Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 16 Dec 2017 12am






    Saturday, December 16, 2017-2:00:47A.M.






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ROP 22 prelims rival excitement of main card: Part 1

RITES of Passage 22: Rampage dazzled a packed Marianas Business Plaza audience last Friday as it featured three title fights in the same night.

Fan expectations were greatly exceeded when defending champions Rob “The Real Deal” Wusstig, Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez and Jordan “The Machine” Mangloña each put on memorable performances en route to retaining their respective titles.

While the championship bouts were what drew the crowd, it was the exciting undercard fights that kept them busy leading up to the main card.

ROP 22 featured a total of ten preliminary mixed martial arts bouts—two professional and eight amateur.

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Sung Kwon Kim tags Pat Uncangco with a counter left as Uncangco throws a body kick during their preliminary lightweight battle.

Newcomer Sung Kwon Kim of Korean Top Team (2-2) and Steel Athletics rep Patrick Uncangco (0-2)put on an absolute slug fest in the second pro bout of the prelims.

Kim would eventually win by rear naked choke submission, but it was his striking and grappling exchanges with Uncangco, prior to the finish, that had fans standing and roaring in approval.

Uncangco, who had not competed in MMA since 2009, showed no signs of ring rust.

For the majority of Round 1, the two lightweights showed they were evenly matched going blow for blow with big power shots.

The short stocky Guamanian Chamorro leaned mostly on powerful kicks to the midsection while his taller Korean foe looked to counter strike with straight punches and knees up the center.

Midway through the first, Uncangco decided to mix things up by scoring a beautiful takedown that got the fans cheering. He then stood over his opponent and repeatedly kicked at the KTT rep’s legs before allowing Kim to stand.

Later, Kim scored a takedown of his own to end the round in top position.

A flurry from Kim, early in Round 2, left blood dripping from Uncangco’s nose.

Nevertheless, Uncangco seem unfazed and continued to relentlessly stock his rangier adversary.

Suddenly, Kim countered another kick attempt with a perfectly timed straight right that sat Uncangco down.

The Steel Athletics product remained alert and went into survival mode by attempting a double leg as Kim rushed in for the finish.

However, Kim peppered Uncangco with more follow up strikes which forced the latter to turn away from the punishment and surrender his back.

Kim then seized the opportunity to sink his hooks in and secure the RNC.

With nowhere else to go, Uncangco tapped to the choke at 1:20of the second round.

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43-year-old Sang Hyun Park of Team Ace MMA Korea submits 23 year old Juan “Hot Pocket” Lizama of Steel Athletics during their ROP 22 undercard bout.  Photos by Vicente “Ben” Salas II

Despite a whopping two decade age difference, Sang Hyun Park (3-1) overcame the youthful exuberance and raw power of previously undefeated late replacement Juan “Hot Pocket” Lizama (4-1) to win by second round submission.

It’s no wonder that some fans refer to the 43 year old Team Ace MMA Korea stalwart as “The Ageless Wonder.”

The 140-pounders opened the pro portion of ROP 22’s undercard with a stellar display of well rounded MMA action.

Pretty much anywhere the fight went, Park and Lizama obliged each other.

Though Lizama appeared to have a strength advantage and preferred to use it for wrestling; he did not shy away from engaging the taller striker standing and even landed some solid haymakers.

Likewise, Park, who clearly wanted to make it a kickboxing match, showed he was just as comfortable grappling with Lizama whenever things went that way.

That grappling component would ultimately serve as the catalyst in Park’s victory.

After a very close Round 1, Park and Lizama entered the second stanza right where they had left off—Lizama winging big punches in the pocket with Park looking to counter with straight punches, knees and low kicks.

Following a takedown, Lizama settled into Park’s guard where the23 year old might have gotten too comfortable.

Using slick guard work, Park adjusted his hips, quickly threw up his legs and trapped Lizama inside a tight triangle choke.

Lizama resisted momentarily but eventually the choke became too deep and he conceded defeat at 2:13 of Round 2 to give Park the win.

Afterwards, Park reportedly expressed desire for a title shot against TW bantamweight champion Ricky Camp or whomever else is available in a comparable weight class.

To be continued