MMA in CT
We chatted with Danbury’s Dean Hancock (3-2) in May prior to his cancelled Reality Fighting catchweight bout with Anthony Giacchina (2-2) on May 4 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Hancock was coming off a second-round loss by arm triangle choke courtesy of fellow lightweight Marcus Surin (3-1) at Bellator 194. But Hancock, who has fought in five Bellator events as of this writing, expressed optimism regarding the future.
Q: When did you start pursuing your MMMA career?
A: I started to really pursue it with the goal of turning pro in 2013.
Q: Did you start with general MMA training or a particular style? What styles have you trained in?
A: I did karate as a kid from ages five through 15, wrestled from ages 12 through 18, and did random NAGA and boxing events growing up.
Q: Where have you trained?
A: I started karate at Tiger Schullmann’s, then when i decided to pursue MMA I started at ATT CT (American Top Team Connecticut) and now I train at Glover Teixeira's training center and Champs Boxing Club.
Q: Will you be fighting on more Bellator cards?
A: I plan to fight for Bellator as long as they'll have me, I'm not looking past May 4th.
Q: What are your future goals in the sport?
A: My goal in the sport is to make a comfortable living doing what I love.
Q: Do you have a career apart from MMA?
A: I currently work in a group home for teenage boys that have been removed from their homes.
Pat "the gorilla ninja" Casey has been pleasing area in MMA fans with his performances as an amateur with Premier FC. But Casey (3-0), a Massachusetts-based fighter who held two amateur belts with the organization, made a statement earlier this year in his professional debut at Bellator 194. He is now on the undercard for Bellator 207 on October 12 at Mohegan Sun Arena, where he will face Kastroit Xhema (2-1) in a welterweight bout. We had a chat with him and hope you enjoy it.
Nutmegmma: Are you contracted to fight in any more bouts for Bellator?
Casey: As of now it was just a one-fight deal with Bellator but we will see what the future holds.
Nutmegmma: Will you still be competing in Premier FC? If so as an amateur or a professional?
Casey: It's possible that I will fight for Premier again I am not under contract with any promotion so as of now I can fight for whoever wants me one their card. Any fight I take now has to be pro once you fight pro you can no longer fight ammy.
Nutmegmma: Do you anticipate fighting again in Reality Fighting or other area organizations?
Casey: Reality is also a possibility I have a lot of potential fights for many promotions on the table myself and my management team will make the best decisions we can for my career.
Nutmegmma: To what do you credit your victory over Tyler Hamilton?
Casey: I credit my victory to a whole lot of relentless hard work, dedication and laser focus. If I'm not training I'm thinking about training. Fighting and getting better as a fighter is on my mind virtually every waking second of my day.
Nutmegmma: Do you have a career apart from MMA?
Casey: Outside of MMA I am a teacher for high school students with autism.
Nutmegmma: Which gym did you start at? Where do you currently train? Are there other gyms that you would like to mention?
Casey: I've trained at Team Link in Ludlow with Marco Alvan, Hector Arvelo and Jason Franklin for the majority of my career. Before Team Link I did some training with Jason Franklin and he was the one who encouraged me to join Team Link.
Nutmegmma: What style did you start with? What do you consider your core form? What do other styles do you train in?
Casey: I came in to MMA with no real background in other forms of fighting. I boxed for fun on occasion but I learned everything together. My style is aggressive but very adaptable I can employ many styles to win fights. You name it I probably train in it.
Nutmegmma: Are there particular fighters that you admire?
Casey: I don't really admire other fighters I admire people who serve others for a living. People like teachers, fire fighter and soldiers. Those are the kinds of people I admire.
Nutmegmma: Do you have any advice for aspiring fighters?
Casey: If you want to be a fighter make sure it's something you love, surround yourself with people with a similar vision as you and understand it's not always fun. There is a high level of sacrifice that comes along with being a serious fighter.
(Editor's note: he secured his most recent win at Premier FC 26).
Light heavyweight William Knight, coming off a first-round knockout of Tom Velazquez on May at Mohegan Sun during the most recent Reality Fighting event, will be headlining Premiere FC 26 on June 16. His opponent, Terrance Jean-Jacques, is undefeated as an amateur, according to www.tapology.com but will be making his professional debut. Knight, a veteran of amateur fights in Reality Fighting and Premier FC (he held the latter's light heavyweight title) could have an edge based on the sheer number of bouts he has had.
