Results and Group Standings have been updated on the first page.
With the final week of the group stage coming up, some fighters have now had their four group stage fights and have either been eliminated or are still awaiting their fate.
A brief look at the groups before a more detailed preview of the next event that I'll put out later.
With Polly Paulson's win over Nilton Guimaraes tonight he now guarantees himself a place in the final. Whether he goes through as the group champion or not comes down to his final group stage fight against Able Archer who up to now had looked a solid bet to qualify but after a shock finish loss against bottom of the group Nance Gibbord, he not only losses a point but also his first place spot and could be under pressure to even make it to the finals if he loses to Paulson and third place Pete Peterson able to pick up a win in his final match up. Peterson will go into his final match up with Nilton Guimaraes knowing that a win would at least put him into the 5th Place Play-Offs but also that the championship finals are a possibility. Guimares, who currently sits in fourth place would leapfrog Peterson with a finish win against him and also take his place in the 5th Place Play-Offs.
Fifth place Nance Gibbord has completed his group stages matches and though he goes home on a big win, a 1-3 record this season sees him eliminated from the tournament.
All in all, Group A will definitely be one to watch going into it's final group stage week.
It's amazing how quickly things can turn around. Gruff Dragon has spent most of the group stage looking like a dead certainty to qualify for the championship play-offs but after suffering a decision loss to Joe Slasher in his final group stage fight, he now sits in second place and is completely at the mercy of the final week. Joe Slasher has grafted hard this season and goes into his final fight against Crisostomo Ibarra who has struggled to get going this season. With a win Slasher would cement not only a qualifying position but also the number one spot in the group. Gichin Funakoshi in third place had his bye week this event and will be going into his final week against Chris Chaitle and both will have a lot to fight for. A maximum point win for Funakoshi would put him in second and into the championship play-offs and for Chaitle could make a great comeback and find himself fighting for 5th Place in the 5th Place Play-Off should he secure a win.
In the bottom spot is Ibarra who will be fighting purely for pride. Still looking for his first win this season, Ibarra's final fight against Slasher will be his last opportunity.
Things are a little more clear in Group C as Takayama Yataro took out his closest group rival Duke Nukem this weekend to finish in an untouchable first place and will now rest up until the finals as he has completed his four group stage fights.
Second place Duke Nukem is in a strong position still in second and currently four points ahead of the fighters underneath. Still things can change and if Nukem were to loss his final group stage fight against Anders Silver by a finish, he could theoretically find himself bumped down into the 5th Place Play-Off should his time in the cage be more than Silvers.
Anders Silver and One Fortythree are joint on 1 point each with Silver currently ahead by virtue of less time in the cage during his wins. One Fortythree will go into his final fight against Rascals Alfalfa who is still searching for his first win. Fortythree still has an outside chance to qualify for the championship play-offs but would need a very quick maximum point win in his last fight and would need Silver to beat Nukem in a very long drawn out fight to go through on time.
Alfalfa, though in bottom place, is not eliminated at this point and with a finish win against Fortythree could still make it into the 5th Place Play-Offs but would need Nukem to finish Silver and then rely on time spent in the cage.
Our last group is now locked and loaded. Tom Baker and Balor Fino, both undefeated after three fights, will now face off against each other in their final group stage bout to determine just who the king of the hill truly is. Baker currently ahead by virtue of time spent.
Qualifying for the 5th Place Play-Off is the feel good story of the tournament, the completely unfancied Brian Marais who was able to finish Eunan Moray in his final fight. Marais was predicted a last place finish at the beginning of the tournament so has done superbly to prove those naysayers wrong.
Eunan Moray, my pick for first, ends the tournament in fourth spot with out a win. Technically he has a fight left but his opponent hasn't been seen since losing his opening bout and so Moray will likely be handed a forfeit win that will not be enough to put him into a qualifying position