Hard Knocks 8 Recap


When Hard Knocks Fighting Championship (HKFC) first started, the plan was to grow an amateur Mixed Martial Arts league and feeder system into the pro’s based out of Calgary and then expand outward. President, Beamer Comfort and CEO, Ari Taub have each run the gauntlet with the City of Calgary Combative Sports Commission to make this happen and on Friday, September 10, 2010 they held their eighth event in the close to capacity Century Casino in Calgary.

The eighth installment of the School of Hard Knocks was smaller than all of the preceding events with only seven fights on the card (4 Amateur and 3 Professional); this due to one fighter not making weight, and another injuring himself in a post-weigh-in accident, but it was just as remarkable as the others, but in different ways.

HKFC-8 introduced a new amateur fighter named Ben Calfrobe who I’m awarding Debut of the Night; and we welcomed four new professional fighters who had come up through the ranks of the HKFC Amateur System and put on a great show for their coaches and fans, including earning my award for Submission of the Night.

Like any athletic endeavour, it is critical to the sports longevity and the athletes long-term development to have a competitive amateur program, as well as have a solid professional system with which to receive them.

The Calgary Combative Sports Commission took a lot of heat from fight fans this last year when they imposed new rules for amateur fighters (such as no punches or elbows to the head of a downed opponent), but the sport continues to evolve, and the changes in the rules didn’t appear to have adversely affected the transition of amateur athletes into the realm of the professionals.

Remember these names. Watch these clubs.


FIGHT 1 – Amateur Debut of the Night

David “Red Beard” Swanson (Blue Corner) Winnipeg San-Da
Age: 27 Height: 6’ Weight: 169.5lbs Reach: 63.5” Record: 1 – 1

Ben Calfrobe (Red Corner) Amateur Debut Progressive Fighting Academy
Age: 28 Height: 5’8”’ Weight: 168.5lbs Reach: 61” Record: 1 – 0

Swanson came out swinging, sending Calfrobe reeling with powerful knees, but succumbed to Calfrobe’s single leg takedown. Swanson managed to keep Calfrobe in guard for most of the first round but had to weather a tsunami of body shots. Try as he might Calfrobe just couldn’t shake out of Swanson’s guard.

Calfrobe’s plan for round 2 appeared to be a relentless striking game targeting the lead leg of Swanson. After managing the barrage Swanson has had enough and shot in for a double-leg takedown — easily stuffed by Calfrobe. Calfrobe answers by shooting for a single, but only ends up defending against Swanson’s numerous attempts at a Kimura.

Wise to Calfrobe’s assault on his lead leg, Swanson goes to great lengths to protect it, but ended up against the cage defending a Single-Leg Takedown. Off the cage Calfrobe continues to throw leg kicks, further tenderizing Swanson’s lead leg. Answering the kicks Swanson launches a counter-attack and throws a big roundhouse which was easily caught by Calfrobe and got dumped to the mats again for his trouble.

Swanson is able to transition from keeping Calfrobe in half-guard to taking his back and starts fishing for another Kimura. Failing to find the leverage Swanson tried to transition to something more useful, but Calfrobe ably defended against everything. Swanson was working hard and was barely starting to exert his will over Calfrobe in the last round, but it was too little, too late.

The Calfrobe and the Progressive Fighting Academy crowd has got to be one of the loudest I’ve ever heard. Great fan and club support.

// BEN CALFROBE – Winner by Unanimous Decision: Michael’s pick for Debut of the Night


FIGHT 2 – Amateur

Jeff “Atomic Zombie” Larkin (Blue Corner) Arashi-Do Martial Arts Red Deer
Age: 21 Height: 6’1” Weight: 165.5lbs Reach: 66” Record: 2 – 0 – 1

Steven Jones (Red Corner) Independent
Age: 25 Height: 5’9” Weight: 163 lbs Reach: 62” Record: 0 – 2

Larkin, the Atomic Zombie, looked pumped and confident at the start of the fight and immediately shot in for a quick Single-Leg Takedown easily taking Jones to the ground who managed to catch Larkin in Half-Guard. Larkin went to work passing the guard and is able to make the transition quickly to side control forcing Jones to defend against a skilled ground fighter. In as little time as it takes to tell it Larkin secured the Americana and ended the fight.

