We at Spinning Back Fist have been covering TKO events for about a year now give or take, and without a doubt the cards keep getting better and better. TKO 41 was no exception, so let’s get our kudos to Stephane Patry (TKO Pres.) out of the way.
Bringing back this organization and immediately shooting back to the top of Canadian MMA has been a tall order we imagine, and Patry is doing a great job listening to fans regarding match-ups, rankings and more.
Corinne Laframboise def. Griet Eeckhout via Decision
Before the fight Corinne told us she was happy to see her match-up be at 125 lbs. The weight is a little easier on her than 115, and with the new UFC division she sees it as a possible pathway to success.
As I predicted 😉 – ‘The Raspberry’ was too big and too strong for the smaller grappler Eeckhout to handle. Lamframboise, who is already one of the most in-shape fighters we know, showed good boxing on her way to victory in what was set to be a jiu jitsu fight on paper. Congrats to Corinne!
James Mancini Def. James Clarke via Decision
What can we say about these James’? The Suplex Kid came in looking to impress, but ending being ground into the mat over a grueling three rounds at the hands of Mancini.
Mancini appear to be just too much for Clarke, he stuck to his gameplan and as Robin Black mentioned “played the percentages” en route to a win. Clarke is guilty here of perhaps trying to do too much, going for low-percentage submissions.
Personally I would have liked to see him stand at a bit more; he has gained skills that while flashy, could pay off just like his grappling. High-risk, high-reward tends to turn out better standing up than off your back.
Matar Lo Def. Charles Hupperetz via 1st Rd. TKO (tap)
Don’t look now, but ‘The Mantis’ has climbed to #3 in the Featherweight rankings with his second great finish in a row. This time it came over newcomer Hupperetz who sported cornrows, and even was calling Lo on at one point, big mistake. The lanky Mantis was able to put him away in the first round with a devastating knee. Props to Charles for lasting that long but he seemed out of his league against Matar.
I’d like to see Lo get one more fight before contending, I think Charles Jourdain’s striking would be too advanced for the youngster from Ottawa, while Alex Morgan seems like the best choice for the next #1 contender spot.
Jordan Graham Def. Tony Laramie via 2nd Rd. TKO
Graham responded to our Instagram story about Laramie’s tough chin with a simple “nah” haha. A tough chin can be both the savior and downfall of a fighter if relied on, this time it was the latter for the younger Laramie.
While it is the stuff of legend that Tony survived a brutal knee from Graham early on, it only took a minute into the second round for Graham to finish him off. Jordan (who silently declined our nickname suggestions of “Golden” and “The Gentleman”) looks too big and skilled for the division right now which begs the question. Who does Tony Laramie fight?
All that’s clear right now is Jordan (the Hydrovac Hero?) Graham, is a clear #1 at 125 lbs.
Adam Dyczka Def. Bakary Sakho via 1st Rd. KO
Good god the Panda! 5-0 in TKO (7-0 overall) and he is the rightful owner of the Heavyweight Championship. There’s not much to say about Adam, he’s a nice, down-to-earth guy, and he came out and dusted his opponent with a huge KO at 3:46 of the first round.
We might have to find some ringers to fight Dyczka, as the standings have him a whopping 16 points ahead of the man he just KO’d.
Marc-Andre Barriault Def. Strahinja Gavrilovic via Split Decision
First off, Barriault is a nice guy, looked strong and I congratulate him on a hard-fought win for the Middleweight Belt. However, in my opinion this was a robbery of grand proportions.
Watching with other members of Spinningbackfist.ca’s team, we all thought Strahinja ‘The Werewolf’ Gavrilovic won the fight. I had Strahinja winning rounds two through five, giving Marc-Andre the first. Others say 48-47 for Gavrilovic, I would have taken that too. But you could smell the bad decision in the air.
While granted the first three rounds weren’t the best rounds you’ll ever see, the battle up against the cage was clearly taxing on both fighters and appreciated by hardcore fans. But, what was also clear to me and others, was that Gavrilovic was controlling the cage battle. Having the dominant position and trying to drag him down for three rounds, to me, still means he won the rounds. Despite Barriault getting a few jabs in, Strahinja responded and controlled the cage for the majority.
A huge, and I mean YUGE German Suplex by Gavrilovic was a highlight-reel making moment that would have gone down in the TKO history books had he won. But that rare moment where everyone yells (the same type Dyczka, Graham & Lo gave us) coupled with everyone getting out of their seats was in my mind, taken away from him.
In addition, the fifth round was as exciting as it gets, with a slug fest that left blood on the mat.
What is so disappointing about this for me is not only the epic highlight that will likely go forgotten, is that the poor decision is detrimental to the brand, and you can’t even call it an error on the company’s part, I hope fans understand that. Why so detrimental? Because ‘The Werewolf’ is exciting as fuck. Pardon my language but it’s true!
He gives great interviews, recognizes his audience, and is just himself. No disrespect at all to MA Barriault, but for an exciting fight like that, for the new Champ to say nothing in English is kind of odd. I wouldn’t give a pass to a Brazilian or anyone else on this for a title fight either.
Quebec is a large part of Canada that we love, but the rest of North America speaks English. Would Strahinja have said something in English? Yes. Would Jourdain have? Yes. I’m confident in both. Let me be clear, I’m not offended by this, Barriault is his own man who earned his way here, but I’m saying it’s bad for the brand. Quebec accounts for 8 million out of a possible 360 million fight-fans in North America. And for the record yes, I would have encouraged any English fighters to say “Merci beaucoup” or any simple one-liner in French to the Bell Centre crowd.
Strahinja told me via text “I want to fight him again”.
I very rarely do agree with immediate rematches, but for this one, I’m calling for a rematch too.
TJ Laramie Def. Charles Jourdain via Unanimous Decision
TJ Laramie taught Charles Jourdain a valuable lesson, wrestling is very, very important in MMA. We love Charles, he has been great to us in terms of reaching out (so has TJ mind you) but in our interview with him he essentially dared for TJ to try and take him down, and TJ called his bluff.
I’m not sure ‘Air Jourdain’ stuffed any take downs through this clean sweep for the older Laramie, now Featherweight Champion, but his kicks that were supposed to keep Laramie off of him seemed non-existent.
TJ told me that while the “trash talk fired [him] up” from the Montreal fans, he still respects them as the home crowd. He mentioned he’ll take about a week off to relax, then get back in the gym and wait for his next opponent.
“I had a long camp for this one so I need a little chill time, holidays are coming up too!”
With an amazing night of fights capped by this dominant performance from Laramie, it will be interesting to see what the New Year brings for TKO. Another great performance on the mic from the TKO team, and Fightpass worked the whole show!
That reminds me, I need to come up with a nickname for TJ Laramie by the time he books his new fight.