What an incredible way to start the gym's 2nd year of fighting, crowning our 1st champion & it couldn't be more fitting. Lyndall is after all largely responsible for Mec's existence. The year has been a fantastic learning curve & great 1st step in a long journey.
As is so often the case with these events there were last minute changes & other disruptions for the fighters to deal with. As always we learnt an enormous amount, especially how to deal with challenges & crises.
Matt ‘Hamsta’ Landsdale vs Mohammed Shafee Begg (K1 – Light Welterweight – Amateur)
At the weigh-ins the organisers spotted that Hamsta & his original K1 opponent had been mismatched. Without an obvious match among the other unmatched fighters we agreed to either a K1 or MMA (Hamsta has a well rounded MMA game) fight to be confirmed later that evening. We eventually agreed on a MMA fight with Mohammed. Hamsta spent the day of the fight prepping himself for his 1st MMA match.
As the fighters were about to walk out we were informed that the other corner were prepped for K1, which they'd preferred to stick to. Interestingly enough they had originally sought a MMA fight for Mohammed... So, with a last second switch of equipment & rule sets to deal with Hamsta set off to the ring.
The 1st round was very even. Hamsta was using his footwork to set up his angles & shots. Unfortunately he wasn't landing with his usual crack & they barely phased Mohammed, whose shots were landing with more force.
The 2nd round tipped more towards Mohammed as his shots continued to land. Hamsta fought well but failed to do damage as he received a few heavy body shots. At the end of the round Hamsta decided he'd had enough.
AB Coetzee vs Ronaldo Matthews (K1 – Cruiserweight – Pro-Am)
This was Ab's 1st kickboxing match. He has over 20 amateur boxing matches on his record though, making him an experienced, savvy fighter. The 1st round was fairly evenly matched with AB defending well & throwing combinations & kicks with confidence. Other than his unfortunate habit of dropping his head too low, his defence was spot on.
In the 2nd AB was rocked by a knee as he rolled through with his head at waist height. As his head popped up Ronaldo tagged him with a right hand. It took AB the rest of the round to recover as he shelled.
The final 2 rounds were closely matched. AB spent a little too much time in the shell as Ronaldo offloaded. He wasn't getting caught & was replying well, but his activity was lower than it aught to have been.
Lyndall Sandenbergh vs Nooran Noordien (MMA – Bantamweight – Pro-Am Title Fight)
Overall the fight played out very much as expected. The plan was for Lyndall to use pace & position to eliminate Nooran's primary striking weapons (Nooran is a SA Champion Kickboxer) then to force the clinch, take down & finish the fight on the ground. We knew that the clinch & the ground would offer Lyndall the greatest advantage, but without a cage the clinch is limited so the ground was the target.
That was very much how the fight played out. Lyndall pushed the pace from the very beginning. She worked her position & angle eliminated Nooran's kick & largely her right hand too. Lyndall was still able to land her kicks (the only ones of the fight). Lyndall forced the clinch & made it clear she was by far the stronger fighter, ragdolling Nooran repeatedly. The 2 also traded knees in the clinch, neither apparently doing much damage though. The takedown didn't happen in the 1st round, unfortunately the ropes got in the way several times.
At the end of the round Lyndall was pacing in the corner rearing to go. Nooran on the other hand was clearly struggling with the pace though. In the 2nd Lyndall's defence was a little lax & she got hit with a few more shots before getting into the clinch. Lyndall got part way to the back looking for her favourite takedown when she saw the opportunity to switch to a trip. Lyndall Landed in side-control & slickly transitioned to mount. The thing is when Lyndall takes mount it is nigh on impossible to get her off. She used to back horses for a living. If a 650kg horse can't buck her off, what chance does your average athlete have? Lyndall then proceeded to land repeated heavy shots to Nooran's head before the ref after 3 warnings called the fight.
Fortunately Lyndall didn't require much advice from the corner, because I did more screaming as a fan than instructing as a coach.