HOLLYWOOD — Shortly after Saturday night turned to early Sunday morning, Roman "The Emperor" Mitichyan emerged from his three-round mixed martial arts main event at "Pandemonium at the Palladium" dog tired with cuts across his nose and under his right eye.
But after one very long evening and one very close fight, it was Mitichyan who emerged victorious with a unanimous decision win over Preston Scharf at the Hollywood Palladium.
"I was kind of ready for everything," Mitichyan said. "I want to thank Preston for a great fight. He's a tough guy."
Indeed, the bout, which headlined a nine-fight boxing/MMA card that lasted roughly four and a half hours from bell to bell, featured a bit of everything. However, Mitichyan did enough grappling in the first round and striking and submission fighting in the third round to secure the win, which was scored 29-28 on all three judges' cards.
As the night ended with a win for a Glendale fighter, it began with one, as well, as rookie boxer Artur Bernetsyan also picked up a unanimous decision in a four-round boxing tilt over Ramon Flores.
It was the fourth fight, and victory, in six months for Bernetsyan (4-0, two KOs) as he out boxed and often times out brawled Flores (3-7-1).
The card, which started around 8 p.m. despite a 7:30 p.m. bell time, proved to be a long one.
For Mitichyan (11-3), who teaches and trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, along with Main Event Gym in Glendale and at Hayastan Studios in North Hollywood, it was a day that began when he was scheduled to report to the arena at 5:30 p.m. and saw him wait around until the final bout of the night.
"You can think how frustrating that is," Mitichyan said. "[At the] same time, it's the same thing for my opponent."
One aspect in Mitichyan's favor was the crowd, which was sparse by the time midnight rolled around, but still featured a heavily-Armenian and Mitichyan-biased base cheering him on.
In the opening round, Mitichyan took Scharf (11-9) down with a throw from a Muay Thai clinch. From there, it was largely a grappling bout in which both scrambled throughout, but Mitichyan maintained top position.
It was Scharf who notched a takedown in the second round, however, and did considerably more with it, working a steady ground and pound.
The third round was certainly the most entertaining with both fighters seemingly knowing the bout came down to that.
It broke down into a brawl with both fighters trading punches and both often landing. Mitichyan garnered the advantage though, his winging right hook acting as his most decisive weapon. With the Glendale fighter winning the round on the feet, Scharf shot in for a takedown, but Mitichyan held strong with his back against the ropes and locked in a guillotine-choke attempt and sat down with it. While it wasn't successful in notching a tapout, Mitichyan was able to cling onto the hold for nearly the final minute of the fight to secure victory.
"At some point, I'm Armenian, I'm a little hard-headed," said Mitichyan of engaging Scharf in a stand-up brawl late in the fight. "It's not something to brag about."
Bernetsyan, along with his corner, was clearly not pleased with how his fight played out despite continuing his undefeated rookie year.
"We're not happy with the performance, but he's learning," said Edmond Tarverdyan, Bernetsyan's trainer at GFC. "A win's a win.
"He's not happy with his performance, either."
Scores for the unanimous decision were not announced, but the News-Press scored it 40-36, as a versatile offensive attack from Bernetsyan was too much for Flores' bullish, winging style.
Bernetsyan employed an effective jab in the early going of each round, allowing him to find his range throughout.
After that, the southpaw opened up an offensive of uppercuts, hooks and straights with both hands, going to both the head and the body throughout.
Bernetsyan easily took the first round, highlighted by a left-right combo with a follow to the body, all of them landing solidly. He also made Flores, who was hardly active, miss badly on most of his punches.
The second round was more of the same, as Bernetsyan was terribly accurate and Flores was just the opposite. The Punisher landed consecutive straight lefts that landed well and punctuated the round with a left uppercut and a straight left follow.
The third and fourth saw the rounds a bit closer, but Bernetsyan was still far more active and accurate.
He said shortly after the fight that the handful of shots that Flores landed solidly in that span never hurt him.
Still the rounds were tighter due to Bernetsyan's ambition to finish the bout and to engage Flores in a brawl whenever the former was caught.
"When he gets hit, he likes to bang. He has to get polished," Tarverdyan said. "He really wanted to finish the fight, that's more of the reason [the last two rounds were closer than the first two.]"
With Bernetsyan having fought four times in six months, the game plan is to possibly equal that activity in the second half of 2010
"Six is perfect for a year, but eight would be great," Tarverdyan said.