(Editor's note: We will be adding information on comments on this event as the weekend progresses.)
The Marlborough-based MMA promotion Reality Fighting is presenting its next event on May 4 at the Mohegan Sun Arena and will again feature two cards -- a grappling card in which competitors win by submission only and a main card with MMA bouts.
As of this writing, Mike Triana of Worcester, MA has a 3-0 professional record in Muay Thai. Tonight, April 21, he will face Tyger Banks (4-1) of Cinicinatti in a lightweight professional bout on the main card of Lion Fight 42 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. We had a chat with him about his background and future.
Q: When did you start training in Muay Thai?
A: I started to train twice a week in the morning in August of 2013.
Q: Why did you choose this particular sport/style?
A: I started Muay Thai for fun at a local gym near my mother’s office. At the time I was thinking of joining the military.
Q: Where do you train?
A: Team Link Muay Thai, Worcester MA.
Q: How long have you competed in Lion Fight?
A: Three years.
Q: What is your regular job?
A: I teaching classes at my gym, do personal trainings and drive UBER.
Q: Have you trained in other styles?
A: I studied Tae Kwon Do for three years when I was 11.
Q: Have you competed in MMA or other combat sports?
A: I did a few Tae Kwon Do tournaments.
Q: Is there a particular fighter that you admire?
A: Cosmo Alexander. I met him during my first year of training – I started to follow his fights and training through social media. Other fighters I admire are Anuwat, Nong-O, Pinca. There are just so many amazing fighters. But those are some of the ones I mainly follow.
Q: What is the next step in your fighting career?
A: I’m always aiming to be the best that I can be. I’ll keep training hard and fighting bigger names in the sport, represent the people that follow me at my best and become a world champion.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring fighters?
A: We all have been where you are. We all started with the basics and have worked on them every day since. Keep learning and just enjoy the journey.
The Las Vegas-based Muay Thai promotion is presenting four title fights during its next event, Lion Fight 42, which Foxwoods Resort Casino will host on April 21.
Enfield native Wesley Hall (4-0-1 amateur record) will be making professional debut against William Knight (8-1-0 amateur record) in a 205-pound bout tonight at the Big E in West Springfield. It will be the co-main event and one of two-professional fights on the main card for AMMO Fight League: House of Pain.
Ryan Sanders refers to the UFC's Connor MacGregor as one of the fighters that he emulates.
Milford native Nick Newell, perhaps best known for competing in the World Series of Fighting, earned a first round win during the main event of Legacy Fighting Alliance 35. Newell submitted Sonny Luque by neck crank at 2:10 in the fight, which occurred on March 9.
Premier FC will return to the Chez Josef restaurant in Agawam, Massachusetts on March 10 with a main card that will include two women's professional bouts.
By Brian Woodman Jr. and John Fulcher
Bellator 194 will be coming to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on Feb. 16 and the main card looks promising.
The main event, a bout between Roy "Big Country" Nelson (23-14) and Matt Mitrione (12-5), will mark the start of the promortion's latest Heavyweight Grand Prix. But the rest of the card does not suffer by comparison -- the co-main event is a lightweight bout Patricky Pitbull (18-8) versus Derek Campos (19-6), while Liam McGeary (12-2) will battle fellow light heavyweight Vadim Nemkov (8-2)
But a women's flyweight fight between Heather Hardy (1-1) versus Ana Julaton (2-3) may be what really grab's people's attention. The fight will proceed a boxing math between the two that will occur at a later date.
The main card will also offer a featherweight bout between Tywan Claxton (1-0) and Jose Antonio Perez (0-1)
The preliminary card as of press time is:
The preliminary card as of press time is:
Lightweight: Marcus Surin (4-1 ) versus Dean Hancock (3-1).
Bantamweight: Mike Kimbel (0-0) versus Geoffrey Then (0-1).
Welterweight: Vinicius De Jesus (5-2) versus Jesse McElligott (5-3).
Lightweight: Tyler Hamilton (1-0) versus Pat Casey (0-0).
Featherweight: Regivaldo Carvalho (4-2) versus Thomas English (6-8).
