The eastern part of Croatia is definitely in love with martial arts, and the arrival of the Final Fight Championship in Osijek was a complete success. Fans in Osijek have clearly been in need of some top fights, and on Friday evening at FFC 5 held in the Gradski vrt venue they were treated to ten excellent bouts with plenty of exciting action.
To the regret of the four and a half thousand strong crowd that pretty much filled out the seating capacity, hometown fighters didn't get off to a very good start. Nino Vladusic's fight ended in less than half a minute as he received a strike to the elbow at one point which resulted in a major dislocation, preventing him to continue his fight against Stefan Andelkovic.
Matej Batinic continued his winning streak in the FFC started in Split by choking his opponent from Hungary, Attila Petrovszki. The crowd was back on their feet when another hometown fighter Sasa Milenkovic triumphed in the first round with an arm bar against Greek Lamprakis.
Another winner from FFC 3 in Split featured in Osijek, but Ivan Gluhak was unable to get another win in his career. Although he dominated for the most part of the fight, he didn't manage to take any of the chances to finish his opponent and at the end of the third round lost by submission to Hungarian Senyei who'd been largely written off, especially after the first two rounds.
Igor Emkic shocked the spectators by winning with a brutal knockout against Ivan Stanic. Emkic was the better fighter entering the match, he sent Stanic to the floor twice thanks to a light knockdown, but Ivan managed to come around a bit in round two and partially get back into the game. About a minute before the end he was struck by a left half-hook from Emkic, hitting him directly on the chin and instantly knocking him to the floor. It took several minutes for Stanic to recover and leave the ring on his own two feet, which earned him applause from the stands, but a round of applause certainly goes to young Emkic who showed that he is indeed a major talent.
The main card opened with a fight between Igor Mihaljevic and young Slovenian Uros Velicevic. After very interesting three rounds, three minutes each, the judges unanimously decided in favor of Mihaljevic, who now has a very nice winning run and it will be interesting to see who'll he be matched up against next.
After an attractive display in Zadar at FFC 4 only two weeks ago, Antun Racic this time triumphed against Ukrainian Artek Nazaryan, who proved to be a tough nut to crack. Racic dominated throughout the fight in all its segments, but Artak refused to give up and the judges deservedly gave the win to Racic after the 15 minutes.
Racic's club colleague Ante Delija sent the crowd into a real frenzy, getting enormous support from the very moment he appeared on the stage and retaining it throughout the entire match against Albanian Gazim Selmani. Delija took the full advantage the Pride rules with soccer kicks and the fight was stopped after three minutes after a brutal GNP.
Pavel Zhuravlev once again confirmed he belongs to the world's elite with a routine display against the otherwise less than harmless Renfurm. It was all over just before the end of the second round when the Ukrainian celebrated a knockout.
Finally, the time came for the last fight of the evening. Former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez had won over many fans, earning himself a great support for his fight against Slovenian Tomaz Simonic, who was one of the few who agreed to enter this bout at the last minute after several fighters cancelled due to injuries. Many thought that Ricco did just enough to win, as if he let Simonic take the initiative and allowed him to dominate on the ground for a while. He was clearly waiting for his opponent's mistake, and when he saw one, he took full advantage of it. After getting into full mount he went for an arm bar in the very corner of the ring, somehow managed to force it and record another win after celebrating earlier this month against Kraniotakes in Austria.
FFC 5 definitely fulfilled all expectations, once again it proving that there is interest in martial arts in Croatia, and another spectacle is to follow soon, maybe even the biggest one yet before the FFC's summer break. On June 14 in Porec, FFC 6 will be held, and several great fights are already on the card. As a reminder, the main event will feature Igor Jurkovic against Dzevad Poturak!
FFC 5 results
Ricco Rodriguez (USA) def. Tomaz Simonic (SLO) – Submission (armbar), R1 3:49
Pavel Zhuravlev (UKR) def. Vinchenzo Renfurm – KO, R2 2:44
Ante Delija (CRO) def. Gzim Selmani (ALB) – TKO (GnP), R1 3:09
Antun Racic (CRO) def. Artak Nazarjan (UKR) – Decision
Igor Mihaljevic (CRO) def. Uros Velicevic (SLO) – Decision
Igor Emkic (BiH) def. Ivan Stanic (CRO) – KO, R3 1:52
Laszlo Senyei (HUN) def. Ivan Gluhak (CRO) – Submission (armbar), R3 2:40
Sasa Milinkovic (CRO) def. Michail Lamprakis (GRE) – Submission (armbar), R1 3:18
Matej Batinic (CRO) def. Attila Petrovszki (HUN) – Submission (RNC), R1 3:25
Nino Vladusic (CRO) VS Stefan Andelkovic (SER) – No Contest (injury)