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Beyond the Octagon: Giant-Sized Edition

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It was a packed weekend on the regional circuits, featuring Brett Rogers, Jesse Ronson, Jim Wallhead, Mike Kyle, Jeremy Horn, and a scattering of other UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator veterans.

These are the precincts of pain, a goddess lives here, her name is Victory.
These are the precincts of pain, a goddess lives here, her name is Victory.

Welcome, folks, to the first anniversary of this column's regular appearance on Bloody Elbow!

One year ago this week, mired in a swamp of personal and professional issues, I undertook the writing of this column as a way of giving myself a bit of mental and emotional quiet time, a clean and tidy space where my only concern was to research and report on fight results. It continues to be my pleasure. Thanks to Nate Wilcox for pulling me aboard, thanks to Zane Simon for his support in the earliest comment sections, and thanks to Karim Zidan and Mookie Alexander for their continued patience and editorial help. And thanks, as always, for reading.

On to the results...

First, a little gift of regional-fight weirdness in the form of  a bout between TUF 10 rep and definite heavyweight Darrill Schoonover--aka "Titties," aka "Man Just Leave That Kid Alone," aka "This Season of TUF is Kind of Making Me Hate Rampage"--and TUF 7 alum Jeremy May, a former middleweight now conducting his career at heavyweight.

In their March 7 bout, Schoonover put May on his heels early before bull-rushing into a takedown and landing in mount. May promptly elevated and reversed Schoonover and, when Schoonover shot in for a second takedown May locked up a fight-ending armbar. The whole thing took under a minute. May improves to 12-8-0 with the win, while Schoonover falls to 13-7-0.

May vs. Schoonover can be viewed here.

As for this past week, Abu Dhabi Warriors 2 put on a stacked card last Thursday that featured a host of Strikeforce, Bellator, and UFC veterans, beginning with lightweight Jesse Ronson (15-5, 0-3 UFC) who put away Gadji Zaipulaev (20-8-0) by brabo choke in Round 2. Ronson improves to 2-0 after the 0-3 slump (all losses by split-decision) that saw him out of the UFC.

Jim Wallhead (27-9, 1-2 Bellator) put himself on a two-fight win streak as well, marking the first time he's won consecutive bouts since 2011. The win came via first-round KO of Rodrigo Ribeiro (9-13-0).

Also on the card was well-traveled French product Xavier Foupa-Pokam (31-20, 0-2 UFC) who forced a verbal submission out of 25-year-old prospect Pavel Doroftei (14-3-0) via punches mid-way through Round 2. With this latest win, the 33-year-old "Professor X" (who went 1-8 between 2009 and 2011) puts himself on a three-fight win streak, improves to 8-2 in the last two years, and ends a six-fight surge for Doroftei.

Waylon Lowe (15-6-1NC, 2-2 UFC, 1-1 WSOF) found his first victory in nearly two years to the day in the form of a unanimous decision over Mateusz Teodorczuk (11-3-0). Lowe improves to 5-2-1NC since he was released from the UFC after a non-consecutive loss. Teodorczuk sees a lengthy win streak halted at nine.

JMMA veteran Ryuta Sakurai (24-21-6, 0-2 PRIDE) made a quick return to competition, taking to the ring not one full month since a submission loss to Ken Hasegawa. Sakurai's haste would prove foolhardy, though, as he submitted to a guillotine from Svetlozar Savov (15-5, 0-1 WSOF) late in Round 1. This latest defeat is Sakurai's four loss in a row, making for the lengthiest losing streak of his nearly 20 years in MMA.

In the night's co-main event, Mike Kyle (21-12-1-2NC, 2-1 UFC, 1-3-1-1NC Strikeforce, 0-2 WSOF) executed his own first-round guillotine choke, this one coming against Baga Agaev (27-16-0). The submission win pulls Kyle out of a three-fight skid. Agaev falls to 1-5 in his last six.

And in the main event, Derrick Mehmen (19-6, 3-1 WSOF) squared off with former Top 10 heavyweight Brett Rogers (17-10-1NC, 2-3 Strikeforce, 1-1 Bellator). Given the 25 knockouts between them, the fight proved to be a surprisingly lengthy affair, with the fight going to the judges, who awarded Mehmen a unanimous decision. For Rogers, it is the third time in a row that he has failed to win consecutive bouts. For Mehmen, the bout marks a successful rebound from a loss to Smealinho Rama last October.

And on Saturday, at British Challenge MMA 10, Simeon Thoresen (17-6-1, 1-2 UFC) dropped a unanimous decision to Jack Mason (29-14-0). Thoresen has lost four in a row, which includes the two that saw him cut from the UFC in 2013.

Meanwhile, at BAMMA 19, Martin Stapleton (16-4, 0-3 Bellator) squared off with Jeremy Petley (10-6-1) for a lightweight main attraction. The TUF alum would come out on top, as Stapleton landed a headkick in Round 3 that flattened Petley and made for Stapleton's third finish in a row.

Also on the card, one-and-done UFC vet Brendan Loughnane (10-1, 0-1 UFC) stayed undefeated outside the Octagon, taking a unanimous decision over Steven Polifonte (11-3-0). Loughnane is 5-0 since he was cut from the UFC off a loss to Mike Wilkinson.

And in the main event of Max Fight 14 out of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wagner Prado kept his own post-UFC record in flawless condition, putting away Cesar Fabiano Rodrigues (5-4-0) by TKO in Round 1. Prado, who started out his UFC career with a no-contest against Phil Davis before incurring a pair of submission losses, is 3-0 since his last UFC appearance in 2013. All of those victories have come by TKO.

Stateside, Sugar Creek Showdown 25 went off, featuring MMA ironman Jeremy Horn (91-22-5, 6-7 UFC, 0-1 Bellator, 1-0 PRIDE, 1-1 IFL), who was defending his light-heavyweight title against Tony Lopez (37-13-0, 0-1 Bellator). Horn, riding a four fight win-streak into the fight and bearing with him appreciable grappling acumen, would be unable to enforce his well-regarded submission game, ultimately dropping a five-round unanimous decision. Lopez has won three straight.

Also on the card, featherweight talent Jeremy Spoon (17-3, 1-2 Bellator) earned a unanimous decision and the promotion's featherweight title from incumbent Josh Tyler (6-3, 0-1 Bellator). His brother Jerod Spoon (10-4-1, 0-1 Bellator) also competed, and also walked away with a unanimous decision victory, this one coming over Jeremy Horn protege David Putvin (7-1-0).

And in Tokyo, in the main event of Grachan 16, Motonobu Tezuka (24-8-5, 0-2 UFC) walked away with a second-round TKO win (leg injury) over Takeshi Numajiri (7-5-0). The victory improves Tezuka to 5-3-1 in the two years since his UFC release.

Phew! And that, folks, is that. Thanks for a great year!