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AMMO Fight League’s third MMA event
Two amateur title fights awarded
Photo of MMA fighters Roberto Rios and Erick Santiago
Roberto Rios throws a kick at Erick Santiago during AMMO III on Oct. 21.
Photo by John Fulcher

By Brian Woodman Jr.

(Oct. 21 -- West Springfield, MA) Although there’re were only seven fights at AMMO “No Man’s Land” III, the crowd in the Mallory Center at the Eastern States Exposition (also known as the Big E) appeared more than satisfied with the results.
   There were five amateur bouts on the card, including two five-round title fights, and two professional bouts.
AMMO Fight League, a South Glastonbury-based organization that normally offers mixed grappling events, started offering MMA events at the Big E this year. Unlike the organization’s previous two events., this one did not offer mixed grappling along with the MMA bouts.
   The main event was a 185-pound bout between Jon Manley of Jon Manley MMA and Mike Hansen of Berzerkers MMA. Manley, who generally dominated the fight, won by submitting Hansen with an arm bar at 1:58 in the first round.
   The evening’s other professional fight, a 140-pound bout between Roberto Rios of Team Underdog and Erick Santiago of Team Link, ended with the latter winning by TKO in the third round. They went back and forth during the fight with Santiago, who fought primarily in “southpaw” stance taking Rios to the ground a few times. Santiago caught an already-bloodied Rios in the face with a punching combination that sent him to the ground and prompted the referee to wave the fight off at 1:13 in the last round.
   Swagath Pillia of Plus One Defense earned the organization’s amateur lightweight title after defeating Matt Bienia of Zen Quest by unanimous decision. Pillia dominated Bienia from the beginning, bringing him to the ground and dropping bombs during each round. The referee briefly stopped the fight during the fifth round after Pillia apparently received n eye poke in the fifth round -- Bienia subsequently almost regrouped with a double-leg takedown but the two fighters then reversed positions a few more times on the ground. The judges scored it 39-36 for Pillia.

Swagath Pillia and Matt Bienia during AMMO III
Swagath Pillia tries to kick Matt Bienia during AMMO III at the Big E in West Springfield, MA.
Photo by John Fulcher

    Mike Kimbel of Team Thunder MMA won the amateur featherweight title after he knocked out Stephen Pinard, who also trains at Jon Manley MMA, at 1:21 in the first round of a five-round bout. Kimbel picked up Pinard and dropped him early in the fight. He later hit Pinard with a hammer fist, clinched with him, and ground-and-pounded him before the referee waved the fight off.
    The evening opened with a 125-pound bout between Blaze Robinson of Ravenous MMA and Casey Norton, who als0 trains at Team Thunder MMA. Norton took Robinson down during each round, although there were punching exchanges. Robinson caught Norton in a guillotine during the second round while punching him in the body, but Norton ultimately won a 30-27 unanimous decision. 

MMA fighters Stephen Pinard vs Mike Kimbel
Stephen Pinard, left, versus Mike Kimbel on Oct. 21.
Photo by John Fulcher

   The next fight, a 150-pound fight between Randy Francis of Strike Zone and Aaron Hughes of Regiment Training Center opened with a flurried exchange of strikes. Hughes threw a high kick that went over Francis’s shoulder - Francis then picked Hughes up and threw him, subsequently grappling with hi m and winning at 1:32 in the first round by submission due to triangle choke.
   A visibly unworried Elias Morales, who also trains at Plus One Defense, brought Ray Johns the ground and changed guard several times throughout the 170-pound fight. That followed. Johns, who also trains at Team Thunder, tapped at :53 in the second round due to a kimura.

Ray Johns and Elias Morales, MMA fighters
Ray Johns, left, versus Morales on Oct. 21.
Photo by John Fulcher