Saturday, December 17, 2016

Pinnacle FC 15
Lawrenceville Teamster’s Temple 12/17/16

8 Fights on tap tonight for this Pinnacle Event. 
Amateur Bouts

In the Heavyweight Division (220 lb catchweight)
Josh Moyer(Debut)  VS Nick Hewitt
Round 1- Hewitt moves in trying to find his range.  Hewitt is starting to land as Moyer moves back to the catch.  Moyer throws a low kick and  Hewitt catches it and takes him down.  Hewitt is on top landing heavy rights to the body.  To end the round, Hewitt is landing a lot of body shots.
10-9 Hewitt

Round 2- Hewitt opens up with two leg kicks.  Both fighters are trying to pick their shots.  Hewitt lands a right hand over the top.  Hewitt is the aggressor, moves in with a right/left.  Hewitt is now opening up with 3 right hands that land as the round ends. 
10-9 Hewitt

Round 3-Hewitt ducks a right from Moyer and counters.  The pace has slowed as again they are waiting to throw.  Moyer is opening up, but Hewitt is landing more shots and counter punching.  Moyer is looking tired, and Hewitt is picking his shots. 
10-9 Hewitt

Official Result-  All three score it 30-27 for Nick Hewitt

Malik Mamood (Spelling) VS Ross Hollub
Round 1-  Mamood is moving in, Hollub is showing good movement and dodging shots from Mamood.  Hollub wraps up a single leg and takes Mamood down.  As Mamood gets up, Hollub lands a knee to the body.  Mamood is moving in now with a nice right, as Hollub wraps him up and lands a knee to the cup.  After a return to action.  An uppercut drops Hollub, then Mamood lands another right that drops him again as the round ends, stealing the round.
10-9 Mamood


Round 2-  Mamood is moving in, throwing big shots, but not landing.  Mamood again moves in with a right that drops Hollub.  Hollup wraps him up and is trying to land knees to the body.  Hollub is now moving forward, and hit Mamood with a straight left. 
10-9 Mamood

Round 3- Hollub lands a left jab, he’s circling to the right and looking to strike.  Mamood is throwing big shots, but not landing.  Hollub wraps him up against the cage, as Mamood moves away, Hollub attempts a big right that Mamood slips and takes him down.  Hollub gets up, but Mamood again takes him down.  The round ends.
10-9 Hollub

Official Result-  30-26 on two judges cards, 29-28 on the third, for Malik Mamood. 

Mehgan Williams VS Emme Webber
Round 1-  Webber moves in and picks up Williams for a slam.  Webber on top, but Williams is staying active on the bottom.  Webber is moving to a north/south choke position.  Webber is landing some knees to the body and punches as the round ends.
10-9 Webber

Round 2- Webber throws a kick, and lands a judo takedown, Webber again on top.  Williams locks in a triangle from the bottom, but Webber is able to situp and avoid the submission.  Williams goes for an armbar, but Webber again shakes off the attempt.
10-9 Webber

Round 3- Webber again drops down for a takedown.  As Williams is trying to get up, Webber is landing boy shots.  Webber drags her down and takes side control.  As Williams attempts to escape, Webber get full mount.  She is landing body shots as the round ends. 
10-9 Webber

Official Result-  All 3 judges score it 30-27 for the winner Emme Webber.

Amateur Main Event
Mike Walters VS Sean Felton
Round 1-  Walters opens with some strikes.  He drops down for a takedown that Felton stuffs.  Felton lands a whizzer and takes Walters down.  From his back, Walters is working, but eats a few hammer fists from Felton.  Walters throws his hips up for an armbar, but Felton slips thru and regains top control.  Felton postures up and lands some shots as the round ends.
10-9 Felton

Round 2-  Felton is landing leg kicks, Walters catches a kick and drops for a takedown attempt.  Felton again twists him down, landing on top.  Walters is working for an arm bar from the bottom as Felton takes the back.  Walters attempts a kimura, but Felton escapes.  They are stood up, Walters lands a kick as Felton lands a big right.  Walters drops in for a double leg, that Felton counters as the round ends.
10-9 Felton

Round 3-  Walters opens up with more striking, but Felton lands a low blow.  Walters lands a big right after the action resumes.  He takes Felton down, and has a guillotine locked in, that Felton escapes.  Felton remains on top, but isn’t active, the ref stands them up.  Walters is moving in now, lands a right and grabs the guillotine, somehow Felton is able to remain calm and slip out.  Felton is riding out the round on top. 
10-9 Walters

Official Result-  2 judges score it 30-27, one judge scores it 29-28 for your winner Sean Felton over Mike Walters

Pro Bouts

1st bout missed due to link not refreshing…..Results below
Official Result-  Winner John Antonitis via Rear Naked Choke at 2:46 of round 3.  In his pro debut.  

Jose Martinez VS James Pefiffer
Round 1-  Pefiffer opens up with a head kick, and wraps up Martinez.  Pefiffer has him against the fence and is working for a takedown.  Martinez spins off and throws a head kick.  Pefiffer again wraps up Martinez against the cage.  Martinez is landing knees to the body, and trying  to throw elbows off of the cage.  The ref separates them, Pefiffer moves in again and drops for a takedown that Martinez is defending.  The ref again separates them, Martinez throws an elbow as the round ends.
10-9 Pefiffer

Round 2-  Pefiffer rushes in and lands a right as he wraps up Martinez.  After a minute, the ref separates them, Pefiffer moves in again and wraps up Martinez against the cage.  Martinez posts up and throws an elbow.  Also lands a nice knee as Pefiffer’s nose is now bleeding.  Pefiffer finally gets the takedown.  Martinez on the bottom is working for a Kimura grip.  He wraps up the Kimura and it’s deep, somehow he is able to escape as it looks like the ref is about to stop it. 
10-9 Pefiffer

Round 3-  Martinez land a right jab as Pefiffer moves in for a takedown.  Again Pefiffer has Martinez pressed against the cage.  As Martinez tries to separate, he throws a knee.  The ref separates them again.  Martinez is letting his hands go now, but Pefiffer presses him into the cage again.  Martinez again grabs a Kimura and spins it really deep, but Pefiffer somehow spins out.  He looks in pain, but Martinez is now on top and landing GNP.  Pefiffer tuns his back and Martinez takes his back.  As he tries the rear naked choke as it goes the distance. 
10-9 Martinez

Official Result-  29-28 Martinez, 29-28 Pefiffer, 29-28 for the Winner Jose Martinez. 

