Welcome back to Paradigm and the continuation of the UWFI Contender’s series. The new season has kicked off with a bang and now we had another five matches showcasing fighters new and familiar as they look to come to grips with this ruleset. Tanner Keeler welcomes Fancy Ryan Clancy to the fold, Jake Bravado battles the Money Dragon Angelo Carter, Lobo Okami looks to murder another newcomer in Zeke Mercer, The Sultan of Submission tangles with the Gentleman Savage Victor Benjamin and in the main event, Alex Kane defends the Heavy-Hitters Title against one of the Stalwarts of the division, Flash Thompson. Let’s get into the fighting… after a quick rundown of the rules.

As it’s UWFI, we’re not just wrestling. There’s a specific set of rules to follow. Matches can be won by submission, knockout, ref stoppage, or, by draining your opponent of points. How do you do that exactly? Well, rope breaks, suplexes with intent to KO, and knockdowns will all drain various amounts of points. You run out of your 15 allotted points; you lose. Points can also be lost for intentionally breaking the code of conduct so fight clean or pay the price. Fights are meant to be short, sweet, and as deadly as possible. Let’s see who benefitted today, shall we?

Tanner Keeler defeated Ryan Clancy via Wrestling Slam KO

The first match of the show was also the shortest. Tanner Keeler, one of the favourites of the previous season was back for another round and was welcoming another newcomer to the fight. Fancy Ryan Clancy was here to show his modern classic style against Keeler’s amateur grappling and power. This was a grappling contest for the most part with Keeler and Clancy scrambling for a position on the mat. Keeler had the advantage there but Clancy caught him into an impactful wrestling slam. At least it would have been had Keeler not risen like the Terminator and delivered a slam of his own that KO’ed Clancy. It was a massive statement from Keeler and an excellent win. Clancy feels like a good fit for UWFI rules, just needs the chance to show it. This was quite the opening shock. Go, Keeler!

Jake Bravado defeated Angelo Carter via Gogo Plata

The hits kept coming as two new combatants stepped into the ring. The Money Dragon Angelo Carter was coming to serve a beat down on The Essence of Excellence Jake Bravado. These were two new fighters to me so I was looking forward to seeing what they’d bring to the table. This was extremely competitive as their two styles of fighting clashed nicely. Carter wanted to strike and kick his way through the fight, using his rope breaks when he needed to whilst Bravado was more interested in grappling and throwing out Suplexes. It remained competitive until the end with Carter trying to keep some ground and pound going, only to be caught into a Gogo Plata for the tap out. It was a snap end to a match that could have gone either way. If this was a proving match then I’d say both passed as each showed the value of their styles by scoring some big hits along the way. Much like the first match, I’m hoping we see both fighters continue to shine throughout this season. Bravado took this win and called his shot, he wants the real deal. He wants Derek Neal next.

Lobo Okami (w/Ben Shearin and The Brand) defeated Zeke Mercer via Elbow Barrage

The style’s clashes kept coming like a giant of the last season, Lobo Okami looked to continue dominating as the head of the pack. He was being pitted against a newcomer known for showing no mercy, Zeke Mercer. Mercer was going to bring their amateur knowledge and martial arts to the ring with the intent to cut down Okami. That was definitely what they tried to do. Mercer moved fast, kept their guard up, and tried to kick out at Okami where possible but the giant just didn’t want to be moved and threw them around the ring when given the chance. It was a cagey fight and Mercer did eventually get their hooks in but again, Okami powered out and powerbombed them right into the canvas. A barrage of elbows later and Mercer was done but they’d certainly stuck it out. This was another fun exchange of styles with Mercer exhibiting a lot of skill and smarts, just not the right foe to use them against. Post-match, Okami sang the praises of the brand and how they’re going to take every belt and kick every ass. With monsters like him and Brutus Dylan in the ranks, that’s not too far-fetched.

That match was followed by another Paradigm rewind as we got to see the Himboss Max ZERO and Derek Neal throw down. They had a contest that was equal parts grappling and bludgeoning each other half to death. It was a great showing for Max who out-grappled Neal and could throw hands of equal devastation as Neal before finally going down to a running elbow. It was a brutal fight and a fun trip down memory lane. Both fighters are in action next week.

Dustin Leonard (w/The Brand) defeated Victor Benjamin via Armbar

Fire up Roundtable Rival and prepare to get savage as the Savage Gentleman himself Victor Benjamin prepared to take Paradigm and the UWFI series by storm once again. He’s no stranger to the grappling arts and was being put against the division stalwart and Sultan of Submission, Dustin Leonard. Both guys love their submissions, who was going to tap out in this one? Goddamn, this was non-stop. Benjamin struck fast and hard to keep Leonard on his toes and held his own once the grappling came out. The pair had counters to the other’s counters and just kept trading and striking out until Leonard could take the win with a surprising Armbar. It came out of nowhere and looked nasty as all hell. Once again, Benjamin enters the UWFI Thunderdome, and absolutely kills it but comes up short. He has every bit of skill needed, just needs the right moment. As for Leonard, bloody hell, he’s just getting better, isn’t he? The Brand has gotten stronger than ever, acquiring giants, monsters, and shooters. Leonard has proven time and time again his BJJ Black Belt is no fluke and he will use his knowledge to cripple you. He is continuously showing how damn good he is and will probably only get better as the series goes on. Plus, he seems to be eying up that Middleweight Title now. The Brand was now two for two on wins tonight so you know Ben Shearin had to be happy.

Heavy-Hitters Title: Alex Kane defeated Flash Thompson (w/The Brand) via Crossface

We ended the show with a title fight. Alex Kane had torn through the division to take the Heavy-Hitters title and now, he was going to defend it against one of the UWFI mainstays for Paradigm, Flash Thompson. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Thompson in action but he was back and ready to make up for the lost time. The boxing master of the Kneebar was ready to get all that work from Kane. It was quite the return bout for Flash as he ate an early Suplex from the Suplex Assassin but was able to keep his composure and unleash his striking ability on the champ. He kept taking potshots and throwing Kane around but could never quite get the knockout. He got too cocky as always and Kane took full advantage, trapping him for elbows and using another Suplex to trap Thompson in a Crossface for the win. The champ continues his dominant reign and showed the Suplex Assassin has range. You could be thrown around or tapped out, it’s up to him how he gives you that work. That ended the show with a bang, ruining The Brand’s win streak for the episode and leaving Connelly in place to get more of that work. Kane will happily give him it, even if he doesn’t think the Mad Dog is ready for another round.

All images courtesy of Paradigm Pro Wrestling

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