(Claudemir Souza secures a kneebar. Image courtesy of Valentino Kerkhof at sportmma.eu)
FIGHT! made their first trip to Zurich to experience Shooto Switzerland; the country’s only professional MMA promotion. Led by Augusto Frota, a former professional fighter and BJJ black belt with wins over the likes of Paul McVeigh and Shooto veteran Marc Duncan, it had all the subtle touches and professionalism you’d expect from someone that has experienced fight shows from the viewpoint of a competitor.
A spine-tingling highlight video greeted spectators as the lights went dim in preparation for the first bout and no stone was left unturned, proving why fighters from top teams like Germany’s Grappling Arts, Team Frota and Team Anderson Pereira return time after time to compete in Switzerland’s largest city.
Heading up the bill was the bout between M-1 veteran Gregor Herb and Irishman Lee “The Dragon” McKibbin. It was Germany’s Herb that advanced to 7-3 with a dominant display from top position. McKibbin looked for the takedown but was reversed by the Grappling Arts fighter and from there it was one-sided. Herb was patient with his attacks, looking for a straight armlock before letting some punches go. With McKibbin unable to escape from the bottom, Herb locked in a keylock after 3:18 of the first round.
Brazilian Claudemir “Tico” Souza and Kriss Larcin engaged in an exciting battle, with a lot of action packed into just under three minutes of fighting. Larcin opened up with kicks to the body and head and managed to trip his way to the top position. As they returned to the feet, Larcin looked for more strikes but he wound up in the top position again as Souza scrambled to guard. From there he proceeded to land some heavy ground and pound, with “Tico” looking in serious trouble as heavy blows continued to land. The BJJ specialist proved his mettle through as he fought through the attacks and rolled for a kneebar, finishing with the slick submission against the run of play. He has five wins with just one loss and, now based in Switzerland with Team Anderson Pereira, will be looking to make an impact on the Euro featherweight scene.
Shooto Switzerland favourite Ivan Musardo didn’t take long to dispatch Gracie Barra Northern Ireland’s Michael Reid. From the off, it never looked like a bout that would last long as both men engaged wildly on the feet. It was Musardo that found success though as a big shot clipped Reid’s chin, putting him down. “The Terrible” reacted immediately and took advantage of his dazed opponent, finishing with a guillotine. Musardo is now 16-5, and will be looking for bigger tests in Europe.
Alan Omer, ranked as Europe’s fifth best featherweight by groundandpound.de, faced off against Swiss fighter Rouven Kurath. Kurath wasn’t afraid to come forward but Omer’s counters were landing at will which led to Kurath working for the clinch and trying to work knees from there. It was Omer who landed on top as the pair hit the mat though, and he attacked straight away – working to the back but then locking on a triangle as his opponent tried to escape. Kurath fought the submission with everything but Omer wouldn’t let up, landing punches from mount and hammer fists from the bottom as they jockeyed for position. Finally, Omer looked for a kimura with the choke still on and forced the submission. He is fresh and injury free for the upcoming bout in London against Jason Young at Cagewarriors: Young Guns.
Two undefeated prospects went at it with their perfect records on the line as Patrick DeCaro met Mike Wiatko at middleweight. DeCaro’s grappling pedigree saw him enter the ring with a degree of expectation. The spoils were quite even on the feet until DeCaro started landing some fierce knees from the clinch. He dropped Wiatko with the heavy shots but threw one too many as Wiatko went down, hitting him hard as he was on his knees. The knee landed flush and Wiatko was unable to continue, landing him the victory via DQ in a finish that neither fighter would have wanted, particularly not DeCaro as he now drops to 2-1 following the illegal shot.
Frota Team heavyweight Volkan “Cousin” Oezdemir was impressive in his debut bout. Forewarned about Oezdemir’s striking game, it came as no surprise that he opened up with some hard straights that forced Sambo specialist opponent Martin Vath to look for the takedown. Oezdemir sprawled well and landed damaging shots from the failed shot. The punches were powerful and “Cousin” continued to pound away at his opponent until Vath went flat, causing the referee to intervene and stop the bout because of the striking onslaught.
In the opening professional fights, Geraldo Huvet and Gregor Weibel emerged victorious over Alessandro Plog and Raphael Campagna respectively. Both men displayed great grappling, with Huvet taking the nod from the judges and Weibel choking his opponent out in the first round.
The amateurs opened up the show and Irishman Mark Curry’s slick Jiu Jitsu saw him sweep and submit his opponent Gaetano Pirello. Yves Marthaler took the nod over Euclides Moreira and Aladin Ganguin was also victorious. In the opening bout Patrick Drees looked dominant throughout both rounds but two knockdowns from his opponent Daniel Abraham late in the first round saw him take the decision.
Although they only average one show a year, Shooto Switzerland are doing the right things in order to promote the sport in a positive fashion in their home nation. Great production, top-ranked fighters and faultless running mean that fighters and fans alike are eager to return to the Volkhaus for some great European MMA action.