero1 or follow
him on twitter @Rossonero1.