Title Photo Credit: Kaitlin Ariel Sturgill Photography
MMA in VA reports from Grayson County High School, in Independence, VA, Saturday, July 16th at approximately 5:00 PM EST, with play by play and our "of the Night" awards, for Titans of the Cage 17.
Philip Oda v. Brian Boles
The night opens with a Catchweight bout, at 175 lbs. Oda looked to take control of the center of the cage, initially, but was taken down by Oda, when he tried to press the action. Boles moved into a strong side mount and connected with several left-hand blows to Oda's head. Boles trapped Oda's right arm and rained down head strikes until Oda let out a scream. Referee Marvin Stanley stepped in and waived off the bout, calling the method of victory a submission due to strikes, at 1:34 of the round. Your winner is Brian Boles.
Darnell Guyton v. Christopher Mayberry
Guyton starts the round in a way that fits his fight moniker, "In Your Face", as he swarmed Mayberry with a flurry of punches and throwing him to the mat. Mayberry weathered the early storm and threatened a deep choke, as the round wore on. Guyton was able to escape and take Mayberry's back. Guyton sunk in both hooks and locked on a rear-naked choke, forcing Mayberry to tap at 2:00 of the round. The winner by submission is Darnell Guyton.
Tyler Lester v. Stacy Dalton
Lester with the early advantage, landing several strikes and taking the SWMA product, Dalton to the canvas. Dalton reversed into top position. Lester attempted a guillotine choke, from his back, but Dalton powered through, gained full mount, landing his ground, until Lester gave up his back. Dalton sunk in a rear-naked choke, forcing Lester to tap at the 1:30 mark.
Casey Lester v. Josh Billings
Casey Lester, from Advantage Martial Arts, in WV, takes on independent fighter, Josh Billings, from North Carolina. This bout is in the Welterweight division. Lester looked to be the thicker more powerful fighter and moved forward, pushing the exchanges early. Lester engaged Billings against the cage, looking like he was ready to unleash some punishment, but Billings picked up the bigger Lester and deposited him on the canvas. Billings landed a number of shots to the body, causing another verbal submission. Lester grunted, which was referee Marvin Stanley's signal to step in and stop the fight. The winner by verbal submission is Josh Billings at the 2:36 mark of the round.
Brandon Perkins v. Logan Hurley
The flyweights square off in fifth bout of the evening. Logan Hurley, out of Team Decimation, with a 4 fight experience nod over Perkins, will look to even his record at 3-3, with a win, and keep Perkins winless in his young MMA career. Hurley, the longer, taller fighter allowed Perkins to get inside his range, immediately. Perkins landed a one-two combo, but was tied up by Hurley, minimizing much damage. Hurley turned Perkins to the cage and after applying some cage control, took Perkins down and moved into full mount. After taking several strikes, Perkins gave up his back. Hurley locked in both hooks and controlled his opponent for the remainder of the round. Perkins showed toughness and determination in withstanding several submission attempts.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Hurley
Perkins, showing a mouse under his right eye came out looking a bit fresher than his opponent Hurley, whose mouth was wide open. Perkins used a lot more movement to evade the clinch of Hurley, mixing in some nice leg kicks. Perkins got a little wild with his punches, however, and let Hurley get into his range. Perkins looked to pull guard and hook in a guillotine, but Hurley had a nice lather working and slipped his head right out and took top position. Hurley, who ruled the first round on the ground, allowed Perkins to stand. The round was a very close one to call.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Perkins
Perkins, still appearing to have the better cardio of the two started the round with more leg kicks. He didn't have the success with them that he had in the 2nd round, however. Perkins got wild with the strikes, again, and allowed the clinch with Hurley. Perkins, again pulling guard, but with no submission attempt, did nothing but allow Hurley to be in top position. The fatigue of the fighters, mixed with the posture control of Perkins, didn't really allow Hurley to land many strikes from top position. However, Hurley remained in top position for the entire round, which should be enough to win him the round and the fight. The judges scored the fight for Hurley, by unanimous decision by the scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
Chris Hamlett v. Keith Goines
This bout will be for the TOC Cruiserweight title. The TOC Cruiserweight division has a weight limit of 230 lbs. Goines, called "The Gentle Giant" , the current Champion, from SWMA will take on independent fighter, Hamlet, from Christiansburg, VA. Goines will look to remain undefeated and run his record to 6-0, with a victory. Each fighter started the round, throwing unsuccessful low leg kicks. Goines, looking to try and get his advantage early, shot right in with a successful takedown attempt. Goines landed a couple of elbows and hammer fists, forcing Hamlett to give up his back. Goines, who got high on the back of Hamlett slid off and briefly attempted an arm bar. The humidity in the gym, which has had all of the night's fighters in a nice sweat, may have caused Hamlett to be too slick, as Goines wasn't able to hold the arm bar, thus giving up top position to Hamlett, for the last few seconds of the round.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Goines
In a repeat of the first round, Goines shot right back for a takedown, this time he set it up a little bit better, getting off some strikes on his way in. Goines gained top position and ended up securing the neck of Hamlett, rolled backwards and landed a successful guillotine choke, causing Hamlett to tap, almost immediately. Goines move to 6-0 and retains his title, with his submission victory at the 1:08 mark.
