Casino Pauma Event

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 Article By Todd Hester

Gladiator Challenge
Point Blank
story and photos by Todd Hester

Pauma Casino, outside of San Diego, played host to Tedd Williams’ traveling slugfest which featured some of MMA’s toughest fighters unloading on each other at point blank range!

Pauma Casino, Ca − Located in the picturesque Pauma Valley, it would be hard to find a more spectacular setting for a mixed martial arts contest. With mountains bordering all sides of the valley and a cage set-up outside the new and modern casino, the fans streamed in from miles around to see one of the world’s longest running MMA shows − Tedd Williams’ Gladiator Challenge. Though the years, the hallmarks of a Tedd Williams show have been evenly matched fights, top competitors, and consistent sell-outs! All three factors came into play at Pauma as the packed-in fans watched two champions crowned who are as good as any fighters in the world!

Saad Awad vs. Kyle Olsen (155 lb. World Title)
Palestinian star Saad Awad carries his head high as he proudly represents his cultural heritage in the ring to his many fans. But the personable and friendly Awad is also a true ambassador of the good qualities of MMA as he fights hard, displays true sportsmanship at all times, and treats his opponents with respect and honor whether he wins or looses. Of course, when you’re as good as Awad you tend to get a lot more practice being a good winner than a good loser. This once again held true as Awad faced Kyle Olsen for the prestigious 155 lb. world title. Awad hurt Olsen early with a front kick, backed him up against the cage on the mat, then ground-and-pounded him for the 1:14 round one victory.

James Wilks vs. Mike Robles (175 lb. World Title)
Long-time Erik Paulson student James Wilks, an Englishman with a stiff upper lip, also proved that he had a stiff chin as well! Facing Mike Robles, a tough customer who is absolutely no joke, Wilks was pressured early in the first round and put onto his back, and forced to play guard for most of the period to defend Robles’ mauling and powerful ground attack. Behind on points entering the second round, Wilks again found himself on his back after a scramble. Keeping his head and patiently looking for an opening, a trademark of a Paulson-trained fighter, Wilks caught Robles in a bottom arm-lock and tapped him at 2:27 of the second round to win the prestigious Gladiator Challenge world title.

Feature Fights
Millennia jiu-jitsu fighter Georgi Karkhanyan faced off in a grudge match against brawler Jeffery Sanchez in a 150 lb. match that was no contest from the get-go. Although more than willing to mix it up, Sanchez’s heart was no match for the skills imparted by the Millennia coaching staff of Romie Aram, Betiss "Super" Mansouri, and Javier "Showtime" Vazquez, all former KOTC world champions in their own right. The match was over almost before it started as Karkhanyan took Sanchez down, got top control, and tapped him with a north-south choke for the round one, 1:12 win. Look for great things from Karkhanyan in the future.
There’s an old saying that you never want to get in front of a freight train if you want to live and tell about it. Well, Joe Frainee proved that old saying wrong as he faced Richard “Freight Train” Schiller at 155 lbs. True to his nickname, Schiller charged in at Frainee at the opening bell and put Frainee on his back, winging punches. Using very disciplined technique, Frainee covered up, held Schiller close, and weathered the storm while he waited for an opening. That opening came at 2:20 of the first round as Schiller left his elbow out while punching and Frainee locked in a bottom arm-bar for the exciting come-from-behind win.
In the best fight of the night for sheer non-stop action Matt Merrill and Dillion Croushorn battled for two full rounds going back and forth with neither man giving an inch and giving it their all. In the end, the judges ruled it for Merrill in a fight that both men can hold their head up high for.
In preliminary action Steve Walston, Virgil Zwicker Robby Peralta, Andrew Brown, Eric Baker, Jack Miles and Mike Arrellano all won in the first round while Andrew Brown got a second round victory and Brad Ball and Luis Iniguez fought to two-round draw.

As a special treat for the fans, action star/director Hector Echavarria was on hand with co-star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to film fight scenes for his new movie “Never Surrender.” Not only did the fans get in on the action as extras but “The Ironman” Tyson Johnson, the famous ring announcer, ad-libbed a scene as did referee Cecil Peoples. After a night of electrifying MMA action one can only hope that a long-term arrangement is in the works for Gladiator Challenge and Pauma Casino. It seems like a win-win for both parties as promoter Tedd Williams would get a beautiful casino venue to hold fights in and Pauma Casino would get one of MMA’s longest running and best-known shows. The true winner in such an arrangement, of course, would be the fans!

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Photo Captions
Glad01: Saad Awad traps Kyle Olsen against the cage
Glad02: (L-R) “The Ironman” Tyson Johnson, Saad Awad, Tedd Williams
Glad03: Tyson Johnson and “Rampage” Jackson kickin’ it between rounds
Glad04: Saad Awad hurts Kyle Olsen early
Glad05: New world champion James Wilks (C) with his winning team
Glad06: James Wilks locks in the winning arm-bar on Mike Robles
Glad07: Mike Robles digs for the takedown on James Wilks
Glad08: Mike Robles pounds James Wilks from top inside guard
Glad09: Georgi Karkhanyan taps Jeffrey Sanchez with a top choke
Glad10: “Freight Train” Schiller rams Joe Frainee!
Glad11: Dillion Croushorn and Matt Merrill go toe-to-toe!
Glad12: Hector Echavarria, Tyson Johnson, Rampage Jackson rehearse a scene from “Never Surrender”





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