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Haddad wins at Mohegan Sun
June 19 event included 13 fights

Manny Millan and Johnny Lopez
By Brian Woodman Jr.

      Former Reality Fighting Bantamweight Champion Jeff Emil Haddad (5-0) of Hartford’s Underdog BJJ made a spectacular comeback on June 19 after more than two years away from the cage due to medical problems. Despite the blood streaming from his nose, it was hand that the referee held up that evening at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville after he punched his way to a split decision at Reality Fighting‘s latest event. 
      His opponent, Walter Smith Cotito (3-2) of Team Link, was cordial to Haddad but was openly upset with the judges’ decision. The fast-paced main event, which the referee briefly stopped about three minutes into the second after Haddad sustained an accidental shot to the crotch, included a lot of crowd-pleasing stand-up that included lots of kicks thrown by Cotito and ended an event that included 13 fights.
      One of the events marked a change of pace. Earlier in the card, there was a one-round exhibition match that was only five minutes and limited to grappling. During the bout, amateur Curtis Watkins secured a hip throw and eventually submitted professional Jon Marcheterre of Team Strikezone with an arm bar. Reality Fighting spokespersons stated the company held the bout following cancellations on the card.
      Two bouts earlier, Johnny Lopez (1-1) of Underdog BJJ defeated Renzo Gracie student Manny Millan (1-3) in another Bantamweight bout that Reality Fighting owner Kipp Kollar called “the best fight of the evening” at that point. Both opponents went back and forth during the bout, which was also briefly stopped due to a crotch shot. Millan, who received the shot, did well during the third round when he got on top of Lopez and dropped bombs, although Lopez got on his fight and attempted an almost-frenzied stand-up attack as the round ended. Millan looked surprised at the outcome and some audience members loudly expressed their displeasure with the decision.

Manny Millan, left, takes a shot at Johnny Lopez at Reality Fighting's latest event on June 19 at Mohegan Sun.
Photo by Nicola Faraone
   The event opened with an amateur 155-pound bout between Austin Schall of Dexter Vale Tudo and Nick Marouski. Marouski brought Schall down during each round. Schall made submission attempts throughout the fight, attempting an arm bar and a leg triangle in quick succession during the second round and securing a guillotine near the end of the third. Marouski won by unanimous decision.
   Jose Rivera (1-0) of Thornton Martial Arts submitted Chris Violette of Team Burgess at the 2:30 mark during the second round of their 145-pound amateur bout. Rivera attempted a couple of submissions during the first round before securing a D’arce choke in the second. He then secured a guillotine choke and the win.
   Kemran Lachinov of Team Link sustained incredible punishment during the first two rounds of his 170-pound professional fight with Corey Menafra of Kurt Pelligrino MMA before he won the bout. Lachinov took a flying knee to the chin in the second but appeared unfazed. The referee later waved he fight off with 23 seconds left in the round and Lachinov won by TKO.
   Marissa “the Spider Money” Messer Belenchia won an unanimous decision over Destiny “the Cage Cutie” Quinones in a 115-pound amateur bout. New Yorker Quinones trains out of Kai Next Level MMA and Messer-Belenchia of New Haven trains at Ultimate MMA.
   The next fight was a amateur bout that ended with 11 seconds left in the first round after Joe Albani of CT United/Soul Fighters dropped bombs on Mike Placentini of Kipp’s Basement and the referee stopped the fight. Placentini attempted to secure a foot lock but failed, leaving him vulnerable to attack and allowing Albani to secure a TKO.
   Dan Dubuque of DCNU earned an unanimous decision over Phil Doig following an energetic 145-pound professional fight that drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd. Dubuque stuffed several takedown attempts by Doig and generally dominated the stand-up portions of the bout.
   Welterweight Kevin Horowitz (3-0) earned an unanimous decision after his professional bout with Tyler Rose (3-1). Rose, who trains at Ultimate MMA, dominated the first round but Horowitz of Maxum BJJ turned he fight around in the middle of the second round. During he bout, two different camps of fans chanted the names of both fighters.
   The next fight, a 146-pound amateur bout, ended with a knockout at 25 seconds into the fight. McLynn Cadiente of CT United/Soul Fighters landed a right-handed shot against Harris Bonfiglio of Carlson Gracie CT and followed it up with volume punching before winning the fight.
   Jesse Miele (3-0) of IMBCT/Kore CT won her 140-pound professional fight by TKO. She defeated Janice Meyer (0-2) of Cortland MMA after securing a bully mount and dropping bombs that caused he referee to wave the fight off at about three minutes into the first round.
   The last bout before the main event featured Jason Ward (4-2) of Westchester MMA and Tim Caron (3-0) of Team Burgess in a cautiously-paced fight that end in the third round at the 3:07 mark. Caron threw a kick followed by a straight right hand that ended the fight by TKO.

(Editor’s note: complete information for certain fighters was not available at the time of the event).