Karate Combat, one of the most innovative full-contact martial arts leagues in the world, has now seen a wide variety of point fighting specialists display their skills. The newest point fighter to enter the Karate Combat pit is Elijah Everill, one of the best point fighters in the world today who also happens to be a disciple of the great Raymond Daniels. This dynamic duo brought out two impressive performances at Karate Combat's 39th promotion on Saturday night.
Everill was up first for his bout during the preliminaries against Rahul Bhowmick, who comes from a WKF kumite background. I wish that I had more to write about this fight, but Everill imposed his will early and ended the fight with a knockout just 49 seconds into the first round. It was a beautiful flurry of punches that set up a massive left leg round kick to the head and sent Bhowmick to the ground for good. Just a few ground-and-pound shots later, and Everill would have his hand raised following a remarkable win. The sub-one minute knockout in dominant fashion should earn him a spot on the main card in his next Karate Combat appearance. In his post-fight interview, Everill showed some love to his sport karate community by saying "shout out to all the point fighters because I feel like they don't get enough respect". He concluded the interview with a heartfelt tribute to his late mother, who passed away last August.
Fast-forwarding to the co-main event, Raymond Daniels entered the pit for a third time to take on former UFC fighter Sasha Palatnikov. "The Real Deal" was kind enough to give us a longer fight than Everill as it went the distance, but you could argue that it was just as dominant of a showing. The first round's pacing was a bit muddied by an inadvertent knee to the groin that forced Palatnikov to use the majority of his allocated five minutes to recover from the accidental strike. Otherwise, the story of the opening frame was the effectiveness of Daniels' power left leg round kick to the body. His trademark movement and expert fakes set up opportunities for him to land the kick consistently. He continued to chop away at the body of Palatnikov in the second round, and provided the most memorable moment of the night. As Palatnikov retreated along the side of the pit, Daniels blasted him with a vintage spinning back kick that sport karate fans have seen him crush opponents with time and time again. The strike sent Palatnikov flying to the ground and Daniels was completely in control. In the final round, Daniels brought out his jab and landed it seemingly at will. Every time Palatnikov would make a desperate attempt to attack and change the tide, Daniels used his reach and timing to stuff the jab in the face of his opponent.
With regard to the implications of these victories, Daniels made a respectful callout to welterweight champion Josh Quayhagen and indicated that he wants to be in the picture as Quayhagen approaches a title unification bout with interim champion Rafael Aghayev either as a replacement fighter in the event of injury or as the next contender for the winner. Despite the fact that his win over Palatnikov was listed in the middleweight division, this makes it clear that his sights are set on becoming king of the welterweights. Interestingly, Everill's bout was listed in the welterweight division. It is possible that Daniels and Everill envision an All Stars takeover of the entire division with them sitting among the elite. We are several bouts away from this being possible, but there is a chance that both of these point fighting powerhouses will eventually meet in a student-versus-teacher clash of titans.
As for the main event of the evening, lightweight champion Luiz Victor Rocha defeated challenger Bruno Souza by unanimous decision after five rounds. The volume of techniques thrown in the bout was a bit underwhelming, but the champion did what was necessary and landed the more significant strikes to retain his belt. Rocha also mentioned the upcoming welterweight title unification bout, throwing his name into the mix to act as a substitute fighter and potentially have a shot at becoming Karate Combat's first-ever two-division champion.