King of the Cage made its HDNet debut on Feb. 12 with "King of the Cage: Vengeance" at the Inn of Mountain Gods Casino in Mescalero, N.M. With an award-winning TV producer, Mark Burnett now at the helm of the live event production, "Vengeance" featured a trio of title bouts, a veteran showdown between Mike Kyle and Travis Wiuff, and promotional debut of UFC veteran, Rich "No Love" Clementi.
In the first bout of the night, Quinn Mulhern routed Rich Clementi in an upset. Mulhern, a late replacement for Clementi's original opponent, used an omoplata attempt to set up a deft sweep and secure mount in the first round after Clementi initially pushed the pace. After escaping guillotine choke and countering Clementi's heel hook with one of his own, Mulhern ended the round in the top position, dropping strikes.
He continued his ground-and-pound onslaught in the second round, forcing the referee to intervene at 3:09 of the round. With the impressive upset victory, Mulhern improved his record to 9-1, having earned all but one of his nine W's by stoppage.
KOTC flyweight champion, Abel "Silent Assassin" Cullum blitzed through "Bazookka" Joe Coca in another showcase of fast-paced offensive grappling. Cullum wasted no time to launch his offense, as he rushed in with quick punches and secured a takedown from clinch. A quick scramble and several submission attempts later, Cullum got back to feet. He took the fight back to the ground after a brief striking exchange and snatched Coca's arm to lock in a kimura, forcing "Bazookka" to tap at 2:09 of round one.
With the championship belt securely around his waist, Cullum recorded his second victory since falling to Hideo Tokoro in the quarterfinal round of DREAM featherweight tournament last May.
In the heavyweight title bout, Tony "Kryptonite" Lopez defended his belt with a submission victory over Tyler East in the dying seconds of round one. East immediately emerged as the aggressor, putting Lopez on the defensive for much of the first round. East wobbled Lopez with a high kick and hard shot to the jaw before tripping him to the mat. Lopez finally got to work and secured an arm bar before transitioning to triangle choke to achieve a comeback victory.
A lone fight of the night to go past the second round, KOTC Interim Bantamweight Championship bout unfolded as a brisk, back-and-forth scrap between the defending champion, Donald Sanchez and Victor Valenzuela. Both fighters staged a busy exchange on the feet and on the ground for the first two rounds. In the third round, Sanchez assumed dominance with tight top control; he forced Valenzuela into survival mode with relentless submission attempts and strikes from the top. In the fourth round, Sanchez dragged Valenzuela to the mat where he continued his ground-and-pound assault until the referee intervened at 4:05 of the round.
Mike Kyle and Travis Wiuff met in the final fight of the night. Wiuff pushed the pace in the first round with strikes from the top and a stand-in guillotine choke attempt at the end of the round. He slowed down toward the end of the second round, however, and was staggered by a counter hook and a pair of knees from Kyle. Kyle then landed a big right hand about a half second after the bell. The late strike was deemed legal and seeing that Wiuff was unable to continue, doctor stopped the fight, giving Kyle a TKO victory.
Quinn Mulhern def. Rich Clementi via TKO (punches), Rd 2 3:09
Abel Cullum def. Joe Coca via Submission (kimura), Rd 1 2:09
Tony Lopez def. Tyler East via Submission (triangle choke), Rd 1 4:54
Donald Sanchez def. Victor Valenzuela via TKO (punches), Rd 4 4:05
Mike Kyle def. Travis Wiuff via TKO (doctor stoppage), Rd 2 5:00