MMA pioneer Ian Freeman (right) stopped Ricco Rodriguez in his
first bout in five years. | Mick Bower/Sherdog.com
DONCASTER, England -- British MMA veteran Ian Freeman
rolled back the years to score a first-round stoppage victory over
former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco
Rodriguez in the main event of Ultimate
Cage Fighting Championships 5 at a sparsely populated Keepmoat
Returning to the cage after a five-year absence, the godfather of
UK MMA looked focused from the first bell. Crushing leg kicks kept
Rodriguez at bay and Freeman comfortably handled the former UFC
champ’s takedown attempts. The end came when Freeman landed another
hard leg kick and Rodriguez dropped to the canvas in obvious pain.
“The Machine” unleashed a volley of punches, forcing referee
Goddard to intervene at just 2:11 of the first round.
Freeman's first win since May 2008 moves him to 20-7-1 in a career
spanning 14-plus years. Rodriguez, who stepped in to replace
Shamrock in the bout, falls to 51-21.
An obviously emotional Freeman scaled the cage and milked the
acclaim of the Yorkshire crowd. Freeman is now the owner of the
UCFC legends heavyweight title, but exactly how much support there
is for a full-blown comeback is debatable. Despite the promise of
an MMA extravaganza backed by a music festival featuring chart
topping acts, only a few hundred people turned up at the Doncaster
Rovers football stadium.
Rising local star Scott
Askham defended the promotion’s 185-pound title against
Marshman, earning a unanimous decision to move to 11-0 as a
pro. Marshman looked dangerous in flashes when he was able to let
his hands go, but Askham remained calm, keeping it at range on the
feet and working conservatively from top position on the ground.
When the result was announced, Askham pronounced he was ready for
the UFC and may soon get his wish.
UFC veteran Colin
Robinson showed his experience as he saw off the challenge of
Towler. The pumped-up Towler sprinted to the cage and looked to
get things over quickly by throwing bombs early. The writing was on
the wall when Robinson was docked a point for holding Towler’s
glove. As referee Neil Hall
separated the combatants, the exhausted Towler slid down the fence
to grab a breather. Seconds later, the match was over as “Big C”
piled it on to get the stoppage at 4:35 of the first frame.
Duiven looked every inch the former pro boxer as he was
manhandled by unbeaten heavyweight bruiser Karl
Etherington. Duiven appeared to have minimal grappling skills
and avoided being submitted due to luck and toughness. The pivotal
moment of the sloppy contest came when Duiven escaped a standing
guillotine attempt and Etherington slipped face down to the canvas.
Duiven delivered a fight-ending blow to his downed foe and the
fight was waved off. However, Duiven’s celebrations were
short-lived, as referee Neil Hall ruled
that the punch had landed on the back of the head. Duiven was
disqualified at 4:14 of the first round.
It was a sparse crowd in Doncaster.
Featherweight Zi Shah
persisted with a rear-naked choke attempt, eventually extracting
the tap from Khaled
Radman at 4:04 of round one, while Sheffield boxer-turned-MMA
fighter Danny Tombs
also got it done in the first frame, pounding his way to victory
Boyd at 3:24 of their middleweight bout.
Serbian K-1 vet Dragan
Pesic showed another side to his game, submitting featherweight
Stone with an armbar in just 27 seconds.