// ZOMBIE For the Win by Americana at 1:55 of the first round.


FIGHT 3 – Amateur Knock Out of the Night

Justin “The Animal” Schmit (Blue Corner) Evolution MMA
Age: 25 Height: 5’11” Weight: 194lbs Reach: 62” Record: 2 – 1

Tanner “The Tank” Tolman (Red Corner) Progressive Fighting Academy
Age: 20 Height: 6’1” Weight: 194.5lbs Reach: 64” Record: 4 – 0

You have to wonder about some of the nick-names fighters have. For example, one would expect someone with the name “The Animal” would rush to the centre of the cage and swarm his opponent (in this case a slow, plodding “The Tank”) with a melee attack befitting an irate badger. What happened in this fight was completely the opposite.

Tolman dominated “The Animal” from the word “FIGHT!” and in a few quick blows knocked Schmit unconscious with a big hook to the head. In my notes I wrote “… 30 seconds and four punches to the head — The Animal is knocked THE FUCK out.” {ED: You may want to remove that, but that’s what happened}

Schmit’s body went stiff, eyes wide and unseeing, he hit the canvas and stayed there for a few minutes while the team of doctor’s made sure he was okay. He was completely unconscious for about a minute, staring right at me. Finally he started the body-reboot, twitched, asked where he was and if the fight was over.

// The “Tank” hit the “Animals” off-switch 30 seconds into the first round.


FIGHT 4 – Amateur

Chad Nielson (Blue Corner) Teofista Boxing
Age: 27 Height: 6’1” Weight: 181lbs Reach: 64” Record: 2 – 2

Jesse “Blood Warrior” Dayrider (Red Corner) Progressive Fighting Academy
Age: 32 Height: 6’3” Weight: 184lbs Reach: 69” Record: 3 – 0

Nielson didn’t waste anytime launching his assault against Dayrider — slapping on a standing Guillotine and wrapping his legs around his body taking him to the ground. The choke was good, but Dayrider was just able to work his head to the side and open up one carotid, giving him enough oxygenated blood and time to work his head out of danger.

Transitioning from the choke and Nielson’s guard, Dayrider expertly achieved side-control and in a few seconds was rewarded with a beautiful Arm Triangle for the win by submission.

// Blood Warrior submission victory by Arm-Triangle at 1:20 of Round 1.


FIGHT 5 – Professional

Lee Palichuk (Blue Corner) Professional Debut Aetos Pankration
Age: 29 Height: 6’3” Weight: 168.5lbs Reach: 63.5” Record: 0 – 1

Jarod Milko (Red Corner) Professional Debut Progressive Fighting Academy
Age: 23 Height: 5’10” Weight: 171lbs Reach: 60” Record: 1 – 0

This is the first Professional Debut of the night. Palichuk swarmed Milko with punches in the opening seconds, but Milko battled back and was rewarded with a solid Double-Leg Takedown. Fighting for control they worked against the cage when suddenly the RED CORNER gate opened unexpectedly, nearly spilling them out into the audience. I don’t know if they would have even known or stopped, but the Referee in charge was right there to grab the fighters and prevent them from landing in the laps of the first row.

Restarting in the middle of the cage Milko shot in for another Double; back on the ground Palichuk was able to keep him in a closed guard and weathered a storm of head punches, body shots and short elbows for the rest of the round. A little bruised, but not broken or bleeding Palichuk headed to his corner smiling at the end of the round.

Milko started things off with a huge leg kick followed by a takedown right into side-control and started to work for the Kimura. Palichuk, with some effort, was able to work out of it but gave up his back allowing Milko the opportunity to throw on a Rear-Naked Choke to end it.

I’m not sure where it happened, but at some point in round 2 Milko got tagged under his left-eye and was sporting an impressive golfball-sized mouse.