Isaiah Thompson v. Antwon Curtis
Thompson, after a fresh beard shave, between yesterday's weigh-ins and today's fight, looked fired up and ready to take on Roanoke's Antwon Curtis. Curtis came to the cage representing Team Modern Gladiators, in Roanoke. Thompson came out looking like he wanted to show some spinning techniques and jump knees, but never pulled the trigger on either. Curtis found his way in and took Thompson down. Thompson hooked on a guillotine, but couldn't maintain it. Curtis moved into full mount and let his fists go. Thompson had no defense and referee Marvin Stanley stepped in and waived the bout off at the 2:06 mark. The winner by TKO is Antwon Curtis.
Shawn Rivera v. Tyler Kelchner
This bout is a battle of new fighters. Rivera, sporting an 0-1 record will face the debuting Tyler Kelchner, from Team Hybrid in Roanoke. Kelcher made his way to the cage, in his gi, sporting his BJJ Blue Belt, in very proud fashion. Rivera, who brought a huge contingent from West Virginia, refused to touch gloves at the opening bell. Instead, he wanted to focus on bringing the fight to his opponent. Rivera chased Kelchner around the cage, landing a flurry of punches. Kelcher was able to get a clinch and get the fight to the mat, but the Blue Belt was quickly reversed by Rivera, who immediately got up and out of the home of Kelchner, the mat. In a furious exchange, Rivera was the victim of an incidental eye poke to his let eye. The strike looked to open a cut over the eye and cause some minor swelling. Rivera required approximately 3 of the 5 minutes granted to him by referee Marvin Stanley. After the break, Rivera continue to connect, again stunning Kelchner, but the furious pace of the early round flurries and perhaps his adrenaline dump seemed to slow Rivera at the end of the round. Rivera clearly won the round 10-9, but was unable to answer the bell for the 2nd round, in a disappointing turn of events for a fighter that had the fight going his way. Tyler Kelchner is your winner, but TKO at 3:00 of Round 1.
Jeromy Mitchell v. Ray Holston
After being inducted into the TOC Hall of Fame, earlier in the night, Ray Ray Holston had to put that all behind him and take on a very tough Jeremy Mitchell (3-3). "Pretty Boy" Mitchell ended a three fight losing steak, with a big win back in June and will look to make it two in a row, in this 140 lb. Catchweight bout. This bout is a rematch between this two. The first bout saw Holston secure a 1st round submission victory. Mitchell will want to rebound and hope to get a win to possibly force a trilogy. Mitchell's three losses have come against some of Tapology's top rated fighters in the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions, losing to Jacob Skinner, Holston (as mentioned) and Chachi Tabor. Both fighters, familiar with each other's style, took a few moments to feel each other out. Mitchell looked to push the action early, but Holston used good movement to evade any damaging strikes. Holston countered with a nice flurry of punches that backed Mitchell up to the cage. Holston got Mitchell to the mat and trapped his right arm, allowing him to grab the free arm and lock on an arm lock, causing Mitchell to tap at the 1:59 mark.
Demetrius Dye v. Garrett Fosdyck
his five round bout will be for the TOC Heavyweight title, currently held by Absolute Jiu-Jitsu's Fosdyck. TOC title bouts are 5 three-minute rounds, instead of 3 five-minute rounds. Fosdyck, an undefeated young fighter, who is currently undefeated, showed some good agility for a big guy, but landing a head kick on Dye. Fosdyck, also a college wrestler didn't wait long to get Dye to the mat, with a powerful takedown. Once on the mat, there was no way out for Dye. Dye gave up his back, Fosdyck, flattened him out and ground and pounded his way to victory at 1:40. Winner by TKO and new Champ (previously vacant), is Fosdyck.
