Veteran Kerr ends long drought

By Tom Hamlin/MMAWeekly.com
November 8, 2007

LOS ANGELES ? For the first time in nearly seven years, Mark "The Smashing Machine" Kerr had his hand raised in victory. Kerr defeated Stephen Gavin on Wednesday night at a World Cagefighting Organization event in Hollywood.

As everyone who's followed his career knows, it wasn't easy getting there. After demolishing fellow heavyweight Gavin en route to a keylock victory, Kerr spoke of the baby steps he was taking to get back into the fight game.

"I wanted to play it out for another year and a half," he said. "I don't think in my wildest ideas that the (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is looking for a 39-year-old guy that used to be really good. They want a 39-year-old guy who is really good. Unless I can achieve some kind of level that I was before, there's no way in the world they're going to come knocking on my door.

"This is step one. Step two is to get an upgrade in opponent and see if I can get back into that really good feeling of how I feel about myself when I get in the ring. I think if I'm able to do that there will be more opportunities."

To take his first baby step, Kerr had to endure a battery of pokes and prods to get licensed by the California State Athletic Commission. His age, combined with his recent failure to pass a physical in August's Global Fighting Championship debacle, contributed to the CSAC's stringency.

After a neurological test, extensive physical, extensive blood work, and a stress EKG Kerr was ready to step in the cage. The tests set him back in the neighborhood of $4,000.

He plans to fight for the WCO again in December, taking on a commentating role in addition to fighting.

"It's relief," he said of finally getting back on the winning track. "Sometimes you forget how to get past mental blocks and you find your self stuck in a rut. So it was a big relief."

In other action, late replacement Ruben ?Warpath" Villareal stepped in and was promptly bowled over by Jimmy Ambriz. Ambriz wasted no time in slamming Villareal to the ground, abusing him with right hands from knee-on-belly position. Villareal offered little offense and even less defense; holding his arms skyward until the referee called a stop to it.

Carmello Marrero jumped back into the game as a heavyweight after dropping fights to Gabriel Gonzaga and Wilson Gouveia in the UFC. Following an initial stutter in transitioning from clinch to the mat, he took advantage of opponent Rafael del Real's closed guard, firing down a series of elbows that caused an eye injury. Upon the ringside doctor's exam, the fight was called before the second round.

Results:

Jimmy Ambriz def. Ruben Villareal by TKO (Strikes) at 1:19, R1

Mark Kerr def. Stephen Gavin by Submission (Keylock) at 1:39, R1

Marcus Gaines def. Mavrick Harvey by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:07, R1

Scott Epstein def. Sergio Quinoles by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 4:36, R2

Carmello Marrero def. Rafael del Real by TKO (Eye Injury) at 5:00, R1

Fabio Costa def. Paul Karsky by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 1:14, R1

Jason Georgianna def. Todd Guimond by Unanimous Decision, R3

Georgi Karakhanyan def. Hildred Oliney by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:39, R1

David Mejia def. Greg White by TKO (Strikes) at 2:30, R2

Adam Lehman def. Daniel McWilliams by TKO (Strikes) at 0:34, R2

Jeff Willingham def. Bobby Sanchez by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 2:32, R1