Flawless FC brings ‘California Love’ to Hollywood Park Casino
It was a perfect California evening—Blue sky, warm, light breeze through the palm trees—as Flawless FC brought a hot night of professional MMA matches to Hollywood Park Casino’s showroom.
As the crowd filed in, the atmosphere began to tense… the cage an imposing figure in the center of the room, lit by the red and blue low lights… almost taking on a life of its own. Once the house lights went down and the announcer took to the cage… it was on!
The event was called ‘California Love’ but there was no love once the cage door closed!
OK, that was too easy. But the action was fast-paced and brutal!
Fight One: Alfred Kashakyan vs. Mike Hansen, Bantamweights
Round One: Hansen has the clear advantage striking, confident and accurate with his stand-up. Thankfully, he also has good submission defense as Kashakyan takes him down twice in the first round and the second time, attempts two RNCs, which Hansen defends., the second as the bell sounds to end round one.
Round Two: Kashakyan gets the takedown, but can’t hold Hansen there, as Hansen gets up and lands a flurry of punches. Kashakyan lands a good right hook, followed up with a leg kick, but Hansen walks right through them. Hansen is kicking effectively, as they stay in kicking range. As Hansen attempts a right hook, Kashakyan takes him down but once again isn’t able to hold Hansen down. Hansen catches a kick and lands a right, sending Kashakyan to the canvas. Round two ends with Kashakyan on his back, being pummeled by the fights of Hansen.
Round Three: Kashakyan is a game opponent in the stand-up, but Hansen makes him pay almost every time he lands. Both fighters show good potential and aggressiveness, but Hansen has the edge. After eating a few punches, Kashakyan gets the takedown and ends the round on top.
Winner: Mike Hansen, Unanimous Decision (29-28)
Fight Two: Dan Charles vs. Maurice Greene, Heavyweights
Time for the big boys to shake the cage!
Round One: Charles lands a couple of powerful leg kicks, and when Greene goes to strike he charges in for the takedown, pushing green to the age and getting him to the ground. Greene works to stifle Charles and is successful for a bit, forcing Charles to stand back up to get out of his grip. Charles dives back into Greene’s guard and finds the same strong grip as Greene closes his guard and begins peppering him with strikes from the bottom. Once again, Charles is forced to stand back up and then engages Greene by standing in his guard an dleaning over him. When Charles commits to moving forward, Greene reverses and ends up standing behind Charles, and slams him to the ground. Charles is able to get away and slips of of Greene’s grip, once again ending up on top as the bell sounds ending round one.
Round Two: Charles is tired, and Greene is taking advantage in the early part of the round, moving forward and striking. Charles gets Greene against the cage, but a knee lands low and stops the action. After a few moments’ rest, Greene is up and they begin again. If anything, Greene is more aggressive than before, and punches Charles into the cage, where he gets the clinch. Both guys land inside, punches and knees, and Greene attempts a double-leg, but Charles sprawls out of it. Eventually, the ref separates them, and both guys land as Greene moves in. Charles attempts a single-leg, and Greene gets out of it and lands a good strike before Charles shoots in and gets Greene down. The round ends with Charles on top.
Round Three: Both guys are fatigued, but game, and work their way around the cage, striking and looking for an opening. Charles shoots in on Greene and sticks with it, turning him from the cage and getting him down. Passing the guard, Charles mounts Greene, but finds himself in Greene’s stifling grip. After some work on the ground, Greene gets to guard, and the audience cheers, but he’s not out of trouble yet… after posturing up and landing a few strikes, Charles gets Green’s back and is working on a Rear Naked Choke as the bell sounds, ending the fight.
Winner: Dan Charles, Unanimous Decision (29-28)
In his post-fight interview, Charles apologized for not finishing his opponent, noting that he took the fight on a few days’ notice.
Fight Three: Brandon Michaels vs. Joseph Bryant, Heavyweights
I’m no body language expert, but I’ve gotta say, it does seem like Joseph Bryant is much more excited for this fight than Brandon Michaels, from their pre-fight body language…
Round One: …and, sure enough, Bryant rushes in… and gets taken down by Michaels, who almost mounts him until Bryant reverses and ends up on top in side control, landing punches. Michaels is able to survive the initial onslaught and himself reverses on Bryant, landing a few key punches before Bryant… you guessed it… is able to flip Michaels and ends the round on top. Damn good round by both men.