Kathy Hatfield v. Samantha Testerman
Hatfield, from Advantage Martial Arts, in WV, makes her dubut against fellow debuter, Testerman in this Flyweight bout. Hatfield, coming out of her corner as if going after a McCoy, wasted no time unloading a flurry of very precise low kicks and punches. Testerman was immediately overwhelmed and after taking what must have been in the area of 30 strikes, turned her back to her opponent, signaling referee Marvin Stanley that she'd had enough. At the 31-second mark, Hatfield is your winner, in very impressive fashion, by TKO due to strikes.
Michael Warner v. Wes Pennington
Pennington shot in like a bull charging a matador, looking for a takedown and early control. Pennington briefly got his opponent to the mat, but Warner was right back up, showing some good takedown defense. Warner sprawled on another takedown attempt and took Pennington's back, landing strikes. The strikes were substantial enough to referee Marvin Stanley to step in and wave off the fight. Your winner, at the 1:45 mark is Michael Warner, by TKO.
Mason Hamer v. Casey Conway
Hamer, from Round 30 in Roanoke returns to the cage after 14 month layoff. Hamer, having dropped his last two bouts, after a 4-0 start to his career will look to do so against independent fighter, Casey Conway. Conway, very tall for a Bantamweight, where this bout takes place connected with Hamer early, as he utilized his reach advantage. Hamer tried to get the fight to the mat and during the attempt, Conway grabbed Hamer's leg on the way down and sunk in a deep knee bar, out of nowhere. Hamer was forced to submit at the 59-second mark. Winner by submission is Casey Conway.
Kyle Rodriguez v. K.C. Cockran
Rodriguez wanted to open the bout and showcase the speed advantage and landed a flurry, culminating in a nice right hand that put Cockran against the cage. Cockran was able to grab the lower body of Rodriguez and he came in and score a takedown. No real damage was done, while on the mat, and the bout quickly returned to it's feet. An impressive round of volume striking and cage control should give the round to Rodriguez.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Rodriguez
Rodriguez really looked to unveil the leg kicks in this round. One of those kicks landed unintentionally to Cockran's groin, however, causing a brief stop in the action. Rodriguez came out looking to end it, after the recovery time. Rodriguez threw voluminous punch combos, dropping Cockran to a knee. Much like the first round, Cockran survived and grabbed a leg, taking his opponent to the mat. Cockran used some nice ground control and really wrapped Rodriguez up nicely, landing some strikes, to end the round. Rodriguez seemed to land more and do more damage, giving him a slight edge in the round.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Rodriguez
After an active 2nd round, from both fighters, the pace of the 3rd slowed, as each fighter worked to gather their breath and energy for that final push. In a kick exchange, Cockran, unintentionally returned the favor and landed a groin shot on Rodriguez that echoed through the gymnasium. The fury and sound of the kick appeared to be one in which Rodriguez would certainly indulge in all 5 of the minutes allotted to him to recover. Lead official, Brian Pisani, entered the cage to try and help Rodriguez up, in an attempt to aid in his recovery. As soon as Rodriguez got to his feet, he went right back down to his knees. Unable to continue, the bout was waived off and went to the judges scorecards for a decision. The judges scored a majority decision victory for Rodriguez, after judging the bout on the prior two rounds that were completed. The scores were 20-18, 19-19, 20-18.
Josh Cook v. Ron Vance
Josh Cook, known for a karate-style stance landed some nice side kicks and a spinning back kick that bothered Vance. Good maintained good movement, not allowing the Absolute BJJ fighter to get a grip on him and get him to the mat. Cook opened up a small cut on the left brow on Vance. Vance landed a big right hand that starched Cook, possibly knocking him out, but the impact of the cage may have brought him to, in time to defend Vance, who immediately took top control and closed the round out on top, stealing the round.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Vance
In addition to the cut brow, Vance also suffered a cut under his right eye that was accompanied by some minor swelling. Ron gained a lot of confidence at the end of the first round and moved into for a strong takedown of Cook. Vance wasn't able to hold the position for more than 30 seconds or so until he was reversed by Cook. Vance was actually the more active of the two fighters, from his back, peppering Cook with annoying head shots and body shots, not accompanied with any power, but just letting Cook know he was there.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Vance
Vance got caught chasing Cook and Cook countered with a staggering spinning back fist that stunned Vance, allowing Cook to shoot in and take top control. Vance threatened with a triangle choke and an arm bar, but Cook was able to slip out and maintain top position. Vance used a slick move, hooking up a kimura arm bar, using it for leverage to take top control and then take Cook's back, before moving to top position. Cook reversed position and ended the round on top. The judges saw the fight for Ron Vance by split decision by the scores of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Cook
Luke Malchano v. Tony Warnke
In another rematch, one that saw Warnke the victor in the first matchup by decision, it was obvious that Warnke had no desire to gain the judges opinions again. After connecting with a big right hand, that bucked the knees of Malchano, Malchano went for Warnke's legs and got momentary top position, but left his neck exposed. Warnke wasted no time in locking in a guillotine choke, at the 50-second mark, forcing the tap from Malchano.
