Welcome back to GCW and a night of pure wrestling. Josh Barnett was back and once again bringing the no-rope, shoot-fighting masterpiece that is Bloodsport to LA. There was another stacked card with a whole host of new faces, regulars and returning masters all coming out to fight. We’d see, Yoya vs Starboy Charlie, KZT vs Zeda Zhang, Calvin Tankman vs JR Kratos, Marina Shafir vs Masha Slamovich, Davey Richards vs Yuya Uemura and more leading to dual main events that would see Josh Barnett battle Tiger Ruas as a celebration of their shared master’s legacy and a Bloodsport blood feud between Chris Dickinson and Minoru Suzuki. it was going to get technical as all of tonight’s fighters were bringing their best, let’s get into it.

Yoya defeated Starboy Charlie via PK KO

Up first was a battle of two GCW stars on the rise. Charlie has been on a tear with his technical mastery and status as a wrestling chameleon whilst Yoya has been living up to the Shooterweight moniker and putting his MMA skills to good use. He was looking to pick up that first Bloodsport win but Charlie wasn’t going to give him that easily. Yoya charged in so Charlie nailed him with a takedown and held the waist-lock until Yoya could break it with a roll. They kicked at each other and both teetered on the ring edge as they battled through a lock-up. Charlie took advantage again with an Underhook Suplex and Yoya popped up with an up-kick then kept kicking at Charlie’s face. Charlie leapt into a Guillotine and transitioned to a Rear-Naked when Yoya tried to counter into a double-wrist lock. They scrambled around the mat and reset again, Yoya looking to launch another kick and Charlie catching it into an Ankle Lock. He bullied Yoya with a trio of Germans but once again, Yoya craftily held on for an armbar. The fight went to the ground again and Yoya nearly popped Charlie into a Cross-Armbreaker, he just couldn’t break the finger-lock. They reset a final time with Charlie charging in with a takedown but Yoya fought up, caught Charlie with a spin kick and ended him with a PK. The match was ruled a KO and Yoya had racked up his first Bloodsport win after taking a whole lot of abuse from Charlie in a highly energetic opening contest.

Zeda Zhang defeated KZT via Crucifix Strikes

Up next was an interesting one as Zeda Zhang was stepping up to take on KZT. We’d seen KZT dispatch of Janai Kai, how would she fare against Zhang and the fight game she was bringing with her? They opened with a cagey standoff and hit each other with some early killing blows. Zhang slammed KZT into the mat and the pair went back-and-forth on attempted holds. KZT went after the arm but Zhang was too defensive for it to be applied yet. Zhang stunned KZT with more strikes and threw a deadly knee into her ribs. KZT brought the fight back to the mat with a side-mount and went after that arm again but the defence was too strong again. Momentum kept shifting on a dime as KZT kept trying to grapple and Zhang was escaping to strike. Zhang always seemed to have a way to escape whatever mount or hold KZT had and really rocked her with a deadlift Powerbomb. That reset the fight and Zhang went after KZT with leg kicks and swept her back to the floor for even more ground and pound. KZT was taking a beating but refused to go down, always pulling out ways to block and trap Zhang. It only lasted so long though as Zhang trapped her in a Crucifix and rained down strikes until the ref stopped the match. This was incredible. Both women brought the pain and put on one hell of a competitive styles clash. Zhang showed out here and KZT once again proved even in defeat she’s a grappling genius.

Clark Connors defeated Royce Isaacs via Sleeper Hold/Rear-Naked Choke

We proceeded with a new debut as the Wild Rhino Clark Connors made his Bloodsport debut to take on the Mile High Samurai and Team Filthy Member, Royce Isaacs. This would be Isaacs’ second taste of the LA Dojo style as he’d gone to war with Alex Coughlin and now would have to face that again in Connors. They opened by traded chain wrestling holds and scrambled around each other and the mat. Isaacs went for Connors’ injured shoulder and picked an ankle before the hold was broken. Things heated up with a strike exchange and both guys were knocked loopy from the impact, Connors overextending that injury. Isaacs went after that shoulder like a shark to blood and tracked it around the ring with multiple holds and positions. Connors got pissed and managed to take out Isaacs with a spear and hammered him with ground and pound into a Sleeper. Isaacs wrenched the injured arm for a Saito and went right back after that arm. Connors rolled through into another Sleeper and got the hooks in so Isaacs tapped. This was a Herculean effort from Connors as he threw caution into the wind to take the win over Isaacs and avoid further damage from Isaacs. This was a pure heart-on show as Isaacs had utilised a perfect game-plan. Another excellent fight.

