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Lion Fight coming to Foxwoods April 21

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 04/19/18

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.

Two of the title bouts will feature fighters competing for continental belts. Eddie Abosolo (9-1) will battle Amadeu Cristiano (52-17) for the North American middleweight belt in the evening's co-main event while Steve Walker, who is coming off a three-fight winning streak, and Olivier Fairtex (7-3) will compete for the North American super cruiserweight belt.

Antonina Shevchenko (40-1) and Claire Baxter (19-14) will compete for the women's super lightweight belt in the main event.

Super lightweights Carlton Lieu (7-3) and Jafar Tashev (2-0) will compete for the belt in Lion Fight's sister organization -- the British promotion Muay Thai Grand Prix. 

The other matches include;

Dwayne Holman, in his professional debut, versus Soap Am (1-1) in a super lightweight bout.

Julian Ngyen (1-0) versus Shawn Ellis, in his professional debut, in a super welterweight bout.

Amine Ballafrikh ( 9-4) versus Nick Haines (10-5) in a super featherweight bout.

Mike Triana (3-0) versus Tyger Banks ( 4-1) in a lightweight bout (Jonathan George was Triana's original opponent, according to information provided earlier).

Ricardo Mixco, in his professional debut, versus Evan Jays (2-1) in a featherweight bout.

The evening will open with two amateur middleweight bouts. The first is between David Agbodji and Shaun Shubert. The other is between Hector Acosta and Miguel Cadiz.

A welterweight bout Eric Rocha versus Chris Mauceri appears to no longer be on the card, according to the latest information from Lion Fight's publicist.

A chat with Wes Hall of AMMO Fight League

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 03/17/18

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.

" I originally started off boxing and wrestling way back when and really stuck with that for a while.," he said regarding his background, acknowledging these forms as his current foundation.. "It wasn't until probably my late teens or early twenties that I diverted  my attention to other styles. I tried Muay Thai shortly as well as BJJ. I enjoyed it but I found Sento and other reality based martial arts more appealing."
" I originally trained at the P.A.L (Police Activities League) in Manchester. Great program they had there -- all good people. As I got older I transitioned to AMAA (American Martial Arts Academy) in East Longmeadown, MA for a little bit. Then when I lived in New York I trained at  Westchester Fight Club --  another great place. Since I moved back I've drifted here and there to various training academies but I found what works best for me is cross-training with individual people from reputable establishments and backgrounds."
He was complimentary of his opponent.
"I think Knight brings a hell of a lot to the fight. His ground game has proven to be pretty significant and he's not the guy you want to stand there and brawl with," said Hall. "He always seems to have a solid game plan laid out for his fights, its definitely going to be a war. I'm very honored to have the chance to go up against Knight, he's a hell of a fighter and his record backs that up - not to mention that he's a giant dude! But I'm going to bring my will -- this fight means a lot to the both of us and its all about who wants it the most. My style can be difficult to read -- II have a good sense to identify a weakness and exploit it, and from what I've seen Knight and I have to very different techniques, which I think is going to be the recipe for one Hell of a fight. "
More information on the event can be found at AMMO's Facebook page.

A chat with Ryan Sanders

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 03/14/18

Ryan Sanders refers to the UFC's Connor MacGregor as one of the fighters that he emulates. 

"His trash talking is a great psychological strategy," said Sanders, adding that he loves how it compels opponents to attempt to finish him and leaves them vulnerable to counter-striking.
And like that brash UFC star, Bangor, ME native Sanders seems to take pride in exuding a little cockiness.
Sanders, who is currently 15-8, expressed confidence that he will win his 170-pound fight versus Jon Manley in the main event at AMMO Fight League 4: House of Pain at the Big E in West Springfield, MA on March 17 (rather appropriately on St. Patrick's Day) before dominating his weight class in New England and moving to the national stage.
He described himself as an MMA competitor that grapples and Manley as a grappler that fights -- a dynamic that he contends will give him an edge.
"MMA fighters don't mind getting hit -- grapplers do mind," he added.
He reflected on how he used to train with Marcus Surin but stopped due to a disagreement. He now trains with Young's MMA and works part-time in the hospitality industry.
He began in the sport by training in general MMA rather than starting with wrestling or BJJ, although he admitted that grappling was "his passion." He has since branched out into emphasizing straight boxing and general striking for balance, he said.
"Many wrestlers and others come in the trainers need to break them of bad habits like giving up your back," he commented.
He also acknowledged the UFC's Brian Ortega as a fighter he emulates.
"He finishes fights," Sanders simply said.

