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Beyond the Octagon: UFC vets Roop, Zhang, PRIDE's Krazy Horse, Dong Sik Yoon in action

A look at how big-show veterans are fairing on MMA's smaller stages.

Before we jump into the world of fight results, I feel compelled to take you back to a time known as 2004. The Passion of the Christ debuted in theaters, surpassing box office sales of Joe Dirt from three years prior. My pet turtle got an eye infection. And MMA events were still given names indistinguishable from those of rollercoasters and novelty Doritos. Case in point: PRIDE 27: Inferno.

I've waxed sentimental about PRIDE more than a few times, and I work through its library on a pretty regular basis, and I maintain that its collapse has left a significant emptiness in the MMA landscape that has yet to be filled. But PRIDE Inferno is just about the shittiest PRIDE event I have ever seen in my life (and that includes that early one where two guys just did karate for a while). If turds was bullets, this would be the rootinest-tootinest, tittenest-shittenest gun in the West.

This monster is a whole seven fights long, though you could bump that up to eight if you consider that Ninja Rua and Alexander "Diet Butcher" Otsuka basically fought twice due to an unintentional, groin-obliterating foul (though I didn't even want to see it the once). But what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in Ron Waterman. Waterman--seen here in all seriousness falling asleep on Ricco Rodriguez's fist--was a fine heavyweight in his time, but his presence in a main event with Cro Cop, during PRIDE's heyday, is what some might call "a real puzzler." In fact, with Gan McGee, Dan Bobish, and Cory "The L.A. Giant" Peterson also on the card, the event basically should have been called PRIDE 27: Large Bald Americans. And then you have Mark Kerr, attempting to piece together the glorious yet shattered Ming vase of his MMA career, saying in his pre-fight interview, "I might go out there and fall flat on my face...." And then actually literally going out there and falling flat on his face. I'd have to laugh if I wasn't so busy screaming through a wall of tears at my Smashing Machine DVD.

For its brevity, irrelevance, dull results, and cruel irony, there is none worse. And now for fight results.

In the main event of Road FC 31, George Roop stumbled in his first post-UFC contest, succumbing to a first-round leg injury in his featherweight bout with Yoon Jun Lee (11-2-0). Lee, the reigning Road FC bantamweight champ, has won his last nine. Roop has dropped an unprecedented three straight.

Also on the card, PRIDE vet Dong Sik Yoon (9-9, 0-4 PRIDE, 2-3 Dream) faced Young Choi (19-10-3). Yoon, who has claimed wins over Melvin Manhoef, Tarec Saffiedine, and Zelg Galesic, was unable to force his grappling game and ultimately fell to strikes in Round 2. Yoon is 4-2 since his return from hiatus.

And in Florida, as part of Battlegrounds MMA's latest show, Charles Bennett (29-30-2, 2-3 PRIDE, 1-1 EliteXC) swung back into the win column with a first-round heel hook of fellow PRIDE veteran Paul Rodriguez (10-9-2, 0-1 PRIDE, 0-1 UFC). Bennett is 3-2 in his last five. For Rodriguez, this marks his return to competition after nine years away from the ring.

Meanwhile, in the main event of New Jersey's Global Proving Ground 24, Nah-Shon Burrell (14-6-1NC, 1-1 UFC, 1-2 Bellator, 3-1 Strikeforce) notched his third straight win and captured the promotion's vacant middleweight title with a first-round TKO of Dustin Long (6-3-0). Burrell is 4-1 since a tour with Bellator.

And at MFP: Mayor's Cup 2016, TUF: China winner Zhang Lipeng (16-9, 2-2 UFC) made predictably short work of Spanish product Cesar Alonso (0-2-0), dropping him in Round 1. This latest victory extends Zhang's winning streak to seven.

Later that night, TUF: China runner-up Wang Sai, who has generally feasted on easy game since leaving the UFC, took a step up in competition to face the well-traveled Artem Shokalo (16-13-0). Unfortunately, Wang would see his seven-fight win streak (dating back to a unanimous decision victory at UFC Fight Night 48) halted in concussive fashion, as he fell to the strikes of Shokalo in Round 2. The loss puts Wang at 6-1 since leaving the UFC, and 14-6-1 overall.

Also on the card, Konstantin Gluhov (29-16-0) bested Tony Lopez (41-22, 0-1 Bellator) by unanimous decision. Lopez is 2-2 for the year.

Other Results

At Cage 35, Anton Kuivanen (23-10, 1-2 UFC) was TKO'd by Felipe Silva (7-0-0) in Round 1. Kuivanen is 6-4 since his UFC release in 2013; all four of those losses have come by (T)KO.

At BAMMA 25, TUF 9 alum Martin Stapleton (18-4, 0-3 Bellator) was granted a victory by disqualification following an illegal knee to the head from Damien Lapilus (12-7-1). The unfortunate end marked Stapleton's first defense of his lightweight title.

Earlier, Colin Fletcher (12-6 0-2 UFC) vs.Walter Gahadza (16-0-0) also ended in disqualification, with Gahadza being awarded the victory following illegal downward elbows.

And Ronnie Mann (25-8-1, 3-3 Bellator, 2-1 Sengoku) finished Graham Turner (25-10-0) with strikes in Round 1.