Updated: Jun 9
Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
We were back in Plymouth, Massachusetts Saturday night at the historical Plymouth Memorial Hall for a sold out Cage Titans 53 littered with intriguing story lines and bad ass fisticuffs. Twelve fights lined the bill Saturday night in one of the better matched fight cards within the region since MMA action returned from the Covid-19 layoff. Highlighting the Cage Titans 53 fight card; four title fights, including three amateur Championship bouts as well as one hell of a Main Event between "Shameless" Don Shainis (12-3) and Brice "The Lion Kid" Picaud (9-6) for the vacant Cage Titans Professional Featherweight title. Saturday night lived up to every ounce of hype as Cage Titans 53 played out in front of a sold out audience that included a few special surprise guests.
Current and former UFC Fighters in corners at Cage Titans 53: Former UFC Lightweight and Coach/Owner of Nostos MMA in Somersworth, New Hampshire Devin Powell (10-5) was in the building Saturday night flanked by undefeated amateur Lightweight Kyle Pufahl (3-0) who would Challenge Miguel "MF'n" Sevasin (2-2-1) for the vacant Cage Titans Amateur Lightweight Title, we will be talking more about that fight later on. As always good friend of Devin Powell and familiar friend of Cage Titans; UFC Lightweight Joe Lauzon (28-15) was in attendance in the locker room and cage side Saturday night as he worked the corners of Jack "The Gentleman" Congdon (4-0, Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight Champion), Andrew "The Gladiator" Valdina (4-2) and 58 year old John Payne (0-3).
An unfamiliar face to the New England region, SBG Alabama's Eryk "Ya Boi" Anders (14-7, UFC Middleweight) could be found cage side at Cage Titans 53 as he lead his SBG Alabama teammates (Arthur Mpofu 5-3 and Sigfried Stevens 8-4) into amateur battles inside the Cage Titans cage. We spoke briefly with Anders following Arthur Mpofu's fight and he gave high praise to the Cage Titans promotion and how they run things...he also agreed with my live scoring of Arthur's Featherweight title bout, which we he had scored 48-47 for Arthur. We will talk a little more about that fight later on in this article.
Not unfamiliar to New Englanders and perhaps the biggest surprise of the night not taking place inside the cage, following a brief intermission between the undercard and main cards Micheal Polvere and company welcomed the attendance of three of this year's Boston Bruins players including Defensemen John Moore (who finished the year in the Anaheim Ducks organization), Forward Craig Smith (16 Goals, 20 Assists in 74 games with the Bruins this season) and Captain Patrice Bergeron (25 Goals, 40 Assists in 73 games this season, also winning his record setting 5th Selke Trophy for the NHL's best Defensive Forward this year). June 4th Bergeron was at Plymouth Memorial Hall, the next day the announcement of his 5th Selke win was announced...let that sink in!
The Bruins received VIP treatment from Cage Titans as they were privileged to witness what turned out to be an absolutely spectacular night of fights. 11 of the 12 fights decided at Cage Titans 53 ended in finishes and the one fight that was left to the judges was a back and forth war of an Amateur Featherweight title fight! Let's take a closer look as some of what I saw as the highlights from Cage Titans 53.
***Records indicated above reflect fighters status prior to Cage Titans 53 Saturday***
With a myriad of finishes from top to bottom on the undercard it was "Old Guys Rule" the show as 58 year old Lauzon MMA product John Payne (1-3) picked up the first victory of his career as he needed just 33 seconds to dispatch Jonif Tucker (0-4) via TKO in a 140 pound Catchweight bout. Just two fights later 45 year old South Shore Sportfighting Manimal; Brendon "Motor" Boates ( 2-0) finally had a chance to settle his personal beef with, a one, Gage "12 Gauge Shotgun" Looby (0-9) as Boates sunk in a lethal Kimura at 1:37 of the first round before the referee saved Looby from impending shoulder surgery and possible loss of limb.
