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2000-09 in MMA: Top 50 Fights Of The Decade


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Another great review, and I've rewatched that match several times. I'm about as far from a Just Bleeder as it's possible for a casual to be, but it certainly ticks some primally-hardwired boxes in my head. 

BTW the tagline of the poster is rather funny: "In this sport, kicking balls is NOT allowed."

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I know I’ve taken the piss with this but we’ve finally hit the Top 5. I will finish this.

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#5 - Olaf Alfonso vs John Polakowski 1 - WEC 9 - Jan 16th 2004

An old favourite. A bit of a cult classic actually. Not even sure many current MMA fans have seen it or would even be inclined to seek it out as neither are names that would mean anything to you unless you already know.

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Olaf Alfonso was only 2-1 going into this fight. But I suspect he had a bunch more fights ‘off the books’ and probably a few scraps in the street too. I mean, look at that face. You don’t get a nose like that playing backgammon. As far as his official MMA career went, after losing his debut to Pat Healy, he dropped to Lightweight, joined the WEC roster and rattled off two stoppage wins. This was early WEC, before it was Zuffa owned. Olaf was a wild little bastard and was quickly becoming a must-see local fighter for California MMA fans.

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John Polakowski had never fought professionally before. This was his debut. He’d been training with John Hackleman at The Pit though. And that place had a strong reputation at the time because Chuck Liddell came out of there and this was at the height of Chuck’s prime. Chuckmania was running wild. Polakowski was basically a Kickboxer being thrown into the crazy, wild west world that was MMA in 2004. Both Hackleman and Liddell are in Polakowski’s corner for this one.

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Olaf Alfonso vs John Polakowski

WEC 9: Cold Blooded

January 16th 2004

Lemoore, California

Commentators for this are Ryan Bennett and Jeff Blatnick.

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Both are no longer with us, sadly. Bennett died in 2006 at just 36 years old after a car crash. Blatnick passed away in 2012 at the age of 55 after complications following heart surgery. Both gone way too soon and both really sad losses. From everything I’ve read, they were both pretty much universally liked by everyone who encountered them in MMA.

Anyway, this whole Alfonso vs Polakowski thing came together by pure chance. Polakowski got offered the fight on just a few hours notice the afternoon of the show. I read something about Olaf having a couple of different scheduled opponents pull out so they must’ve gone to Polakowski out of desperation. Obviously, he accepted. What a way to make your MMA debut.

I don’t know his name, they don’t show it, but this ring announcer looks creepy as fuck. Think Bennett called him Jeff something or other.

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During the introductions, he informs us that Olaf weighed in at “A PSYCHO 155lbs!!”. It’s rare that Olaf Alfonso isn’t the most odd looking fucker in the cage but that announcer looks like he’s got half a corpse in the freezer next to his Ben & Jerry’s. I’m sure he’s a lovely bloke but Christ. You wouldn’t want to find him hiding under your bed.

Anyway, forget that. It’s about to go off. A young Josh Rosenthal’s on reffing duties here. Let them go, Josh, let them go.

Round 1: He does and fucking hell do they go. Olaf comes right across the cage swinging wildly and, well...

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He gets fucking lamped for his efforts. He pops straight back up like a Mexican Michael Myers but his nose is pissing blood already. Olaf’s weathered it and he’s got a hold of him now though.

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German suplex! This fight is only probably a minute old and already we’ve seen a knockdown and a suplex. Olaf lets him up, bitch slaps him, takes him down and lets him right back up again. A choice he probably immediately regretted...

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Polakowski hurts him again! This time it looks bad and Olaf is just clinging onto the legs for dear life. He’s fucked up. But he manages to get the desperation takedown and now he’s dropped back for a heel hook. This is insanity. No joy with the leg lock and they’re back on their feet, and the crowd is going nuts. Both swinging again but Polakowski is so much better technically and he’s landing almost every time. Alfonso just doesn’t piss off though. He’s in Polakowski’s face all the time. He’s like Clay Guida before Clay Guida. He’s going for a standing arm triangle now. Fuck me. Polakowski fights it but gets thrown for his trouble. Olaf in mount.

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And it’s caveman ground and pound time. The bell goes and Polakowski survives the round. What a round that was. Both had their moments but I’d give that one to Polakowski on damage. He had the knockdown and then hurt Olaf badly again later in the round.

