Jeff Clark "Combat Cowboy"
Combat FC came to town Friday night toting fireworks as they looked to mix up the New England MMA landscape, blowing the roof off the Shriners Auditorium with the action packed card from start to finish! Joe Cavallaro Launched Combat FC on Friday June 17th with Combat FC 1 from the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts. Let start off by saying WOW! This event was impressive from start to finish. Everything from the production, lighting, and screens to the matchmaking, outcomes, and crowd. Everything was on point! If this is just the first event, we are in a treat for the upcoming shows. Also having Ramiro from 96.9 as the in cage announcer was a great addition. He crushed it as an announcer and seeing how big of a fan of the sport he was was really cool to watch from our seats on the floor.
The action started off with five high octane amateur fights, lets get right into the Round Up.
Dimitri Kabouris (0-1, Spero Martial Arts) vs. RJ Guardia (1-0, BMAC)
RJ came out as a fan favorite with the majority of the crowd in his corner for this one. Right from the opening bell RJ begins to show a noticeable speed advantage. Both men endure back and forth opening rounds keeping the action steady with jabs, straights and a few takedown attempts to lead the action. RJ lands some heavy with leg kicks as Dimitri uses his length to land a solid strike with 15 seconds left in the 2nd that sends RJ stumbling against the cage. Dimitri finishes the second round strong with RJ against the cage absorbing shots and the tide beginning to swing in his direction. The crowd is in full throat as the 3rd round begins with both men swinging for the fences as RJ clips Kabouris and sends him stumbling backward, the referee jumps in immediately and stops the fight. Maybe an early stoppage as Dimitri is still standing but the crowd goes wild! What an opening fight to kick off the inaugural Combat FC 1 card!
Curt Benoit (0-2, FAF Gym) vs. Hal Zanone (1-0, Team Savage)
This fight was the definition of “Don’t Blink”. Bell Rings, both men meet in the middle of the cage, Hal throws a clean 1-2 that instantly drops Curt to the canvas and the referee jumps in and stops it just 7 Second into the opening frame. Wow what a way to open your Amateur MMA career for Zanone, dude throws two strikes and doesn't get touched while notching his first career victory.
Carlos Pereira (1-3,Dragon Lair) vs. Bruce Pacy (1-1, Limitless Pride)
Bruce comes out relying heavy on his wrestling and going for broke on the takedown. Once he gets the fight to the ground, Ground & Pound ensues with Bruce almost giving his back at one point. Both men get back to their feet as the round ends with both men clinching against the cage. Round 2 starts and you can hear Carlos' coach yelling to "throw the kick," Carlos obliges and lands a clean body kick that echoed through the arena. Bruce doesn’t like that and goes for the takedown and starts grinding away for the Rear Naked Choke. In the last 30 seconds Carlos is able to get back to his feet and land a big shot that sends Bruce stumbling, strong end to the round for Carlos. Round 3 Bruce is backing down Carlos, eating a few shots in effort to intiate the takedown, the round ends with both men clinching against the cage and the result left in the hands of the cage-side judges. The judges scorecards are tabulated and your winner by Split Decision - Bruce Pacy. Wrestling proved to be the deciding factor in this fight as Carlos could not get his striking going against the high takedown output of Pacy.
Jarrod St. Jean (1-0, Spero Martial Arts) vs. Mike Jolicoeur (1-1, KTA)
Jarrod comes out to heavy fanfare as the crowd erupts during his walk down the runway to the cage. Both men come out striking to begin this contest and Jarrod ends up against the cage. Jolicoeur uses his strength to take lift Jarrod off his feet and take him down where he works some Ground & Pound throwing fists from all angles. Jarrod regains his whits and uses his speed to quickly trap Mike in a deep Triangle Choke. Just 1:25 into the first round the ref steps in and waves off the fight as the crowd erupts yet again. Your winner by Triangle Choke Submission; Jarrod St. Jean.
Fabio Alano (1-0, Sityodtong) vs. Lee McHugh (4-2, Team Savage)
This fight was back and forth action for as long it lasted and defiantly one of our fight of the night contenders. Lee comes out strong landing shots right to the face and cutting Fabio wide open early. Fabio comes back to land a clean shot and stun Lee, stumbling him, seconds later he absorbs Lee's counter and stumbles himself. Wild exchanges lead to a takedown attempt by Fabio to where he is able to work to Lee's back and flatten him out. Lee turns to escape, Fabio has full mount and quickly initiates an armbar as Lee scrambles. With the armbar locked in tight, Lee taps and the 3 time BJJ World Champion Fabio Alano leaves the Combat FC cage with a slick submission victory under his belt.
Stakes are heating up at this point as the Professional Undercard gets underway.