Catchweight: Peter Nascimento, in his professional debut, versus Kastroit Xhema (1-1).
Lightweight: Ross Richardson (0-0) versus Nick Giulietti, both in their professional debuts.
More information will be posted in the next two weeks.
By Brian Woodman Jr., with contributions by Marc Karmelowicz
(Jan. 3 - Mashantucket, CT)
Three title fights went to decision at Foxwoods Resort and Casino during Lion Fight 40 -- Lion Fight’s latest Muay Thai event. One of these was for the company’s first North American belt. Five of the other six professional bouts on that evening’s card ended in knockouts.
Lion Fight also announced that it would host its next event on April 7 in London.
Brett Hlavacek (19--5) won the company’s first North American title, defeating fellow light heavyweight Elijah Clarke (7-2) after five rounds that went to a split decision. The fight began cautiously with Clarke alternating between southpaw and orthodox stance, but the pace gradually increased as the fight progressed. Both fighters exchanged a variety of strikes with Hlavacek attempting a lot of elbows. There were a few instances in which Clarke attempted a high kick and Hlavacek would attempt to kick his standing leg out from under him. Two judges awarded it to Hlavacek by 48-47while one scored it 49-46 for Clarke.
During the main event, Chip Moraza-Pollard (7-0) successfully defended his cruiserweight belt with Lion Fight against Slava Alexeichik (30-9). Moraza-Pollard, who recently won another belt from the British promotion Muay Thai Grand Prix during Lion Fight 39, looked relaxed as he and Alexeichik stalked each other during the first round. It went back and forth as the fight progressed, with Alexeichik leaning more toward punching and Moraza-Pollard working on his opponent’s legs. The pace increased as the fight continued, with Moraza-Pollard applying more pressure with punching combinations and trying to trap Alexeichik against the ropes. Moraza-Pollard landed a knee and a spinning back elbow during the fifth round that prompted the referee to count to eight as Alexeichik recovered. The fight ended with both fighters practically in mid-punch and tempering their actions. Moraza-Pollard earned a unanimous decision victory.
During the co-main event, Lerdsila PhuketTopTeam (195--31-5) earned a unanimous decision over Alexi Serepisos (40-11) during a lightweight title fight. Although both fighters landed strikes, Lerdsila had a visible edge and appeared far more relaxed -- he seemed to be standing still as he inched toward Serepisos before exploding with strikes and clinching attempts. The first round ended with Lerdsila clinching with Serepisos and in the middle of attempting a knee and the second with him landing straight kick to the body. Lerdsila threw Serepisos to the ground a few times during the bout with the latter returning the favor once. The fight ended with a striking exchange. Two judges scored it 50-45 and one scored it 49-46.
During the first professional fight, Tom Evans (1-3) knocked out fellow middleweight Johnny Adams at 2:00 in the first round with a punching and kicking combination. Doctors subsequently examined Adams, who making his professional debut that evening, while a visibly upset Evans looked on. Evans announced after the fight that it would be his last fight.
The next professional bout was a middleweight fight between Cody Laskar, who made his professional debut, and Brian Bogue (1-1). Laskar, who appeared more dominant earlier in the earlier rounds, pressured Bogue through much of the fight and won a unanimous decision. Bogue became more aggressive as the fight progressed and increased his pace during the striking exchanges.
Mike Triana (2-0) dominated the lightweight bout that followed, knocking out Johnny Lindor (2-2) at 2:56 in round four. The referee briefly stopped the fight in the second round after Lindor sustained a kick to the cup -- the round ended with Triana landing a high side kick and a few punches. There was another stoppage after Triana punched Lindor to the ground in the third round -- it ended with Triana clinching and kneeing Lindor. The fifth round began with Lindor catching one of Triana’s kicks and throwing him. Toward the end of the fight, Triana knocked Lindor down twice – the second time, courtesy of a punching combination and a knee, ended the fight.
Julio Pena (5-1), in what he announced would be his last fight, won a lightweight bout against Issac Tijerina (1-2) by TKO at 1:35 in round two. Tijerina opened the fight with a high kick, trying to keep distance between himself and Pena while periodically closing in on him. But Pena brought him to his knees with a flurry of punches and the referee nearly counted him out before the bell saved him. Tijerina went for a spinning elbow early in the next round, but Pena later brought him down with a straight jab that ended the fight.