Nick Newell wins in first comeback fight

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 03/10/18

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.

Newell announced his retirement from fighting in 2015, expressing an interest in media. He is also known for overcoming a congenital defect -- he was born without a left hand, which has not stopped him from achieving a 15-1 professional record (his one professional loss was to Justin Gaethje in 2014 at WSOF 11).
We will post more information on the fight on our Facebook page.

Preview: Premier FC 25

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 03/07/18

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.

The main event will be a 135-pound bout between Sarah Payant (2-4), who trains with Gladiator BJJ, and Jessica Borga (5-2 amateur record). Payant, who previously fought on the main cards for Premier FC and Reality Fighting, also competed on two preliminary cards for Bellator. Borga, who fights with Champions MMA, will be making her professional debut but has a 5-2 amateur record.
The prior fight will be a 120-pound bout between Destiny Quinones (0-0) of Next Level MMA and Lisa Blaine (2-0) of Ultimate MMA.
There are three more professional fights on the main card.
Rodolfo Barcellos (0-0) of Xtreme Ambition versus Myles Reid (0-2) of Old School in a 170-pound bout.
Jesus Cintron (0-0) of Old School will fight Reginaldo Felix (2-1) of Link in a 185-pound fight.
Alex Ortiz (0-0) of Golden Falcon will fight Keenan Raymond (3-5) of RCBJJ in a 155-pound fight.
The preliminary card will include seven amateur bouts.
Jason Showers (2-6) of Xtreme Ambition will fight Aaron Reverdez (1-1) of Juniko in a 165-pound bout.
Kenny Champion (2-3) of Golden Falcon will fight Justin Kristie (2-2) of Ultimate MMA in a 140-pound bout.
Jideofor Ojukwu of SSSFwill fight Yu Ji of Radical in a 185-pound bout.Both competitors are 1-0.
Billy Goff (1-1) of Dexter Vale Tudo will fight Harrison Adamo (no record provided) of Ultimate MMA. Goff's contracted weight is 160 pounds and Adamo's is between 150 and 155.
Kevin Braga (0-0) of SSSF will fight Blaze Robinson (0-2) of Ravenous in a 130-pound bout.
Austin Schalla of Dexters will fight Chris Almestica of Link in a 155-pound bout.
Anthony Benevides of Ultimate MMA will fight Nick Fernandez of Battlecrew MMA in a 180-pound bout. 
Premier FC's previous event, which Chez Josef hosted in November, included three amateur title fights. 
One of the contenders, Pat Casey (1-0) of Link, recently competed at Bellator 194. Casey, who lost Jesse Kosakowski (5-0 amateur record) in a welterweight amateur bout during the Premier FC event, defeated Tyler Hamilton (1-1) in a professional lightweight bout by decision during the Bellator event in February. Casey has a 7-2 amateur record.
We will post more information on this event as it approaches.

Bellator 194: Results

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 02/18/18

By Brian Woodman Jr. and John Fulcher

(Feb. 16 -- Uncasville, CT) 

