(The whole fight is worth watching, but if you’re in a hurry just go ahead and start at 6:30 for the good stuff. VidProps: MegaVideo)
When you have a name as epic as Maximo Blanco I guess you really have no choice but to be the kind of fighter who throws hands with reckless abandon and racks up highlight reel knockouts like they’re going out of style. If you fight primarily in Japan, it’s also OK to have your nickname be “Maxi” and your fighting exploits described as “Maxi Time!” despite what we in the west might see as the uncomfortably close proximity of that name to a certain brand of feminine hygiene products. Regardless, Blanco’s blockbuster knockout of Kiumu Kunioku from Sengoku 15 over the weekend is definitely a worth a watch.
The fight moves along at a pretty good clip for the first six-and-a-half minutes, until Blanco abruptly decides that it’s fuckin’ MAXI TIME. The current lightweight King of Pancrase drops Kunioku with a punch and follows it with a soccer kick that causes the Japanese veteran to snatch desperately for a single leg. Blanco spins free of it (doing sort of an atomic butt drop on Kunioku in the process) and then absolutely crushes him with an uppercut as he tries to stand. You know the rest: Strikes on the ground until the ref stops it while Michael Schiavello yells, “He almost decapitated him! It’s good night freaking Irene!” For once, the play-by-play shouter’s histrionics seem to fit the situation nicely.
For those of you scoring at home, this makes Blanco’s fifth consecutive win by some form of knockout. The 27-year-old Venezuelan prospect is a decorated international freestyle wrestler who came to MMA in 2008 and reportedly became something called a “Sengoku training player” in September of last year. From what I gather, that means that the company pretty much pays him to train and fight which, aside from being a serious goddamned conflict of interest, must be pretty sweet for Blanco, a dude who some say has a problem with following the rules.
At least one published report calls Blanco a “loose cannon” and refers to a “string of dominance and rule skirting” during his first few professional bouts. His first mixed fight – against Yuki Yashima in Pancrase – was declared a no contest after the two clashed heads while Blanco powerbombed his way out of a Yashima triangle choke and then allegedly wouldn’t stop punching (and stomping) his opponent as the ref tried to pull him off. Reports say something similar happened in his second fight with Hiroki Aoki and again in his third, when he nailed Daisuke Hanazawa with an illegal knee that almost ended the fight. In that bout, Hanazawa was able to come back and secure an arm bar for the victory. Additionally, Blanco lost a fight in May of 2009 after an illegal soccer kick on Akihiko Mori.
So, yeah, draw your own conclusion on what kind of fighter Blanco is, I guess. Reports of cheating aside, this string of consecutive knockouts is the kind of thing that could conceivably get a kid noticed by the UFC, if and when it ever decides to take its relentless campaign for global dominance to Japan. Or, for that matter, South America.
I can hear Dana now: “Wait, there’s a South America? Let’s fuckin’ go!”