Guilty Pleasure Feel of Triad Combat Marred by Mismatches, Including Main Event

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Triad Combat 1 Kubrat Pulev and Frank Mir
Kubrat Pulev lands a punch during his fight with Frank Mir at the inaugural Triad Combat event from Triller Fight Club on November 27, 2021. Photo: Amanda Westcott/Triller

Saturday night’s Triad Combat was probably more fun than it should have been on a guilty pleasure level, but a revolutionary new combat sport it was not.

Sadly, for as much fun as a handful of the fights were, a couple of lopsided mismatches marred what was otherwise an entertaining, if ultimately meaningless, night.

Never was that more apparent than in the main event, where a clearly out-of-his-depth Frank Mir was knocked out on his feet by championship level boxer Kubrat Pulev. All while the usually reliable ref Dan Miragliotta looked on, either bewildered, unsure, or second guessing himself rather than stopping the fight.

Luckily, Pulev himself was far more aware of the situation than Miragliotta, and opted to back off rather than further injure an opponent who was clearly done for the night. It all took less than two minutes.

It didn’t have to be that way. Triller FC’s attempt to hybridize boxing and mixed martial arts (ignoring that the full boxing skillset can already be utilized in MMA) was more gimmick than anything else. But it was a fun gimmick, one that actually resulted in a few fights worth watching. Plus, Metallica was on hand to keep energy levels high. The mismatches started early, however, with the “level playing field” being touted ahead of the event clearly more about ruleset than record. Team MMA’s Alexa Culp battering an 0-4 boxer early on the card was a particularly blatant offender. Still, thanks to some game fighters, the card entertained — and if you read anything into the MMA versus boxing rivalry the event looked to capitalize on, MMA won the night hands down.

In fact, under the event’s team concept, Team MMA had won the night prior to the co-main event even getting underway. After a TKO by Culp, and decision wins by Albert Tumenov, Derek Campos, and Mike Perry, the mixed martial artists had 14 points to Team Boxing’s 3. Campos throwing down with Brian Vera was almost certainly a shoo-in for the Fight of the Night, while Tumenov out-boxed a boxer and put on a clinic doing so against Scott Sigmon.

Come the co-main event, the judges decided to throw a wrench in the works. Though it can’t truly be called a robbery, Alexander Flores defeating Matt Mitrione with 68-64 scores in a fight that saw Flores dominated and knocked down in the early going had a certain odor to it. Especially when, in the latter rounds, Flores couldn’t return the favor. In fact, Mitrione in essence beat himself, gassing and relying on frequent clinches, resulting in a near-total lack of offense in rounds 5, 6, and 7.

Then, after a second set of songs from Metallica – rather than making a guest appearance at Triad Combat, the show seemed to be an embedded fight card in a heavy metal concert — came the train wreck of a main event.

If only the night had stopped after Mitrione-Flores.

Triad Combat: Mir vs. Pulev Results

Kubrat Pulev def. Frank Mir by TKO, Round 1, 1:59  – 3 points Team Boxing
Alexander Flores def. Matt Mitrione by unanimous decision (68-64, 67-65, 68-64) – 3 points Team Boxing
Mike Perry def. Michael Seals by split decision (65-67, 67-65, 67-65) – 3 points Team MMA
Derek Campos def. Brian Vera by majority decision (65-65, 67-63, 66-64) – 3 points Team MMA
Albert Tumenov def. Scott Sigmon by unanimous decision (70-63, 70-63, 70-63) – 3 points Team MMA
Alexa Culp def. Angelila Hoffschneider by TKO, Round 1, 0:46 – 5 points Team MMA
Harry Gigliotti def. Jacob Thrall by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – 3 points Team Boxing

Scorecard:

Team MMA: 14      Team Boxing: 11

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