A heavyweight bout between Matt Mitrione (13-5) and Roy Nelson (23-15) headlined Bellator's latest event at the Mohegan Arena this weekend in the second fight in the organization's 2018 Heavyweight Grand Prix bracket.
The main event ended with Mitrione winning by majority decision, with one judge scoring at 28-28 and the other two scoring it 29-28. It was the second such decision of the evening -- a bout on the preliminary card between light heavyweights Jarod Trice and Walter Howard ended with one judge scoring the fight 28-28 and the other two awarding it to Trice by 29-27 (Howard lost a point after accidentally poking Trice in the eye during the second round).
The main card opened with a bout between Tywan Claxton (2-0) and Jose Perez (0-2). Claxton, who leaned toward southpaw strikes, used his elbows to advantage, securing a TKO at 3:39 in the second round due to unanswered strikes.
During the next fight, Vadim Nemkov (9-2) hobbled Liam McGeary (12-3) with repeated lower leg kicks and secured a TKO victory at 4:02 in the third round after the referee waved the fight off. McGeary, renowned for his grappling game, tried to take Nemkov's back during the second round but was limping badly by the third round and appeared to clearly resign the fight before the referee ended it.
Heather Hardy (2-1) and Anna Julaton (2-4), both of whom are preparing for a future boxing match with each other, faced each other next in a women's flyweight fight. Hardy won by unanimous decision. 
Julaton, who resisted a rear naked choke attempt from Hardy in the first round, wound up in her opponent's closed guard a few times during the fight. Hardy reversed her position on the ground during the second round and attempted a leg trianle submission and a rear naked choke.
During a lightweight bout that opened the preliminary card, Patricky "Pitbull" Freire (!9-8) secured a first round TKO of Derek Campos (19-7) at 2:23 in the first round with punching.
Pat Casey (1-0) defeating Tyler Hamilton (1-1) by unanimous decision in a lightweight bout. 
Kastriot Xhema (2-1) punched his way to a first-round TKO at 3:52, defeating Peter Nascimento (0-1) in a 165-pound catchweight bout.
Marcus Surin (5-1) submitted Dean Hancock (3-2) of Danbury, CT with an arm triangle choke at 4:50 in the second round of a lightweight bout. Hancock gradually began more aggressive during the striking that started the first round, at one point unleashing a kicking and punching combination, but the tide shifted in Surin's favor as the fight went to the ground. Surin took Hanock's back twice, eventually securing the choke.
Trice and Howard went back and forth during the fight that followed, with Trice attempting to land powerful single shots and Howard using his reach advantage to throw straight overhand jabs, sometimes switching from orthodox stance to southpaw. Trice attempted a double-leg takedown during the third round but Howard sprawls out of it. Trice eventually brought Howard to the ground, but the latter reversed his position and got up. Trice, clinging to Howard's leg, got him down again and attempted ground-and-pound from the side -- Howard got back to his feet and the fighters exchanged blows again with Trice landing a high straight kick to the face.
Regivaldo Carvalho (5-2) made short work of Tom English (6-9), knocking him out at :17 in the first round a featherweight match.
Mike Kimbel (1-0) of Waterbury, CT scored a TKO victory over fellow Connecticut resident Geoffrey Then (0-2) at 1:03 in the first round of a Bantamweight fight. Kimbel landed a left to Then's Jaw and a right to the side of his head before going to the ground and attempting an arm bar. Kimbel dropped hammerfists on Then before the referee waved the fight off.
Ross Richardson (1-0) defeated fellow lightweight Ron Leon (0-1) by TKO at 1:41 in the second round by dropping bombs from the bully mount while supporting himself with one hand placed on the ground. Richardson was in and out of Leon's guard during the first round, at one point dropping punches and elbows.

Bellator 194: A Look Ahead

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 02/05/18

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:

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.


Lion Fight 40: Three title fights, including debut of North American title

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 02/04/18

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.

A chat with Scott Kent of Lion Fight

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 02/03/18

Scott Kent, the CEO and president of the Muay Thai promotion Lion Fight, had straightforward advice for prospective promoters considering a future in combat sports.
"You are not going to make a lot of money during the first few years," he said. "I have been in this business for eight years now. I was lucky. I had good investors. You have to love the sport."
Foxwoods Resort and Casino will host Lion Fight 40 tonight, Feb. 3 as of this writing and the event will be special to the organization, according to Kent. Tonight's main card will include a fight for a North American title -- the first time the organization has held a bout of this nature. He plans to have a North American ranking system within the next four months.
"One of our original ideas was that to really grow our American fighters and try to give them a greater opportunity to get a belt," said Kent. "It allows them to build a fan base and to build their careers up before competing against European and Asian fighters that may have considerably more experience."
He described fighters from Thailand that have more than 400 career fights. It is the national sport of Thailand, he said, and they often start at a younger age -- they do not distinguish amateur from professional bouts, he said.
"This is how you become a rock star in Thailand," he noted, adding that many viewers do not always understand the depth of the talent.
He anticipated that in six or seven more years audiences would see Americans competing with the top tier of European and Thai fighters.
He admitted the sport was not getting as much publicity in the United Stares as he would like but that MMA has boosted the profile of combat sports in general. 
"We are still swimming upstream against the MMA media but the fan base is there," he said.
Due to the stand-up fighting nature of the sport, he observed, there were less lulls in the action than in MMA. This made up more entertaining to casual spectatos who may not fully understand or appreciate the nuances of MMA's ground game.
He acknowledged that there are discussions to make it an Olympic sport in 2020 but nothing has been confirmed yet.
He said Lion Fight is actively courting fighters from organizations on both coasts to participate in qualifiers. He is willing for Lion Fight to promote other shows but is focused on pushing the brand, he added. He said the brand would be expanding its presence and social media and online video streaming.
Lon Fight is also in negotiations with a new television partner and details were forthcoming, he added.
Lion is also planning another London show in partnership with Muay Thai Grand Prix on April 7 and another Foxwoods show later that month (the organizations hosted Lion Fight 39 in London last year). Kent hopes to promote a Paris show during the summer.
"There are groups in Australia whose fighters are interested in us," he said.
He commented on the growing number of MMA fighters that are switching to competition under one style. He referred to Chip Morrazo-Pollard as an obvious example.
He said that although California has traditionally yield several American Muay Thai competitors, the North East was growing -- particularly Massachusetts. He said interest in Connecticut has grown due in part to the Foxwoods shows.

