by Felix Falcon
Last Saturday’s Cagezilla FC 3 event had everything you could possibly want from an amateur MMA fight card. There were some close, competitive fights, some dominating performances, four (one interim) title fights, two game female athletes going at it, and several quick, first round finishes sprinkled in for good measure. The term “great night of fights” gets thrown around a lot. But as a spectator at the packed SEG, I’m not sure how you could complain about the action that took place that night.
The event started out quick, with the first two fights lasting less than a minute - combined.
Leon Tsai, from Evolve Academy, submitted Sean Boyle in 35 seconds. Not to be outdone, Yamasaki Academy’s Alex Cady, then made his amateur MMA debut a memorable one with an eight second head kick KO over his opponent, Chris Daffan.
Bowie MMA’s Leonard Poe came back from the brink of defeat to beat John Thorpe. Thorpe came out in the first and imposed his size and muscle on Poe, particularly from top position, dropping hammering elbows. After a round and a half of work, it was pretty clear Thorpe’s gas tank reduced significantly. Poe took advantage of this and landed several strikes, including a big right uppercut, that dazed Thorpe. Poe continued pouring strikes until referee Shaun Spath called a stop to the action.
A blatant cage grab cost Clinch Academy’s Lateef Bello a win in his fight against Disciple MMA’s Andrew Horace. The GCA refs are pretty clear in their pre-fight rules meetings that if a fighter grabs the cage, they will give them a warning. However, if the cage grab aids them in avoiding a takedown or giving them any other advantage, they will deduct a point immediately. The latter is exactly what happened in the first round of this very close fight. As Horace went in for a takedown, Bello grabbed the fence to avoid it, and referee Ric Humphries took a point without hesitation. The infraction came back to haunt Bello in the end, as the fight was ruled a majority draw (28-28, 29-27, 28-28).
In the first title fight of the night, Disciple MMA’s James Neville secured the Light Heavyweight belt by wearing down his opponent, Malcolm Travis, with takedowns, top control and ground and pound. The pressure ultimately lent itself to taking Travis’ back and sinking in a rear naked choke that ended the fight in the late stages of the second round.
As if preparing, training, fighting and winning the Spartyka featherweight title last week wasn’t enough, Team Lloyd Irvin’s Sodiq Yusuff went straight back to work seven days later and capitalized on his opponent, Yohanes Rezene, standing up while exposed and caught him in a standing rear naked choke that he eventually finished on the ground.
Disciple MMA’s Morgan Dailey, who had not fought in almost a year, walked out to the cage, just like she did last August, in her amateur MMA debut - with what seemed like 50 teammates, family, and friends in tow. She managed to control most of the exchanges with her opponent, Hannah Rosario, notably in the clinch up against the cage, where she managed to find most of her takedowns from. The fight concluded late in the third round, after Dailey passed into full mount and started landing enough head strikes for a stoppage to be called.
No one in the building had more crowd support than Disciple’s Anthony Cordero as he faced Bowie MMA’s Alvin Amana for the interim Middleweight title. Cordero took it to Amana early and often, with a big smile on his face after almost every exchange. Amana weathered the early storm and in rounds two and three, as Cordero’s cardio diminished (but, oddly, not his smile) Amana started picking his opponent apart with crisp jabs and thudding body kicks. Both men were visibly hurt by the end of the three round battle, Amana needing assistance to stand on an injured knee, and Cordero with open cuts on his head and a big swollen eye. Amana was named the victor by unanimous decision.
Just when I thought the Amana/Cordero bout would be the fight of the night, MiKiDo’s George Billy and Robson Moura’s Brandon Lewis put on a spectacular fight for the Cagezilla Flyweight strap. Both men held their own striking on the feet, Billy preferring to kick more while Lewis landed several big right hands. The main difference being grappling defense. Whenever Lewis took Billy down to try to play to his Jiu Jitsu game, Billy found a way to get up pretty quickly. Whenever Billy took Lewis down, he would find a way to pin him down and rain down hammer fists. Billy’s top control ultimately won him each round, but it was a much closer fight than the result on paper would indicate.
Instead of building up to a grand finale of title fights, this particular promotion (if I can just nitpick a little) for some reason, likes to scatter their title fights throughout the night, and put some lesser known fighters on after what they deem their Main Event - in this case the Billy/Lewis fight. After that fight they had five more fights including the 19th and final fight of the night, a Bantamweight title fight that played out to a half empty room.
The people that held out to the end got to see a fun scrap between Gustavo Machado’s Sherali Khalmetov and Tech Top Team’s Tony Gravely. Although Gravely managed to take control of the fight for the majority of every round, taking Khalmetov down and picking his spots to attack while in top control, Khalmetov proved to be a scrappy fighter from his back, constantly trying to either stand back up or go for submissions. After the three rounds were complete, Gravely got the unanimous nod as the winner and the new Cagezilla Bantamweight champ.
Cagezilla 4 will return back to the SEG in Ashburn on September 19th.
MMA in VA’s “Of The Night” Awards:
Fight of the Night - George Billy vs. Brandon Lewis
KO of the Night - Alex Cady
Submission of the Night - Sodiq Yusuff
Tony Gravely def. Sherali Khalmetov by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Josh Jackson def. Mustafa Kousmat at 2:30 of the 1st rd via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Oscar Ramirez def. Brian Lim by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27 30-27)
Matthew Semelsberger def. Abdelhamid Kousmat at 2:30 of the 1st rd via Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Nathan Jaime def. James Huffman at 2:30 of the 1st Rd via TKO (Strikes)
George Billy def. Brandon Lewis by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alvin Amana def. Anthony Cordero by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Giles Smikle def. Justin Smith at 2:18 of the 1st rd via Submission (Arm Bar)
Morgan Dailey def. Hannah Rosario at 2:38 of the 3rd rd via TKO (Strikes)
Sodiq Yusuff def. Yohanes Rezene at 2:17 of the 2nd rd via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Martin Scales def. Matthew Ferguson by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Joe Matik def. Vincent Striker by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
James Neville def. Malcolm Travis at 4:18 of the 2nd rd via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Paul Rath def. DeJuan Turrentine at 1:16 of the 1st rd via TKO (Strikes)
Lateef Bello vs. Andrew Horace - Majority Draw (28-28, 29-27, 28-28)
Leonard Poe def. John Thorpe at 2:44 of the 2nd rd via TKO (Strikes)
Hawraz Syan def. Steven Adame by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Alex Cady def. Chris Daffan at :08 of the 1st rd via KO (Head Kick)
Leon Tsai def. Sean Boyle at :35 of the 1st rd via Submission (Guillotine)