Brotherhood. It's a term used to describe a collective of people whose shared experience or beliefs are so great that it literally binds them like family. Brotherhood transcends race, creed, class, geographic location and, when it counts, it is your brothers that pick you up and dust you off.
And thus was the case with Shuriken MMA South Africa, who graciously accepted our hospitality in providing opposition at the MMA show Armageddon, held last Saturday on Auckland's North Shore; with the proceeds helping to rebuild Strike Force Canterbury, which was severely damaged in both the September and February earthquakes. Tragically, South African coach Kevin Thomas passed away in the week leading up to the fight, and all involved champed at the bit for the chance to honour what was lost.
The local MMA community came out in full force, to the tune of 2200 fans packing the North Shore Events Centre and filling the rest of the space with their vocal support. A cocktail of kickboxing and both A and B class MMA bouts awaited, headlined by three professional bouts between the South African and Kiwi contingents.
Colossus Geoffrey Ruaporo was explosive in making short work of TJ Masters. Clearly intent on swinging for the fences, Ruaporo’s first landed right hand put Masters down and the follow-up pressure was a mere formality.
Selby Devereux faced off against Fernando Junior in a tough bout dominated (at least early) by ground work. All Junior’s hard work would come unstuck in the third, however, as a simple slip was pounced on by Devereux, who worked for his opponent’s back before sinking in a rear naked choke.
In a fight of the night performance, Mikaele Maliefulu weathered some vicious ground and pound before stopping Leo Pole with strikes. The fight was all Pole for the first two rounds, until he was dropped by a hard right in the third round. Rather than capitulate, Pole made this a genuine ‘fasi’ as the two stood toe-to-toe. Maliefulu continued to get the better of the exchanges, and the referee called it off as Pole was not actively defending himself.
In the co-headliner, crowd favourite Brandon Ropati squared off against South African James Rennie. Both fighters had some success on the ground, but Ropati’s size and strength proved to be the determining factor as he ground out a unanimous decision win.
Main event fighters, Cole Davids (NZ) and Donavin Hawkey (South Africa), put on a clear fight of two halves. Hawkey’s power and precision punching controlled the show early as every punch he threw was crisp and intended to hurt. His hands appeared to be too much, until mid-way through the second round. Davids swept Hawkey from the bottom and mounted; from where he started throwing the kitchen sink at a seemingly tired Hawkey. The referee had seen enough at this point and rightfully called off the contest.
Full credit to the worldwide Shuriken family, who put on perhaps the best MMA show seen on our fair shores. Regardless of result, all the fighters' efforts were a fitting tribute to the MMA brotherhood, Strike Force Canterbury and I am sure Thomas would only have been proud with the warriors on display.
Cole Davids (Strikeforce) beat Donavin Hawkey (KTFA/Shurikan SA) by TKO (strikes) in the 2nd round
Brandon Ropati (Gracie Barra) beat James Rennie (KTFA/Shurikan SA) by unanimous decision
Ronald Dlamini (KTFA/Shurikan SA) beat Damian Lee (Gracie Barra) by unanimous decision
Mikaele Maliefulu (Gracie Barra) beat Leo Pole (Strikeforce) by TKO (strikes) in the 3rd round
Selby Devereux (Gracie Barra) beat Fernando Junior (Tu Kaha Gym) by submission (rear naked choke) in the 3rd round
Lance Vale (Shuriken MMA) beat Leka Skipworth (Strikeforce) by KO (strike) in the 1st round
Victor Kalolo (Shuriken MMA) beat Mark Jelicich (Tu Kaha Gym) by TKO (strikes) in the 3rd round
Arthur Laske (Shuriken MMA) beat Hakopa Hux Wilkie (Tu Kaha Gym) by majority decision
Adam Christian (Shuriken MMA) beat Luwayne Lowe (Ground Control) by unanimous decision
Geoffrey Ruaporo (Strikeforce) beat TJ Masters (Roney BJJ) by TKO (strikes) in the 1st round
Sese Start (Strikeforce) beat Marley Mackay (Shuriken MMA) by submission (rear naked choke) in the 1st round
Kavi Rai (Auckland MMA) beat Kadin Leuten (Roundhouse Kickboxing) by split decision
Alex Redhead (Tu Kaha Gym) beat Adam Wellington (Shuriken MMA) by submission (rear naked choke) in the 1st round
Michael Hunter (Submission MMA) beat Dave Lucas (Shuriken MMA) by split decision
Caleb Lally (Roney BJJ) beat Matt McMeeking (Shuriken MMA) by unanimous decision
Ev Ting (Auckland MMA) beat Jimmy Moorhouse (Roundhouse Kickboxing) when the referee stopped the bout due to injury
Jessie Sabine (Shuriken MMA) beat Ruiha Epiha by split decisionNZFighters article