by Felix Falcon
The nZone in Chantilly was the home for the 33rd installment of OO Fights as a double header co-promotion with Thai Championship Boxing in what was a very long day of combat competition last Saturday, October 25th.
The location, a large indoor sports complex mainly geared towards young kids was more than big enough to hold not just an MMA cage but a full size Muay Thai ring right next to it and still have space for plenty of seats. It was interesting walking down the halls of the place and seeing children playing dodge ball and indoor soccer as hand-wrapped fighters walked back and forth from the holding area where they warmed up and the courts where the rings were.
The TCB portion of the day was supposed to start at 4pm but, in typical live event fashion, didn’t actually start until about 5pm. Two fights in, there was about a 30 minute delay due to the ambulance on site being needed, and a new one getting stuck in traffic. There was another delay well into the card when a participant who was knocked out needed medical assistance from the medics on-site. After all 20 Thai matches were done, the whole audience was asked to move out into the lobby and the whole production crew had to break down the Thai ring, move the whole lighting rig over the MMA cage, set up new seats and tables and bring in the crowd back in.
Once everything was said and done, the MMA portion of the night didn’t start until about 11pm. The MC for the night, Kevin Shaffer, tried to keep the mood lighthearted calling it the “OO Fights sleepover,” addressing now a crowd less than half the original size of the earlier event.
The night saw three titles up for grabs.
Alvin Mercer (MiKiDo) put on an impressive performance over Szymon Sawicki (Yamasaki Academy) to win the vacant OO Fights featherweight title. This was Sawicki’s third fight in three months, coming off wins at OO Fights 32 in August and at the amateur portion of the Strike Off 2 event in September. It looked like this busy fight schedule may have taken a toll on him as he appeared gassed from about halfway into the first round. Mercer took every opportunity Sawicki gave him to capitalize with a plethora of strikes. Sawicki did everything in his power to keep the fight going, but towards the end of the second round he was pushed up against the cage. Mercer threw sufficient strikes in combination that the referee called an end to the fight.
Jeff Melvin (DCbFit) fought Kyle Staten (MiKiDo) for the OO Fights lightweight title in a fight that closely resembled Staten’s previous fight at OO Fights 32. Staten was taken down early and from there, he used the combination of his long frame and very good guard to submit Melvin quickly in the first, this time going with a triangle choke instead of arm bar.
The main event pitted Esrom Montesino (BETA Acaedemy) challenging Raz Syan (Freedom MMA) for his OO Fights welterweight title. Both fighters quickly clinched shortly after the beginning bell. Montesino attemped to trip Syan to the ground and in a scramble, Syan maintained his balance but ended up with his back to the cage. After some jockeying for position, Montesino backed off and threw a flurry of punches. One of those, a left hand, landed flush on Syan’s chin and dropped him. The referee immediately stepped in as Syan was not able to defend himself, declaring the win by KO in less than 2 minutes.
The most even fight of the night was a back and forth battle between Ben Leckner (Gold Medal Grappling) and Joe McMahon (Capital MMA). Both fighters had their stand out moments, McMahon primarily in the clinch with some vicious knees to his opponents head, and Leckner on the ground, landing huge blows to McMahon’s body from top position. At the end of three rounds McMahon squeaked out a win by split decision.
The night ended around 1am, and could have been a lot longer had not five of the 11 bouts ended less than two minutes into the first round, including a 10 second fight. Hopefully the next time the promotion attempts a two-show event, they can take some cues from this event to make it a smoother experience for the fighters, audience, GCA officials, and all others involved.
MMAinVA's "of the night" Awards:
Fight of the night: Joe McMahon vs. Ben Leckner
Submission of the night: Tony Gravely
KO of the night: Esrom Montesino
Esrom Montesino def. Raz Syan at 1:31 of the 1st rd by KO (left hook)
Kyle Staten def. Jeff Melvin at 1:30 of the 1st rd by submission (triangle)
Alvin Mercer def. Szymon Sawicki at 4:08 of the 2nd rd by TKO (strikes)
Sodiq Yussuff def. Jawaun Lee at 0:10 of the 1st rd by TKO (strikes)
Mike Desantos def. Deion Caison at 1:00 of the 2nd rd by submission ( guillotine)
Michael Fujimori def. Marc-Ari Lewis by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)
Tony Gravely def. Rob Wolford at 1:33 of the 1st rd by submission (rear naked choke)
Steven Thomas def. Brian Duke by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Joe McMahon def. Ben Leckner by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
Brandon Lewis def. Zach Keeny at 1:45 of the 1st rd by submission (arm bar)
William Kim def. John Kermon by unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)