Lion Fight 40: A Look Ahead

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 01/28/18

The Muay Thai organization Lion Fight will feature three title fights on its next card at Foxwoods Resort  Casino in Mashantucket, CT. One of these fights, a light heavyweight bout between Brett Hlavacek (18-6) and Elijah Clarke (8-1), will be for a North American title – the first time Lion Fight has put up this kind of belt for any weight class, according to information from the company.
The other two title bouts on the Feb. 3 card are for world belts.
The main event is a cruiserweight title fight between Chip Moraza-Pollard (6-0) of Plymouth, MA and Slava Alexichek (30-8) – a Siberian native currently living in New Zealand.
Moraza-Pollard won the organization’s first cruiserweight belt at Lion Fight 37 last summer, defeating Paul Banasiak by unanimous decision. He later defeated Jordan Smith at Lion Fight 39 in London in November and won the Muay Thai Grand Prix cruiserweight belt.
Alexichek won King in the Ring’s cruiserweight title during a one-night tournament in New Zealand last year, defeating three other fighters.
The other title bout is a lightweight fight between three-time world champion Lerdsila PhuketTopTeam (186-31-5) and New Zealand native Alexi Serepisos (40-10) – the latter is making his debut in the organization and like Alexichek is a veteran of King in the Ring.
Alexichek won King in the Ring’s cruiserweight title during a one-night tournament in New Zealand last year, defeating three other fighters.
Lion Fight spokespersons stated that Lerdsilla, who has held belts in three weight classes, achieved a 100-fight winning streak. He knocked out Jacob Hebeisen in the second round at Lion Fight 36 in April of last year at Foxwoods with a side kick to the jaw.
The main card includes three more professional fights. Julio Pena (4-1) will fight Issac Tijerina (1-1) in a lightweight bout. P.J. Sweda (2-2) will fight Chris Mims (1-0) in a middleweight bout. Steve Walker (2-0) will fight Cole Fetzner in a super cruiserweight bout. 
The preliminary card will include three professional fights. Johnny Lindor (2-1) will fight Mike Triana (2-1) in a lightweight bout. Cody Laskarm making his professional debut, will fight Brian Bogue (0-1) in a super middleweight bout. Dustin Carrollm also starting as a professional, will fight Tom Evans (0-3) in a middleweight bout.
The event will begin with three amateur matches, each of which will last three rather than five rounds. Connor Fenton will fight Aaron Ortiz in a middleweight bout. Jurrell Laronal will fight Shaun Shubert in another middleweight bout. J. Lucky Henry will fight Ross Levine in a light heavyweight bout.

Reality Fighting 100 Grappling Results

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 01/17/18

By Brian Woodman Jr.