Mike Bulger (1-0, New England MMA) vs. Cody McCracken (1-1)
Cody comes in a low crouched fight stance as almost to prevent the takedown from the get go. Mike holds back then fires a myriad of shots connecting and stumbling Cody, dropping him to the canvas. Once on the ground Bulger follows up with some heavy punches from the top and the referee jumps in for the stoppage. Winner by first round TKO (Ground & Pound) "Handsome" Mike Bulger!
Pat Casey (8-5, Grizzlies Wrestling) vs. Stephen Stengel (4-17, Team Stengel)
This fights is action packed for the entire minute it lasted. Leg kicks and strong shots by both men start off the round. Surprisingly Stengel shoots for the first takedown and Pat denies. Casey returns with a shot of his own, slamming Stephen to ground and instantly raining down some vicious Ground & Pound. Stephen is not just laying there as he looks for an opening and firing back on all cylinders while trying to avoid the shots from Casey. Pat’s ground work proves to be too much for Stengel and the referee jumps in to stop any further damage. Impressive round one victory for "The Gorilla Ninja" Pat Casey who jumps right back into the winners circle with his 9th professional victory and 6th stoppage!
Now the pressure mounts as we go LIVE on UFC FIGHT PASS!! Fighters can change their lives with their performance and this type of Global exposure. The crowd is pumped, these fight have delivered so far and you can feel the excitement for the Main Card! Lets get right into it!
Leonardo Ladeira (2-3, Sityodtong) vs. Paul Teague (1-5, No Mercy MMA)
Paul comes our firing with leg kicks, head kicks, spinning back fists, he’s ready to put on a show for the World to witness on UFC Fight Pass and the crowd is eating it up! A wild strike catches Leo in the cup and the action is paused briefly. The wild strikes continue on the restart but Leo finds a hole in the striking attack and takes Teague to the mat. Teague has all he can do to keep Leo close and minimize the impending damage from Laderia. Leo takes advantage of the close quarters combat and slides into a Head & Arm choke that causes Teague to tap. Impressive round one submission by Leo Laderia who inches closer to a .500 record with the biggest win of his career, in the biggest fight of his career at Combat FC 1 on UFC Fight Pass
Matt Denning (6-14, Team Denning) vs. Jacob Guerrero (0-1, Tiger Shulmann's)
Jacob starts the round by controlling distance eith leg kicks but it is short lived as Matt shoots and lands a ferocious slam to get this fight to the mat. While scrambling to his feet Jacob gets caught in a tight guillotine, Denning pulls guard and with a shift of the hips sinks his forearm further under chin of Guerrero. The referee takes a closer look and Guerrero's arm goes limp, followed by the rest of his consciousness as Denning leaves Jacob in a pile in the center of the Combat FC cage. Denning showed his grit in this contest, the third fight for the Lewiston, Maine resident in the last three weeks, ending a personal eight fight losing streak and earning himself a well deserved week or two off. As a bonus Randy Costa was in the cage interviewing and mentioned Denning's recent schedule to which Denning replied “I Might not always win, but I show up” and he did just that Friday night in his UFC Fight Pass debut on less than 48 hours notice!
Sanad Armouti (2-1, Florian Martial Arts) vs. Sage Philippe (1-3)
Sanad is chomping at the bit and opens up with the fight a spinning kick, as Philippe settles in looking to counter the lengthy striking of Armouti. Sanad forgoes the striking to move Philippe against the fence landing a series of takedowns in the opening frame following with submission attempts. Sage shows good awareness on the ground staving off submission attempts and continually returning to his feet. The fight gets back to the center and Sanad lands a nasty spinning back kick right to the body. Armouti again establishes his range to keep the center of the cage while keeping Sage at distance and threatening lengthy strikes . Round 2 began with Philippe controlling the center of the cage but Sanad lands another body kick that sends Sage backpedaling. Strikes from Armouti begin to add up in the second round and Sage develops a cut above his eye. The referee calls in the cage side physician to check on the cut but it is not impeding the game of Philippe. Action continues with a back and forth stand up battle with both men swinging with bad intentions. Sage then gets Sanad up against the cage and lands a nasty shot on the break as these two trade shots to end the round. Round 3 starts with a takedown from Armouti as Sage is now showing the wear from this war and cannot quickly regain his feet this time. Sanad is looking for a rear naked choke but Sage is wise in his defense. With just a minute left in this one Sage gets up lands a nice shot on the break while trying to reestablish the center of the cage. Sanad continues to look for more takedowns as the final seconds tick away and this fight heads to the judges table where all three judges saw this contest the same; for your winner by Unanimous Decision Sanad Armouti! Combat FC matchmakers clearly did their homework putting this bout together as these guys went to war in a very close decision in the Welterweight division.
Jay Bakanowski (5-3, Gorilla MMA) vs. Jesse Erickson (11-9, CMBJJ)
Erickson enters the cage first with the old school Mortal Kombat theme blasting through the arena and you get that nostalgic feeling that a battle is about to ensue!
