While most of you will be shelling out bucks to see Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit go at it on pay-pay-view on Saturday night, a select few of us will instead be at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, watching some top-notch regional MMA the way the sport is meant to be watched: in-fucking-person. That's right, I'm talking about Cage Fury Fighting Championship 13. Now, I've already extolled the virtues of a few of the bouts (http://www.mmajournalist.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-february-will-be-awesome.html), but there are others that have my interest piqued as well. So why not discuss them now? Hey, that's a great idea! (Note: I'm talking to myself. I think I might be going crazy.)
-Sean Santella vs. Bryan Lashomb - Up until when Santella ran into the human brick wall known as Aljamain Sterling, he was the baddest "little guy" in the Northeast. Which isn't to say "Shorty Roc" isn't still pretty bad ("bad" meaning he could put his fist through your chest; "bad" meaning he could submit you before you even knew he'd taken you down). He is. Only now he's aiming to get back on track as a dominant force in the Garden State circuit. On the other side of the bout is Lashomb, who trains out of MMA Institute in Virginia, is a veteran of M-1 Challenge, and seems pretty well-rounded. The big question here, though, is if Lashomb is ready for the step up in competition, as Santella is way better than any of the guys he's faced while competing in the Maryland-DC-Virginia area... *Awkward silence* ...Wait, are you expecting me to tell you if Lashomb is ready? How the hell should I know?
-Anthony Morrison vs. Jay Haas -How's this for bad luck: "Cheesesteak" Morrison worked his way up the Northeast rankings and made it into the WEC, only to face Mike Brown and Chad Mendes (an ex-champ and a top contender). Man, talk about screwed. Anyway, Morrison is back after a year and a half hiatus, and standing on the other side of the cage will be Haas, an experienced dude from Pennsylvania who can pound opponents out or get subbed by them. This bout intrigues me because I'm curious to see where Morrison is at in terms of being "Mr. Ass-Kicker".
-Claudio Ledesma vs. Pedro Gonzalez - Ledesma is another top "little guy" who fell to Aljamain Sterling but still remains a stone-cold killer, so this matchup should see him work New England fighter Gonzalez over pretty thoroughly. My crystal ball is showing me some punishment from top position, a transition to a sub, and a victorious Ledesma doing the Marcarena, but in the interest of full disclosure, I should say my crystal ball is a piece of shit. Literally.
-Mike Medrano vs. Brian VanHoven -Back in 2010, Medrano was a contender fighting the best guys in Ring of Combat, but he's hit a bit of skid from then to now. VanHoven was winless in 2011, so in theory, this should be the perfect opportunity for big-punching Medrano to get back to his winning ways. In theory. In reality, just about everyone Medrano has ever faced has had a reach advantage; if that's the case with VanHoven - and if VanHoven is explosive - this one could get ugly.