The third instalment of the submission-only professional grappling tournament known as Polaris Pro took place last night at the Poole Lighthouse in the UK. On display were 5 main card matches and 8 preliminary matches. Heading the bill was the mouth watering prospect of a fight between two leg locking experts in Garry Tonon and Rousimar Palhares. Yours truly here managed to bag a press pass and took some photos.
For various reasons, I wasn't able to attend the live shows for Polaris 1 and 2. I did see them on ppv live and knowing how exciting the past two were, I was determined not to miss Polaris Pro 3. And it did not disappoint.
The prelims were exciting for me because I have known most of the fighters for many years and it was great to see them in action. These fights were aired for free.
The results for the prelims were:
Alain Pozo x Micah Atkinson (NO GI) - Alain wins by heel hook
Vinicius de Castro x Greg Creel (GI) - draw
Keith McKenzie x Jeff Lawson (GI) - McKenzie wins by RNC
Adam Adshead x Phil Harris (NO GI) - draw
Travis Newaza x Ben Dyson (NO GI) - Dyson wins by kimura
The prelims were not without drama and thrilling action. Probably the best fight of the night in my opinion was the bout between McKenzie and Lawson. It was a real back and forth exchange of sweeps, passes, turnovers and transitions. Keith secured the choke against Jeff moments before the buzzer rang to end time, you couldn't have got any closer.
Another talking point in the prelims was the match between Travis Newaza and Ben Dyson. The taller Travis dominating the match for large periods and seemingly about to finish a nasty looking toe hold had his momentum halted when Dyson banged his head against the advertising hoarding. The referee gave Dyson an injury time out and then re-set the fighters in the middle in roughly the same position. Dyson escaped the leg entanglement and proceeded to gain top position and execute a match winning kimura.
The main card featured some mouth watering prospects, the Polaris Pro team having done a amazing job matching up the very best in the world against one another.
In a somewhat cruel twist of luck, the submission only format this evening resulted in 100% no submissions for the main card. Eight fights and eight draws. But dismissing the lack of submissions would do an immense disservice to the thrilling action on display.
There was something to talk about in each and every match but perhaps the two highlights of the evening were in the matches between AJ Agazarm and Jake Shields and the finale between Rousimar Palhares and Garry Tonon. The former match included a number of heated exchanges, face slaps, alleged illegal attacks (eye pokes etc) and a foul mouthed war of words. It was certainly highly entertaining but perhaps a little too over the top.
In the headlining fight, there was no war of words or unpleasantness, in fact, given the reputation Palhares has had with his previous MMA fights, it was all highly respectful. What us spectators got to enjoy was an absolutely amazing grappling match featuring no-stop action. The much larger Palhares opening with his trademark attacks against Garry's ankles but Garry fending them off while also having to deal with being thrown into the air with suplex throws and other moments of air time! Tonon himself was clearly a big danger to his opponent, locking on a number of seemingly tight heel hooks and triangle chokes. Watching these two combatants was like watching a kind of muscled up fighting form of ballet.
The submission only format has been around now for a number of years. It was devised to ensure that fighters seeking match winning submissions would mean less opportunity for boring, slower, less exciting matches that the point based system is thought to induce. Unfortunately, the format itself is no guarantee of achieving submissions. But, as Polaris Pro and other successful events have shown, it does lead to a lot of exciting action and drama on the mat. I look forward to the next instalment of Polaris Pro!
For more photos of the event, see my Flickr gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/meerkatsu/albums/72157664413072193
To view the live replay online, visit the Polaris Pro website.