In the Books: Cagezilla 4

By Monica Hunsaker

Cagezilla Fighting Championship 4 brought enthusiastic Ashburn fight fans a thrilling card, stacked with three title fights and two exhilarating female fights. Decisions and knockouts determined the night’s victors, as not one match was finished by submission.  

A Heavyweight bout kicked Saturday night off and resulted in a disappointing draw for UFC Gym’s Josh Freeman and Zach Roseboro of Pilsung Martial Arts. The Welterweight match that followed was stopped by referee William Bookwalter just ten seconds before the final bell, when Damon Minor finally defeated Bakari Fisher after dominating each round, but falling short of securing a submission. In the end, Minor violently slammed his opponent to the ground, giving him the dominant position from which he employed violent blows to Fisher’s face and body for the win. 

Photo Credit: Paul LoveKing - TricktheLight.com

Bout three brought the ladies to the cage and they brought the heat - and the noise. The crowd went wild for the intense battle between Kate Brown of Vanguard Gym and Capital MMA's Morgan Allen. The two exchanged vicious strikes immediately and Brown’s head was already bleeding early in the first round. Owning the end of round one, Allen used vicious knees to damage her opponent. Brown fought to take Allen to the ground, working for a submission throughout the match and falling just short of getting an arm bar at the end of round two, in which she again took a savage beating. But Brown proved a tenacious competitor, persevering despite taking even more blows into the third round. She appeared almost un-phased by Allen's knees and strikes that caused her head to bleed heavily, working for a ground advantage through the final round. The judges ultimately declared Allen the victor (30-27, 29-28, 30-27). 

Jacob Olave of Kaizen MMA and Ground Control’s Kevin Fulmore followed that match with an exciting display of their own. Both came to the cage ready for battle, immediately exchanging intense kicks that could be heard snapping through the lively crowd. Throughout the second round, Olave played the aggressor, chasing Fulmore with savage strikes and kicks. In the third round however, Fulmore got his second wind, dropping Olave and gaining a dominant position from which to work. As Olave worked to escape, he (somewhat jokingly) taunted Fulmore, laughing and saying ‘Let’s go!” When Fulmore couldn’t complete a submission, referee Ric Humphries stood them back up and Olave went back to chasing Fulmore with strikes as the bell ended the round. The judges were split, but ultimately declared Fulmore the winner (29-28, 29-29, 29-28). 

The ladies again owned the cage for the evening’s fifth fight. Elise Reed of Kickside Martial Arts and Lindsey MacMhaolain of Revolution BJJ went just 2:12 into the first round, but it was a brutal bout that the crowd went wild for from the start. MacMhaolain proved strong and was able to take Reed to the ground quickly. But a determined Reed put up a strong fight, using elbows to escape her opponent’s hold. That worked and she caught MacMhaolain with a vicious elbow that caused MacMhaolain's nose to pour blood. Returning some knees of her own wasn’t enough and MacMhaolain was again quickly dropped and brutally struck by Reed, until referee William Bookwalter stopped the action. With that knockout, Reed’s hand was raised in victory. 

Photo Credit: Paul LoveKing - TricktheLight.com

Saturday’s first title fight brought a first-round TKO. Matt Skibicki of BJJ Conquest and Gold Medal Grappling’s Kyle Graham faced off, their eyes on the Cagezilla Featherweight Championship Belt that would decorate the victor. Skibicki left with that belt after referee Ric Humphries stopped the action at 4:20 into the match. Brutalizing his opponent with strikes, Skibicki gained a Full-mount and flattened Graham to on the cage floor. Just over four minutes into the match, Skibicki was named Cagezilla’s new featherweight champion. 

Another first round TKO followed and was a spectacularly quick finish for Matt Semelsberger over opponent Chris Huggins. In clear control from start to finish of the 45-second bout, Semelsberger immediately attacked Huggins’ body with repeated kicks and chased him to the cage, continuing his merciless strike attack until referee Ric Humphries ended it. 

The excitement intensified as the Co-Main Event put Cagezilla’s Light Heavyweight Title on the line. Crossroads MMA’s Anthony Wilson and Ryan Parker of Team XCWT endured all three of the battle’s five-minute rounds for that belt. But the match belonged to Parker. Securing full mount early on, he served a brutal ground-and-pound, making Wilson’s attempts to escape nearly impossible. With his opponent under his control, Parker attacked Wilson with knees, maintaining that pressure through the end of the first round. 

Wilson was particularly fatigued as the second round began, but pushed forward, throwing kicks to try to damage Parker. But Parker again responded quickly, dropping and securing another full mount and blasting his opposition with strikes. Wilson momentarily escaped, but the relief was short-lived and Parker regained full mount seconds later, maintaining it as the round’s end was signaled.

Parker dominated the final round. Coming out with a strong head and push-kick, he threw his already exhausted opponent off further. Still, Wilson hung on and returned several kicks of his own. Parker played impressive defense, fading out of several of Wilson’s strikes and maintaining a range that largely allowed him to avoid being hit. Going on the attack, Wilson landed a solid right hook, but couldn’t inflict enough damage to gain the upper hand. He chased Parker with strikes in an attempt to catch him for a takedown, but the tables were turned and Parker was again dominant on the ground, mounting Wilson as the final bell rang. A unanimous decision named a victorious Parker Cagezilla's new Light Heavyweight Champion (30-27 x 3). 

The main event put the vacant Cagezilla Lightweight Title up for grabs. With both their sights set on being the one to leave Saturday with that belt, Raz Syan and Brent Walter had an exciting clash. Walter started strong, landing quick, damaging leg and body kicks. Syan played a slower, perhaps more methodical game and relied on solid defense to avoid Walter’s blows. Syan soon shot a takedown, but struggled to pass guard and then a Kimura. Still, he maintained control for most of the round, throwing vicious strikes from full guard until the bell separated the men. 

A furious strike exchange began their second round, resulting in Syan momentarily losing his mouthpiece. He seemed mildly annoyed at the time-out caused by replacing it, but recovered quickly, soon going for another takedown. Failing to secure his position, Syan allowed the fight to be taken back to his feet. An almost exaggeratedly smiling Walter threw a jab, which Syan slipped and with impressive fluidity used to take Walter back to the ground. Syan cut Walter’s head with a dangerous elbow and still continued serving vicious blows to his body and face until the bell rang. The intense competitors showed excellent sportsmanship, a bloodied Walter accepting Syan’s hand to get him to his feet. 

Photo Credit: Paul LoveKing - TricktheLight.com

That continued into the final round and the two touched gloves as it began. Walter kept a cool demeanor, a big smile on his face big as he returned Syan’s strikes with a sharp body kick. Syan was impressive in his ability to change levels, allowing him to avoid strikes as well as and target various parts of Walter’s face and body. Walter relied on kicks to attack his challenger, but was dominated quickly by Syan who took him down again. Syan maintained control, using violent blows to stuff Walter's attempts at using the cage to push himself free. A heavily bleeding Walter simply couldn't compete with Syan on the ground. Walter seemed exhausted and unable to match Syan’s vicious pressure through the end. Syan's superior ground game ultimately paid off and the judges agreed the Freedom MMA fighter was Cagezilla's new Lightweight Champion (30-27 x 3). 

Check out the Cagezilla 4 Tapology event page for full results.

MMA in VA’s “Of the Night” Awards:

Fight of the Night: Raz Syan v. Brent Walter 

Knockout of the Night: Elise Reed