Erik Hammer defeated Bad Dude Tito via Double-Wrist Lock

The Bad Dude was back and ready to fight. We’d seen Tito take on all comers when it comes to Bloodsport fights and now he was taking on one of Barnett’s top fighters and an all-around grappling machine in the monster Erik Hammer. He remains undefeated in Bloodsport but Tito is all about surprising the hell out of you. Tito opened by matching Hammer in the chain wrestling game and dumped the big man with a takedown. Hammer took the fight on the ground and smothered Tito with ground and pound. Tito scored another takedown and launched his own ground and pound assault but again, the big man broke free and threw heavy elbow strikes leading to a ring out. Tito fired up and blocked a jumping knee into another takedown. Both guys fought to trap a leg or knee and both threw even more deadly palm strikes or elbows. Tito applied a teardrop hold and dumped Hammer again with a Teardrop Suplex. Hammer popped up into a strike exchange and smashed Tito with hard knee strikes before rolling him into an inverted Guillotine. Tito wriggled into a leglock but Hammer hit back and KO’ed Tito with a German to apply the double-wrist lock, tapping Tito out. Again, what a fight. Tito was all over Hammer for a lot of this fight, showing off even more of his technical acumen and tactical thinking but he couldn’t quite topple the sudden impact of Hammer and fell to his deadliest weapon.

Marina Shafir defeated Masha Slamovich via Greedy Clutch

Time for more heavy-hitting action from the women as “The Problem” Marina Shafir was returning to the world of wrestling and her combat sports roots here. One of the four horsewomen of MMA and an all-around fight threat, she would have her work cut out for her as she took on the unpredictable Russian Dynamite, Masha Slamovich. They opened with a strike exchange and Shafir picked a leg, tried to bend it and threw down palm strikes. Slamovich fought up to a waist-lock and snapped Shafir over into some arm-locking. Shafir worked around this and trapped the leg again, trying for a Kneebar and Heel Hook. They both rolled for control and fell to the floor. Slamovich found her feet first and gave Shafir a stiff kick in the ribs before hopping back into the ring for a senton. She threw Shafir back in and mounted her back but Shafir was too defensive and took top mount for more ground and pound. They found their feet and Slamovich stunned Shafir with a knee but her back-fist was caught into a Judo throw. Shafir had Slamovich wrapped up and urged her to hit her then smashed her in the face with more palm strikes. Slamovich picked an ankle and countered a flip over. Shafir locked the waist and Slamovich took her over with a Northern Lights. She popped over to attempt a Cross-Armbreaker but couldn’t break Shafir’s fingers. Shafir struck up again, nailed the Muffler Slam and tapped out Slamovich with her Greedy Clutch. Wow, Shafir was focused on this one. Both fighters had brought an air of intensity with them but Shafir was laser-focused on showing out. Slamovich gave her a fight but those MMA smarts really came into play and saw her hand raised. Zeda Zhang wants a shot at Shafir next.

JR Kratos defeated Calvin Tankman via Jumping Knee/Falling Elbow

Did someone say the battle of the titans? It was time for a showcase of the super heavyweights as Calvin Tankman brought the heavyweight hustle to the monstrous JR Kratos. This would be another unpredictable one as we know both men have mat skills but both excel at knocking other men out. This could feasibly go either way. They locked up and felt each other out with some light striking but neither could really make up much ground. This cagey, no one wins style of fight kept going until Tankman had Kratos trapped on the mat for some shots. Tankman kept trying to smother Kratos on the mat and forced him to continuously play defence. Kratos turned the tide and tried to break the wrist and arm of Tankman. They found their feet and Kratos found Tankman’s knees in his face and his arms around his throat. Kratos trapped Tankman’s head and launched the big man with a Suplex. Kratos demanded he get up and threw more strikes but Tankman took his waist and flattened him with a German. They slugged it out and both were knocked loopy from the violent impacts. Kratos staggered back and rocked Tankman with a jumping knee, putting him on his ass and finished the job with a falling elbow strike. This was vicious. Both guys knew what the other was made of and dropped all formalities to test the other’s jaw until one could go no more. A compelling little fight with a whole lot of wince-factor.

