“This picture had to be taken within the opening seconds, he still has one of his hands up.”
Normally, when I watch regional promotions I have to do so with my laptop on mute. Otherwise, I get so agitated by the announcers trying to hype their minor league talent as “the best in the sport” that I can’t enjoy myself. So when Titan FC 17 kicked off this ridiculously busy weekend for MMA last night in Kansas City, I can’t help but feel that the biggest winners of the evening were Frank Trigg and Michael Schiavello. While lesser announcers would hype Phil Baroni like he’s still in his prime and talk about Bobby Lashley slamming a natural middleweight like he’s ready for Cain Velasquez, Schiavello and Trigg were brutally honest critiquing the action. That’s got to be worth something, right?
It’s certainly worth more than the effort Bobby Lashley put in against James Jack John Ott. Last night was Bobby Lashley’s first chance to silence his critics after a humbling loss to Chad Griggs. John Ott, asdie from being a middleweight stepping in as a late replacement, is also a wrestler with sub-par striking. If I didn’t know that you all come to Cage Potato for responsible journalism, I’d recklessly hypothesize that John Ott was brought in to lose in dramatic fashion. Naturally, Bobby Lashley capitolized on this opportunity by putting in just enough effort to grind out a unanimous decision.
Lashley started off strong, slamming his opponent early and working the ground and pound. During the onslaught, it was revealed that Ott’s game plan was to push the much larger, decorated wrestler into the cage and dirty box him. Sheesh, is it too late to update our worst game plans list? However, by the end of the first round, Lashley was completely spent. He spent the second round with his hands at his sides, desperately lunging for a takedown that a person who isn’t 40 pounds lighter than him would have been able to stuff. After achieving the takedown, Lashley continued to throw punches from the top, causing Schiavello and Trigg to wonder out loud if he knows any submissions. Round three saw more of the same, except Ott managed to mount enough offense before being taken down to actually win the round.
After the fight, both Schiavello and Trigg had some less than flattering comments for Lashley’s performance. Frank Trigg summed it all up by saying “So basically what [Lashley] is is a high caliber college wrestler who spent some time in the WWE [and] has crossed over into fighting without learning anything else.” Oh snap!
Phil Baroni didn’t exactly fare much better. Like Lashley, Phil Baroni rode out a unanimous decision over local prospect Nick Nolte. Nolte, who controlled the fight during the standup, couldn’t stop Baroni from taking him down and couldn’t get back to his feet once he was taken down. It was kind of depressing to watch Baroni struggle with such a greenhorn in the sport, but at this point in his career, a win is a win and that’s all that matters.
Also of note, Abe Wagner was politely reminded that not everyone he fights is a washed up fatty. The TUF alumnus was thoroughly outclassed by Aaron Rosa before succumbing to a second round rear naked choke. While this may have prevented Lashley vs. Wagner for a title, this may have just set up Wagner vs. Sylvia II. I’m not sure which hypothetical fight is worse.
Full Results (courtesy of Bloody Elbow)
Bobby Lashley def. John Ott via Decision (Unanimous) R3 5:00
Aaron Rosa def. Abe Wagner via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R2 0:35
Phil Baroni def. Nick Nolte via Decision (Unanimous) R3 5:00
Eric Marriott def. Willian de Souza via Decision (Unanimous) R3 5:00
Alonzo Martinez def. Aaron Derrow via Decision (Majority) R3 5:00
James Krause def. Nathan Schut via TKO (Head Kick and Punches) R1 0:41
Anthony Gutierrez def. Jon Hollis via Submission (Triangle Choke) R1 4:20
Videos of Lashley vs. Ott and Baroni vs. Nolte can be found here.