(Jan. 6 -- Uncasville, CT) 

In addition to an impressive MMA card, Reality Fighting's 100th event included a preliminary card with grappling bouts. The bouts, dubbed "grappling super fights" during the event at Mohegan Sun Arena, could only be won through submissions.
The card opened with a bout between 11-year-old Lorenzo "the Lion King" Bocachica of the Carlson Gracie gym and 12-year-old Dylan "the Villain" Kollar of the gym  Kipp's Basement. Like most of the bouts on the under-card, it ended in a tie.
C. Ryan Quinn, who trains under Renzo Gracie, won the sixth bout with a heel hook. He defeated Sanad Armouti of Florian BJJ.
Jon Manley of Manley MMA secured a leg triangle choke in spectacular fashion, submitting Chris Palmquist of Lauzon MMA during the seventh bout. Manley jumped in the air and got his legs around Palmquist's neck.before bringing the fight to the ground.
Gabriel Souza of Casa Jiu-Jitsu defeated Carlson Gracie student Chris Simmons with an ankle lock during the tenth bout. Both men wore a gi during the bout, which was fought under BJJ rules.
Walter Smith Cottito of Team Link submitted Frank Latna of DCBJJ with a head-and-arm choke during the eleventh bout.
The other bouts all ended with no one securing a submission. These were, in relative order;

Nicholas Caggia of K Dojo versus Jeremy Woolfolk of Strikezone MMA.
Nicole Powers Shattuck of Abusado versus Sarah Pucci of Callandrelli MMA.
Matt Allen of Calandrelli MMA versus Vinnie Brightman of Carlson Gracie.
Aaron Tyvie of Gracie Seymour versus James Cook of Crossroads BJJ.
Andrew Tevay of Gracie Seymour versus Ed Carr of Team Link.
Pete Jeffrey of Tri-Force versus Kirkor Papasian of Strikezone.
Damien Ruffy of Team Link versus Jeff Emil Haddad of Ascension Athletics.
Kevin Quigg of Martinez BJJ versus John Beecher of Soca BJJ.
Matt Santos of Santos BJJ versus Nate Lamotte of Burgess MMA.
Dan Simmler of Abusado versus Oz Pariser of Soul Fighters.

Update on Reality Fighting Jan. 6 event

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 01/04/18

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.

As of press time, the other bouts on the card are; 
  • 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)
We will publish further updates as they develop.

Reality Fighting 100 -- MMA coming to Mohegan Sun on Jan. 6

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 12/31/17

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 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.

Gonzaga, who currently trains with Squared BJJ, will grapple with Ray Sherwood of Ultimate MMA. 
Parker, a Southington native who trains at Underdog BJJ in Hartford, lost the organization's belt to Gonzaga in 2011 at Mohegan Sun. He has also fought twice with Bellator at the resort, losing by first-round TKO to Josh Diekman in 2013 but submitting Eric Bedard by second-round submission about two years later.
William Knight was originally scheduled to make his professional debut against Mark Glover of Team Bomb Squad. He will instead fight Franklin Johnson in an amateur 225-pound bout.
The amateur title fights include; a 155-pound bout between Matt Bienia (5-1) and Nate Ghareed (5-1), and a 125-pound bout between Tim Flores (3-2, according to and Harris Bonfiglio (2-2, according to
Jesse James Kosakowski (5-0 amateur record), who is making his professional debut, will fight Hugh McKenna (1-1) -- a Long Island-based fighter and undefeated amateur who earned his professional career win with Bellator. Joe Giannetti, who is undefeated after six fights, will fight Dan Dubuque (4-2) in a lightweight bout.
Destiny Quinones, in her professional debut, will fight Danielle Hindley (1-0, according to of South Shore Sportsfighting in a strawweight bout. Quinones is currently an amateur belt holder with Reality Fighting.
Pat Casey (7-2, according to, who lost to Kosakowski at Premier FC 24 by a fifth-round rear naked choke in an amateur bout, will fight Redd Pottinger (statistics not available). Casey won two amateur titles while fighting for Premier FC in 2017.
The other MMA bouts on the card include;
  • Steve Morell versus Bill Goff (both 0-1, acording to
  • Arslan Oticheyev (4-4-1, according to versus Jordan Riley (2-2, according to
  • Murat Keshtov versus Rob Best (statistics not available).
  • Austin Schalla (1-9, according to versus Harrison Adamo .(2-1, according to
  • Kenneth Rayside (1-10, according to versus Randy Francis (2-3, according to
  • Traci Baldwin versus Anastasia Bruce (statistics not available).
  • Ron Marshall versus Giovanni Fiasconaro (statistics not available).
The other grappling matches scheduled for the event include;
  • 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.
We will be posting more information regarding this event on our blog as Jan. 6 approaches.

