A perfect way to celebrate the Winter season was Kasai’s 7th Grand-Prix event, which crowned the promotion’s 7th weight class champion. So far Kasai’s champs have been as follows:
61KG – João Miyao (K6)
65KG – Gianni Grippo (K4)
70KG – Renato Canuto (K1)
77KG – Renato Canuto (K3)
84KG – Matheus Diniz (K2)
92KG – Kaynan Duarte (K5)
To close out the Kasai Pro champion’s lists, the New York based promotion brought forward 6 of the finest heavyweights available. Unfortunately, the tournament was not without a few unexpected hic-ups. To start things, the original line-up suffered a last-minute change as one of Group B’s favorites, Patrick Gaudio, fell victim to an undisclosed virus. The illness forced Patrick to forfeit his place to last-minute replacement Paulo Azambuja of Fight Sports.
As the tournament started, more controversy(!) During the first round of the group stages, we saw João Gabriel Rocha being quickly submitted by Kyle Boehm. The Double 5 team founder complained he had stopped fighting so his opponent could free his foot (which was apparently stuck in Rocha’s shorts), however, no orders had been given by the referee to freeze the match. Kyle played within the rules and the submission was rightfully validated.
Round two of matches had more unexpected drama, this time in Group B after Vinny Magalhães revealed he had suffered an injury in his first match, against Nicky Rod., and was forced to abandon the tournament This loss meant that Roberto Abreu automatically advanced to the following round due to W-L ratio, as his match with Rodriguez had ended in a draw.
Two big rematches on the Kasai stage tonight. Lucas Barbosa vs Kyle Boehm and Cyborg vs Nicky Rod. The one that carried most interest by the general public (Cyborg x Rod) ended up being a stalemate with neither athlete getting the better of each other, much like their previous encounter. The most “excitement” we saw was an accidental elbow strike to Abreu’s forehead, which opened a nasty cut on the Fight Sports frontman. This is not to say neither athlete tried to score, just that any attack was nullified by its opponent.
The second match many hoped to see was Kyle Boehm x Lucas Barbosa. Here Lucas dominated most of the exchanges, scoring first and controlling the tempo from then on, always keeping his legs safe from Kyle’s dangerous attacks. Solid basics and solid strategy had The Hulk ahead the entire match.
One of the big storylines of the night, in our opinion, was indeed Lucas Barbosa’s dominance in the group stages of the event. Arguably in the toughest group of the tournament, The Hulk advanced with ease, using flawless strategy and precision on his way to the podium. In the final, however, Roberto Cyborg had different plans for Lucas. Roberto came out very strong, not allowing Lucas to settle and conquering a big takedown early. From there it was all about managing the clock.
Match of the night, as expected, was Renato Canuto x Dante Leon. Two of the most exciting guys in the sport, both athletes put on a real show for the fans with tons of action. Even though both competitors tried to finish, the match ended up being decided on points. Great gift for the fans, as were the other two superfight matches between Raquel Canuto and Gabi McComb as well as John Combs and Pedro Rocha.
The Bomb Factory
2713 Canton St, Dallas, TX 75226
– Stephen Hall def. James Markle by Triangle
– Andrew Tacket def. Jeremiah Mendez by RNC
– Michaels Esquivel def. Benjamin Annuziato by short choke
– Samuel Nagai def. Damion Oranday by triangle
– Tony Cronce def. Kevin Holand by penalty (3×3 pts)
– Kecia McKenzie def. Erica Barnes by 5×2
– Vinicius Agudo def. Diego Santana by points
– Igor Paiva def. Andre Gomes by decision
– Kody Steele def. Camron Couch by 8×4
– Rafael Formiga def. Rafael Lang by 3×0
– Alex Martins def. Michael Foster by points
KASAI 7 HEAVYWEIGHT GP
– Kyle Boehm def. João Rocha by outside heel-hook
– Lucas Hulk def. Paulo Azambuja by 4×0
– João Rocha def. Paulo Azambuja by anaconda choke
– Lucas Hulk def. Kyle Boehm by 4×0
– Lucas Hulk def. João Rocha by 2×0
– Kyle Boehm def. Paulo Azambuja by penalty (0x0 pts)
– Roberto Cyborg def. Bruno Bastos by 2×0
– Nicky Rodriguez drew with Vinny Magalhães (0x0)
– Roberto Cyborg drew with Nick Rodriguez (0x0)
– Nick Rodriguez def. Bruno Bastos by outside heel-hook
– R. Cyborg awarded the default victory due to Magalhães absence (injury)
BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
– Nick Rodriguez def. Kyle Boehm by 4×0
– Roberto Abreu def. Lucas Hulk by 6×0
– Raquel Canuto def. Gabi McComb by guillotie
– John Combs def. Pedro Rocha by arm in guillotine
– Dante Leon def. Renato Canuto by points