Round 2: Right where they left off but Olaf is taking it to him more now. He cracks him with a left that rocks his head back and Polakowski hits the deck shortly after. Back up and now Olaf’s really laying into him with body punches against the cage. Both bleeding all over the place now. And Rosenthal briefly stops the action to check Polakowski’s eye, which looks pretty bad.

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The action resumes and it’s not pretty but Olaf is getting the better of this now. Polakowski appears to be slowing down, as you’d expect given the ludicrously short notice, and the cut is surely bothering him as well. He’s proving to be a tough sod though, taking everything Olaf can dish out and he’s not folding. Now Polakowski firing back with some big knees from the Thai clinch. A couple of them looked flush. But Olaf ate them and he hits another German suplex! And this time he’s floated right over into the mount. Little madman. That change of fortunes in the space of about 20 seconds was mad. Rosenthal stands them up to check the cuts and, oddly, restarts them on the feet. What the fuck? Always thought Rosenthal was one of the better refs in the sport but that was surely THE worst stand up not named Brendan Schaub. How you standing guys up from mount? Polakowski looks a bit rejuvenated now and he’s back on his more technical punching.

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Big left hook rocks Olaf back but he’s recovered well and gets another takedown and back into mount. The round ends before Rosenthal gets chance to stand them up again the absolute doughnut. Olaf’s round for me, so 1-1 going into the final round.

Round 3: Polakowski looking sharp now. He’s moving well, landing straight punches, now more knees from the clinch. He’s feeling it. Like the last hour at work on a Friday, it’s amazing what a boost that finishing line being in sight can give you, isn’t it? Olaf going all out for a takedown but Polakowski lands an illegal downward elbow to the spine and Rosenthal has him docked a point. Being the lovely chap he is, Polakowski immediately apologises and actually says “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Bless him. It was clearly a heat of the moment strike but the rules are the rules and that one lapse in concentration has cost him at a crucial time. Olaf wisely doesn’t seem that interested in striking anymore. He gets another takedown but Polakowski just holds from the bottom and Rosenthal again is quick to stand them up. Olaf works hard for another takedown and gets it. Now fuck off Josh. They’re hindered by being against the fence but Olaf has side control. And you guessed it, Rosenthal stands them up AGAIN. Fucking hell man.

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Back on the feet, even though it shouldn’t be, and Polakowski is landing shots again. Olaf’s reeling. He’s shooting for takedowns and Polakowski stuffs a couple of them as the round ends.

Polakowski’s round, with a little help from the ref. But then on the other hand, there’s the point deduction. So 9-9. I’ve got this scored as a draw.

Winner - Olaf Alfonso by split decision.

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The weird cannibal looking ring announcer dude gives us the result by declaring the winner “...by a hair on his chinny chin chin...OOOOLAAAAAFFFFF!”

You know, I don’t really see how Olaf got the decision here. But with all those bollocks stand ups from Rosenthal, it kind of feels right. Justice for Olaf.

This was a hell of a fight. Not the most technical but it was so entertaining. A total clusterfuck of violence but in a good way. Loved it. I remember hearing about it for years before I managed to actually get to see it. Think it might’ve actually been thanks to Ebb or Magnum Milano that I saw it the first time. Batshit bloody war. If you haven’t watched it, you must fix that. A fight so good they did it twice more. They met again at WEC 14 in March 2005 and then one last time at WEC 24 in October 2006. Polakowski wound up winning those fights. A corner stoppage in the second fight and then another split decision in the rubber match. Don’t recall seeing those fights before so just watched the whole trilogy now. The second fight looked to be shaping up to be as chaotic as the first but Olaf fucked his hip up and couldn’t come out for the second round. Third fight was good but not a patch on the first one.

I remember reading something years ago that Dana White was at WEC 9 and lost his shit over this fight. Polakowski ended up getting a place on TUF 8 a few years later in 2008 and it was certainly due to the Olaf war(s) because Polakowski had only had 3 MMA fights going into the TUF house and they were all against Olaf. He was one of the more likeable guys in TUF history for me. Loved a hug he did. Check out misery guts Mir not wanting a cuddle off him in this video;

Big Nog, Al Stankie and Polakowski would surely be the most loveable stable in MMA ever.