Co-Main Event
Solon Staley VS Dominic Mazzotta

Round 1-  Both fighters are feeling each other out.  Almost 1 minute in until Mazzotta throws a leg kick.  Staley throws a big right and misses.  Mazzotta ducks a big Staley punch and grabs his waist and grabs an ankle pick for the takedown.  Mazzotta on top throws an elbow and GNP.  He gets up and lands a hard elbow.  Mazzotta is looking to take his back.  He takes the back and has a body triangle.  Staley is protecting well, but Dom transisitons to an arm bar.  He again takes his back and locks in an arm bar as the round ends.
10-9 Mazzotta
Round 2-  Staley moves in and Mazzotta catches him with a counter elbow.  Mazzotta again lands a right.  Staley moves in, but isn’t landing.  Mazzotta catches a kick and gets the takedown.  Staley has Mazzotta’s neck from the bottom, but he isn’t in danger.  The ref stands them up.  Dom again moves in, lands a right and left and gets another takedown.  Staley lands a knee to the head while they are downed.  The ref stands them up.  And takes a break.  One point taken away from Staley.  Staley is limping and Mazzotta immediately targets the ankle.  Mazzotta again gets a takedown.  He lands in side control, then moves to full mount.  Staley gives up his back and Mazzotta attempts the Rear Naked Choke. 
10-8 Mazzotta (Due to point deduction)

Round 3-  Mazzotta targeting the lead injured leg, and again takes down Staley.  Mazzotta takes his back and locks in a body triangle.  He’s looking to sink in and finish a rear naked choke. After not locking it up, Staley is able to get up, He slips and Mazzotta again takes his back and is working for a submission.  Staley turns into the guard of Mazzotta, and Mazzotta grabs a leg to spin back on top.  He lands a  big elbow.  As the round ends, Mazzotta is on top and throwing big shots and a knee to end the round
10-9 Mazzotta

Official Result-  All three judges score it 30-26 for Dominic Mazzotta, #andstil PFC Featherweight Champ over Solon Staley.

Main Event
Antonio Castillo Jr. VS Mark Cherico

Round 1-  Castillo drops Cherico early with a right/left combo.  Cherico recovers and wraps up Castillo for a takedown, as Castillo’s ankle breaks.   Chip Snider ends the fight at :59 of round one.  Unfortunate break for Castillo. 

Official Result-  TKO via injury and winner Mark Cherico, round 1, no official time given. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This Saturday night “Iron City” Mike Wilkins fights for CFFC against Mike Pope for the Vacant Lightweight title.  Back in May the CFFC needed a short notice replacement for a card that aired on CBS sports.  Wilkins not only filled in, he won.   He signed a 3 fight contract with them and fought again in Atlantic City in August for the #1 contender spot and a shot at the 155 title.  He won again and earned his spot in the Co-Main event on Saturday.  For those unfamiliar with the CFFC (Cage Fury Fighting Championship), they are one of the largest East Coast Regional promotions out there and a direct feeder to the UFC. 

Wilkin’s opponent, Mike Pope (Popezilla) has fought for the CFFC twice, going 1-1.  His overall record is 6-2 and he’s coming off a win against Richard Gates in October for the PA Cage Fight title.  Local fans remember Pope from his title fight in Gladiators of the Cage against Joey Holt.  Wilkins was in attendance that night and said “I was impressed with his relentless takedown arsenal, he stayed on Joey the whole night and was able to get him down a few times.”  Ironically, Wilkins is also known for his relentless attacking, moving forward style.  I asked him how two very similar styled fighters would fair.  Wilkins said, “Pope was a world champion in no gi as a blue belt a few years back.  Most recently, I beat a brown belt world champion.”  “If it goes to the ground my top pressure is a really bad time.”  I asked if the height advantage (Pope 5 6” to Wilkins 5 11”) helps Pope with his shoots and takedowns or hurts him when shooting in.  Wilkins said, “I don’t only have leg attacks, I’m good upper body in the clinch, with body locks and throws.  The height gives me a leverage advantage in that spot.”  He noted that he hasn’t seen much defensive wrestling from Pope because he’s always on the attack, but said, “If you’re good at offensive wrestling, you’re also most likely good at defensive wrestling.”  Which lead me to ask, “If both of your styles are similar, do you stick with what you normally do, or alter your game plan?”  Wilkins said, “I stick to what I do and know that I need to be a little bit better.”   

The other impressive item to note in reference to this fight…the CFFC has had 5 lightweight champions since they’ve been in existence, and all 5 went on to the UFC.  Not only did they make it there, the first 155 CFFC champ was Jim Miller.  Others include Charlie Brenneman and Paul Felder (Local fans saw him fight for Pinnacle FC).  I asked if this fact puts any undue stress on him to perform well, Wilkins said, “That’s one of the reasons why I came to the CFFC to begin with.  There is no extra pressure.  You can let it eat at you or be thankful that you have the shot.  I’m thankful that I’ve done enough to get this close.  You work hard for these types of moments.” 

The same night, two of Wilkins main training partners from the “Yinzer Scrap Pack” will be in action for Pinnacle FC, Mark Cherico and Dominic Mazzotta.  Wilkins said, “We are all peaking at the same time, me, Dom, and Mark.  It’s great to have these guys to work with and push each other, but at the same time, it’s not.  Normally in Dom’s camp, I mimic his opponent for the last two weeks or he’ll do the same for me.  This time we can’t do that.”  He did mention that his coach and training partner Warren Stout has worked to fill the void. 

