This past Saturday I had the privilege of witnessing a pro/am mixed martial arts event Ultimate Cage Battles: Pride and Glory at the Ohio Sports Net Complex in Parma, Ohio. Former King of the Cage heavyweight champion Dan “The Bull” Bobish no longer fights, but he puts on great show not just for the fans, but for his fighters as well.
From the first amateur fight on the card to the main event featuring UFC veteran Forrest Petz, each fighter was given respect. Every fighter was given a proper entrance complete with blaring walkout music, moving stage lights and a fog machine. Every winner, even amateurs making their debuts were given a brief post-fight interview with Chuck Goleti in front of the sold out crowd of 1500+ MMA fans. Bobish also utilized a camera crew that provided introduction promotional videos to each professional fighter before they made their way to the cage.
The event was complete with plenty of MMA apparel for sale, a fully stocked bar as well as five exuberant ring girls who danced around the cage during each fighter’s walkout music.
The fights themselves were very entertaining as well. There were fantastic comebacks like Christian Anderson’s gutsy 3rd round guillotine against Eric Ferguson or Jeremiah Yeager’s desperation rear naked choke when he was just 17 seconds away from losing a decision to Jake Huffman. Even the pro fights had a great comeback with kickboxer Tiawon Howard pulling off a surprise kimura victory over Eric Moon from the bottom position after being controlled for 1 1/2 rounds.
There were several impressive performances but here were my top three fighters to watch for:
Brian Rogers – Middleweight training with Team Strongstyle. “The Predator” scored his fifth straight first round knockout after rocking (9-3) opponent Robert Conner with a flying knee and finishing him off with some ground and pound. Rogers has big things planned for his future and has sent feelers out to top promotions like Strikeforce.
Cody Garbrandt – This 3-1 amateur featherweight trains out of Mainstreet MMA/H20 MMA. Garbrandt scored his third consecutive TKO over Billy Freedson, each opponent being finished quicker than the last. Garbrandt appears well rounded with solid striking and wrestling and at only 19 year old, he’s got plenty of time to grow into a very dangerous mixed martial artist.
Justin Cooper – Cooper was making his amateur debut, but that didn’t stop him from looking very impressive. This middleweight trains out of Nonstop MMA and possesses very strong wrestling and ground and pound skills to go along with an above average striking game which he gained confidence in as his fight progressed. With some seasoning, this kid could be very good.
Brandon Seylor submits Josh Berkley (rear naked choke) at 1:45 of the 1st round
Bobby Gilmore defeats Nick Schenk via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:39 of the 2nd round
Christian Anderson defeats Eric Ferguson via submission (guillotine choke) at :41 of the 3rd round
Joe Collari defeats Marcus Esler via split decision
Justin Cooper defeats Shane Rivera via TKO at 1:00 of the 2nd round.
Rich Randolph defeats Dallas Dishman via verbal submission at 3:00 of the 1st round
Jeremiah Yeager defeats Jake Huffman via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:43 of the 3rd round
Cody Garbrandt defeats Billy Freedson via TKO at 1:18 of the 1st round
Tiawan Howard defeats Eric Moon via submission (kimura) at 3:38 of the 2nd round
Brian Rogers defeats Robert Conner via TKO at 3:01 of the 1st round.
Bobby Brents defeats Jason Riley via submission (keylock) at 1:37 of the 2nd round
Forrest Petz defeats Herbert Goodman via unanimous decision.