by Felix Falcon
The Commonwealth doesn't have the opportunity to host big name combat sports events as regularly as most of us would like it to. So when an international organization like Glory World Series puts on an event at the Hampton Coliseum, it's a big deal, not only for the region, but for the state.
With the Tidewater area so closely associated with the military, it was pretty easy to understand why the Glory promoters would collaborate with a man that lives in both the combat sports and military worlds, Jimi Partyka.
It was announced in December that Spartyka Fight League was going to move its amateur MMA card, originally scheduled for Saturday, February 7th, to a day earlier and provide some fights to the Glory 19 undercard.
I was unsure about many of the details of how this show would work until I got to the coliseum last Friday, February 6th. I managed to get there early and catch up with SFL announcer Shane Graham, who gave me a run down on how the day was going to go. Spartyka had 8 amateur MMA bouts lined up to start at 4:15pm. They would try to get through as many of them as possible, with a hard stop at 5:30pm, when there would be four preliminary Kickboxing matches to be had. At 6:30 Glory was going to tape five bouts for their Superfight series on CBS Sports Network, and at 9pm they would broadcast the big Glory 19 show live on Spike TV. The amount of moving parts necessary to pull this off was crazy, but it worked.
Spartyka ended up providing seven fights, as a match-up between Ardit Hysa and Antwan Bynum was scratched at the last minute. There were several individual shining moments throughout the seven matches, but for the most part the bouts were not very competitive, with six of the seven fights ending in the first round (five of them before the 2nd minute mark).
Olympus Training Center fighter, Kedrick Harris, weathered an early submission attempt and several big overhand rights from his opponent, Sgt. Major Clark Wright, to come back and win by TKO. Eastwind Academy's Juston Campos demonstrated crisp striking on the feet and with his ground and pound in a one-sided affair against Freddie Henry. It only took 13 seconds (although officially called :31) for North Carolina fighter Brad Lawrence to submit Jeremy Vaughn with a standing Guillotine. Blake Fisher and Dimitri Yakovlev both demonstrated patience and determination prior to sinking rear naked chokes over their opponents.
The most competitive fight of the afternoon came by the way of two Flyweights, Team XCWT's Jahmaal Benford and 757 Boxing's Joe Callegari. For the first two rounds both fighters jockeyed for position in back and forth wrestling exchanges, with some strikes peppered in. In the end, Benford came out on top, with a third round body kick that dropped his opponent. I'm not sure why it was officially called a TKO, when the fight was waived off immediately after Callegari fell to the ground.
MMA in VA's "of the night" Awards
Fight of the Night - Jahmaal Benford vs Joe Callegari
KO of the Night - Jahmaal Benford
Submission of the Night - Brad Lawrence
Spartyka Undercard Results:
Kedrick Harris def. Clark Wright at 1:46 of the 1st rd by TKO (strikes)
Juston Campos def. Freddie Henry at 1:52 of the 1st rd by TKO (strikes)
Dmitryi Yakovlev def. Alexander Crosby at 1:40 of the 1st rd by submission (rear naked choke)
Blake Fisher def. Ramon Hurtado at 2:20 of the 1st rd by submission (rear naked choke)
Jahmaal Benford def. Joe Callegari at 1:07 of the 3rd rd by TKO (strikes)
Jeremy Armstead def. Eric Griffiths at :59 of the 1st rd by TKO (strikes)
Brad Lawrence def. Jeremy Vaughn at :31 of the 1st rd by submission (standing guillotine)