By Brian Woodman Jr.
(Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville -- Jan. 5)
Johnny Lopez of Meriden defeated Johnny Campbell during the main event at Reality Fighting 102. The 130-pound professional bout capped an event that included four amateur title fights.
Campbell, who fights out of Plymouth, MA, looked dominant during the first round despite sustaining a kick to the groin that prompted a brief stoppage. He peppered Lopez with a variety of kicks before being caught and rolled to the ground, where he assumed the top position before taking his opponent‘s back. Lopez, who trains out of Underdog BJJ in Hartford, caught in a rear naked choke, before Campbell shifted to an attempted arm bar. Campbell ended the round attempting a rear naked choke.
The second round started with each fighter knocking the other down briefly with Campbell throwing lots of kicks and Lopez favoring punches. The round ended with both fighters in mid clinch.
Campbell took Lopez’s back early in the third round, but the latter wound up on top and throwing punches from the side. The fight generally stayed on the ground until the round end with Campbell appearing visibly exhausted.
The judges awarded an unanimous decision to Lopez.
The event opened with a welterweight amateur bout between Kurtis Froling of Griswold and Jeff Grant of Colchester. Froling, who trains out of Strikezone MMA, finished the fight with a rear naked choke submission at 1:56. No ground and pound was permitted during the amateur bouts, which last for three- rather than five-minute rounds.
Johnny Santos won a one-sided unanimous decision during the amateur middleweight bout that followed. He brought his opponent Dave Walsh to the ground a few times, ending the bout a dramatic ground-and-pound attack.
Nick Giuletti, who trains out of Calandrelli MMA, defeated Ken Rayside at an estimated 1:60 in the first round by TKO. Giuletti, who fights out of Wallingford, shot in quickly and ended the lightweight professional fight with ground-and-pound.
Jeremy Woolfolk of Groton quickly won his amateur heavyweight fight. Woolfolk, who also trains at Strikezone, staggered opponent Matt Tappero with a high side kick before picking him up and throwing him. He eventually won by tapout at :45 into the first round.
Billy Goff of Groton won his 170-pound professional fight with Armus Guyton at 3:53 into the second round by TKO. Guyton appeared strong during the first round, dominating the striking exchanges before Goff took his back near the end of the round. The second round went back and forth but Goff, who trains at Dexter Vale Tudo, mounted a ground-and-pound attack that prompted the referee to wave the fight off.
Tim Flores of the Fighting Arts Academy in Springfield, MA successfully defended his amateur flyweight title against Edwin Solis. The fighters energetically exchanged strikes during the first two rounds, with Flores throwing a few high kicks. But Flores brought the fight to the ground during a one-sided third round and secured the win by unanimous decision.
AJ Abate of East Haven defeated fellow featherweight Randy Francis of Griswold by a split decision that left the crowd booing. An initial error in the announcement may have prompted the crowd’s anger as well. It was a cautious amateur bout full of exchanges and clinching. Francis, who trains out of Strikezone, appeared to be the crowd favorite and one judge awarded him a 29-28 lead. But Abate, who trains out of Calandrelli MMA, dominated part of the ground action during the third round and earned the same score from the other judges.
Judges awarded Justin Valentin of New Britain a split decision after his professional 125-pound fight with Ron Arana. Valentin who trains out of Underdog BJJ, was on top of Arana and throwing punches during a first round that ended with the two exchanging knees. The two fighters exchanged punches early in the second round before Valentin brought the fight to the ground and dropped bombs. But Arana reversed his position and took Valentin’s back as the second round ended. Arana also dominated the third round on the ground and one judge awarded him 29-28 for the fight.
The other two judges scored the fight 29-28 and 30-27 in favor of Valentin.
Harris Bonfiglio, who trains out of Calandrelli MMA, submitted Andre Belcarris by rear naked choke at 2:16 into the first round during the professional bantamweight fight that followed.
Eddy George, who trains at the Fighting Arts Academy, defeated opponent Matt Bienia by TKO and took his amateur lightweight title. Certain observers muttered that it appeared to be an early stoppage.
Miguel Cuevas, who trains with Team Link, worked hard to win an amateur featherweight title fight with Jordan Riley of Cromwell. The fight went back and forth until Cuevas launched a ground-and-pound attack that ended the fight at 1:42 in the third round.
(Editor’s note -- we will post grappling results for the evening on our blog).