Filthy Tom Lawlor defeated Alex Coughlin via Double Heel Hook

It was time for another NJPW Strong tinged fight as the LA Dojo trained Alex Coughlin looked to go to war with the leader of Team Filthy, Filthy Tom Lawlor. From attire alone, we could tell Lawlor thought little of Coughlin as he was basically mimicking him. if Coughlin wanted Lawlor to respect him, he was going to have to beat it into him. He instantly worked to take Lawlor to the mat and lock him up whilst Lawlor played defensively and punish Coughlin. Lawlor started working Coughlin’s legs and Coughlin fought up to escape. Again, they went back into the competitive back-and-forth grappling as Coughlin tried to take lead and Lawlor used his wealth of knowledge to get out. Both had to fight out of ankle and heel-based holds to reset and once again, Lawlor took control of the match, almost choking out Coughlin. He went for the arms but Coughlin was playing way too defensively to break his grip. Lawlor went for an arm-scissor instead and forced Coughlin to bridge and roll out. Coughlin kept hold and took Lawlor over with a one-armed Gotch Lift. Lawlor fought through that feat of strength and trapped Coughlin with a head-scissor. He transitioned to the wrist and again, Coughlin countered into a powerful Suplex. Coughlin tried for the Crab but Lawlor expected this and choked out Coughlin with a Guillotine. Coughlin kept trying to power out but Lawlor kept worming around and locking on different holds. A double heel hook later and Coughlin had to tap out. He had given everything, shown a whole lot of heart, strength and determination but he couldn’t best Lawlor here. What a chess game of a match. Lawlor was in top dickhead mode during the match and post-match earned himself a slap from Coughlin.

Davey Richards defeated Yuya Uemura via Trailer-Hitch Grapevine

Well, this is a surprise fight ain’t it? Davey Richards is on the resurgence of a lifetime and he was about to test the mettle of a new crop of talent as he put Yuya Uemura, the former young lion turned excursion star through his paces. We’d just seen what the LA Dojo lions can do, what would the Japanese lion bring with him against the Wolf? Richards tried to open with a kick but Uemura caught the leg and started a grappling session. Richards got the better of it but Uemura persevered and kept trying to lock up Richards. The fight reset and Uemura invited Richards to another grounded session. Richards answered with a double stomp and tried to capture the back. Uemura manoeuvred through and trapped the legs, tempering the fire of Richards by forcing him to defend. Richards broke free and made Uemura pay with more strikes and kicks. Uemura took the blows and started throwing back, turning the exchange into an out-right hockey fight. Richards took him out with a mid-kick and Uemura used the ref as a distraction to dropkick Richards to the floor and hammer him on the outside. Uemura stomped Richards and mounted for ground and pound but Richards wasn’t giving him an inch. Richards rolled through into a kneebar and transitioned to an Ankle Lock. Uemura rolled him over and knocked Richards silly with a knee. Uemura dropped more knees and a backdrop but Richards wasn’t out yet. Richards fought off the Cross-Armbreaker and rolled back into the Ankle Lock, refusing to break the hold for anything until Uemura stunned him with up-kicks. Richards rolled through again, grape-vined the legs and applied the Trailer-hitch to tap out Uemura. Again, the loser had shown a whole bunch of heart and skill but experience trumped that. The crowd loved Uemura and so did Richards as the pair shook it out after the fight. Uemura is a star in the making and managed to give Richards hell throughout.

