The main card fights for Titan Fighting Championships 20: "Rogers vs. Sanchez," which aired live on HDNet on Fri. Sept. 23, 2011, recently concluded at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
Though the fight between Brett Rogers and Eddie Sanchez was marketed as the main event, it turned out that the promotion decided to go with Jamie Varner vs. Dakota Cochrane as the headlining bout. And in that main event, former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) lightweight champion Jamie Varner took on a last minute replacement in Dakota Cochrane, who came into tonight's action having won his last five consecutive fights.
Cochrane set the tone early, meeting Varner with a front kick to the mid-section that sent him bouncing off the fence. He was clearly not in awe of Varner or his reputation, pushing the pace in the opening round. Varner was able to finish the first round on top, but lost the round, in all likelihood.
Varner looked frustrated, as he was almost entirely unable to take Cochrane down and had tremendous difficulty defending against Cochrane's unorthodox and athletic striking game.
Through two rounds, Varner appeared to be down 20-18 and in need of some sort of stoppage if he hoped to secure the win. He was finally able to land a terrific double-leg takedown with about three minutes to go in the final round, only to eventually be reversed and find himself in dire straits.
After three, hard-fought rounds, the judges gave the unanimous decision to Cochrane.
It's not that Varner was that bad. Cochrane was that good. Don't forget his name. You're going to hear a lot more of it in the future.
Here's what the rest of the card looked like:
Brett Rogers has had a rough year. After losing his last three Strikeforce fights and facing legal trouble over alleged domestic violence, he was cut by the Zuffa organization and left jobless.
Have no fear. The former "tire-flipper" for Sam's Club would not be in the unemployment line for long. Earlier this month, it was announced that Titan Fighting Championships had offered the heavyweight bruiser a contract, which he accepted.
This was supposed to be Rogers' comeback party. This was supposed to be the night that "The Grim" showed the world that his recent string of bad luck was just a fluke and that he's a better fighter than he's been given credit for.
Somebody forgot to tell Sanchez.
For three rounds, "The Manic Hispanic" made pinatas out of Rogers' legs, nailing them with a plethora of precisely aimed kicks. Sanchez won the dirty boxing exchanges. He landed far more kicks and knees and was able to slow the pace and frustrate Rogers to the point where he strayed from the gameplan very early on.
The one, small glimmer of hope came when Rogers hit a double-leg takedown with about 30 seconds to go in the fight, but was unable to do a single thing with it when he got his opponent down.
It was far too little, much too late as Sanchez was awarded the split decision by the judges and was very deserving of the win. Quite frankly, the judge who scored it for Rogers must have had an obstructed view.
It's hard to say where Rogers goes from here. The truth is that he looked badly overmatched by a guy who would probably get destroyed by almost any heavyweight on the UFC roster. He certainly did not make a very strong case for Dana White giving him a second look.
The featherweights took center stage as "Sharkbait" Anthony Gutierrez looked to make it four in a row against Shane Hutchinson. Gutierrez has very recently joined Urijah Faber's "Alpha Male Team" in Sacramento, California. Those guys doesn't mess around.
Neither does Gutierrez.
If you blinked, you may have missed this one. Gutierrez was able to cinch in a fantastic d'arce choke at 1:05 of round one, leaving his opponent with no other option than to tap at rapid speed.
Sorry, Titan Fighting Championships. This kid won't be on your roster for long. He's destined for bigger and better things. No offense.
"The" James Krause tried to do his hometown friends and family proud as he went up against Sean Wilson, a fighter who came into tonight's event riding a six-fight win streak.
After a couple minutes of cautious "feeling out," the fight hit the mat and it was all downhill from there for Wilson.
Krause used his seven-inch reach and his length to tie up his opponent and eventually get him to tap to a very tight guillotine choke at 2:39 of the very first round.
In the first heavyweight match-up of the night, krav maga specialist Justyn Riley looked to become a giant killer as he took on the six-foot-seven Alex Huddleston. Huddleston (whose nickname is "The Shaved Gorilla") looked to build on his fight experience, tonight being only his second professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fight.
You can't teach height. You also can't teach reach or massive ham-hocks for hands. Huddleston pummeled Riley during the early striking exchanges and it looked as though it may have ended up being a quick night.
Looks can be deceiving.
How many times have we seen it? The big monster of a fighter charges to the center of the ring like he's got early dinner reservations, throws everything but the kitchen sink at his opponent, only to gas out and eventually lose to a smaller fighter with better cardio and a more well-rounded skill set.
We saw it again.
After weathering the initial storm, Riley was able to eventually take Huddleston's back in the second round and pound on his larger opponent before the referee finally called to a stop to things at 4:42 of round two.
In the first bout of the night, Laramie Shaffer and Andrew Whitney kicked things off with a bang.
It became evident very early in the fight that Shaffer's wrestling and takedowns were going to be tough for Whitney to combat. Near the mid-point of round one, Shaffer was able to score a takedown, get dominant top position and work some ground-and-pound to soften up his opponent.
It was more of the same in the second round and looked as though the duration of the fight would follow in similar fashion.
Whitney apparently caught a second wind in between the second and third rounds, coming out from the opening bell with an almost immediate flying knee that connected squarely with his opponent's chin and sent him to the canvas, unconscious.
Beautiful knockout. Great way to start off the event.
Here are the complete Titan Fighting Championships 20: "Rogers vs. Sanchez" main card fight results:
Dakota Cochrane def. Jamie Varner via unanimous decision
Anthony Gutierrez def. Shane Hutchinson via submission (d'arce choke) at 1:05 of round one
Justyn Riley def. Alex Huddleston via TKO (strikes) at 4:42 of round two
Andrew Whitney def. Laramie Shaffer via KO (flying knee) at 0:21 of round three