Round Two: This time, it’s Michaels who’s the aggressor, although not a recklessly. After landing in the initial exchange, Bryant gets Michaels up against the cage and both guys land. They separate, and Michaels lands some good uppercuts and a haymaker. Bryant returns, and for a moment, it appears technique has gone out the window and we’ve got a brawl on our hands. Both guys egg each other on. Bryant lands some solid knees when he has Michaels against hte cage, and Michaels returns the favor with punches when they separate. Round two ends with both guys staring at each other across the center of the cage.
Round Three: Awww, Bryant awkwardly hugs Michaels to begin the round. Their affection doesn’t last long, however, as Bryant punches his way in on Michaels and takes him down. It isn’t long before Michaels has reversed Bryant and is sending fists flying his way. Bryant eventually reverses and ends up on top until the ref separates them and both men land heavy strikes. The round ends as they are exchanging up close. Great, rangy fight.
Winner: Joseph Bryant, Split Decision
Fight Four: Dmitry Gerasimov vs. Armen Bakanyan, Bantamweights
Dmitry is the hometown fighter (fighting out of Hawthorne, California), and his fans out-chant Armen’s walkout music. Today is his professional debut. This is also Armen’s professional debut, but he doesn’t have many fans from Queens, NY in the audience tonight…
Round One: Armen lands the first punch, sending Dmitry backwards, and gets the clinch against the cage. Dmitry gets away from the cage and lands some solid punches before Armen clinches him again. They separate and throw with abandon. This time Dmitry (yes, I’m referring to both guys by first name… not because I know them, but just don’t want to type their last name over and over…) clinches and gets Armen down, landing a couple of punches before Armen gets back up and they separate as the bell sounds to end the round.
Round Two: After an opening flurry of punches by both fighters, Armen gets Dmitry to the ground where they wrestle for position. Dmitry gets the advantage, landing shots from the top, before they scramble again. Armen lands a spinning back kick that derails Dmitry’s momentum, and the round ends with Dmitry moving forward to answer.
Round Three: They both take turns moving forward, trading, until Dmitry shoots and takes Armen down. They wrestle. The round ends with Armen on top, attempting to pull Dmitry’s arm out for a Kimora.
Winner: Dmitry Gerasimov, Split Decision
Fight Five: Ricky Legere, Jr. vs. James Chaney, Welterweights
You might remember James Chaney from The Ultimate Fighter, and if you do, you might remember how good his ground game can be… That is all.
Round One: Chaney opens with a front kick to the face, which mostly landed, followed with a jab but Legere landed a few effective fists, forcing Chaney to take the fight to the ground where he first attempted a guillotine. Legere escaped and got to Chaney’s half guard, landing fits and elbows and controling Chaney, until the ref stood them up. It is clear that Legere has the advantage standing up, landing hard punches and ending the round standing over Chaney raining down fists.
Round Two: Chaney is much more cautious striking with Legere, but it doesn’t help him much. After an initial exchange, Legere’s hard jab opens up an opportuinty, and he takes Chaney down. Chaney works back to his feet and Legere repeats his earlier success, landing a couple of hard jabs and again taking Chaney down. It takes a while for Chaney to control Legere and Chaney eats a lot of knuckles, but eventually he grabs ahold and makes it to the end of the round, with Legere on top as the bell sounds.
Round Three: Both men come out swinging, and Legere once again gets the better of the exchange. This time, he swarms Chaney, pounding on him on the mat and the ref stops it.
Winner: Ricky Legere, Jr., TKO Strikes
Fight Six: Danny McGlasson vs. Egidijus Valavicias, Light Heavyweights
McGlasson was a late replacement opponent, as Valavicias’ original opponent had to pull out of the fight.
Round One: The round starts out with a pretty active “feeling out” period, with Valavicias getting the better of the striking in the beginning, but McGlasson eventually found his range and landed more consistently. This round resembled a sparring session. And by sparring session, I’m not referring to actual sparring sessions, where two guys often end up going after each other pretty hard, but PR or Hollywood sparring sessions, where you can tell they guys have experience, but they don’t seem to really want to go after each other.
