THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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Once again I’m going to delve into the pile of DVDs sent to me by A1 Productions, and this time we’re going back to last May, and the Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh for Absolute Combat 1: Proving Ground.
The show began with Bobby McVitie taking on Robert Whiteford. This proved to be an exciting opener, a back and forth affair in which both guys showed some good work on the ground. But during the fight Whiteford suffered a nasty cut to the top of the head, probably the result of an elbow which was obscured by the camera angle, and the ringside doctor pulled him out of the fight immediately when he began to feel woozy. Good fight, but a shame that it had to end this way.
Up next were Ash Illingworth and Bryan Thompson. A quick one here. After Thompson got the take down, there were a couple of reversals until Thompson moved into a position so he could apply an arm bar, with Illingworth tapping seconds later. Some nice, smooth action here. Very enjoyable.
Then it was on to Craig Thomson against Bearden Ogunyemi. The first fight to go past the first round was an entertaining affair. Thomson looked really strong in the first round, especially when using the muay thai clinch to deliver a series of knees. But Ogunyemi looked even better in the second, and after some good work on the ground he stood up. Thompson remained seated against the ropes, unsure as to his next move, and this hesitation led to his downfall as Ogunyemi applied a guillotine, taking the fight down to the mat and getting the submission win, ending a nice back and forth affair.
James Miller against Steven Sutherland was next on the agenda. A somewhat cagey start from both fighters here before they suddenly exploded into action with the heavy leather, with Sutherland knocking Miller onto his backside, following him down for some brief ground and pound, before synching in a guillotine choke for the impressive submission win.
Mark Comiskey and Adam Stevenson followed, in the first fight on the show to go the distance. This certainly was an interesting fight. Comiskey, for the most part, controlled the fight on the ground, although he seemed to lack that killer edge. Stevenson always seemed to leave his best work to the closing stages of each road, such as when he went for a heel hook in the first. As far as the judges were concerned, this obviously wasn’t enough, as they gave Comiskey the unanimous decision for his workmanlike performance.
So after that three round it was on to Chris Carmichael against Jordan Smith. This was a very good fight with good performances from both guys. Fought mainly on the ground it featured some nice reversals and transitions before Carmichael got the upper hand, applying an arm bar for the submission win.
So following that good battle it was on to Peter Wilson against Michael Wiseman. This one began with a nice exchange of kicks, before it went down to the ground where Wiseman had an unsuccessful guillotine attempt. Moments later Wilson began to work for a triangle choke. Wiseman managed to fight the attempt for quite a while before he bowed to the inevitable, ending a good fight that could have gone either way.
Then it was on to Rob Mills against Joe Nugent. The first blink and you’ll miss it affair of the evening saw Mills quickly knock Nugent to the ground. Nugent tried to go for what looked like an arm bar when Mills followed him down, but Mills quickly took his back and synched in a rear naked choke for the quick submission win. Impressive stuff.
After that quick fight we saw Kenny Dugay taking on Alan Love. Fought mainly on the ground, Dugay went for an early guillotine choke, and held it for some time until Love managed to escape. It was then Love all the way as he asserted his control on the ground, soon getting the mount for some ground and pound before moving to get the arm bar for the submission win. A very good performance from Love here, and ironic that I’m writing about Love’s victory on Valentine’s Day!
Then it was on to Matt Inman, taking on Colin Baxter. This was another quickie, which began with some quick exchanges, then a clinch against the ropes, before Inman locked in a standing guillotine for the submission win. This was a fast and frantic fight which could have gone either way.
Up next, Paul Jenkins against John Quinn. Interesting to note here that Jenkins came to the ring without any corner men, the first time I’ve ever seen that in any combat sport. A bit of feeling out at the beginning here, before Jenkins took the fight to the ground. However, it was Quinn who ended up in the dominant position, quickly moving to side control so he could apply a kimura for the submission win. Nice work by Quinn in this one, but the lack of corner men for Jenkins has left me a little baffled!
Ronan McKay against James Mair followed. A good ground battle here, with McKay on top in the early stages before Mair suddenly exploded into action and took control with some brief ground and pound from the mount, until he moved into position to apply an arm bar, with McKay quickly tapping.
The penultimate fight saw Frederic Fernandez take on Paul Reed. The quickest fight on the show saw Fernandez drop Reed with a big right, with the referee quickly stepping in after a brief period of ground and pound, giving Fernandez the TKO win with an explosive and impressive display.
The final fight of the evening saw Marcelo Costa going up against Paul McVeigh. This was only the second fight on the show to go the distance, and it was also the best. McVeigh looked in top form on the ground, especially in the third when it looked like he could get the win with an ankle lock. Costa, for his part, put on a good fight, but it just wasn’t enough as McVeigh’s performance earned him the unanimous decision.
In conclusion – out of all the A1 Productions DVDs I’ve reviewed recently, this may well be the best so far. The fight action was top notch, no flailing fighters looking like they’ve just walked in off the street here. Absolute Combat’s set-up also impressed me. The venue was sizeable with a large and very knowledgeable crowd, with not a drunken yob in sight. Production-wise it was great. The three camera set-up was perfect, there were on screen graphics for the fighters, and we also got to see the ring introductions, which is something that’s been lacking in some of the other A1 Productions stuff. So in all Proving Ground gets the seal of approval. It’s definitely worth getting if you want to explore the world of British mixed martial outs outside of television stalwarts BAMMA and Ultimate Challenge.
With thanks to Tom Tailford for supplying a copy of this release. To obtain a copy of Absolute Combat 1: Proving Ground, contact Tom via www.fight-factory.co.uk. You can also find out more information on the Absolute Combat promotion by visiting www.absolute-combat.co.uk.