Wilkins expects to have 70-75 #wilkinsarmy people in attendance on Saturday night.  The fights start at 6pm and he’s the 11th fight of the night.  He said he’ll probably fight around 9:30 or so.  We at Steel Nation Magazine and the entire MMA Community in Pittsburgh wish him well.  Bring another title back to the City of Champions, War Wilkins! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Iron City Muay Thai 1 Preview

Saturday November 5th at the Ross Township Community Center
Weigh ins at 4pm Saturday, doors open at 6, Bell Time 7pm
Please note the sponsors and support them!

   This Saturday Western PA will experience a live combat experience that it hasn't been seen in Pittsburgh in over 10 years.  Muay Thai is back and I had the chance to speak with the Promoter Andy Anderson about the event.   The first thing that I realized while talking to Andy is that he is very excited for this event, the first such event that he's been in charge of.  For most casual MMA fans, they want to see the punches and kicks that stand up provides.  SOME, find the grappling and Jiu Jitsu chess matches that seasoned MMA fans love, boring.  If you're a fan of the stand up game, Muay Thai is for you.  This all Amateur show is sanctioned by Greg Sirb and his commission.  I asked Andy, "What are the amateur rules for Muay Thai, what can the fans expect?"  He said, "You can't knee or elbow to the head, BUT head kicks are allowed.  They have 3, 2 minute rounds, so the action will be fast and furious.  There are a lot of first time fighters on this card and their adrenaline will be flowing and you know they'll come out swinging."  I asked, "Why put on a Muay Thai fight?"  Andy said, "It really is an up and coming skill set.  In PA, when you put on an MMA show, it can't be all amateur, you need a minimum of 3 pro fights.  This is different, they'll let us do an all ammy show.  Also with this being the first one, our budget isn't incredibly huge, so this helps out also."  Even though most know Anderson from Stout Training, and he will admit that they are affiliated, he insists, this isn't to showcase the Stout fighters.  This is billed as Pittsburgh vs Out of towners.  They have 9 scheduled bouts, and the only one with "local" ties is the main event.  More on that after the bout card:


   The Main event features Vince Meng VS Ethan Hayes.  At various times in the past I've mentioned how each of these guys are huge up and coming talents on the local scene.  Multiple people from Stout Training have told me that Meng is a beast and his striking on the local MMA scene proves as much.  Hayes simply put, is a fighter.  I had the pleasure of watching him train at Uniontown Fight Club and interviewing him in the past and  Hayes told me, "I don't know how I do it, I just win."  He's the type of guy that can dole out punishment, and accept punishment without backing down.  This is the type of fight that pays for the price of your ticket.  Anderson said, "These guys are so good, I look for them both to go Pro very soon.  I also look for them to probably fight again when they are both pro."  This type of fight is why Pittsburgh is on the map.  
   Anderson said that this process has been crazy, working multiple 16 hour days in the week leading up to the fight.  He said his favorite part is the match ups and helping out the fighters.  I asked, "What will make you stand out as a promoter."  He said, "the treatment of the fighters.  We plan to do more events in the future, and also setup some "Smokers" to get some of the local guys that train to actually fight in front of live people."  It's clear, Anderson's focus is squarely set on growing Muay Thai in Pittsburgh, and getting more and more people to fight.  He said ticket sales are going well, and the pre-sell ends on Friday, 30.00 for General Admission and 60.00 for a table seat.  They will jump to 40.00 at the door and 70.00 for a table seat.  Another staple of the local combat scene, Mr. Dan Bogan, has been tabbed to do the ring announcing.  For those that don't know, Dan, He may or may not throw out a "WOOOOO!!!" from time to time.  The fights will be videoed and posted online after the event, for those of you that can't attend.  We at Steel Nation wish Andy Anderson and his crew the best and look forward to this growing fight discipline.  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Pinnacle FC 14- Syria Shriners Cheswick PA

   On this holiday weekend, Pinnacle returns with their 14th installment.  Originally slated for 8 fights, 5 amateur and 3 pro, one amateur fight was scratched.  Left with 4 Ammy (3 after Gregg Rudolph's opponent's GPS broke...I mean there's no other explanation) and 3 Pro bouts, the packed house won’t be disappointed.

Amateur Bouts:

Dakota Lemaster  (Debut) VS Tylor Gregg (1-0)
Rd 1-  Lemaster swings and misses, Gregg wraps him up and drives him into the fence and spins Lemaster down.  He takes full mount, then attempts an arm bar that Lemaster defends.  Lemaster is now on top and Gregg Is able to spin out as the round ends.
10-9 Tylor Gregg

Rd 2-  Lemaster again swings and misses, Gregg counters w/ a right hook that lands.  Gregg is counter punching each time Lemaster misses and he’s staggered.  Gregg connects w/ a right hook against the fence that drops Lemaster to end the fight.

Result:  Tylor Gregg TKO’s Dakota Lemaster at :38 of round 2. 

Ross Hollub (Debut) VS Ryan Blankenship (1-2)
Rd 1- Both guys start by trying to take the center and find their range.  Hollub ties him up against the cage and drops for a single leg and drags Blakenship down.  Blankenship tries for a Guillotine from the bottom, but Hollub takes top and ends the round hitting the body and positioning for an arm bar, but is unable to secure it as the round ends.
10-9 Hollub

Rd 2-  Hollub starts by throwing jabs and drops to a body shot.  Blankenship wraps him up but Hollub is able to take him down and presses him into the fence.  Hollub is working elbows to the body while grinding his head into his face. 
10-9 Hollub

Rd 3-  Hollub throws a right jab that Blankenship slips.  They tie up and Hollub again grabs a single and takes him down.  Hollub is punishing the body and moves to take his back.  Blankenship fights off a rear naked choke for the last minute of the round.
10-9 Hollub

Result:  Winner by Unanimous decision, Ross Hollub, All three judges score it 30-27