(Editorial Note: Reality Fighting provided the fight card information and a portion of the statistics).

Premier FC's latest event includes three title fights

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 11/10/17

The organization Premier Fighting Championship is presenting its next event, Premier FC 24, on Nov. 11 at Chez Josef in Agawam, Massachusetts. The smaller, more intimate setting makes an interesting site for MMA events and tomorrow evening's event looks promising with a card that includes three amateur title fights.

The card will offer 11 confirmed fights, including five professional bouts.
The title fights include; a 155-pound bout between Antoine Caparotta (4-2) and  Nick Giulietti (3-1); a 145-pound bout between Malek Mahmoud and Miguel Cuevas; (both 3-0) and a 170-pound bout between Jesse Kosakowski (4-0) and Pat Casey (7-1).

The professional bouts include;

  • Jahmel Parkinson versus Victor Irwin , both debuting, at 205 pounds.
  • Mike Hansen (1-3) versus Reginaldo Felix (1-2) at 185 pounds.
  • Geoffrey Then (0-1) versus Magdiel Matias (0-0) at 135 pounds.
  • Kastriot Xhema (1-1) versus Keenan Raymond (3-4) at 160 pounds.
  • Kemren Locinov (5-4) versus Gil Penheiro (2-3) at 170 pounds.
The remaining amateur bouts are;

  • Jason Showers (1-5) versus Chris Almestica (0-1) at 165 pounds.
  • Christian Robinson (0-2) versus Randy Francis (1-3) at 145 pounds.
  • Yu Ji (0-0) versus Josh Jones (2-1) at 185 pounds.

Preview of third AMMO "No Man's Land" event

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 10/20/17

Tomorrow night, Oct. 21, the Eastern State Expo (The Big E) in West Springfield, MA will host the Glastonbury-based company AMMO Fight League's third event. AMMO rescheduled the event from earlier this month.

The event, AMMO "No Man's Land" III, is tentatively scheduled to feature four amateur bouts and four professional bouts in the expo's Mallary Complex. The organization offered it's first event in February and another in June.

The amateur bouts are;


  • Elias Morales of Plus One Defense) versus Ray Johns of Team Thunder MMA (170 pounds)
  • Randy Francis of Strike Zone versus Aaron Hughes of Regiment Training Center (!50 pounds)
  • Jason Francisco of Plus One Defense versus Wesley Hall of Team BA (185 pounds)
  • Blaze Robinson of Ravenous MMA versus Casey Norton of Team Thunder MMA (125 pounds)



The professional  bouts 5 rounds


  • Swaggath Pillia  of Plus One Defense versus Matt Bienia of Zen Quest (155 pounds)
  • Stephen Pinard of Jon Manley MMA versus Mike Kimbel of Team Thunder MMA (145 pounds)
  • Jon Manley of Jon Manley MMA versus Mike Hansen of Berzerkers MMA (185 pounds)
  • Roberto Rios of Underdog MMA versus Erick Santiago of Team Link (140 pounds)
All fights will be three rounds except for the last two scheduled professional bouts, which are both five rounds.


Statement from AMMO Fight League on date change for event

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 10/04/17

Bill Idol of AMMO has released the following statement regarding the rescheduling of the organization's October 7 event.

"AMMO Fight League regrets to inform our fans, fighters, and everyone in support of AMMO FL that due to unforeseen circumstances the upcoming AMMO FL 3: 'No Man's Land' show on October 7th, at the “Courtyard” on the ‘Big E’ fairgrounds in West Springfield, Ma. will be moving to October 21st at the Mallery Bldg. on the grounds.

The last minute rescheduling is a result of short notice requests made by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission of our fighters. The short window of time would not allow a majority of the fighters to be eligible to compete this Saturday at AFL:3.

Rather than cancel the show we will be moving it to Oct 21st, providing the Commission allows AMMO FL to do so. This would allow the fighters the time to provide the Commission with what they are expecting from each fighter.

We understand the blood, sweat, and tears, the time away from family, the long hours at the gym, and all that encompasses preparing mentally and physically for a Mixed Martial Arts fight. A simple sorry cannot make up for this improbable circumstance after so many have worked so tirelessly.

