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SportFight XXIII: Heated Rivals Review

SportFight XXIII: Heated Rivals came to us all live from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon on June 20, 2008. The night brought us a welterweight championship grudge match between Nathan Coy and Michael Pierce, former training partners at Team Quest. Further, the night would also see Josh Queen take on Josh Bennett in a heavyweight title match that most thought was destined for a stoppage.

Without further ado. . .

The night started off with a match between Eli Peterson and Miles Coble. Coble looked quite angry during the stare down. Then again, that and a dollar will get you a bus ride.

Or something like that, anyway.

The two found themselves in a momentary stand up brawl early on. Soon after, Coble went for a half- hearted takedown and ended up in a guillotine. Though he escaped that move, soon after Peterson transitioned to a rear naked choke, and that was all she wrote.

Eli Peterson wins via rear naked choke at 52 seconds of round one.

"First round, third round, however; punch, kick, it doesn't matter?a knockout," predicted Mike Chiesa before his match against Marc Forsyth. Of course, predictions only go so far. Besides, who would get the knockout?

Forsyth immediately shot in for a takedown and achieved it. However, his success was short lived as Chiesa turned him over and began working from the top. That's when Forsythe grabbed an arm and went for it.

And that's how the man they call, "Creatine," won.

Marc Forsyth wins via armbar at 1:07 of round one.

Next up was a heavyweight match between Fabiano Scherner and Mychal Clark. "I'm gonna do what I do, knock this boy out," said Clark coming in. Would that prove true or would Scherner end up taking home a limb with him?

Scherner hit home with a right to start things off; Clark connected with a combination. And that's when Scherner secured the takedown. From there, the ground and pound started and ended up opening a cut over Clark's right eye.

Somehow Clark managed to push Scherner off with his legs and get to his feet. There, Clark connected with some nice punches again until Scherner took him down (again). Scherner then started working a Kimura that nearly came through for him, but Clark toughed it out and ended up on top on the ground. That's how the round ended.

Clearly Scherner won the first stanza.

Clark started the second with a nice high kick. He continued to do well from there, landing punches, elbows, and more on their feet for over a minute and a half. But then Scherner took him down again, moving straight into full mount. Then came a strong armbar attempt that Clark literally spun out of, showing his escapability. In fact, Scherner then found himself mounted for a moment before turning things over. After some jostling on the ground, the two came to their feet.

Simply put, Clark landed a hard right that floored his opponent soon after. From there, he continued to connect on the ground until the referee had no choice but to step in.

Mychal Clark wins by way of verbal submission at 3:51 of round two.

Next up was a fight between up and comers D.J. Linderman and Justin Moody. Moody came in with a shirt that said, "I Hate Hippies." Interesting, huh?

Linderman landed a nice left to start things off and then shirked a powerful takedown attempt by Moody. While the two were clinched up, Moody did a good job of pounding away at his adversary. From there, he picked his opponent up and took him down. Linderman got to his feet soon after and ate an uppercut for his efforts.

Then Linderman landed a nice shot before they went back to the corner and clinched again. Some dirty boxing by both. Moody spun his opponent out of there and then started landing some big punches, including lefts. Moody tried to get the fight to the ground and pressed him into the corner. Then he finally succeeded, ending up in side control immediately.

Still, Linderman got to his feet once again, even if he almost got caught in a standing guillotine for his efforts.

Soon after, Linderman was slammed to the canvas again. After some jostling, the referee stood the two of them up. Then the bell.

A very exciting round.

Linderman came out banging in the second, landing some very big shots. Then Moody went for the takedown and achieved it, connecting with some ground and pound before Linderman got to his feet again.

Linderman hit home with some nice shots on the feet.

Moody went for another takedown that Linderman sprawled out of. From there, Linderman took Moody's back, started connecting, and then ended up with side control raining down elbows and punches on his opponent. He went for several key locks inbetween punches. Moody simply had no answer. And you know what happens when fighters are unable to answer.

Fights get stopped.

This one was a lot of fun.

D.J. Linderman wins via TKO at 2:37 of round two. Linderman is someone to watch.

Next up was the SportFight Heavyweight Championship bout between Josh Queen and Josh Bennett. "I'm gonna catch him and knock him out," said Bennett beforehand. That said, Queen was the champion for a reason, right?

Queen came out to end the fight early, landing a lot of punches including a terrific right. However, Bennet persevered through and then while in the clinch connected with a hard couple of rights that sent Queen backwards.

Then the two started trading in a big way.

After a brief intermission looking for Bennett's mouthpiece (Bennett's nose was bleeding terribly) Queen landed a left-right combination that floored his adversary. Then he followed him to the ground where he secured the rear naked choke.

That was one of the most fun couple of minutes you'll ever see in an MMA fight. This is turning out to be a highly entertaining night.

Josh Queen wins via rear rear naked choke at 2:16 of round one.