155- Lightweight Amateur Title
Mike Walters VS Anthony Romero
Rd 1-  Walters takes the center and throws a leg kick and right.  Romero is countering and landing.  They back off and as Walters moves in, Romero lands a solid left hook.  Romero presses Walters against the fence, working knees to the body.  They separate, Romero is content to jab, then throw his left cross.  After another one lands, Walters wraps him up to end the round against the fence.
10-9 Romero

Rd 2-  Walters moves in and throws as Romero slips a punch, grabs a leg and takes Walters down.  Romero is in his guard and Walters is content to work from the bottom.  Romero gets up, then jumps back on top w/ a big right.  Off and lets They stand back up, Romero attempts a spinning back fist that Walters ducks and he drives Romero into the fence for a takedown.  Romero is on top but Walters is active from the bottom. 
10-9 Romero- close round, could go either way

Rd 3-  Walters moves in and shoots in but Romero defends, Walters pulls guard against the fence and Romero postures up and lands another right.  Romero again postures up and lands a left, right combo.  Walters is pressed against the fence, Romero moves off the fence and lets him up.  Romero lands a left hook that drops Walters.  Romero jumps on top, but Walters wraps him up and recovers as the round ends.
10-9 Romero

Result-  And New PFC Amateur Lightweight champion, Anthony Romero, Unanimous decision, all 3 judges score it 30-27. 

Gregg Rudolph VS Shadi Gharfeh
Rd 1-  No show by Gharfeh

Rd 2-  No show by Gharfeh

Rd 3-  No show by Gharfeh

Result:  Disappointed Lumberjack fans that took out their frustration on many Fireball shots after the fight.  

Professional Bouts

Devonte Smith VS Xavier Nash
Rd 1-  Nash throws a leg kick, moves in and shoots for a double leg as Smith defends.  Nash is able to drag him down and has him into  seated against the fence. Smith gets up but Nash has a body lock and drags him down again.  Smith gets up and Nash has him pressed against the fence, Smith is defending and gets up.  Smith lands a right, but Nash moves is as Smith throws a head kick that is blocked by Nash.  Nash moves in again to press Smith against the fence and takes him down.  Smith gets up Nash is still pressing against the fence.  They separate, Smith lands a straight right then another head kick that is checked. 
10-9 Nash

Rd 2-  Nash moves in and throws two head kicks that miss.  Nash drives Smith into the cage and works to secure a double leg takedown.  He takes Smith down, but Smith gets up.  Nash lifts him up and slams him.  Nash is pressing him into the cage.  Smith separates and lands a right then a kick, Nash drops, He survives the flurry and when trying to escape, Smith takes his back.  Nash is defending well from the bottom.  And avoids the choke and rolls out as the round ends. 
10-9 Smith
Rd 3-  Nash leads with two missed body kicks.  Smith lands two right jabs and Nash shoots in for a leg, he rolls thru as Smith jumps on top and has him crumbled up in the corner, reigning down hammer fists.  Nash isn’t defending and the rep calls the fight. 

Result:  Devonte Smith TKO’s Xavier Nash at :50 of round 3.  Amazing action, fight of the night thus far. 

Mark Cherico VS D’Juan Owens
Rd 1-  Cherico opens throwing low leg kicks.  Both guys are throwing and both are landing, but each are countering.  Cherico throws a right and drops for a double leg.  He lifts him up and takes him down.  Owens gets up, Cherico again drives him into the cage and lifts and drops him.  Cherico is on top and gets one leg out.  He’s working for an arm in choke, but Owens is doing a good job of not letting Cherico out of his guard.  Cherico posts up and drives Owen’s head into the fence as the round ends.
10-9 Cherico

Rd 2-  Cherico takes the center, He lands a left jab and wraps up Owens against the fence.  They separate, Owen throws a leg kick and moves in to tie up Cherico on the fence.  Cherico lifts him and slams him.  Cherico is posturing up, and landing shots to Owens head.  Cherico is keeping pressure on Owens, who isn’t trying to get up.  Cherico gets side control and moves to full mount.  Owen bucks out and tries to get on top, but Cherico drives him into the cage.  Staying heavy on top, dropping elbows. 
10-9 Cherico

Rd 3-  Owen comes out winging big shots.  Cherico defends and wraps up Owen and takes him down.  Cherico has him pressed against the cage and Owen isn’t attempting to get up.  Cherico is keeping heavy pressure and smothering Owens.  Cherico lets Owen up.  Owen is again throwing wild shots.  Cherico drives in for a double, drops and picks a leg for a takedown.  Cherico again isn’t letting Owen move, after a stalemate, the ref stands them up w/ 30 seconds to go.  Cherico dodges some big shots as the round ends.
10-9 Cherico

Result:  Winner by Unanimous decsision, Mark Cherico, all 3 judges score it 30-27. 

Main Event
Dominic Mazzotta VS Keith Richardson
Rd 1- Richardson moves in and Mazzotta wraps him up on the fence and slams him.  Mazzotta is working to avoid a triangle or arm bar.  He is working for side control and has one leg out.  He gets side control, then full mount.  Richardson bucks him off, but Dom is still landing punches and left elbows.  Richardson tries to shrimp out and scrambles well to avoid Mazzotta taking his back.  Richardson is now cut over his left eye.  They stand up and Mazzotta wraps up in a guillotine position landing a knee.  Richardson gets out and tries to throw a right/left combo, Mazzotta dodges them and again wraps him up.
10-9 Mazzotta

Rd 2-  Richardson opes w/ a missed head kick.  They circle and Mazzotta lands a low leg kick and circles out.  Mazzatta moves in, throwing straight kicks and side kicks.  Mazzotta spins and Richardson pushes him against the cage.  Dom lands a tight elbow, when Richardson ducks, Mazzotta wraps up a tight guillotine, drops down and Richardson goes to sleep. 

Result:  Mazzotta wins via Guillotine submission at 2:23 of round 2. 

Thoughts on the night:  The next generation of Cherico Martial Arts fighters are on their way.  We know about Justin Patton, Chaka add Ross Hollub to that list.  For a debut fight, he looked calm and listened to his corner to pick up the W.  He'll be a fun one to keep an eye on moving forward.  

