Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CFFC/CES MMA Preview Mashup

Bellator may be returning to our Friday night MMA rotation this weekend, but for those of us in the Northeast, there's some top notch local violence on tap.  And when I saw "top notch", envision me shooting off fireworks at my desk and blowing holes in my ceiling with a pair of six guns (i.e., I am excited!).  On Friday at the Borgata in Atlantic City, the Cage Fury Fighting Championships is giving us around 15 of the kind of match-ups that would surely make Baby Jesus cry if he were in the audience (because seriously, babies do not belong at MMA shows.  Do not bring them!).  Meanwhile, Rhode Island-based promotion CES MMA will be setting up shop at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday night, and their card's got a lot of "Oh wow, that's cool" attached to it, too.  Sadly, I won't be there for the CES MMA show, and though I'll be at CFFC, I likely won't be able to observe the fights much seeing that I'm shadowing an inspector for the event.  But I'd be remiss if I didn't churn out some kind of a preview, so here's a list of reasons as to why you should care about each particular event.

Cage Fury Fighting Championships 16
  • Tim Williams - In six amateur fights and seven pro, jiu-jitsu specialist Williams has yet to taste defeat, and he's currently CFFC's reigning light-heavyweight champ.  Can challenger Dustin Jacoby - who's tasted life in the Octagon twice before - be the one to take the belt?  I doubt it.  Williams went toe-to-toe with dynamic striker Andre Gusmao at CFFC 7, which means he's got skills in all areas, and he's got something Jacoby doesn't: upward momentum.  Williams is remaining champ, and I see him doing a UFC/Strikeforce/Bellator run in the not-too-distant future.
  • George Sullivan - CFFC's welterweight champ earned his crown by dropping UFC alum Greg Soto.  This tells us two things about Sullivan: the dude can stop a takedown really well, and he can stop a rampaging bull elephant with a well-placed strike.  Sullivan is defending his title against Maryland-based grappling predator Tenyeh Dixon - who's got a ton of experience as well - so this one should be fun.
  • Aljamain Sterling - CFFC's bantamweight champ is also the most talented and promising fighter in the Northeast right now (in my humble opinion), and while Sedico Honorio is a badass jiu-jitsu-heavy opponent, I don't see anyone stopping the Sterling train.  Choo-choo!
  • Sean Santella - Flyweight king Santella is the best 125-pounder in the region, and that label comes at a time when there are quite a few viable flyweights competing.  So giddyup!
  • Artur Rofi - Rofi, who trains under Romulo Bittencourt and has been giving cats the Ronda Rousey treatment since turning pro, is the meanest mofo around when it comes to action inside the cage - which makes watching his fights one of life's absolute joys.  It's only a matter of time before Rofi is fighting for a belt, so tune in now and you can be all hipster and cool and say you knew of him back when.
  • JA Dudley - Dudley has been in the game a long time and has paid dues, so it's good to see him work his way up to upper levels of the heavyweight division.  Opponent Chris Birchler is a well-credentialed wrestler and exponent of the AMA Fight Club, but Dudley's got the edge in experience, so this should be a fairly decent scrap.
  • Andria Caplan - Female MMA has certainly had its ups and downs, but with Invicta FC drawing over a quadrillion Internet viewers and Strikeforce champ Rousey the source of many broken-limbed nightmares, now seems to be one of the "up" periods.  Which makes this fight - featuring Philly's Caplan - a real treat.  Woot!  Female MMA!
  • Jonathan Helwig - Like Dudley, this dude has been around since forever, and he's always been more than capable of dispensing sudden and brutal violence.  I'm still a little sore over Helwig's random and unprovoked murder of my character in the online zombie game "Urbandead", but I'll forever be a fan of the destruction he leaves behind in the cage, so definitely pay attention to his fight.
  • Chris Liguori - Liguori has been fighting for so long, he's like one of three people who remembers when Dan Miragliotta had hair.  You can't go wrong when "the Story" fights, because he's bringing with him solid boxing and sharp jiu-jitsu.

CES MMA: "War at the Shore"

  • Kris McCray - McCray is a UFC, TUF and Bellator vet, so yeah, that's what's up.  Dude is made of reinforced steel. 
  • Kevin Roddy - I think this is "K-Rod's" one thousandth fight or something, and though he's got some blemishes on his record, he's coming off of two wins - which is my way of saying Roddy's still dangerous and still capable.  Plus, he's one of the nicest, most likable guys in the sport, so watching him win is like watching your best friend mack on a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and succeed in taking her home.  Brings a tear to your eye.
  • Lester Caslow - After seven years of fighting, I feel like I've literally watched Caslow grow up in the cage (his first fight was at the tender age of 13).  He's a man now, though - a very experienced and well-rounded man who can end fights with submissions or strikes - so you're going to get some decent action from this guy no matter if he ends up winning or losing.
  • Mike Stewart - I have Stewart as one of the top five (maybe even top two or three) light-heavyweights in the Northeast, although if you ask some of his past opponents (who he knocked out with his fast and heavy hands), they might tell you, "Huh?  Mike who?  I honestly can't remember any of the days surrounding those fights.  Head trauma, you know."
  • Jay McLean - If you could genetically engineer a pile of muscles into a human bulldozer, it would still have trouble if it took on McLean.  Is he tough?  Tougher than a steak left in the microwave for two hours.  For that reason alone, you should care about his fights.