Sunday, November 18, 2012
While y'all were taking in UFC 154 and the return of some bald Canuck named Georges St. Pierre, I was a dutiful soldier en route to an event called Elite Cage Challenge in Yonkers (Yonkers is 'hood just north of New York City limits). My expectations: amateur MMA, which in New Jersey means fighting with gloves and shinpads, and prohibitions against kicks to the head and ground and pound. Well, imagine my (pleasant) surprise when - within a cage set up in the middle of a gymnasium in a YMCA - fighters fought like pros. The lone discernible nod to their amateur status was the three-minute time limit on the rounds. Other than that, THEY WERE BANGING, BRO. Yeah, the inaugural Elite Cage Challenge rocked. And although the next one should be taking place under soon-to-be adopted New Jersey-esque amateur rules, hey, Elite Cage Challenge, at least we had last night. Highlights of the event included:
- Greg Styles of Westchester Martial Arts, who stole the show with a dominant 46-second TKO over Josh Santiago with three soul-crushing suplexes, one right after the other. It was simply amazing, and Styles' post-fight victory celebration included shouting "Who's the baddest?" and his corner responding with "Sho' nuff!" That right there redefines the phrase "full of win".
- The gutsy performance by MAK Fitness femme Carolina Lopez. Lopez got put on her butt in the opening exchange with Jess O'Brien, but she rallied back to whither O'Brien with punches at 2:40 of the first round.
- The human steamroller known as Dioego Machado of Jiu-Jitsu Concepts. It took a mere 33 seconds for him to get opponent Melton Savory down and put him away with punches from the mount. Good stuff. Very good stuff.
- The war between Dungeon Fight Club rep Cody Hogan and Juliano Zanetti of MAK Fitness. They battled into the third round, and after landing everything from knees to punches to a spinning backfist, Hogan was able to TKO Zanetti on the ground at 2:00 of Round 3.