Mark Cherico is back.  For the diehard Pittsburgh MMA fans, this is huge news.  He looked good, strong, and dominated on the ground.  It was later revealed that he broke his hand early in the fight, most likely leading to his dominate ground game.  Once healed, he'll be back and who isn't excited about that? 

FOTN:  Devonte Smith VS Xavier Nash-  with Nash winning round 1, Smith winning round 2, it was even heading into the 3rd.  What impressed me about Smith is that when there was an opportunity, he took it and won.  At the professional level, sometimes that's all it takes.  But you also have to know how to take advantage of those times.  Smith's power has never been in question.  He weathered the storm and when he landed a shot that dropped Nash, he capitalized.  Smith has a bright future, and he'll only get better.  That's scary for future opponents.  

Pittsburgh MMA fans were thrilled to see Mazzotta pull out another spectacular win.  As the fight went on, you could tell that Richardson gave all he had and it just wasn't enough against a guy like Mazzotta.  When Dom cut him late in the first round, his standing elbow in the second round to the same eyebrow eventually lead to the finish.  Again, one flinch and duck by Richardson was all it took for Dom to sink in the Guillotine and end it.  Whether or not Dom makes it to the UFC next or not, the safe money says this is the last time we'll see him in Pittsburgh.  He's on CFFC's radar and hopefully even bigger shows.  I cringe at times when I hear fans chant UFC, UFC, UFC....everyone knows that's the goal....and not having it happen as quickly as you'd like has to be tough.  But Dom's best attribute that i've witnessed is his patience.  He doesn't bitch that he's not there yet, he continues to train and improve, and win.  There is nothing more he can do till that call comes, and it will come.  Congrats on another Honey Badger win.  

A special thank you to Matt Leyshock and Pinnacle for their continued hospitality.  Last night I was fortunate to have my son with me ringside thanks to Matt. We both had a great time and made a great memory.  Thanks!  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Gladiators of the Cage 21 Recap and Random Thoughts
By:  Jim Aujay- Senior Writer, Steel Nation Magazine

   On a busy sports night in Pittsburgh, GOTC returned to Stage AE w/ a stacked card featuring 8 pro bouts.  At least 3 or 4 of these fights could have been main event matches for other promotions, that’s how good this one was.  And folks, this card lived up to the hype as we saw (unofficially) the most KO’s in any GOTC event to date.  On to the action:
(Check out all the action with a full replay available at:  

Amateur Bouts:

1.       Vince Meng (“The Meng  Dynasty) VS Dylan Youngblood
   Meng controlled the action w/ a steady barrage of kicks and right/left combos.  Youngblood wraps up Meng against the fence to neutralize his striking and Meng drags Youngblood down.  Youngblood is working the body on the ground, but Meng is able to get up and secure a takedown himself as round one ends.
   Round 2 sees Youngblood pushing the action w/ a kick, but Meng drops him w/ a straight right.  Meng is landing kicks to the body and ends the round w/ a hard leg kick to the thigh

   Round 3, Meng again is working his leg kicks as Youngblood tries to wrap him up and take him down but is unable to.  They jockey for position against the fence and as they separate, Meng continues his low leg kicks to end the round. 

Result-  Unanimous Decision for Meng (2 judges scored it 30-27, 1 judge scored it 29-28)

2.        Amateur Bantamweight Championship  Cody Riggs VS Jonas Rubiano
   Riggs opens the action w/ kicks and punches pushing Rubiano against the cage.  Riggs takes Rubiano down and into side control.  Riggs moves to take his back, but Rubiano wraps up a leg then transitions to a triangle attempt.  While not letting his position go, Rubiano moves to his arm for an arm bar attempt as the round ends.

   Riggs again is moving in and landing some combos, he wraps up Rubiano w/ a Thai plumb and starts to land some knees.  Rubiano frees himself and attempts a standing guillotine against the fence.  Riggs drops down on top of Rubiano and rides out the round pressing Rubiano into the fence. 
   Round 3 begins w/ it tied, 1 round for Rubiano, 1 round for Riggs.  This round we see Rubiano being the aggressor and moving in w/ shots to the body.  He presses Riggs against the fence and is now letting his hands go w/ body, head shots.  Eventually a right hook drops Riggs at 41 seconds of round 3

Result-  And New Champion, Jonas Rubiano via KO at :41 of Round 3

Pro Bouts

3.        Chase Rowden VS Ethan Goss

   Round 1 begins w/ Goss taking the center and throwing a head kick.  Rowden returns w/ a body kick.  Both are feeling each other out.  Both are throwing kicks w/ Goss throwing a round house kick as well.  Both are connecting, but Goss’s seem to have more steam on them. 

   Round 2  Rowden wraps up Goss as Goss uses a Judo throw to take Rowden down.  Rowden attempts a triangle from the bottom.  As Goss backs out, he shoots in for a guillotine attempt.  Rowden gets out, but Goss stays on top and lands a big right from the top as the round ends.

   Round 3  Goss catches a Rowden kick and takes him down.  As Goss steps in, Rowden attempts a leg lock, but Goss spins out and stays on top. After being stood up, Goss lands a left leg kick to the body.  Both are exchanging on the feet, as Goss ducks under a punch securing a text book takedown as the round ends, also securing the win.

Result-  Goss via Unanimous decision (2 judges scored it 30-27, one judge scored it 29-28)

4.        Elijah Gbollie VS Dino Juklo (pro debut)

      Round 1, Elijah lands a right jab to Dino as Dino is moving forward landing leg kicks.  Both are circling and throwing leg kicks.  Elijah lands a right that drops Juklo.  Juklo gets up and recovers as Elijah moves in w/ another right that again drops Juklo as the Ref steps in and waives off the fight.

Result-  Elijah Gbollie via KO at 2:38 of Round 1.

5.        Fred Stonehouse VS Devonte Smith

      Smith is moving in with hard shots, Stonehouse ducks.  Smith wraps up Stonehouse then picks him up and takes him down.  With Smith on top, Stonehouse attempts a triangle.  Smith gets out and lands 3 huge rights as Stonehouse is down on the mat, rendering him unconscious. 