Anyway, it fizzled out for Polakowski. He lost on the show and fought once more at the TUF Finale and got submitted. He never fought again. Ended up at 2-2 with 3 of his 4 fights being against Olaf Alfonso. Wonder whatever happened to Polakowski. As for Olaf, he fought up until 2014 but as fun as he was to watch, he never put it all together and finished up at 8-12. Aside from the Polakowski wars, the main thing I remember him for his when Sakurai sparked him on one of the Pride Bushido shows. That shit was absolutely brutal.

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So yeah, if not for each other, nobody would likely remember Alfonso or Polakowski. Which is kind of sad but kind of cool at the same time. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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An absolute classic. In my early days of MMA fandom that fight was the holy grail of fights you had to see outside of the UFC. The Sherdog boards used to rave about it. I knew the legend of that fight long before i ever saw it. Olaf was the epitome of a cult hero in MMA. Urgan legend had it that Olaf trained for fights by climbing trees😄

That Olaf/Sakurai fight was criminal though.

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I've still to this day never seen the third fight in the trilogy.  The second was on a 'Best of Olaf Alfonso' TV special that did the rounds in my old tape trading days.  It's been years since I saw it but even being barely able to stand, Olaf was wanting to come out for the second round.  It was a crackerjack of a first although thankfully the doctors stepped in to prevent him from doing so.  Olaf would go on to get brutally sparked by Rob McCullough at WEC 19, getting his jaw broken in the process.

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I always felt that Polakowski's heart really wasn't in appearing on TUF and he only did the show to appease Chuck.

I'm not having that there are four better fights than this for the decade!

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Re-reading Wand's post led to me to do a bit of digging and see if I could find whatever happened to Polakowski.

Sticking his name in Twitter I came across this photo a fair bit:

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From there, that led me to the following website:

http://cosmicinductiongenerator.com/

I'm not even going to attempt to try and understand  what any of that means, but it is explained on the site for anyone who cares.

Basically, turns out he became an electrical engineer.

Here he is at some energy conference back in 2014.

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When I was searching for Polakowski I did see a tweet from Josh Gross (from earlier this year I think) saying the last he heard Olaf was living in Mexico.

He has his own YouTube channel, but hasn't uploaded anything new for six years.

https://www.youtube.com/user/olafmexico/videos

Looks very much like he is probably involved in Martial Arts/MMA training or running a school in some capacity.  No doubt looking to increase the numbers for the Odo Fight Club!

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Nice work Magnum.

Found this Sherdog interview with Olaf from 2014, just before what turned out to be his last fight. Good interview and he seems a really nice and well spoken guy behind the maniacal appearance. Talks a fair bit about the Polakowski fight as well. Worth a listen;

 

Edited by wandshogun09
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2 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

Nice work Magnum.

Found this Sherdog interview with Olaf from 2014, just before what turned out to be his last fight. Good interview and he seems a really nice and well spoken guy behind the maniacal appearance. Talks a fair bit about the Polakowski fight as well. Worth a listen;

 

His voice sounds very similar to Trey Parker's. I keep imagining Randy Marsh doing this interview, can't shake it.

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wand. you really should try and put this greatest fights series into some kind of online blog or create a website/facebook page which allows more people to see it cause its far too good for just us few fucks on here to read. 

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1 hour ago, Egg Shen said:

wand. you really should try and put this greatest fights series into some kind of online blog or create a website/facebook page which allows more people to see it cause its far too good for just us few fucks on here to read. 

Definitely. As a very casual fan (mainly during the early/mid-00s) I’ve really been enjoying reading it. A website/blog would be a great idea. It’s also the kind of thing the people on reddit would lap up. 

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Y'know, I've been considering for some time approaching wand about putting his show threads and Specials like this on a blog - I could just copy and paste.

Seeing as other people are up for it, whaddaya say, @wandshogun09? Let me know and I'll set up a Tumblr or Medium or something, and you just do your usual posting. You won't have to lift a finger (well, not more than the usual).

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Thanks fellas. I’ve never given it any thought to put this stuff anywhere else. It’s just something I enjoy doing and, since this is the only place I post about MMA, it all goes on here. Feel free to do whatever with these posts @Carbomb I don’t know how any of that stuff works or who would read it but if you think it’s worth sharing then sound.

I’m determined to finish this countdown this week. It’s taken way longer than I anticipated with one thing or another. Looked at the first post again just...fucking March! Only 4 fights to go and they’re all beauties so I’ll get cracking over the next few days. 

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