|Mecca IX delivers speedy finishes and back-and-forth wars|
|Written by JAKE KRIER|
|Monday, 06 March 2017 20:23|
Driller Promotions invaded Canterbury Park on Saturday night for the first time in over a year for Mecca IX. The return included an eight-hour marathon of 30 total fights and brought plenty of exciting combat action for the packed house.
Twenty-one Muay Thai fights served as the appetizer to the MMA portion of the evening. The Muay Thai section was headlined by the crowning of a new TBA National Champion as Minnesota standout Kaitlin Young was awarded the judges’ nod in a unanimous decision five-round war with the Aussie Claire Baxter.
As for the MMA, despite the card only boasting nine fights, it certainly fired up the crowd with finishes coming in six of the bouts and exciting back-and-forth affairs in those that went to decision. The night’s main event featured Travis Perzynski battling Derek Getzel at lightweight.
In the same weekend that saw Perzynski’s alma mater win their first state wrestling title, the former Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougar found success inside the cage as well, submitting Getzel with a second-round triangle choke. Getzel had found plenty of success in the opening round, taking down the wrestler in Perzynski with relative ease. He landed a strong dose of ground-and-pound and was likely ahead on the scorecards after the first.
“The Pretzel” drove Perzynski against the cage and picked up another early takedown in the opening moments of the second round, but the latter was able to create some space and catch Getzel in the submission when he entered back into the guard. He would get the subsequent tap seconds later.
Not only was it a big weekend for Perzynski’s former prep team, but it also was a highly successful one for his current team, Spartan Martial Arts. The crew, headed by 2016 Minnesota MMA News Coach of the Year Tom Schmitz, went an impeccable 8-0 at Canterbury.
The co-main event proved yet again that Canterbury Park is a place where you don’t want to face Charles Anozie. After dominating in last year’s Grand Prix from the venue, Anozie defended his amateur Driller featherweight championship in impressive fashion against the highly touted Jesse Hernandez. Incredible scrambles between the two really served as the story of this short but sweet fight.
The finish came when Anozie was able to defend a Hernandez kimura attempt by rolling through straight to top control and immediately sinking in a deep guillotine to secure the submission victory just over a minute into the fight.
The fight prior had its own fair share of scrambles, reversals and passes from the ground, where the majority of the BJ Lacy-Cully Butterfield scrap took place. The two went back-and-forth, bargaining for position on countless occasions. But the fight would go to the judges.
They all scored it in favor of the Roufusport fighter and World Series of Fighting veteran Butterfield, giving him the unanimous decision in front of his wild fan support.
In the final professional bout, Matt Larson edged Tom Krenzel. Larson’s top game won him the fight after he survived a scare in the first round. Krenzel dropped Larson in the opening exchange after they went all rock’em, sock’em robots to liven up the crowd.
After regaining his wits, a busted-open Larson was able to take Krenzel to the mat and control him there for most of the remainder of the fight.
The lone women’s MMA bout saw Helen Peralta drop Jordan Nickelatti and hand her the first loss of her amateur career. Peralta followed up the initial strike with a big shot that forced the referee to halt the fight less than two minutes into the opening round.
The Academy may have found another stud prospect in Willie Budhram, who outscored Alphonse Weah two rounds to one on way to a unanimous-decision win. Budhram faced adversity from the game Weah, but ultimately, it was Budhram’s repertoire of hooks and uppercuts alongside a number of great takedowns that earned him the victory and extended his record to 2-0.
At middleweight, the debuting Arkady Pichurin pulled off a nice comeback win over David Vinje. The cardio of Vinje diminished late in the third round, and Pichurin was able to lock in a triangle from his back in the waning seconds of the final round. This was a very entertaining fight between two fighters quite comfortable to grapple on the ground.
Equally entertaining, albeit from the feet, was the high-paced bout between Brad Pitan and Sam Khom. Pitan got rocked by an overhand right that was followed up by a big slam from Khom in round one, but he rallied in the second round. Pitan dropped Khom this time around with an overhand right of his own and finished with ground-and-pound.
Finally, the opening bout featured two heavyweights in Josh Moody and Gary Spears. Moody, nicknamed "Whiskey Hips," used an arsenal of knees to the body to soften up Spears before an outside trip got the fight to the ground. From there, he used those hips to secure a triangle, verbally told Spears that he was going "night, night" and then got the tap before that could happen.
It was a fantastic night of fights for Driller. But the promotion isn't done. Driller is back in action March 18 with A-Town Throwdown XI at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Austin. Two titles are on the line, and the card also features the return of Deangelo Curtis. Watch for the announcement of the two title fights this week.
155 - Travis Perzynski def. Derek Getzel via submission (Triangle at 1:32 of Round 2).
185 - Cully Butterfield def. BJ Lacy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
185 - Matt Larson def. Tom Krenzel via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
145 - Charles Anozie def. Jesse Hernandez via submission (Guillotine at 1:04 of Round 1). *Title Fight
130 - Helen Peralta def. Jordan Nickelatti via technical knockout (1:52 of Round 1).
145 - Willie Burdham def. Alphonse Weah via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
185 - Arkady Pichurin def. David Vinje via submission (Triangle at 2:32 of Round 3).
145 - Brad Pitan def. Sam Khom via technical knockout (0:48 of Round 2).
265 - Josh Moody def. Gary Spears via submission (Triangle at 2:03 of Round 1).