Result-  Smith via KO at 3:09 of Round 1. 
(Stonehouse had to be taken out on a stretcher in one of the scariest moments in GOTC history.  It was reported late last night that he has been released from the hospital w/ a concussion and a broken orbital socket.  He is returning home to Canada to heal up and regroup.  Great news) 

6.        Eric Bledsoe VS Jeff Holmes

   Bledsoe opens up moving forward and quickly finding his range as he is beginning to land.  Holmes wraps him up against the fence.  Bledsoe takes him down, takes his back, and secures a Rear Naked Choke.  (Dominant performance by Bledsoe, the best he’s looked thus far.)

Result-  Bledsoe via Rear Naked Choke at 2:06 of Round 1. 

7.        Adrian Vilaca VS Khama Worthy

    Khama moves in, Adrian wraps him up and is landing knees to the body.  Khama spins him down and takes his back for a RNC attempt.  Adrian is able to slip out and he takes Khama’s back.  Khama does a great job blocking his RNC attempt for a good portion of the round.  Khama reverses position, while on top begins throwing hammer fists.  Khama lets him up, Adrian shoots in to get a late takedown as the round ends.

   Khama sits back, content to counter punch.  He lands a body shot that drops Adrian.  Adrian gets up and lands a front kick just under Khama’s chin.  Both fighters are now circling and in range, both landing their jabs.  With each shot and takedown attempt, Khama is able to stuff him and he then lands a big right, Adrain falls and Khama takes his back, securing the rear naked choke victory.

Result-  Khama via Rear Naked Choke 4:48 of round 2.
8.        Rob Morrow VS Dan Spohn (Pro Light Heavyweight Championship)

   Morrow is moving in w/ jabs and leg kicks.  Spohn throws a high kick.  Both are feeling each other out.  Morrow throws a leg kick that Spohn catches and drives him into the fence, lifts him for a big slam onto his back.  Spohn is on top landing ground and pound.  Morrow is able to throw a few elbows from the bottom that cuts the top of Spohn’s head. 

   Round 2, both fighters again are feeling each other out.  Spohn is motioning Morrow to move in and engage.  Out of nowhere, Spohn lands a right hook, followed by a straight left that knocks Morrow out. 

Result-  And New GOTC Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Spohn via KO at 1:04 of round 2

9.        Adam Hunter VS Chris Dempsey

   Hunter moves in and lands a jab.  Dempsey wraps him up w/ an over/under type head grip.  They separate and Hunter begins landing hard low leg kicks as Dempsey is backing up.  Hunter backs him into the cage then lands a left head kick Knocking out Dempsey.

Result-  Adam Hunter via KO at :40 of round 1.

10.    Main Event- Pro Middleweight Championship Bout…Michael Pope VS Joey Holt

    Holt lands a right, Pope pushes in and wraps up Holt against the fence.  As they separate, Holt throws a punch that Pope ducks, drops down and takes Holt down.  This occurs 4 more times throughout the round as each time Holt gets up, Pope shoots in and takes him down again. 

   Round 2, Pope immediately shoots in for a take down and secures it.  After little action on the ground they are stood up again.  Holt misses on two big uppercuts and is again taken down by Pope.  As they get up, Holt is staying away to avoid another takedown and lands a solid body shot.  Holt attempts a wheel kick that is caught by Pope and again Holt is taken down. 

   Round 3-  Holt is now down 2 rounds to 0.  Pope again shoots in for a takedown and Holt is able to hip sweep him to get on top, then full mount.  Pope is able to slide out and on their feet, Holt lets his hands go and slowly, methodically, picks apart Pope with body/head combos to end the fight via KO. 

Result-  And New Middleweight Champion, Joey Holt via KO at 3:39 of round 3. 

Photo Courtesy of Chris Nolan and

Thoughts on the night:

Amatuer Fight of the night:  Rubiano’s victory over Cody Riggs.  Rubiano continues to impress in the cage and his confidence is thru the roof.  He was able to weather the early aggression of Riggs and use his striking to win the fight.  Even when he wasn’t in the best spots, he was able to transition into submission attempts and control the fight when it was needed to secure the win. 

Pro Fight of the Night:  Khama Worthy vs Adrian Vilaca.  You saw the best Khama performance to date of his career.  The one thing that many say he was lacking to be a complete, well rounded fighter, was his wrestling.  He showed off tremendous sprawls and takedown defense tonight.  Even when his back was taken, he didn’t panic and fought off the RNC attempt of Vilaca.  GOTC has been after Worthy to fight for them for a long time…. This performance not only shows why, it shows that he’ll be a mainstay here for some time. 
KO of the Night:  Devonte Smith over Fred Stonehouse.  Smith is a bad, bad man.  Huge Power, but aside from his power, he throws with ill will with every shot.  Dan Bogan said it best, “I want to find out what makes you mad, and not do that.”  Smith could very well be in line to try Holt for the Middleweight strap very soon.  There’s a fight I think we’d all pay to see. 
Submission of the Night:  Khama Worthy over Adrian Vilaca.  Coming into the fight, I’d say Khama could be more likely to win the above mentioned award, then this one.  But he showed how you can use big power to setup submissions.  As he continues to evolve, Worthy is showing why he too is a main event type caliber performer for GOTC.
   We saw 6 KO’s, 2 submissions, and only 2 decisions on the night (easy night for the judges.)  The fans surely got their money’s worth tonight.  As I was excited about the action in the cage and the finishes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some other feelings that I had this evening.  Seeing Stonehouse leave on a stretcher was tough to watch and it did kind of let a little steam out of the crowd.  They did recover and were treated to some great action.  But, I saw two things tonight that, as a long time GOTC fan I hoped I’d never witness.  I saw Chris Dempsey lose in the GOTC cage, something that I’ve never seen in my almost 3 years of covering their fights.  And I didn’t see Dan Bogan in the ring as the ring announcer.  In both cases, I’ve grown to become huge fans of both.  It was odd for me to see Chris lose and some other guy in the ring announcing the fights.  Don’t get me wrong, he did a fine job, but he isn’t Dan.  As Gladiators continues to grow and expand, these decisions will make more sense, but for now, the fan in me misses the good old days. 