Josh Barnett defeated Tiger Ruas via Michinoku Driver into Armbar

The first main event was to be a battle of legacy. On the surface, it may seem there’s nothing linking Josh Barnett or Tiger Ruas but when this match was announced Barnett was sure to promote it as a celebration to Roberto Leitao Sr. They had both trained under him and were now going to put that training on show. They opened with a feeling out process across multiple stances and holds with both guys more than comfortable scrambling on the mat. Ruas brought out cross faces and trapped Barnett with body scissors but Barnett stopped him by tweaking his ankle. Ruas trapped the arms and struck Barnett into an attempted choke but Barnett was able to escape. Barnett applied a kneebar but Ruas was struck up and attempted to pry an arm. These limb-trading sessions continued as both guys kept working to ground and tap out the other. Barnett got the first Suplex of the match and took mount for ground and pound then quickly went for Ruas’ arm. Ruas just as quickly stepped over and took Barnett’s legs. Barnett struck up to the Doctor Bomb position but Ruas took him over into a takedown. Ruas took the back but Barnett found his feet and turned that into a sidewalk slam. The strikes and kicks kept coming and Ruas launched Barnett again with a head-trapped Suplex then worked him over with more grounded strikes. The pair found their feet for another round of nightmarish kicks as both rocked the other, Barnett landing a high roundhouse and Ruas taking Barnett down with a Capoeira Kick into a German. Barnett worked Ruas with knees to the midsection and fought off a Suplex attempt into a Michinoku Driver and armbar to take the win. Ruas had to tap but he’d brought the beast out of Barnett and the pair had put on a clinic. This was high-stakes, high impact artistry in action.

Minoru Suzuki defeated Chris Dickinson via Achilles Lock

Last but not least, the main event. A blood feud of epic proportions was about to break out as Minoru Suzuki and Chris Dickinson looked to beat the hell out of each other once again. Suzuki was the same as ever whilst Dickinson was rocking the Takada inspired gear for this one. it was about to get very damn physical. These two live and breathe pro-wrestling so there was a whole lot of hype behind it. They instantly locked up with Dickinson trying to overpower Suzuki and Suzuki taking the fight to the mat, refusing to budge, so Dickinson just forearmed him. Suzuki trapped Dickinson with head scissors and the pair popped up for a reset. They took to the mat again as both tried to pick a limb and drifted dangerously close to the ring edge. Both guys went for the other’s legs and Suzuki dared Dickinson to take the fight outside, shunting away some fans so he could take a seat. He even tagged in a fan to fight in his stead. Dickinson wouldn’t bite so Suzuki just drifted further into the crowd. He eventually relented and Dickinson baited him in with an Amateur Wrestling position, trapping Suzuki in a takedown scramble. Suzuki capitalised with a Guillotine and Dickinson mounted for ground and pound strikes and an attempt on Suzuki’s arm. Suzuki took Dickinson’s arm and tried multiple times to break it with armbars and wrist locks. Dickinson rolled through and picked a leg, making Suzuki scream out then laugh with a kneebar. Dickinson didn’t appreciate the mocking and just caved Suzuki’s chest in with chops. Thus, the striking exchange began, Suzuki, indulging Dickinson’s desire to be hit. They both nailed each other with hideous shots, getting more frenetic with time. Dickinson bloodied Suzuki’s chest and swung around into a German and Head and Arm Choke. He tried for a Cross-Armbreaker and Suzuki swatted this away with knuckles and claws to the face.

They chopped it out again, this time Dickinson collapsing from impact. Suzuki wrenched the arm and snapped at the wrist, going for a double wrist-lock. Dickinson tried to block so Suzuki blasted him with Danielson stomps. Dickinson took the leg and trapped Suzuki in an Ankle Lock. Suzuki trapped Dickinson again and just woke him up with a slap. He wanted another striking session and pummelled Dickinson with forearms. Dickinson rose to the occasion and started firing back, hitting as hard as he was being hit. They smashed each other with more strikes and went counter crazy on the other’s submission attempts, going from limb to limb to limb. Suzuki had to force a break from an armbar and suffered a barrage of kicks before breaking Dickinson’s knee with an elbow. He knocked down Dickinson with one final forearm and tapped him out with an Achilles Lock. This had been a hell of a fight. Both guys had beaten the absolute shit out of each other and pushed each other beyond the limit. Dickinson had stood to toe-to-toe with Suzuki and only just lost out. This was an incredible main event fight and a pairing I want to see happen many times in the future. These two could fight forever and I wouldn’t get bored. Goddamn what a fight. Bloodsport delivered again in a big way. Another must-watch show from GCW and Josh Barnett. These shows always manage to top the last.

All images courtesy of GCW, FITE, HeyyImRob

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