P.J. Sweda (3-2) won the middleweight bout against Chris Mims (1-1) that followed with a TKO at 2:59 in round three. Sweda was bleeding from the face at the end of round one, but during the fight kept throwing uppercuts followed by a knee – a strategy that eventually worked and sent both men to the canvas. Mims threw lots of elbows and at one point caught one of Sweda’s kicks before he threw him, but had a bloody nose by the end of the fight.
Steve Walker (3-0) defeated Cole Fetzner (1-1) by TKO at 1:42 in round two. Walker knocked Fetzner to the ground in the first round and the referee counted to eight before the fight resumed. Walker ended the round with an impressive punching combination. Walker opened the second round with a series of high side kicks, later unleashing punches that prompted a ten-second count and ended the fight.
The card opened with a trio of three-round amateur bouts on the card.The first was a light heavyweight bout between J. Luck Henry and Ross Levine that ended in a split decision -- the fight ended with two judges scoring the fight 28-29 I favor of Henry and one scoring it 29-28 in favor of Levine. The next was a middleweight bout between Jurrrell Laronal and Shaun Schubert that ended with Laronal winning by majority decision -- one judge called it a tie while the other two scored it 28-29 and 27-30. The third was another middleweight bout -- it ended with Aaron Ortiz defeating Connor Fenton by unanimous decision.
By Brian Woodman Jr.
Reality Fighting released an updated listing of MMA bouts for their next card since we last posted information on the event. The main event will still be a heavyweight title fight between the former Reality Fighting belt holder, New Britain's Parker Porter, and New Jersey resident J.A. Dudley.
- Randy Francis versus Kenneth Rayside (145 pounds, amateur)
- Jordan Riley versus Arslan Otchiyev (145 pounds, amateur)
- Austin Schalla versus Redd Pottinger (170 pounds, amateur)
- Ron Marshall versus Gio Fiasconaro (225 pounds, amateur)
- Tracy Baldwin versus Anastasia Bruce (115 pounds, amateur)
- Harris Bonfiglio versus Tim Flores (125 pounds, amateur)
- Matt Bienia versus Nate Ghareeb (155 pounds, amateur)
- Billy Goff versus Steve Morrell (170 pounds, amateur)
- William Knight versus Franklin Johnson (225 pounds, amateur)
- Hugh McKenna versus Jesse James Kosakowski.(170 pounds, professional fight)
The highlights for Reality Fighting's next MMA event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT include three amateur title fights and a potentially impressive main event -- a heavyweight title fight between former Reality Fighting belt holder Parker Porter (7-4) and New Jersey's J.A. Dudley (8-17, according to www.tapology.com). But the grappling super fights sharing the the organization's 100th card, including a bout with UFC veteran Gabriel Gonzaga, could make the evening even more interesting.
- Steve Morell versus Bill Goff (both 0-1, acording to www.tapology.com).
- Arslan Oticheyev (4-4-1, according to www.tapology.com) versus Jordan Riley (2-2, according to tapology.com).
- Murat Keshtov versus Rob Best (statistics not available).
- Austin Schalla (1-9, according to www.tapology.com) versus Harrison Adamo .(2-1, according to www.tapology.com)
- Kenneth Rayside (1-10, according to www.tapology.com) versus Randy Francis (2-3, according to www.tapology.com)
- Traci Baldwin versus Anastasia Bruce (statistics not available).
- Ron Marshall versus Giovanni Fiasconaro (statistics not available).
- Marco Alvan of Team Link versus Lee Richardson of Underdog BJJ.
- Dan Simmler of Abusado versus Oz Parisher of Soul Fighters.
- Mat Santos of Santos BJJ versus Nate Lamotte of Burgess MMA.
- Mario Ramos of Dragon's Lair BJJ versus Kevin Quigg of Martinez BJJ.
- Pete Jeffrey of Tri-Force Training Center versus of Kirkor Papasian of Strikezone.
- Ed Carr of Team Link versus Nolan Dutcher of Dutcher Martial Arts.
- Chris Simmons of Carlson Gracie versus Gabriel Souza of Casa of Jiu-Jitsu.
- Frank Latina of DCBJJ versus Walter Smith-Cottito of Team Link.