Travis Wiuff weighs-in for UFC 52: Couture vs Liddell II. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Revolutionary? The jury’s still out. However YAMMA Pit Fighting’s inaugural show went off without much of a hitch at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where veteran Travis Wiuff (52-11) won three consecutive fights to win the promotion’s first-ever heavyweight tournament last night.
Wiuff’s road to victory contradicted what Bob Meyrowitz and company predicted that YAMMA’s cage, which sported an incline close to the fence all the way around, would prevent. Wiuff used the leverage of the incline to continuously take his opponent down to the mat. YAMMA’s attempt to keep fights on the feet backfired in a big way.
The quarterfinals of the tournament saw former UFC heavyweight champion and tournament-favorite Ricco Rodriguez (28-9) use well-timed takedowns to score a unanimous decision over George Bush (5-1). Chris Tuscherer (13-1) and Wiuff both used the same strategy to earn first-round wins over Tony Sylvester (10-2) and Marcelo Pereira (0-1) respectively.
The first fight of the night saw Alexey Oleinik (7-4) have a point deducted after he continued to punch Sherman Pendergarst (10-9) while referee Kevin Mulhall was bringing the fight back up to the feet. However Olenik quickly scored a takedown and secured a fight-ending front choke with less than a minute left in the first round.
In the semifinals, Minnesota natives Wiuff and Tuscherer dodged submission attempts and scored takedowns against Rodriguez and Olenik to move to the three-round final that saw Wiuff use superior wrestling to earn a unanimous decision and the tournament crown.