Round Two: The pace is a little quicker, but neither guy is landing devastating blows. They stalk each other, land single strikes and disengage. Just before the round ends, McGlasson lands to Valavicias’s chin, knocking him back. Looking to capitalize, McGlasson moves forward but the bell ends the round…
Round Three: McGlasson’s confidence seems to be growing, but Valavicias’s like a coiled snake, and his counter striking gives McGlasson pause. They work their way around the cage, trading and moving, but neither man seems to have the advantage. The pace slows down, and for most of the round, they both seem a little cautious. At the ten seconds announcement, they seem to wake up and exchange wildly until the round ends.
Winner: Egidijus Valavicias, Unanimous Decision
Fight Seven: Edwin Aguilar vs. Luigi Floravanti, Middleweights
Round One: This bout began with a bang! Aguilar landed a hard punch as Luigi came in, but that was about the only offense he was able to manage as Floravanti overwhelmed Aguilar with strikes, knocking him down, then pouncing on him as he tried to get up, taking his back and sinking in a Rear Naked Choke, getting the tap at 42 seconds of the first round.
Winner: Luigi Floravanti, Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Co-Main Event: Chris Tickle vs. Christos Giagos, Lightweights
You might recall Chris Tickle from TUF as well. This co-main event bout being part of his way back to the UFC, should he win… Christos, another local fighter, had an even louder crowd than the earlier guy
Round One: Both gus come out aggressive, with no feeling out period. Giagos rushes Tickle, grabbing him and slamming him to the mat. Tickle worked for the reverse, eventually mounting Giagos. Giagos hip escaped out and the two stood up, with Tickle attacking. Giagos used a judo throw to get Tickle down and almost mounting Tickle before they scrambled and Tickle took top position as the round ended.
Round Two: Tickle came out aggressively again, and they ended up on the ground again, with Tickle going for an ankle lock before Giagos was able to get out and take side control. After a brief north-south choke attempt, Giagos returned to side control and eventually took Tickle’s back, getting the Rear-Naked Choke and forcing the tap. The crowd goes wild…
Winner: Christos Giagos, Submission (RNC)
Main Event: Igor Arauja vs. Nic Herron Webb, Welterweights
Round One: From the first round, I have to say these guys are really well matched on the ground. They spend the majority of the time groundfighting, and in my opinion, it was a draw. Both threw up submissions, both defended well, escaped and sought advantage. I would hate to be a judge on this one.
Round Two: They begin by trading kicks: Nic a side kick to Igor’s midsection and Igor a headkick which landed, but which Nic caught and used to take Igor down. It wasn’t long before Igor reversed and ended up in Nic’s half guard. After a quick scramble, the rest of the round was spent trading position on the ground, with each fighter landing punches and elbows. Another tough one to judge.
Round Three: Its almost like this fight has been one long round. Not to belabor the point, but the striking has been sparse as the ground game flourished. They head into round four stalemating on the ground… To be clear, I’m not saying this is not an exciting match: both guys are well versed on the ground game, and it’s very interesting watching the physical chess game play out.
Round Four: Just when Igor gets mount and you think “there we go! Now we’ve got something!” Nic escapes and they roll… Igor’s definitely getting the better of it in the first part of the round but if the fist three are any indication, it’ll be tough to hold onto. Gaining side control, Igor lands hard knees to the body. Igor eventually takes Nic’s back and the round ends with Igor landing shots.
Round Five: They stand for the majority of the round, exchanging strikes with Igor getting the better of the action. They clinch against the cage until the ref separates them. Igor shoots and takes Nic down, landing elbows and fists from top position, as he works his BJJ. Nic works to get Igor into guard but that small victory only serves to reward him with punches raining down on his face. Nic explodes and stands against the cage for a moment, but Igor pulls him back down and starts landing again. The round ends with Igor on top, with the sound of his fist smacking Nic’s face reverberating through the hall…
Winner: Igor Araujo, Decision
A quick note about the event in general: The environment is about as perfect as you could ask for, with the DJ (DJ Jesse O) spinning a perfect mix of rock, club music and alternative, the people are friendly and many of the fighters come out after their bouts, taking pictures and talking with fans. Security is present but not overwhelming, and seem almost entirely unnecessary. These guys know how to put on a show and if you get the chance to attend one of their events, I predict you won’t be disappointed. It was a great time!