Iron Man Vale Tudo – 135lbs Grand Prix
End of Group Stage Review and Play-Off Draw
After 10 weeks and five group stage events, the final eight fighters that will continue on towards championship glory have now been decided alongside the four who will compete for some redemption in the 5th Place-Off.
In the end it was Able Archer who was able to emerge as the Group A winner after a significant scare in his final group stage match up with Polly Paulson. Getting caught up in Paulson's strong clinch game, Archer found himself on wobbly legs before somehow managing to drag Paulson down to the ground and slap on a loose triangle. Quick thinking by Archer who will definitely need that level of awareness as he moves into the next round paired against the Group C runner up. Even with the loss Paulson did enough during the group stage to secure a second place finish and will now move on into the finals against the winner of Group A
Pete Peterson managed to salvage a spot in the 5th Place Play-Off after a crushing 26 second KO over BJJ specialist Nilton Guimaraes and also sending the Brazilian fighter home. He will go on to fight the fighter who ended third in Group D. The result will no doubt be extra disappointing for Guimaraes as should he have won, he himself would have been the one to move on. With the loss Guimaraes actually slips below Nance Gibbord and ends up bottom of the pile while Gibbord moves up to a fourth place finish
Relief for Gruff Dragon no doubt as the final weeks results in Group B go his way and he will be moving on into the finals as the runner up of the group. A case of "out of the frying pan into the fire" perhaps however as he finds himself matched against the winner of Group D.
Topping the group in fine fashion is boxer Joe Slasher who has come back from a decision loss in his opening group stage bout to post three straight wins from there, including two KO's. Slasher finishes comfortably as Group B champion and will move on to face the runner up of Group A
In third place we have Chris Chaitle who battled hard for his final group standing against a tough Gichin Funakoshi. Chaitle was able to get the submission victory and send Funakoshi out of the tournament. Possibly a harsh result for the Okinawan who had managed to pick up some solid victories during his time here. Chaitle moves on to face Group C's third place fighter
Rounding out the group in the fifth and final spot is Crisostomo Ibarra who will definitely be very disappointed with his performances this season. His manager is by now a veteran of tournaments such as these and going home without picking up a single win will likely be unacceptable to him
Group C has produced arguably the most impressive fighter up to this point in Takayama Yataro who not only manages to finish in the top spot but has done it off the back of four straight finish victories in a row. Yataro's hard work now rewards him with a spot in the finals against the runner up of Group D
Duke Nukem showed no fear in his final group stage bout against Anders Silver knowing that a finish loss could potentially send him crashing out of the tournament. Instead he picked up his third KO of the season and now moves on into the finals as Group C's runner up. He is paired against the Group A winner
One Fortythree was able to overcome a tough start to the season after dropping his first two fights. Now after two wins in a row, it has been enough to put him into the 5th Place Play-Off against Group B's offering.
In fourth we have Anders Silver who finishes the season a not too terrible 1-3 and in fifth place we have Rascals Alfalfa who unfortunately was unable to pick up a single point this time around
A fantastic finish for Group D with undefeated rivals Balor Fino and Tom Baker going head to head in the final week of group stage fights and Balor Fino eeking out a decision win to snatch the Group D title. Fino now moves on as potentially one of the favourites to win it all and he will take on the Group B runner up in his first fight of the play-off finals.
Baker will have no real reason to lose heart as he finishes very comfortable in second place and some five points ahead of his closest rival. Baker finds himself paired against Group C's winner.
The feel good story of the tournament carries on with Brian Marais defying the odds to secure a spot in the 5th Place Play-Offs. He ends the group stage with a solid 2-2 record and will go on to fight the third place fighter in Group A
At the bottom of the group we have Eunan Moray who has been disappointing throughout. He finishes in fourth with a single forfeit win and rounding out the group is Makhlamed Armagedonenov who went awol after losing his opening round fight. It's rumoured that his manager Malikoy Muza received a package of dog faeces through his door sometime after.
THE PATH TO GLORY - PLAYOFF FINALS
(B1) Joe Slasher v (A2) Polly Paulson
(D1) Balor Fino v (B2) Gruff Dragon
(C1) Takayama Yataro v (D2) Tom Baker
(A1) Able Archer v (C2) Duke Nukem
5TH PLACE PLAYOFF
(D3) Brian Marais v (A3) Pete Peterson
(B3) Chris Chaitle v (C3) One Fortythree