// Milko takes it: Rear-Naked Choke at 1:30 of Round 2


FIGHT 6 – Professional Fight of the Night

Curtis Chambers (Blue Corner) Independent
Age: 30 Height: 5’11.5”’ Weight: 144.5lbs Reach: 63” Record: 0 – 3

Allan Munroe (Red Corner) Independent MMA
Age: 26 Height: 5’7” Weight: 143.5lbs Reach: 60.5” Record: 2 – 2

Big leg kicks, vicious combinations and huge takedowns from Munroe was the story of this fight. Munroe was changing levels on Chambers with each new assault. On the ground Munroe was having difficulty finding a solid position to finish the fight, and Chambers was relentless in throwing up Leg Triangles from the bottom.

Every time they stood up Munroe worked the body , face and legs (not always in that order) of Chambers using boxing and Muay Thai before taking him to the ground again. Still unable to finish and time time left in the first round Chambers was already looking gassed, mouth guard hanging half out, hands starting to fall.

Munroe should get the nickname “The Doctor” for surgically removing Chambers will to fight. This round was a clinic in boxing and body shots — Chambers suffered several barrages of well-placed, well-timed body shots that nearly took him out. No pun intended, and big kudo’s to Chambers, he gutted it out (hand on liver), and kept gaming with Munroe.

Chambers was surviving, but more like a reanimated corpse than a fighter. He managed to prevent a suplex from Munroe, but with 10 seconds left in Round 2 gave up his back and suffered 10 full seconds of punches to the head. Good times.

Munroe completely outclassed Chambers in this fight, but either didn’t know how to finish it, or just enjoyed punching him — hard to say. Fights can change quickly if you don’t keep your head on straight, and luck favours the prepared. Without warning Chambers managed to get Munroe in a Guillotine, but just didn’t have the arms left to finish the job.

When a fighter moves from Guard, to Half-Guard to Mount and pins the arms of his opponent and starta raining down blows in less than three seconds you know the guy on the bottom is done. Chambers just didn’t have anything left and Munroe finished it (finally) halfway through the last round.

// Munroe get the victory – fight stopped at 1:51 of Round 3 due to unanswered blows.

FIGHT 7 – Professional Submission of the Night

Sumeet Gill (Blue Corner) Professional Debut Aetos Pankration
Age: 21 Height: 6’3” Weight: 170.5lbs Reach: 67” Record: 0 – 1

Chris “Auto” Mattock (Red Corner) Professional Debut Gracie Barra Calgary
Age: 23 Height: 6’4” Weight: 169lbs Reach: 68” Record: 1 – 0

Both these fighters have come up through the Amateur System with Hard Knocks Fighting and have a lot of respect for one another, so it was a real pleasure to see them square off in their professional debut.

The overwhelming consensus around the media table was, “Gill better keep this one standing.” There are few disciplines around able to deal effectively with skilled fighters on the ground, and when you go against a jiu-jitsu fighter who spends most of his time there it’s smarter to keep it standing and hit the guy repeatedly.

When the two fighters engaged you could tell the immediate game plan for Mattock was to get the fight to the ground. One second and one leg sweep later, and there they were, Gill on his back and Mattock in his guard.

Mattock worked efficiently into Gill’s Half-Guard and then again into side control. Ground fighting can be like full-contact chess. With Mattock in Side-Control he was attempting a straight armbar, but from across his opponents body. You could watch Gill working trying to bend his arm away from the waiting armbar — the strain on the joint was obvious. Mattock relaxed and let him struggle, softening up the arm for the next part of his plan.

When Mattock finally let Gill start to bend his arm, he simply snatched it up into an awaiting Americana. As Gill tried to roll out of the Americana Mattock used all his leverage and ended the fight by tap-out when Gill’s left-arm was torqued so far it looked like his right.

// Mattock submits Gill with a vicious Americana Armbar for Submission of the Night at 1:30 of the first round.

2 Responses to “ Hard Knocks 8 Recap ”

  1. Calgary MMA Fan says:

    I found Hard Knocks to be a fun, well run show. keep it up, guys!

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  2. End It says:

    Awesome post Michael, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I see that nobody has lost their passion for MMA.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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