Sam Warren v. Ayron Davis
Sam Warren looked a lot leaner than he did when we covered his bout in March of 2015. Quite a layoff for Warren, who comes in to take on 22-fight veteran Davis. What I can recall from his Cagezilla fight was that Warren didn't throw strikes as frequently as maybe he should have, costing him a decision. He rectified that tonight, swarming Davis and getting him to the mat, prior to Warren taking control back. Able to recover from some strong ground and pound, Davis moved to a very active guard, attempting a triangle choke and arm bar. Too much control for Warren, in the first stanza, though.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Warren
Davis started the round taking instructions from the crowd as almost instantly after a member of the crowd called for an overhand right, Davis landed it and dropped Warren. Warren regained top control, after a scramble, but the experience of Davis shone through and he locked in a guillotine choke that forced Warren to give. At 35 seconds of the round, Ayron Davis was your winner by guillotine choke.
Nick Beal v. James Settle
Tonight's co-main event features the TOC Featherweight champ, and 7-1 fighter, James Settle. Settle, coming out of Absolute Jiu-Jitsu had been unstoppable unstoppable until running into Doug Williams in March of this year. Williams took a decision victory in that fight, in another promotion. Settle will look to get back on track and keep his belt, against up and comer, Beal. In what could be deemed the battle of the beards, Beal will look to shock the Southwestern VA MMA world and give Settle his second straight loss. Not much action until the shin of Settle's left leg connected with Beal's head, sending him briefly staggering. Settle, looked to be very patient and land precision more than volume and did so successfully. When Beal would look to mount an offensive, Settle was a ghost. Settle backed Beal up against the cage and landed several strikes, one to the liver, which crumbled Beal and Settle put a finishing touch on with a knee to the chest of the falling fighter. Referee Marcelo Rodriguez waived off the fight at 2:35 of the round. The victor and still the TOC Featherweight Champion is James Settle.
Jeremy Caviness v. Austin Cooper
The TOC Welterweight Champion and Tapology's #1 Welterweight in VA, returns to action to defend his gold. "The Eternal Dragon" out of SWMA will look to get the victory and run his record to a perfect 8-0. Standing in his way is Jeremy Caviness, sporting a two fight win streak, defeating Micah Sheffey in his last time out. Cooper, not extremely tested to this point used good movement, cutting angles and showing off his speed advantage over Caviness. Caviness was able to land a nice shot on Cooper, but wasn't able to capitalize. After tasting the leather from Caviness, Cooper wanted no time in getting his opponent to the mat, where he should be able to thrive in this fight. Cooper was able to find his range with a nice elbow and some hammer fists from top position. Cooper grinded our the round on top.
MMA in VA Scorecard: 10-9 Cooper
Cooper opened up a small mouse under Caviness's right eye. That may have been from the elbow for the hammer first from the first round. Cooper did a quicker job of getting Caviness to the mat, where he very fluidly moved from Caviness's full guard, to side mount to full mount in three very quick moves. Big body shots from Cooper, who moved to an arm bar, but slipped off due to both fighters being extremely sweaty. Caviness, who looked to mount, fell right into a Cooper triangle choke, forcing Caviness into a quick tap. The winner and still TOC Welterweight Champion, by submission at 1:49, is Austin "The Eternal Dragon" Cooper.
For full results, visit the TOC 17 Tapology event page.
MMA in VA's "of the night" awards
Fight of the Night: Josh Cook v. Ron Vance
KO of the Night: Kathy Hatfield
Submission of the Night: Casey Conway