Going forward we will be sure all fighter requirements are fully disclosed and required with adequate amount of time for the fighter to fulfill all of the MSAC (Massachusetts State Athletic Commission) stipulations. Thank you for your continued support and see you on the 21st."

Clarification on coverage for Lion Fight 38

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 10/03/17

In our coverage for Lion Fight 38, we mentioned that the event's main bout, a title fight between Regian Eersel and Matous Kohout, was a replacement for a prospective main event that was cancelled -- a bout between Tong Anucha and Saempapecth Fairtex. Lion Fight spokespersons announced the changes to the main card more than a month ago. regrets any misunderstanding caused by our article.

Spotlight on Rising Fighters: Ariana Cruz

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 09/12/17

(Editorial Note: the purpose of this post is to launch a possible regular column on "up-and-coming" fighters in the Connecticut MMA scene.) 

Twenty-three-year-old Bristol resident Ariana Cruz currently works as a bail bonds agent. But she also has a hobby that she hopes to convert for at least a little while into a new career-- Mixed Martial Arts. She has trained for about one year in seven months in the sport and is currently honing her skills at Ascension Athletics in Bristol. 

She fought in two Muay Thai "smokers" in Connecticut and Rhode Island against opponents in the 125-pound range -- winning one bout and losing another. But although she is currently focused on the stand-up-phase of fighting, she said, she plans to pursue MMA rather than Muay Thai as her skills improve -- her trainers are gradually transitioning her skill set toward Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. She added that she definitely wants to try professional fighting before getting her bill enforcement license and pursuing a career in property management.

Former Reality Fighting Bantamweight champion Jeff Emil Haddad, who operates Ascension Athletics with the prolific professional  featherweight fighter Matt Bessette, confirmed that the school is definitely grooming Cruz for bigger things. Cruz, Haddad and Bessette discussed how they are preparing her for amateur grappling in NAGA and AMMO before eventually focusing on entrance into larger regional organizations such as Reality Fighting and CES.

"Matt and I believe Ariana has all the potential to be a world champion'" said Haddad. "She's fearless, intelligent, tough, aggressive, consistent, personable, athletic, and most of all -- she loves to fight! We are so happy to have her, and we are excited to be a part of her journey."

Cruz described Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson as two of her role models, adding that they both fight at 115.

"I will be fighting at that weight," she said.

She eventually wants to settle down and start a family, she said, but added she intends to pursue her hobby for now.

"I love to fight," she said,. "It's an awesome feeling."

A chat with Blair Tugman

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 08/22/17

We recently had a chat with North Haven's Blair Tugman (10-6) regarding his career and upcoming featherweight fight on the main card of Bellator 182 with A.J. McKee (8-0) on August 25 in Verona, New York. Look for more updates on the event later this week.

1. You are one of two Connecticut fighters on the main card for Bellator 182 (editor;s note: Brennan Ward of Waterford will also be on the card in a catchweight fight with Fernando Gonzalesz). Two other CT fighters (Matt Bessette and Carlos Camdelario) achieved national attention for their appearances on the UFC's contender series. In your estimation, is there a budding trend?
       Yes. Brennan Ward and I will be fighting on the Bellator 182 Main Card being aired live on Spike TV, August 25th. I think the whole New England area has a bunch of really talented fighters coming up.  There are a lot of great MMA promotions in New England that are doing an excellent job of building many local fighters and getting them nationally recognized.(Reality Fighting, CES, etc.)  I am confident that you will continue to see numerous New England competitors fighting on bigger stages in the near future.

2. Your wins have all come by
submission or decision. How do you anticipate a potential win over A. J. McKee this month?

I've envisioned the fight playing out a million different ways in the past right weeks of training.  I am prepared for any scenario.  Id love to finish a young undefeated super star like AJ via TKO and really make a statement.  

3. In what areas do you feel your skill set has particularly grown?

In the past six fights I feel I have becomea much more well rounded fighter.  Ive become much more comfortable with my striking and would like to continue to showcase those new skills in this fight.  I've woked tirelessly with my Coach Andrew Calandrelli on my boxing, kickboxing and blending them with my wrestling.  I have a great relationship with Andrew and truly trust in what he is showing me and working on with me.  We have added and/or taking out certain techniques because they did not fit with my style.  He has helped transform me from just a wrestler/grappler to a "True" mixed martial artist.

