Fireworks! If ever there was a better word to describe the events from this past weekend. From the UFC and the 'return' of Ronda, to our End of the Year Spectacular, followed up by the start of a New Era with our first show of 2017. We've only Officially been back for about a month now after more than a two year absence, but OFC 245: Reclaim actually achieved the 2nd Biggest Attendance and 5th Highest Rating in OFC History! That is certainly something to be proud of as we had previously put on close to 300 shows in a span of 4 years. Also, we briefly cracked the Top 20 for the 1st time ever! That's definitely a positive sign of things to come and really says a lot about the roster we have here; so kudos to you guys! We have a lot to get through though to see how we got here so...Without further ado, let's run it all back with a Full Review!
Our Main Event, the Last Fight of 2016 featured two Battle-tested Warriors; Darren Lockyer and Bobby Bishop fighting for the Vacant Middleweight Championship. Lockyer comes to us from GFC, at 42 years of Age while riding one of the best waves of his Career. Having held Championships previously, it's highly unlikely to see him phased by the Bright Lights of the Big Stage. Bishop earned his shot after a huge win over perennial contender Duke Newell, under the same management of the OFC's Greatest Middleweight to ever hold the title; Rodney Ang.
Lockyer started the 1st round aggressively with some wild striking, actually opening Bishop up early. Bishop seemed content to just sit on the counter while letting Lockyer set the tone and fight his fight. Opening minute of the 2nd, and Lockyer's Boxing continued to impress; actually rocking Bishop a minute in. You gotta love his heart as he somehow managed to survive and picking his shots while trying to recover. The damage may have already been done however as Lockyer continued to dominate in the 3rd turning Bishop in to a bloody mess. Like the warnings of a Doomsday prepper, I think we all knew the end was near. It finally came shortly in to the 4th as Lockyer dropped Bishop with a beautiful left hook before advancing to mount and dropping wrecking balls like Miley Cyrus. The Newly Crowned Champion can next be seen at OFC 250: Glorious! as he Headlines again against your favorite friendly neighborhood Fighter; Peter Parker.
The OFC 245 Co-Main featured returning Lightweight Champion Ryan Hopkins and highly hyped Vet Boe Hogan. Ryan had been going through some tough times outside of the OFC so it was interesting to see if he could turn things around or continue to break like Kanye. And turn things around he did, getting his first and only takedown of the fight in the opening seconds. We saw quite the grappling match in this one but it was Hopkins' Standup that really impressed and made the difference. Taking the unanimous decision, Hopkins retained while possibly exorcising some inner demons at the same time. Contenders are starting to lineup in the division so he'll have no time to rest, early negotiations are in place to have the Champ defend at OFC 250: Glorious! next!
Hope you're all still with me, we still got two Title Fights to discuss! Next up, another returning Champion; Bantamweight King Jose Cronos looking to defend against the blazing hot Ali Pasha. Sometimes when you get two evenly matched Elite skilled Athletes, things can become a bit of a stalemate. A lot of the 'action' in the 1st took place on the ground and the drunken just bleed guys let their displeasure be heard. I actually gave the opening round to the challenger but maybe that's why I'm not a judge. The 2nd round saw the Bantamweights pick up the pace but a near finish happened in the 3rd, where Pasha started eating combos like a fat guy with coupons. Pure heart was shown from both men throughout as they ended up fighting the full 25 minutes and the judges declared Cronos the winner with a Unanimous Decision, retaining his title. It would not surprise me in the least to see these two fight again but the rematch will have to wait since Dan Price will get his shot at the title at OFC 250: Glorious!
The final title fight of New Year's Eve featured Light Heavyweights; Greg Coleman and Slade Wilson. Two men who've found recent success in the New OFC. Right from the get-go, it was clear these guys wanted to make short work of each other and get to their drinking festivities. Do you know how I know this? When some one starts out with a spinning back kick followed by a killer body shot, maybe foreshadowing the After Party. It only took two minutes, but after having a jab swatted away, Coleman lunged forward with a Huge Superman Punch! Wilson crumpled to the floor as I watched a kid from the 8th row catch his bloody drool filled mouthpiece, I just hope his parents got him some Purell hand sanitizer for Christmas. Coleman retains and meets co-knockout of the night winner and former OFC Light Heavyweight Champion; Shuya Nanahara at OFC 250: Glorious! In case you're not keeping count, that's 4 title fights for that show as well!
Now, let's shift our focus to OFC 246: New Era. No Holiday Hangover for this organization as we immediately jumped right back in to the mix of things. Huge title implications were on the line as well as Pride, although our testing is much more thorough (Mark Hunt would be proud). Without further ado...wait a second, I just experienced a strong case of of Déjà vu...
The main event of our first show of 2017 featured Welterweights; highly touted Tantalus Flay and former OFC title challenger Orpo Jokinen. Coming off of the title loss, Orpo had a look of determination as he started the fight gaining a trip takedown in the opening seconds. Unfortunately for Orpo, Flay's transitions and reversals are on another level, using the momentum to sweep and control the remainder of the round. The 2nd round was more of the same except Orpo learned his lesson from the first, keeping control for himself. The final round was possibly the hardest to judge, Orpo succeeded with two takedowns and six submission attempts yet another reversal from Flay to gain top control seemed to be huge in the judge's favor. I personally scored the fight a draw but Flay was awarded the unanimous decision. With the win, the inactive Flay earns himself a title shot but will his manager answer my phone calls to accept the fight? If not, I know of some rising contenders who will.
OFC 246's Co-Main Event was actually my pick for Fight of the Night. Two Rising Light Heavyweights; Satoshi Tanahashi and Roger Pott. Even while booking this fight, it was one I was eager to see play out because of the potential of both fighters...or maybe I just have a thing for custom avatars, but not like having a thing for furries or something, those people are just weird. Back to the fight though, before this review gets any weirder, Tanahashi dominated throughout the first two rounds showcasing his impressive standup while Pott was content to head-hunt with high kicks. And one finally connected in the 3rd, sending Tanahashi tumbling to the ground. Pott clearly wanted and needed the finish, gotta give the man credit for going for it. Tanahashi managed to survive the round and take the fight. Now riding a 5 Fight Win Streak and 2 straight in the OFC, Tanahashi will face recent title challenger Slade Wilson in the OFC's 1st trip to Vegas!
The final Fighter/Fight I wanted to highlight is Knockout of the Night winner Brendan Duff who took on the always tough Parker Allen. After taking the 1st round, Allen seemed to be well on his way to more of the same in the 2nd. But that's the thing about this sport, a single punch can change things. After rocking Allen, Duff followed up with a Superman Punch that landed flush with his jaw. This was our 3rd consecutive event with a Superman Punch KO, which essentially means nothing, but still pretty cool none the less! Duff now meets newly signed Lightweight vet Naya Shinoki at OFC 250: Glorious! With all of the big fights on the card, this one may fly under the radar but knowing what both fighters are capable of, more performance bonuses may be in their future!
So there you have it guys! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend and enjoyed all of the fights, there's plenty more coming your way with OFC: Blood Night XXXI this Wednesday! And this is just the start, gracing the Top 20 even for a short time has motivated us to do what it takes to get back there and continue to better ourselves and the entire Tycoon experience for you! And finally I wanted to thank all of the managers here in the OFC for giving us a chance, none of this would be possible without you. So here's to continuing to grow and reaching new heights in 2017! Cheers!