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Friday’s Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) 6 Cebu main event between Lapu-Lapu City’s Cary “The Prince” Bullos of SELDEF MMA and Iloilo’s Leonard “The One” Delarmino of Team Capanay is the kind of back-and-forth fight that makes protective men shout: Hide the women and the children!

It was that intense with hardly 10 seconds of respite at any time in their bantamweight bout. Bullos, confident as ever, started the first round with a smile like he’d just swallowed ambrosia and unleashed a three-punch combo, clinched but lost his balance as Delarmino fell on top of him. Showing his ground skills, Bullos maneuvered a bit before attempting an armbar. Delarmino got away but Bullos took him down and was on a side-mount full-mount transition in no time.

Before Bullos could pound Delarmino, the latter performed his own escape and in quick succession there was a side mount, a reversal, a guillotine choke, and an escape. It was the perfect closer to a night of a near-perfect card that matchmaker Markman Yap put up. It’s difficult to imagine the people behind URCC Cebu coming up with better matches than this.

The Bullos-Delarmino bout appeared it was going into a knockout as Bullos demonstrated his superior striking involving bunches of punches and a few spectacular high kicks, a submission victory with his repeated armbar attempts, or a decisive unanimous victory as the SEL-DEF flag carrier kept the pressure on a very durable Delarmino who took all sorts of hits to the head and body. But it didn’t turn out that way as an obviously gassed-out Bullos was running on fumes and his looping punches were not enough to knock out his opponent.

As it turned out, it was Delarmino who KOed Bullos before the second round ended with a frontal kick, a knee to the body and two right hooks to Bullos’ head as the latter was already down on his hands and knees, and the referee was called a stoppage after Bullos tapped about the same time his corner threw in the towel. If only Bullos had stayed on until Round 2 had finished, he was an almost-sure winner. This calls to mind the great quote by former UFC light-heavyweight champion Frank Shamrock: “My cardio is my best submission move.”

Actually, the Delarmino brothers made it 3-0 as Agustin defeated Maxilito Yong of Yaw-Yan Musang for the Visayas Flyweight Division championship, and Philip beat Jhon Edu Torbiso of Jurex Dragon Cebu in their pinweight match, both wins by submission in the first round.

Another pinweight fight started URCC 6 with star-potential Reynan “Flash” Noblefranca making his MMA debut over a much-older but overmatched Jessie Tambiling of Bullet Muay Thai. Noblefranca has made a name for himself as a spectacular striker and it was clear enough that he didn’t intend to go to the ground by staying light on his feet in avoiding Tambiling’s awkward punches and kicks. Tambiling barely laid a hand on the Yaw-Yan Ardigma fighter who is 12 years his junior. Noblefranca, on the other hand, early on messed up Tambiling with strikes, one a spinning backfist that caught Tambiling on the right cheek after the older fighter landed a left high kick to Noblefranca's head. Noblefranca knocked Tambiling down on the canvas and followed with more punches until the referee ended the punishment before Round 1 was over and Noblefranca earned his TKO win.

Other winners were Yaw-Yan Musang/DEFTAC Cebu’s Vaughn Donaire over an outsized but game Lorde Rey Yamit from Butuan City by tapout via rear-naked choke in the halfway mark of Round 1; DEFTAC Bacolod Fight Club’s Victor Torre over Yaw-Yan Ardigma’s Mark Revalde (Submission, Strikes R1); and Yaw-Yan Ardigma/DEFTAC Cebu's Tom Woodfin over Ricardo Sapno of Beefit Python’s Pit of Davao (Submission, Strikes R1).

The main co-event featherweight match between SELDEF MMA’s Jimmy Yabo and Cebu MMA’s George Flansbaum, where 16 years separated the protagonists, was declared No Contest midway through the second round. It mustn’t have been an unwillingness to fight by Yabo and Flansbaum as they did engage in the first round after Flansbaum got a yellow card from the match referee. At the restart, Yabo got the better of the expatriate American with his superior boxing, knocking his opponent down with a left hook to the side of the head.

Flansbaum is listed as a purple belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, in theory is a better grappler, and that’s exactly what he did by repeatedly going for the single-leg takedown, successfully getting Yabo in a rear-naked choke that just couldn’t get past from under the chin to the throat as Yabo survived.

The Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) audience was pumped up for Round 2, but both fighters fought to their strengths and that’s when the problem started. Yabo maintained a wait-and-punch attitude, while Flansbaum waited for his chance to get takedown. Like two armies half a kilometer in front of each other waiting for who blinks first, it got boring and the crowd made the fighters in the ring know it with boos and catcalls. Soon enough another yellow card flashed then followed by a red card. Game over. No contest.

We can argue whether the referee’s decision was too harsh or if it was right on time and the fighters deserved to have the match end ignominiously. “Too harsh,” I heard a certain English daily newspaper sports columnist whose name starts with the letter J to my left say softly. Maybe yes, maybe no. But I wouldn’t have minded waiting for another minute to see if one or the other decided to be a fighter and fight like he badly wanted to win.

Overall, an MMA night of great fights, an SRO crowd, and like the matches, the best URCC round/ring girls so far. If only they allow fight judges to drink beer on the job. Sigh.


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