Thanks to Robert Joseph, Scott Betten, Dan Bogan, Josh Kromer, SamSquatch, and the rest of the crew for your continues hospitality.  GOTC  is truly a class act and well run organization. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Gladiators of the Cage Returns to Stage AE this Saturday night June 4th.  Limited tickets are still available, contact your favorite fighter, visit, or buy them at the door (very few available).

Way should you attend, just some random thoughts from a nobody blogger:

  With most regional shows you'll find 8 amateur fights and 3 pro fights.  This Pro heavy card is worth the price of admission alone.  I've always said, if you can get two good pro fights and a solid amateur portion, it'll be a good night.  This card offer much more than that.

-  4 Title fights, 2 Pro....2 Amateur.

Anthony Romero vs Isiah Williams (155 amateur title fight)... Anthony Romero makes his GOTC debut after an impressive recent win over Fadi Shuman.  Romero comes in w/ a 5-1 record and is one of the more impressive amateur fighters that i've seen in quite some time.

Jonas Rubiano vs Cody Riggs (135 amateur title fight).... Rubiano is a fan favorite and for good reason.  In his last outing Rubiano seemed to be losing to a very tough opponent and out of nowhere came a furry of punches to end the fight.  He's flashy and always puts on a show.  He's earned his spot in this title fight and won't disappoint.

Robert Morrow vs Dan Spohn  (205 Pro title fight)..... Morrow has 45 pro fights....he's a guy that doesn't say no often and was impressive in his last GOTC fight stopping Lewis Rumsey in just over a minute.  He faces a tough foe in Dan Spohn.  Dan is a UFC and Bellator vet and his last time in the GOTC cage, he also beat Rumsey via decision.  Both guys hit hard and I don't see this one making it to the judges.

Main event Joey Holt vs Michael Pope  (155 Pro title fight)..... Pope is a late replacement for Jordan Rinaldi who was pulled to make his UFC debut. Holt has been on a mad tear since his last loss, winning 4 in a row.  Holt has tremendous boxing, maybe the best on the local scene.  His body shots are ruthless and he goes for the KO every time he enters the cage.  Don't blink, this could be over quick.

If that alone wasn't enough to get you out to Stage AE, you'll also see the Pro debut of Dino Juklo.  Dino ended his amateur career defeating a very tough Josh Fremd for the GOTC Middleweight amateur title.  Dino has tremendous reach and surprising power.  He's comfortable in all aspects of the game and I'm excited to see what he brings to his pro debut.

Two of my personal favorite fighters will be in action.  Ethan Goss and Eric Bledsoe.  Bledsoe has devastating one punch power.  If he puts it together and finds an opening, it could be KO of the night.  Goss is the average man's fighter.  A tough kid who loves to brawl and leave it in the cage.  You know when you see Goss fight that he's going to give it all he has, and win or lose, he's put on a show.

Khama "The Deathstar" Worthy makes his long anticipated GOTC debut.  Khama is without a doubt one of the most exciting fighters to watch. He enters every fight with two goals, to put on a show, and to get that KO.  He'll stand and trade without hesitation and he WILL keep the fans entertained while doing so.

Chris Dempsey returns home.  After his UFC stint, Dempsey returns to the place that put him on the map, GOTC.  Chris is eager to work his way back up the ranks and again enter the UFC.  He faces a tough task in 6-1 Adam Hunter.  I'm excited to see if Dempsey is able to neutralize Hunter's power and use his wrestling and submissions to end the fight.  

It's cliche and you hear it too much, but this really is the best card, top to bottom that GOTC has ever put on.  Besides, they're calling for Thunderstorms in Pittsburgh on Sat night.  Stay out of the rain at Stage AE and witness what local MMA is all about.  GOTC 21 will not disappoint.

Follow Steel Nation Magazine on our Facebook page for live event updates.  Also, we'll be tweeting live @steelnationmag.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pinnacle FC 13 Results and Recap

After a number of fights dropping off…Pinnacle ended up with 5 bouts on the night.  Going into an event like this, you never know what to expect.  About a year ago, CDMMA in Altoona had a recent fate and was left with 4 bouts.  That evening I didn’t make the drive to Altoona, frankly because there was wasn’t a main event worth driving that distance for.  Mazzotta/Hanna is different.  Both guys are UFC caliber fighters and in the words of Matt Leyshock, “I could have said F it, but I kept this card for Mazzotta and Hanna, it means too much to them.”  Let me be the first to Thank you Matt, the fights were very good, and the Main event was legendary, easily the fight of the year.  On to the action: 

Amateur Bouts

Shawn Rall VS Phil Ra

Rd 1-  Rall is moving forarward pressing the action and lands a nice right over the top on Ra.  Ra is able to circle out, and Rall lands a leg kick and wraps up Ra against the fence, and drags him down for a takedown.  He is able to keep Ra down and is able to secure a guillotine with Ra against the fence.

Winner:  Shawn Rall via Guillotine choke at 1:48 of round 1.

Noah Devore VS Ashton Nemdhari

Rd 1-  Devore goes right in for the takedown, no glove touch.  Nemdhari is able to sprawl and avoid the takedown, but Devore stays on him, and secures a single leg takedown.  Devore takes his back, but is unable to secure the RNC, Nemdhari gets out and takes top control.  Devore attempts a triangle from the bottom, but Nemdhari is able to get his arm out.  Devore attempts a leg lock as the round ends. 

10-9 Devore

Rd 2-  Again Devore dives in for a double leg as the round starts.  Nemdhari is able to sprawl and avoid the takedown.  Devore is attempting a Kimura from the side and Nemdhari takes him down.  As they get up, Devore is keeping the pressure on and spins Nemdhari down. 