Next up was a fight between Ryan Jensen and Heath Whitesel. "I'm gonna knock this guy out in the first couple minutes," said Jensen coming in. The way people were getting stopped at this event, it was hard to doubt that something like that would be happening. The question? Would it be happening to Whitesel?

Jensen picked Whitesel apart for the beginning half of the first round with some good kicks and jabs. However, Whitesel took him down with around 2:30 to go in the stanza and began landing some decent ground and pound until Jensen managed to get to his feet again. Whitesel immediately tried to bring Jensen back to the canvas but ended up with his opponent on top of him (Jensen had half guard).

Jensen started landing some significant elbows and forearms on Whitesel from there. Whitesel simply had no answer. That's when the referee stepped in.

Ryan Jensen wins via TKO at 4:44 of round one.

"He's not going to bring anything I haven't seen before," said Ricky Story before his fight with Jake Ellenberger. Seeing it and stopping it are often different, though. Would Story be able to do more than just recognize what was happening to him?

Early on, the two did some work in the clinch before Story took his adversary down and transitioned directly into side mount. From there, he began with the ground and pound, including elbows, until Ellenberger was able to get to his feet. In the clinch, Ellenberger connected with several knees. Later, in fact, he connected with a flying knee.

But then Story found himself with side control raining down strikes once again. Ellenberger, however, got to his feet again.

Story connected with a very hard left and then another right. He followed that up with several mild strikes on a turtled up Ellenberger on the ground until the bell.

A clear round for Ricky Story.

Story came right out in the second and took Ellenberger down again. Though Ellenberger secured the half guard position, Story began to connect with some decent ground and pound before gaining the mount position for a moment. From there, Story moved between side control and Ellenberger's guard, connecting with strikes all along the way. At about the one- minute mark, Ellenberger got to his feet and finally was able to shirk a Story takedown attempt.

Then the bell. Ellenberger needs to stop his adversary in third or he'll lose. Inbetween rounds, blood flowed freely from a gash behind Rick Story's ear. This apparently came from an illegal elbow.

Ellenberger came out aggressively in the third, but Story took him down again. From side control, Story landed some nice knees to the body. The ground and pound continued until about the 1:40 mark when Ellenberger was able to get up. But Story managed to take him down again and then again moments later.

When the bell hit, there was no doubt who the winner was.

Rick Story wins via unanimous decision in an upset. Afterwards, there were some seemingly nasty words between the two combatants.

Nathan Coy took on former training partner and SportFight Welterweight Champion Michael Pierce for the belt in the main event. "Michael Pierce has a history of quitting. He cannot handle my pressure and he will break," said Coy coming into this fight.

We'll see.

Pierce went for a takedown and ate some elbows for his efforts early in the first. Soon after, Pierce landed a big right that left his adversary on the canvas. He followed that up with some ground and pound and elbows and transitioned to the mount position. Somehow, however, Coy managed to turn things around and get on top himself. Then Pierce got to his feet.

Coy shot in and took Pierce down only seconds later.

The two got to there feet again where Coy eventually landed a hard shot that left the champ on the canvas. However, Pierce got to his feet, eating a knee in the process. Coy continued to land shots. After a warning for low blows on Coy, the two traded big punches on one another, with a cut under Pierce's eye bleeding freely.

Then the bell. A good round that probably went to Coy.

Coy continued to land some good shots against Pierce throughout the first couple minutes of the next stanza. However, Pierce also landed a couple of nice strikes. Coy later stopped a takedown attempt and connected with some strikes on the way up from a sprawl. For the rest of the stanza, Coy continued his aggressive and precise striking approach.

That's two for Coy.

Pierce came out aggressively in the third. However, Coy soon began landing again. Pretty much that's how it went for the majority of the stanza until Pierce landed a hard left that staggered his opponent. However, he was unable to secure the takedown afterwards.

Guess is that Pierce has to stop Coy in order to win now.

Pierce came out very aggressively with a flying knee attempt in the fourth. In fact, he was more aggressive this round than he had been the entire fight. Though neither fighter did much damage to the other, Pierce's activity may have landed him the stanza.

In the final round, Pierce looked for an immediate takedown unsuccessfully. Coy did the same unsuccessfully. For the rest of the stanza, both fighters were somewhat cautious. However, Coy may have landed more shots in he final round based on his reach and jab. But this round was close.

In the end, the commentators weren't sure which fighter had taken it home. But the judges were.

Nathan Coy wins via unanimous decision.

In the end, SportFight XXIII was a really entertaining night of fights. The Queen- Bennett and Linderman- Moody fights were wars that you had to love as a fight fan. Further, the Coy- Pierce and Story- Ellenberger fights were solid, and both Mychal Clark and Ryan Jensen were impressive in victory.

Check out SportFight's next event if you get the chance. This one was worth it.

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