Saturday night's all right for fighting

MIKE BEASLEY -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:32 PM ET

Blood and guts. There was plenty of both last night at Freedom Fight 2005 in a sauna-like atmosphere at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau.

Eighteen Mixed Martial Arts fighters from Canada and the United States had their elbows and fists flying. Freedom Fight promoters hope last night's inaugural challenge will become a regular event.

And while Canada lost 4-1 to the powerful U.S. team, the event was a fighting success.

After a brief but colourful opening ceremony where team members from Canada and the U.S. were introduced, the punches started flying and the blood started flowing.

Emotion is an important factor in Mixed Martial Arts and there was no shortage of it in the building last night, in the ring and in the stands.

FANS WANT MORE

Every time a fighter came close to putting away his opponent, the crowd rose and cheered. On several occasions, the fans booed the referee's decision to either stop a fight or declare a champion. They seemed to want more. And that's just what they got as the night progressed.

The best fight of the night came at the end when Manitoba's Joe "El Dirte" Doerksen" prevented the U.S. from skunking the Canadian side. Doerkson won a unanimous decision over Art "Pachuco" Santore.

Despite the heated action in the ring, the event didn't draw the numbers organizers were expecting.

"Sure the crowd could have been bigger (last night), but I know that every person in attendance had a great time," said U.S. captain Tito Ortiz. "It just proves that we (the Mixed Martial Artists) and the promoters have some work to do in regards to making more people aware of our sport.

"Every match was exciting, some more than others. I spoke to several fans who had never been to a event like this and they told me how exciting it was and asked when the next one would be. So we are making progress."

In the first preliminary bout, Kemptville's Craig "Farmer" Brown fought through a bloodied nose to deliver a wicked left hook to KO Ricardeau "Long Play" Francois in the second round.


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