Once the pin drops, Jesse wastes little time firing kicks as Bakanowski looks for the counter shots before closing the distance and looking for the takedown. They end up in the clinch with both men landing short shots, Jay mixes in a series of uppercuts on the break. They end up back in the clinch and Jesse drops for a takedown but Bakanowski stuffs and puts Erickson back against the cage where he goes to work on the body of Jesse in the clinch. Jesse goes for the takedown as the offense of Bakanowski is starting to add up. Jay lands an elbow to the nose that forces Jesse back to the center of the cage as the first round concludes with more power shots from Jay who continues to throw through the end of the round. Round 2 starts off with them meeting in the middle, controlling distance and throwing kicks. Jay pushes Jesse back with a flurry of punches. Jesse shoots and controls Jay against the cage. Jay quickly reverses positions and lands a big elbow that busts Jesse open then adds a barrage of punches. Jay is letting it all go as he throws lefts and rights over and over looking for the finish. They go to the canvas with Bakanowski landing on top as Erickson makes a last ditch attempt to harvest a leg before Bakanowski backs off. They return to the feet where its a story vicious of elbows and knees from Jay against the cage as the punishment continues to mount on the face of Erickson. Bakanowski fires about 5 unanswered knees in the clinch before the referee jumps in and Erickson colapses in a heap against the cage wall.
What a performance here by Northborough's Bakanowski who secures a signature win in his UFC Fight Pass debut against a true veteran of New England MMA game in Jesse "The Viking" Erickson. You can't help but wonder what's next for Bakanowski following a dominant performance here at Combat FC 1.
Salaiman Ahmadyar (7-3, AKA) vs. Tim Caron (11-5, Team Burgess)
These two 195 pounders meet in center of the cage immediately, both letting strikes fly right away. Salaiman is quickly discouraged with the stand up and shoots for the takedown but Tim is able to stop multiple takedown attempts from Ahmadyar. They return to the center of the cage where they exchange leg kicks and punches before Salaiman is finally able to land a takedown where he ends up in Tim's guard landing short elbows from the top. Salaiman rains down ground & pound in effort to break the guard of Caron but the round ends with Tim on the ground against cage. Tim starts off round 2 with a flurry of kicks and punches as Salaiman stands his ground in the middle of the cage. However kicks to the legs and body forced the Californian to shoot once again Caron fights to avoid the takedown and they remain at striking distance trading shots on the feet as the round comes to a close. Sticking with the vintage Mortal Kombat theme“FINISH HIM” plays over the loud speakers as round 3 kicks off. Salaiman starts off with some wild punches to get into the level change but Tim stands his ground again and a clinch ensues against the cage. Tim returns to the center looking to strike and Salaiman goes for the takedown and is eating some elbows looking to get this fight to the mat. Brief stand up action ensues before Salaiman finally ends the fight with a big slam. After three rounds this was left up to the ring side judges where all three judges saw this one the same 29-28 as Caron's striking outscored the takedown attempts from Ahmadyar.
Main Event time and If a fired up crowd is what Combat FC was looking for then they definitely found it here in Wilmington! The Main Event had the crowd going wild as the fighters made their way to the cage.
Rico Discuillo (11-2, Sityodtong) vs. Gareth De La Cruz (7-4, Tru MMA)
Strong Kicks to open this Main Event for Rico, lead by a spinning kick that puts De La Cruz against the cage. Some strong left hands that land from both are followed by a spinning head kick from DiScuillo that sends Gareth flying backwards across the cage. Huge moment for Rico as his confidence continues to build as he unleashes some combos that begin to touch the chin of De La Cruz. DiScuillo's boxing looked smooth and crisp as he is ducks and dodges the counterstrikes of De La Cruz. A scramble ensues and Rico nearly ends up on the back of De La Cruz but they remain on their feet with Rico setting up counter shots nicely. Rico ends up tripping De La Cruz and getting a takedown as a crazy first round ends. Round 2 begins with both men swinging with bad intentions De La Cruz gets caught with a strong right counter that opens up a huge cut under his eye. De La Cruz returns a strike to the body and sends Rico to the canvas. DiScuillo turns the action and remains on his feet where he lands a knee on the break. Once they return to the feet the referee takes notice of the cut beneath the eye of De La Cruz and calls the doctor in for a look. The doctor determines that the cut, although under the eye of De La Cruz was enough to warrant this fight being called off. Declaring DiScuillo the winner by second round TKO, a huge victory for DiScuillo, who at 35 years old, looks to make his argument to crack the UFC's roster in the near future.
All in all Combat FC 1 definitely delivered, everything from 7 second knockouts, to quick submission victories, to comeback wins, it had it all. I have to shout out the match making of Rick Caldwell and Krystyne Curtis, Excellent work, we can’t wait to see what matches you come up with for Combat FC 2! Also thanks to the Legend Joe Cavallaro for hosting such an amazing event and having New England MMA there to cover it! Combat FC is great time for any MMA fans new and old, we are already anticipating their next event coming this October!