The undercard came to conclusion with a possible "Fight of the Year" candidate as Nostos MMA's Kyle Pufahl (3-1) and Lakeville MMA's Miguel "MF'n" Sevasin (3-2-1) wasted zero time locking themselves inside a phone booth and throwing bombs. In the first round these guys stood toe to toe for some of the most exciting three minutes of amateur MMA I've seen in a long time. Pufahl was getting the better of the striking in the first round, landing at a higher percentage and with more power than Sevasin. However in the second round Sevasin started to land with authority, backing Pufahl to the fence and forcing him into defense mode. Pufahl attempted to escape the onslaught from Sevasin but Miguel stalked him down eventually landing enough volume to garner the referee stoppage at 1:52 of the second round. With the stoppage Sevasin proved what he has been saying all along, that he is one of the top amateur Lightweights in New England while capturing the vacant Cage Titans Amateur Lightweight title.
Kicking off the main card, Sevasin's teammate at Lakeville MMA; the Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight Champion Jack "The Gentleman" Congdon (5-0) made the his first title defense a successful one. It was evident early that Challenger Shane Dillehay (2-2, Tirforce MMA) wanted no part of the Champion on the feet, shooting for a takedown just seconds into the fight...well, as it turned out Congdon was wise to Dillehay's submission attempts and used the openings to advance position in the grappling game, eventually mounting Dillehay and raining down a barrage of unanswered hammerfists that warranted the referee stoppage by TKO with just five seconds left in the opening round. Congdon once again looked smooth in his retaining of the Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight title and stated during the post fight interview that he is now poised to turn pro. If that is indeed true, Congdon put a nice little bow on his Amateur career Saturday night, adding a title defense to an immaculate 5-0 record with all five wins coming by stoppage, four coming in the first round, including four Knockouts and one Submission. Congdon now takes his talents to the professional ranks in a somewhat wide open New England Welterweight division as we now await word on the prospect's next move!
Cage Titans Amateur Bantamweight Champion Arthur "The African Assassin" Mpofu (5-4, SBG Alabama) drops a narrow but entertaining decision to now Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight Champion Marcel "The Jackal" Romero (4-0, G&G Wrestling). After ending a five year layoff last November at Cage Titans 50 with an emphatic first round knockout of Dan Walsh (1-1) it was quickly apparent that Marcel Romero was one of New England's best kept secrets in the Amateur ranks. Romero proved just that Saturday night, going to war with the nine fight amateur veteran (six time Cage Titans veteran) Arthur Mpofu and staying one step ahead of the Amateur Bantamweight Champion across five rounds for a Unanimous Decision victory. Man, what a tough fight this was to score, and I was immediately surprised the decision was unanimous as I had scored the fight live 48-47 for Mpofu, but it is easy to argue that Mpofu's double leg slams of Romero, were not enough to compensate for the power punches and damage done by the newly crowned Champion; Marcel Romero.
Sean Lally (9-6), Trevor Gudde (4-2) and Brendan Battles (2-1) secure first round finishes in front of the hometown crowd at Plymouth Memorial Hall. Three professional feature bouts made way for the evening's headlining bout (Don Shainis v. Brice Picaud for the Cage Titans Featherweight Title) and up first was the return of Heavyweight Brendan Battles (2-1, Loco Lobo) who put the region's Heavyweight division on notice with a one-sided drubbing of 33 year old Georgian Fred Gray (0-1) that logged Battles just one minute of cage time in his return following a nearly six year layoff. Up next Citadel's Trevor "The Scarecrow" Gudde (4-2) made it back to back wins inside the Cage Titans cage at Cage Titans 53 when he needed just 91 seconds to spoil the return of Justin Burrill (3-3, SSSF) via Armbar Submission in their Welterweight tilt.
And New England MMA veterans Sean "The Unpredictable One" Lally (9-6) and Matt "Ken Doll" Denning (5-14) shared the Cage Titans cage at a 165 pound Catchweight for just 62 seconds before Denning caught a right hand from Lally, dislocating the middle finger on Denning's left hand. Denning tried to continue, however once on the ground Denning could not maneuver and protect himself from the dangerous Lally forcing the referee to stop the bout due to Denning's injured hand. Lally who has experienced his fair share of ups and downs over his fifteen fight career assured the Cage Titans faithful that this would not be the last time we see Sean Lally compete on the New England MMA regional scene. Lally and Denning shared a bittersweet moment in the cage following the conclusion of Saturday night's co-main event as both men shared stories about their battle with drug addiction and how important it is to them to use their platform to shed light on those effected by the disease.
