Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Atlas Fighting Championship 1 - DVD Review

We’re going to take another look at British mixed martial arts as I take a final dip into the pile of DVDs that Fight Factory’s Tom Tailford sent me.

This time we’re going to look at the debut (and so far only) show from the Atlas Fighting Championship promotion, held at the Lighthouse in Pool in August 2008, and featuring Tom “Kong” Watson in the main event.

The action began with Lee McKibbin going up against Gareth Burbridge. A fast paced fight saw McKibbin score with the first take down, although Burbridge soon tied him up and immobilised him.

It wasn’t long before Burbridge reversed positions, but McKibbin countered by going for an arm bar, and after Burbridge slammed his way out McKibbin had no answer to his ground and pound, with the referee saving him from further punishment, giving Burbridge the impressive TKO win.

Then it was on to Simon Hull against Dan Edwards. Another fight that began with the quick take down, this time from Edwards. Hull looked a bit lost as Edwards took his back with ease, although he soon managed to escape.

Both fighters soon returned to their feet, and after some wild shots from Hull Edwards unloaded with the big stuff, and a high kick connected to Hull’s head, sending him crashing down to the mat and giving Edwards the nice knockout win. As for Hull he looked very rough around the edges.

The big boys were up next as Jeremy Rowlett faced Pao Zoro. Two very inexperienced fighters here. Rowlett was making his debut, and was giving up seventy pounds to his French opponent.

No ground work here to speak of, just a bit of wild swinging, with Rowlett getting the better of this particular duel as Zoro fell to the ground in stages. Rowlett followed him down, and quickly sealed the deal with a knockout win, with Zoro receiving medical treatment for several minutes afterwards. Well, it was a bit messy, not the most technical fight I’ve seen, but Rowlett got the win nonetheless

Daniel Abrol took on Nayeb Hezam next. The fourth fight in a row not to make it out of the first round saw some good ground work from Hezam, quickly taking Abrol’s back and synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win. Now while Hezam looked great, Abrol looked equally as bad.

Phil Harris against Mourad Benshegir followed, the first fight to make it past the opening round.

This proved to be a very intriguing battle, with good performances from those concerned. Harris looked very crisp with his judo throws and ground work, while Benshegir’s ground work only really came to the fore in the third, by which time both fighters looked exhausted.

The judges were called on to render a decision here, with Harris getting the unanimous vote in one of the highlights of the show.

The second fight in a row to make it past the first round saw Peter Duncan take on Daniel Thomas.

Duncan put on a dominant performance here, controlling the fight on the ground. However, late into the second Thomas was able to gain control, and it wasn’t long before he’d locked in a guillotine choke for the submission win. A very good fight here, and another of the highlights.

Normal service, meaning one round fight action, resumed as Ash Gamble took on Yahya Lalanne.

Gamble, making his debut here, looked like a fish out of water as Lalanne quickly took the fight to the ground. He was able to transition at will, and soon moved into a position where he could apply a kimura for the submission win. A good performance from the Frenchman, although you can only really work with what’s put in front of you.

The penultimate fight saw Chris Stringer against Altinezio Neto Minerio. This great fight saw Minerio counter Stringer’s crisp striking with a leg trip. From there we had an exciting ground battle, with plenty of reversals and submission attempts before Stringer was able to take Minerio’s back, locking in a rear naked choke. Impressive stuff.

The main event saw Lloyd Clarkson taking on the Kong man himself, Tom Watson.

This was definitely worth it’s spot on the card, an exciting striking battle with occasional forays into the ground war.

Clarkson put on a good display, but as good as he was Watson was just that much better, and although he suffered a nasty cut himself Watson bloodied Clarkson’s face with some great knees from the muay thai clinch.

Nobody expected Clarkson to survive, but survive he did, and with the fight going the distance the judges were called upon again as they gave Watson the unanimous decision. A great fight, and a fine example of what old Kong is all about.

DVD extras come in the form of a photos section and a musical highlights video.

In conclusion - while there were a few performances that didn’t exactly set my pulse racing, I have to say that this was a good show, and the best one that Tom Tailford gave me to review.

Production-wise it’s you usual standard for a promotion of this size, and unlike Tom’s other DVDs this one contained commentary, from Leigh Remedios and Gareth Piper, although it was difficult to hear what Remedios was saying because his microphone was turned down so low.

The commentary was okay, but I found it annoying when Piper kept referring to some of the fighters as “the Irish guy” or “the French guy”. It was as if he hadn’t learned how to pronounce some of their names.

But overall, while this isn’t up to the standard of a BAMMA or Ultimate Challenge show, it’s still a good spectacle.

With thanks to Tom Tailford for supplying a copy of this release. Atlas Fighting Championship 1 can be purchased by contacting Tom via his website,

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