Local jiu-jitu coach Rafael “Sapo” Natal enters into the cage repping Team Renzo Gracie – New York’s foremost grappling academy – while on the opposite side of the cage is Rickson Gracie-trained Kevin Casey.
Obviously, that means these two guys are going to be banging it out with sloppy strikes and hugging it out with less-than-stellar wrestling. Each man scores a takedown on the other, and for the majority of the round Casey is the one landing the harder punches, but… right at the bell Sapo tags him on the chin and Casey goes down. Since it’s at the bell it doesn’t merit a stoppage, so the big question going into the next round is if the American is stung.
We’ll never know, unfortunately, because Natal comes out and accidentally kicks him square in the junk, so Casey is able to clear whatever cobwebs he has while recovering from that.
When they resume Sapo gets a nice slam, a well-timed takedown, and steadily dispenses the kind of beating that only someone not long for the Octagon (like Casey clearly is) can take.
The first two minutes of the third round see them try to take each other’s heads off with punches made slow by their sapped energy levels. But then Casey rushes in and Sapo changes levels and takes him down, and he’s soon in the mount, raining down fists.
Mercifully, referee Gary Copeland steps in to halt the slaughter, giving the win by TKO to Sapo at 3:37 of Round 3.