By Brian Woodman Jr. and Nicola Faraone
(Editor’s note: Fighter statistics based on information provided by NAGA; amateur bouts fought during event included in wins and losses for this article).
Reality Fighting’s lightweight championship belt found a new home around the waist of Amsterdam, New York’s Tommy Marcellino (7-2) on June 6 during the main event at the Mohegan Sun arena in Uncasville. It was one of 10 bouts held that evening after an estimated-six others were dropped from the card that was originally scheduled.
Joe Proctor, who was the last lightweight champion for the Marlborough-based MMA organization, vacated the position and is currently fighting with the UFC.
Marcellino, who trains at Team Stryker, defeated Jeremy Ross (6-6) of Enfield.
Ross, who trains at Gladiator BJJ, was originally scheduled to fight Andrew Calandrelli.
Marcellino ended the first round on a dominant note. Although Ross scored a takedown early and nearly ended the fight with a guillotine choke, Marcellino escaped and gained control while landing short elbows. Marcellino finished by bloodying Ross and nearly prompting the referee to end the fight.
During the second round, the fighters entered a little more slowly. Although Marcellino controlled the action from the top earlier in the round and again later, Ross reversed his position at one point and went for another guillotine choke.
Marcellino shot for a takedown early in the third round but the referee stood the fighters back with 1:42 left. Ross scored another takedown, but Marcellino reversed it.
Ross stuffed two takedowns by Marcellino in the fourth round and attempted another guillotine choke. Marcellino wound up on top again and tried landing strikes against Ross.
Ross tried to finish the fight in the fifth round by knocking out Marcellino and later attempting another submission.
The event opened with a well-received amateur bout at 145 pounds between Dan Dubuque (5-1) of Waterbury and Jose Rivera (1-2) of Hartford. Rivera, who trains at Kipp’s Basement, lost a decision to Dubuque despite the first two close, energetic rounds of the fight.
Both fighters clinched and exchanged a variety of strikes in the first two rounds, with each scoring a takedown. Dubuque, who trains at DCNU, clearly had the advantage in the third round.
Dubuque entered Rivera’s open guard in the final round, dropping knees on him at one point. He eventually took Rivera’s back and attempted to sink a rear naked choke as the fight ended.
During the second fight, which was a professional bout at 160 pounds, Jarrid Heon (1-0) of Plainfield defeated Mike Mangan (0-1) of Derby by TKO. Mangan, who trains at Team Thunder, fought from the bottom with Heon in his half guard. The referee waved the fight off with 55 seconds left in the first round after Heon dropped blows on Mangan from the top.
Heon, who trains at Strikezone, said he originally planned to keep it a standing fight but changed his mind after sinking underhooks into Mangan.
Andy Aiello (2-1) of Team Aggression knocked out Dan Cormier (3-4) of Tri-Force MMA during a 125-pound fight. Aiello credited an elbow-and-uppercut combination with his victory in the first round with about two minutes left.
The referee waved off an amateur 145-pound fight between BJ Prak (0-1) of Danbury and Mike Placentini (1-2) of Middletown with one second left in the first round. Placentini secured an arm bar but Prak, who trains at Harambee Boxing, refused to submit and appeared to openly protest following the stoppage.
“I thought he was going to tap,” said Placentini, who trains at Kipp’s Basement. “I would have.”
During another amateur fight, which was at 170 pounds, Kelsey Parker (1-0) of Waterbury submitted Andrew Ouellette (0-1) using a D’arce choke in about a minute-and-a-half into the first round. Parker trains at Team Thunder and Ouellet trains at Dynamic Training Systems.
During the next professional bout, which was held at 135 pounds, Johnny Lopez (3-3) of Underdog BJJ in Hartford submitted Josh Baker (1-1), who trains at the Inferno Training Center, using a knee bar with about two minutes left in the first round. Baker, who is from Jackson, New Jersey, received medical attention in the cage following the bout.
Chris Simmons (7-4) of Groton and Manny Torres (2-1) of Hartford opened their 155-pound bout with an energetic striking exchange. But Simmons, who trains at Strikezone, knocked out Torres in about 40 seconds. Torres, who trains at Kipp’s Basement, sustained about three knees to the face during the fight.
Andria Wawro (3-1), who trains at Renzo Gracie Philly in Philadelphia, knocked down Jessy Miele (0-1) of Waterbury with an overhand shot during a 145-pound bout. But Miele, who trains at IMBCT, recovered immediately and Wawro went immediately for her back. Wawro secured a rear naked choke, ending the fight in about 20 seconds.
Charles Lee (2-2), who trains at Xtreme Couture, won a decision against Addison O’Neil (1-2) of East Hartford during a 160-pound bout. Lee, who is from Las Vegas, expressed disappointment that he did not finish the fight but credited the pace of his training for the win.
“Grind, grind, grind, pound, pound, pound,” said Lee. “It’s what we do all day.”
O’Neil, who trains at DCNU, scored a takedown in the first and wound up on the bottom with Lee in his closed guard. Lee cross-faced O’Neil and dropped bombs on him while trying to squirm from his guard.
During the second round, the action included a striking exchange with knees. O’Neil scored a takedown toward the end of the round.
Both fighters were visibly tired during the third round. Lee eventually wound up on top of O’Neil and in his guard before the referee stood both fighters up with about 40 seconds left. Lee raised his hands above his head in apparent defiance as O’Neil stalked him before the round ended on a civil note.