Montreal based TKO MMA was live again tonight from La TOHU, with TKO38: Ascension airing around the world on UFC Fight Pass. Just like TKO37 earlier this year, it was another entertaining show with a lot of violent finishes and entertaining scraps.
Luckily for us, this time Fight Pass was kind enough to broadcast the entire card, so we got to absorb every moment of the show. So let’s get to a rundown of the results:
- The prelims kicked off with a good fight between newcomers Domenic Ruccolo and David Daigneault. Russell took the fight on short notice, and it clearly showed here as he began to tire badly as the fight progressed. A big right hand from Daigneault sent Ruccolo to the canvas in the second round, where Daigneault would then force the stoppage with strikes, before doing his best Chuck Liddell impression in celebration
- Fan favourite “The Suplex Kid” James Clarke returned from his trip to Thailand following his big win at TKO37. His opponent Jordan Graham would prove to be a match for Clarke in the wrestling department, finding success in reversing Clarke’s takedown attempts, before eventually getting his back and sinking in the choke. The good news for Clarke, was that there were audible “Suplex Kid!” chants during the bout, which is good to see he’s gained fan support. For his part, Graham cut a decent promo after the fight, calling the flyweight division the “Napoleon complex division”
- Davis Dos Santos squared off against Alex Paul and there isn’t a whole lot to be said about this one. The veteran Dos Santos, at 37-years-old completely flattened Paul with a huge right hand in the first round. Impressive showing, except he was told to tone down his celebration after doing a Thiago Silva styled throat slash
- The main event of the prelims saw Derek “The Man Child” Falk take on Tony Laramie in one of the most anticipated matchups on the card. And this fight did not disappoint. Laramie floored Falk early in the first round, and was really showing off some impressive striking skills in this fight. Falk’s toughness kept him in the fight however, even as he took more of a beating in the second round but slowly started to find a home for his own left hand late in the second round. The third round was the most even round, though Falk was well behind on the scorecards. Falk was finding some success with his left, while the commentary team wondered if Laramie had injured his right hand at some point earlier. Eventually the sustained pressure from Laramie was too much, as a beautiful combo from the southpaw position stunned the Man Child before a couple of lefts to the body sent him to the canvas, this time unable to recover. One of the best fights on the card, and one that absolutely should have been on the main card portion. Afterwards, Laramie said he was thinking about moving up to bantamweight.
- The main card opened with bantamweights Tyler Wilson taking on Eric Daigneault. Both guys were looking to build on their victories from TKO37, a submission win for Wilson and a KO win for Daigneault. A classic striker vs. grappler matchup. Wilson demonstrated that his grappling abilities were on a far different plane than Daigneault, who is perhaps regretting the choice to engage on the ground. After taking his back and flattening Daigneault, Wilson sinks in the choke and gets the tap out. The ever-stoic Wilson showed some actual human emotion after the fight, which was good to see
- Next up was a short but very entertaining fight between Tristar fighter Yancine Bandoui and Marc-Andre Barriault. This one didn’t last long, as the two battled in the centre, against the cage, and back again before Barriault slept Bandoui with a short counter right hand as he charged in. Good scrap
- Pittsburgh native David Sachs against Dimitri Waardenburg was next, and was the first fight to go the distance. Before the fight, Waardenburg gave perhaps the most Canadian pre-fight interview possible, saying, “We’re both good fighters, may the best man win.” Waardenburg survived a deep rear naked choke attempt, and ended up clearly winning at least two rounds. Speaking of the number two, the most discussed part of this fight was Sachs’ choice to wear pure white, tight trunks. Not the best choice, as perhaps the pre-gamer didn’t go so well, as there were a couple of brown specks in the uhh, gluteal area. Hey, we’re allowed to laugh at these sorts of things
- A classic battle between Toronto and Montreal between Michael Imperato and Xavier Alaoui also went the distance. Another fight that went the distance, but was still plenty entertaining. You may remember Imperato as being the guy who was hired and fired perhaps faster than anyone else in UFC history. I can safely say that so long as he isn’t committing any actual crimes, I don’t really care about his views (ignorant or otherwise) personally. Anyhow, as for the actual fight, Toronto-native Imperato was outgunned by Alaoui. For whatever reason, Imperato’s corner kept calling for the Dan Henderson leg-kick, overhand right combo. It didn’t have much success. Alaoui controlled the majority of the exchanges, and dropped Imperato in the final moments before jawing at him a bit for good measure, which sealed up the decision
- Kevin Genereux and Jeremie Capony also engaged in a slug fest, an ongoing theme for the night. Capony eventually took the top position and controlled the end of the first round. The second round was more of the same, with Capony busting open Genereux in the process. Genereux managed to reverse the position however, and ended up slipping in a rear naked choke to score the huge comeback victory. Excellent display of heart
- The older Laramie brother, T.J. took on the stylish Alex Morgan in another entertaining fight (spoiler: both Laramie brothers come to fight and are not shy about that fact). I described Morgan on Twitter as being the toughest guy in the suburbs just based on appearance. And he didn’t disappoint, as he ended up cranking Laramie with a big punch that dropped him. However, we were all robbed of an excellent fight by a very early stoppage, as Laramie was never out, that’s for sure. After being dropped, he was looking at Morgan and was not only defending himself, but working a single leg takedown too. Bad call, and you hate to see a young fighter like Laramie have their record blemished by an unfortunate decision. He’ll be back, and we’ll be looking forward to it
- The Co Main Event saw the awesomely nicknamed Charles “Air” Jourdain take on Frenchman (France french, just to be clear) Mathieu Morciano . Great performance from Air Jourdain as he was clearly in control of the fight from start to finish. He displayed a lot of flashy kicks, knees and some good overall striking skills. This is the kind of guy that fans pay money to see, and he ended up getting the W following a flying knee and some followup punches. You’ve got yourselves a main eventer here, folks
- The Main Event was 3-fight UFC veteran Jesse Ronson against Derek Gauthier. Overall, this was sadly one of the less entertaining fights on the card. Not that it was bad, per se, but it just wasn’t as enjoyable as the others. Ronson’s better skill set proved the advantage as the fight entered the third round, as Gauthier became visibly worn out. The finish came as Gauthier appeared to be looking for a way out, with Ronson’s fist happy to offer him a reason to fall to the mat. Some ground-and-pound followed, and that was a wrap
Another good show from TKO. Last time they aired on the same weekend as a UFC event, they were the more entertaining show. We’ll see tomorrow if that’s once again the case. We’re looking forward to seeing some more improvement out of lots of these fighters, like the Laramie brothers, Jourdain and of course, how the Man Child will rebound from his performance. TKO once again stuck with the silver/gold coloured gloves, while showing more of a silver/bronze colour on the TV display. They also did away with the awkward rotating platform they were using for pre-fight player interviews, which looked better but was less enjoyable in a campy way. John Ramdeen and Robin Black were solid on commentary, and former fighter Jason St Louis just needs to calm his nerves during his segments. Final note, there was a lot of good walkout music choices. Well done to everyone involved.
Overall, good show, and we’ll be anxiously anticipating the women’s tournament at TKO39 as well as the main event between Will Romero and Charles Jourdain. Until next time, Fist Out.