"Shameless" Don Shainis (12-3, Glory MMA) handcuffs Brice "Lion Kid" Picaud (9-7, Lion Fight Gym, France) and likely UFC brass, with another first round finish to capture the Cage Titans Featherweight title by TKO in Saturday night's Cage Titans 53 main event. Don Shainis has been on an absolute war path over the last 7 months, compiling five straight victories, including four wins by TKO stoppage, while capturing the FAC Lightweight strap and the Cage Titans Featherweight strap in the process. Don has quickly worked his way to becoming one of the top Featherweight prospects in the country and I think it goes without saying that Shainis' next line of work should come in front of the sport's big bosses, with either an appearance on this summer's Contender Series, or a late notice UFC fight coming to fruition in the not so distant future. Cage Titans' President Micheal Polvere said it himself in the Cage Titans 53 conclusion interview with the newly Crowned Cage Titans Champion; "Don, we love you and we will always have you back, but we are sick of you fighting inside our cage!" giving his seal of approval on just where he believe's "Shameless" Don's career is headed!
For a detailed account of the Cage Titans 53 play-by-play click here, and continue below for Saturday evening's quick results.
**Records below indicate fighters records following the conclusion of Cage Titans 53**
Main Card Don Shainis (12-3, Glory MMA) defeats Brice Picaud (9-7, Lion Fight Team) in the Featherweight Title Main Event by first round TKO (Ground Strikes) at 4:20.
Sean Lally (9-6, Kill Combat) defeats Matt Denning (5-14, Independent) in the Catchweight (165 lbs.) Co- Main Event by first round TKO (Finger Injury) at 1:02.
Trevor Gudde (4-2, Citadel) defeats Justin Burrill (3-3, South Shore Sportfighting) at Welterweight by first round Submission (Armbar) at 1:31.
Brendan Battles (2-1, Loco Lobo) defeats Fred Grey (0-1, MOC) at Heavyweight by first round TKO (Ground and Pound) at 1:00.
Marcel Romero (4-0, G&G Wrestling) defeats Arthur Mpofu (5-4, SBG Alabama) for the Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight Title by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) over five rounds to capture the vacant Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight Title.
Jack Congdon (5-0, Lakeville MMA) defeats Shane Dillehay (2-2, Triforce MMA) for the Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight Title by first round TKO (Ground and Pound) at 2:55 to retain his Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight Title.
Undercard Miguel Sevasin (3-2-1, Lakeville MMA) defeats Kyle Pufahl (3-1, NOSTOS MMA) for the Cage Titans Amateur Lightweight Title by second round TKO (Punches) to capture the vacant Cage Titans Amateur Lightweight Title.
Andrew Valdina (4-3, Lauzon MMA) defeats Sigfried Stevens (9-4, SBG Alabama) at Amateur Bantamweight by second round Submission (Armbar) at 1:11.
Brendon Boates (2-0, South Short Sportfighting) defeats Gage Looby (0-9, Gym X) at Amateur Catchweight (165 pounds) by first round Submission (Kimura) at 1:37.
Phil LoCigno (1-2, Sityodtong) defeats Anthony Rivera (0-4, Thunder MMA) at Amateur Featherweight by first round Submission (Guillotine) at 1:51.
John Payne (1-3, Lauzon MMA) defeats Jonif Tucker (0-4, Gym X) at Amateur Catchweight (140 pounds) by first round TKO (Ground and Pound) at :33.
Neil Mazumdar (2-1, Sityodtong) defeats Pedro Baez (0-1, Ironbody MMA) at Amateur Flyweight by second round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:02.
New England MMA Performance of the Night Awards
Fight of the Night: Miguel Sevasin defeats Kyle Pufahl by second round TKO (Punches).
Submission of the Night: Brendon Boates first round Submission (Kimura) of Gage Looby.
Knockout of the Night: Brendan Battles first round TKO (Ground and Pound) of Fred Grey.