4. Who has been your most difficult opponent so far?

   I have not had many easy fights in my career.  All of my opponents have been tough in one way or another.  I feel Andre Soukhamthath is definitely one of the guys that I have fought that gave me my hardest challenge.  Andre is now in the UFC and was former CES champion.  

5. What is your next career step?

My sights are set on August 25th and AJ McKee right now.  I preach to my Team Tugman Wrestling Club members to always focus on the match infront of you.  Never look ahead or concern yourself with who you might face next.  I stick to that logic here.  If everything goes as planned August 25th, I will start thinking about what is next August 26th.  Id obviously want to fight again and on an even bigger stage.  

Tune in to Spike TV August 25th to see me scrap with AJ McKee!

AMMO Fight League June 24 event -- A Review

by Brian Woodman Jr. on 07/04/17

By Brian Woodman

(Editorial Note: we would like to thank photographer John Fulcher, whose pictures are available on our Facebook page.)

AMMO Fight League, a Glastonbury-based promotion best known for their mixed grappling tournaments, held their second professional main event on June 24. The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts hosted the event, which included three grappling matches and seven MMA bouts.

The main event was a 170-pound professional bout between Leon Davis of the Fighting Arts Academy and Jay Ellis of Team Knockout MMA. The other six fights were all amateur fights. 

Davis slammed Ellis to the ground early in the first round and essentially dominated the fight Ellis. Ellis tried to sink a guillotine and Davis responded by attempting a rear naked choke. Davis then mounted a ground-and-pound attack before ending the fight at about 2:30 with a rear naked choke.

The event opened with two grappling bouts. Jesse Kosakowski of CTMMA submitted Donnie Osier of Chris Manley MMA & Self Defense by armbar during the first bout. Chris Manley himself competed against Gabriel Souza in the second bout, which ended in a draw -- both competitors were wearing Gis in the latter bout.

The first MMA bout was a 145-pound fight between Donnie Francis of New England Submission Fighting and Kenny Champion of Golden Falcon Gym. The first round was heavy on strikes but ended with Francis attempting a single-leg take down and Champion attempting a choke. Champion, who threw lots of kicks during the fight, switched to volume punching and caught Francis in the second round, prompting the referee to wave off the fight at :33 -- Champion won by TKO.

The next fight was a 185-pound bout between Jason Francisco of Plus One Defense and Ray Johns of Team Thunder MMA. There was a brief referee stoppage when Francisco kneed Johns in the groin. Francisco wound up on top of Johns and dropped hammerfists on him, prompting the referee to wave the fight off at 2:32 in the first round.

Ali Zebian, also of FAA, slammed Omaree Alamo of the UFC Gym into the canvas early in their 145-pound bout and launched a ground-and-pound attack. They wound up on their feet and clinching as the first round ended, but Zebian bully-mounted Alamo during the second round and tried again -- he won the fight at 2:37 due to strikes.

Mitch Raposo of the Regiment Training Center earned an unanimous decision win over fellow 125-pounder David Durao of Underdog Mixed Martial Arts. Durao tried to stalk Raposo during the first round, which was marked by a lot of clinching and some light back-and-forth striking. The second round ended on the ground with Durao attempting to submit Raposo by arm triangle. Raposo wound up in Durao's guard and avoiding submissions during the third round, which ended with both fighters simultaneously attempting ankle locks.

The 145-pound bout between Stephen Pinard of Joe Manley MMA and Robby Grillo, who also fights out of Team Thunder, opened with both fighters swinging for the fences. Grillo brought the fight to the ground, but Pinard reversed and won by submission via guillotine choke at 2:31 in the first round.

The next bout was a grappling match between Rafael Formiga Barbosa and Daniel Tavares that ended in a draw. Both men wore Gis for the match.

Arsian Otchiyev, also of FAA, fought Swagath Pillai of Plus One Defense in the final amateur MMA bout. Otchiyev brought the fight to the ground twice during the first round with low-impact double-leg takedowns, ending the round on top of Pillai. The second round played along similar lines, with Otchiyev opening the round by using a single-leg takedown. But Pillai dominated the third round, landing a few solid shots and at one point flipping Otchiyev over his shoulder.
Pillai won bu unanimous decision.

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