Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
There was a time when Rochester, New York's Jonathan "War Hawk" Piersma did some of his best work on Saturday afternoons. The former standout linebacker at St. John Fisher College was a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron, but let's face it, there aren't many guys from the Western New York Liberal Arts School getting their call to the NFL. Then one day during Jonathan's Junior year at St. John Fisher his buddies convinced him to attend a class at a local Martial Arts School, and the rest...you could say...is history! Jon's physicality on the football field translated seamlessly into the world of grappling and it wasn't long before talented footballer started locking himself inside the cage with other skilled 170 pound men to feed his thirst for competition and his dream to become a professional athlete.
Just a month shy of his 22nd birthday, and with just over a year of MMA training in the books, Jon took his first amateur MMA fight, scoring a first round submission (North South Choke) over Ron Bailey at Full Contact Promotions. Piersma would go on to fight 8 times as an amateur, compiling an impressive 6-1-1 record (1 Knockout, 4 Submissions) before the Synthesis BJJ standout signed to make his professional debut for UFC Fight Pass partner, and one of the country's top regional promotions; Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) in December of last year. Piersma needed just 96 seconds in his first paid gig at CFFC 91 to dispatch fellow highly touted pro debuter; Tyler Bunting (6-0 as an amateur) with a vicious Mounted Guillotine.
Jonathan returned to the CFFC cage in April of this year against undefeated prospect; Tommy Majeski (2-0) at CFFC 94 in Philadelphia, and left with a UFC Fight Pass Submission of the Year candidate after forcing Majeski to tap in the second round to a very rare (in competitive MMA standards) Omoplata. Piersma returned in June at Maverick MMA 16 with a second round Rear Naked Choke of Paul Sims (3-3) before signing an exclusive multi-fight deal with CFFC later this summer. Piersma's team, along with the matchmakers from CFFC wasted little time making the most of this opportunity, booking "War Hawk's" toughest test to date; uber talented, fellow undefeated prospect Kris Vereen (5-0) for the Co-Main Event at CFFC 101 Saturday afternoon at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, in what was billed as a CFFC Welterweight Contender bout.
At approximately 2:45pm local time, with the eyes of the MMA world on him and Johnny Cash playing over the Parx Casino speakers; "War Hawk" made his walk to the CFFC cage for the third time as a professional. Staying true to form, Piersma would once again pit himself against his most skilled and dangerous opponent to date in undefeated Texan; Kris "The Problem" Vereen (5-0). At an unblemished 5-0 Vereen had earned each of his professional victories by stoppage, including 4 submissions and 1 knockout, on his way to garnering Welterweight Top-Prospect status. Vereen would too be looking down the barrel of his toughest foe to date in the up and coming Piersma, as he hoped to stake his claim on the CFFC Welterweight Contender spot at CFFC 101.
Following a touch of gloves and a feinting front kick up the middle by Piersma to begin the fight, Vereen came forward with heavy one, twos looking to back Piersma up against the cage. Once against the cage, Vereen would change levels looking for a double leg takedown of Piersma, in what would put Vereen's neck right where "War Hawk" wanted it. Piersma sunk his left forearm under the chin of the forward advancing Vereen, once cinched deeply, Piersma closed up his guard and sat down on the choke. Once Vereen appeared to stop responding the referee Jaspar Oliver's commands, Oliver deemed Vereen finished and stopped the fight due to technical submission by Guillotine Choke at just 31 seconds of round number one.
Vereen would immediately dispute the stoppage, claiming that he had not gone out due to the choke, although Oliver had deemed him unresponsive. Some may argue the stoppage came early, but it didn't appear things were getting any better for the tangled up Texan, as the grappling savvy Piersma continued to squeeze. However, when the dust settled and the official decision was read, it was Jon Piersma who took that next step, adding yet another undefeated prospect to his list of accomplishments on his way to becoming arguably the top Welterweight Prospect on the East Coast.
Piersma now has his eyes on the CFFC Welterweight belt, which was most recently held by Yohan Lainesse (7-0) before he was confirmed to fight Justin Burlinson (6-0) on this fall's season of the Contender Series. Although Piersma's ultimate goal is to crack the UFC roster, he is in no rush, still at just 25 years of age and with just 5 years invested into the sport of MMA, Piersma's team is happy with their position fighting for Cage Fury Fighting Championships on UFC Fight Pass and they know that as long as Jon continues to perform once the cage door shuts, all eyes will eventually be on him! The sky is the limit for the natural born athlete and rising star Jonathan "War Hawk" Piersma (4-0) as he continues to ascend the CFFC Welterweight ladder in his effort to achieve greatness in the sport of MMA.
Check out the video below of Jon "War Hawk" Piersma's fight week sit down with Steve Domenico last week on this episode of The Room Podcast as he discusses his preparation leading up to his fight with Kris Vereen at CFFC 101.