Monday, May 12, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: The title fight I'd hoped for.

As I've written previously, I had high hopes for the matchup between Dwain Aeon and JoJo Nightfire, as they faced each other in the final round of the Lightweight Championship Tournament. And looking back now, I have to say that neither fighter disappointed, and the match was every bit of what I had hoped to see.

I will confess to a certain degree of apprehension going into the night. After all, the previous week had been a lag-heavy nightmare, and as Paula Wilcox faced off against Jonny Wittels in the opening match, it looked like we were in for more of the same. At least, that's how it looked from my computer. I can't speak for anyone else.

Then, so suddenly you could almost hear it go "pop", the lag disappeared during that fight's third round. Maybe it was just my system this time. I don't know, but I know for damn sure that I was breathing easier from there on in.

The remainder of the evening ran its course, with the usual attendant headaches as we ran through almost our entire roster of alternate fighters to replace ones who were booked and never showed (thanks, guys), and finally it was time for the main event.

I'll admit that I was waiting for the bottom to fall out as I made the introductions. Surely this wasn't going to go smoothly. Surely someone was about to crash, or the sim would be restarted, or, or, or...

But sure enough, there they both were, gloves on and ready to rumble (note to Michael Buffer: Please don't sue me, I am poor). Nothing for me to do but get out of the way and let Fionna ring the bell.

In the first round, Dwain took control as JoJo seemed to struggle to get her bearings. As I said previously, both fighters share an advantage in speed, which was on full display for the entire fight. But round one clearly went to Dwain as he pursued his opponent with vigor, knocking her out of the ring once before the bell rang.

The second round saw JoJo come into focus. As the round went on, she began to assume more and more control of the situation, repaying Dwain for the previous ringout and scoring some impressive hits.

But the keeper, the highlight reel round was the third. It began with JoJo coming on strong, picking up where she had left off in the previous round. She looked well on her way to winning handily (I even heard some of the audience shouting advice at her to fall into a defensive mode in order to hang on to her lead), when Dwain made a dramatic late-round rally. He connected for his second ringout on JoJo. Then, as soon as she was back in the ring, he hit her for the third. JoJo couldn't seem to mount a defense against the onslaught as Dwain came in for the fourth and final time...

Fionna called time just as JoJo went flying. The round was over, and the last ringout, the one that would have secured a knockout win for Dwain, didn't count. The crowd held its breath as I and both fighters stood in the ring and waited for the judge's score.

And when it finally came: JoJo, by a margin of only three points.

Holy shit. What a fight. What a great goddamn fight.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

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JoJo863 Nightfire
Averlast Lightweight Champion

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