10-9 Nemdhari

Rd 3-  Devore again opens the round with a faint, then double leg attempt.  Nemdhari sprawls and Devore won’t let up on the takedown attempt.  Nemdhari is trying to grab his neck, but Devore is guarding well.  Devore is in deep and Nemdhari is pounding elbows to the body. 

10-9 Nemdhari

Winner:  all three score it for Noah Devore 29-28 on all cards. 

Josh Fremd VS Jose Martinez

Rd 1-  Martinez moves in with a low kicks and lands a solid right that backs Fremd up.  Fremd is now keeping his range and lands a right kick, overhand right.  Fremd is moving in and again eats a few punches.  Fremd drives in and secures the double leg, picks him up and slams him down hard.  Fremd is keeping control and utilizing ground and pound to keep him down.  When Martinez tries to scramble up, he eats rights and lefts.  Then as Martinez tries to escape again, Fremd slams him again.  Taking his back for a RNC attempt as the round ends.

10-9 Fremd

Rd 2-  Fremd moves in for a punch, he eats one.  Wraps up Martinez and Martinez is able to spin him around for the takedown.  In the scramble, Martinez slides off his back and Fremd sinks in the guillotine choke to end it quick.

Winner-  Fremd via Guillotine choke at :24 of Round 2

Fadi Shuman VS Anthony Romero

Rd 1-  Shuman is active with low kicks.  Romero moves in to press Shuman against the cage.  He’s able to drag Shuman down.  Romero isn’t able to do much from the top position, but he is keeping Shuman down.  As Shuman is trying to get up, he’s now eating some ground and pound.  Shuman attempts a triangle from the bottom, but Romero gets out. And ends the round back on top.

10-9 Romero

Rd 2-  Shuman moves in for a takedown, but Romero switches him around on the fence.  Romero is dragging Shuman down and gets the takedown.  He has Shuman pressed against the fence and is reigning down shots.  Shuman attempts an arm bar from the bottom, but Romero counters.  Shuman is again attempting an arm bar, but Romero twists out and keeps Shuman on his back. 

10-9 Romero

Rd 3-  Shuman moves forward with a few shots, then attempts another take down.  Shuman lands a right and moves to a single leg attempt.  Romero reverses and is now pressing Shuman against the fence and is able to drag him down.  Shuman is able to get up, and he’s starting to land his left jab and takes Romero down.  Shuman attempts a triangle from the bottom as the round ends.
10-9 Shuman

Result:  All three judges score the bout for Anthony Romero 29-28

Main Event for the Vacant Pinnacle Featherweight Title (Vacated by Mark Cherico)

Dom Mazzotta VS Rob Hanna

Rd 1-  Hanna is moving in, Dom ducks a right and wraps up Hanna for a takedown.  Dom is on top, but Hanna is doing well defending from the bottom.  Hanna is able to get up and presses Dom against the cage.  Dom attempts a Judo sweep that Hanna counters.  Hanna is pressing Dom on the fence and throwing knees to the body.  Dom grabs and arm and drops down for a Kimura attempt.  Hanna stalls with only 10 seconds left, as the round ends. 

10-9 Mazzotta

Rd 2-  Dom moves in and lands a left hook, Hanna again presses Dom against the cage.  Dom is now landing knees to the body, when Hanna returns his knees, he hits Dom in the cup.  Once the action resumes, Dom throws a kick to the body of Hanna that Hanna catches and drives Dom across the cage to the fence.  Dom shows great balance and isn’t taken down.  He is now landing short elbows while standing against the cage to Hanna.  Hanna again keeps the pressure on Dom against the fence, Dom spins Hanna down and lands in full mount.  Hanna is now eating some ground and pound from Mazzottta.  Hanna is able to slip out, but Dom remains on top and is pressing Hanna into the cage and landing more shots as the round ends.

10-9 Mazzotta

Round 3-  Dom is finding his range now and lands a nice right/left combo.  He is now pressing Hanna against the cage and takes him down. Dom is in top control and landing short elbows.  One lands square on Hanna’s nose and he’s now bleeding.  As Hanna attempts to escape, Dom takes his back, sinks the body triangle in and secures the rear naked choke as Hanna is forced to tap.

Winner-  And New Featherweight Champion, Dom Mazzotta via Rear Naked Choke at 3:02 of Round 3.

Thoughts on the night: 

Amateur Performance of the Night:  Josh Fremd.  Fremd possesses all the physical skills to be very good.  He is constantly improving and tonight he showed something that most haven’t seen in past fights, freakish strength.  His first slam has his opponent easily over 6 feet in the air before he slammed him down.  Sitting cageside, I literally jumped and thought the fight was over.  The 1st round could have easily been a 10-8 round…and less than a minute into round 2, it was over.   Fremd is becoming a fan favorite, and he truly is one of the stars of Pinnacle in years to come. 

Pro Performance of the Night:  Dom Mazzotta.  Coming into this fight, it was no secret that Hanna wanted to press the action and make it dirty.  Hanna was able to implement his game plan, but each time there was a scramble, Dom came out on top each time.  Hanna had the strength advantage and was able to keep Dom pressed against the cage numerous times, but Mazzotta started to win at Hanna’s game, with his short elbows that at one point landed 3 times in a row.  After the fight, Mazzotta said, “I could feel him losing some steam with each elbow that I landed.”  Once Dom got him to the ground late in the 3rd round, he did what he does, takes your back, locks in the body triangle, and chokes you out…..5 in a row now. 

   I stated earlier that with 5 fights, this could have really sucked for the fans.  But, there were a lot of people there, and the majority of them were there to see Mazzotta.  We all know that his UFC call is coming sooner than later, now with 10 wins, and his sole loss to Garbrandt, he IS worthy.  They came to see Dom one more time before he reaches the big show….one more time to say, “I was there for Dom’s last local fight.”  And I’d be willing to bet, if you asked anyone, was the ticket cost worth it even though there were only 5 fights, they’d all say “YES!”  Well done Matt, Dave, Joe, Rich, and crew.  Thank you again for keeping local MMA alive.