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|All-pro card delivers at the Hyatt|
|Written by Ben Pherson|
|Sunday, 15 July 2012 08:41|
SEG/Driller takes a great deal of pride in matching even, exciting fights. And Saturday night at the Minneapolis Hyatt during Downtown Showdown 8, the organization delivered once again.
Four of the nine fights went the distance and the other bouts all provided thrilling finishes -- and even a stunning upset -- during SEG/Driller's all-pro card.
The night started off well with Nick Ammerman and Jesse Coca putting on a show in the opening fight at 155 pounds.
The Wisconsin natives should a great deal of skill for two guys with three combined fights on their pro records.
Just seconds into the fight, Jesse Coca had already thrown a spinning back kick, a flying knee, a teap kick and every punching combination imaginable at Ammerman.
Coca's hands looked crisp early, as he landed several sharp jabs and reaching right hooks. When Ammerman fired back, he connected, but nothing seemed to hurt Coca. In fact, he begged Ammerman to keep hitting him in the chin.
After Coca's early striking, Ammerman shot for a takedown and slammed Coca to the mat. But Coca quickly worked back to the standing position.
Coca continued with his sharp striking. He landed another hook that rocked Ammerman and opened up a cut. Seconds later Coca landed an uppercut, and Ammerman decided to shoot for the takedown.
Coca looked for submissions from the bottom, but Ammerman defended well, and he ended the round on top.
Ammerman came out strong in the second round, and he seemed to find his striking groove. Coca attempted another spinning back kick, but he missed and Ammerman fired a sharp hook that caught him on the jaw. After another kick attempt, Ammerman took the fight to the ground. He started to dish out a little ground and pound before Coca could work his way back to his feet.
Once it was back standing, Coca started firing again. He landed another hook, but Ammerman came right back with an uppercut. Ammerman again looked like he was finding his range and controlled much of the round.
In the third, much of the fight was standing, but Ammerman and Coca were unable to do much damage. Ammerman was respecting Coca's striking, and Coca was looking to avoid the takedown, so it led to the slowest round of the fight.
Coca was more aggressive in the final round, and Ammerman looked like he was simply trying to secure the victory, which he did.
The fight went to the judges' scorecards, and all three scored it 29-28 in Ammerman's favor. The La Crosse product improved to 2-0 as a professional.
Patrick Delgado made his much anticipated return to Minnesota. He had one of last year's best submissions with a nutcracker choke in May at Showdown at the Sheraton 3.
The Wisconsin product clashed with Minnesota's Roland Larson on Saturday night, but it didn't take long for Delgado to secure his first pro win.
After a nice striking barrage by Delgado, with Larson also firing back, the fight went up against the cage. Delgado continued to fire away and landed a few nice strikes before taking the fight to the ground.
Larson looked for a heel hook, but Delgado stepped out of it.
Larson was able to work his way back to his feet. He did keep a hand on the mat, though, to avoid Delgado's knees, which were aimed at his head.
Delgado kept the pressure on. He had Larson locked up and kept raining down punches, elbows and knees.
Then Delgado landed a devastating knee. It certainly looked as though the knee was illegal as Larson was on the mat, but the ref did not see it.
Larson was rocked, and Delgado pounced. He pounded away with brutal elbows and punches until Larson was forced to tap to strikes 1:38 into the opening frame.
Chase Waldon returned to the cage Saturday night after some time off due to injury. And he looked as good as he ever has in a dominating win over veteran Nate Hoffman.
Waldon landed a massive right hand that rocked Hoffman early. Hoffman staggering back to the cage, and Waldon followed. From there, Waldon unleashed a wild flurry, with loads and loads of punches getting through to Hoffman's face. All Hoffman could do was cover up and try to survive. How he stayed on his feet is unknown ... and it looked like several times the ref considered jumping in to stop it, despite Hoffman still being on his feet up against the cage.
Waldon punched away for a good minute, and then he switched to knees. One knee finally got through and dropped Hoffman, and Waldon continued his barrage.
On the ground, Waldon unleashed a heavy dose of hammerfists. Many of them appeared to hit squarely to the back of Hoffman's head, but the ref did not even issue a warning. Hoffman eventually was forced to cover the back of his head as he turtled up. Waldon never slowed down, though.
After five minutes of Waldon's brutal barrage, the round came to an end. Somehow, Hoffman made it through. It was clearly a 10-8 round, and one of the more dominating opening rounds in recent Minnesota MMA history. The only danger for Waldon was punching himself out of gas.
Waldon did look tired in the opening seconds of Round 2, but then he got his legs back. Hoffman was able to avoid a Waldon takedown attempt briefly, and then he looked for an anaconda choke. It was there, but Hoffman wasn't able to finish, and Waldon had time to defend.
Waldon eventually rolled through and ended up on his back briefly. It ended up being a terrible spot for Hoffman. In the blink of an eye, Waldon had thrown up the armbar attempt. It was tight, and Hoffman tapped 2:48 into the second round.
Jesse Midas made a successful -- and speedy -- return to the cage. The Minnesota veteran took on athletic Derek Smith, but the fight lasted just 11 seconds.
Midas clipped Smith with a huge right hand just seconds after the bell sounded. Smith dropped, out cold. But when he hit the mat, Smith came back to life and was attempting to defend himself.
However, the ref reacted to the knockdown, and he stopped the fight. Smith was quite upset and appeared just fine as he argued the questionable stoppage.
Midas was awarded the knockout win just 11 seconds into the fight.
Another legend returned to the fight game Saturday -- Zach Wolff. And his return to the cage also was successful and speedy.
Wolff, smiling from the second he left the locker room, looked very good against Iowa's Erik Vo.
Both fighters put together nice combinations early in the first round, and both landed a couple of good punches.
Eventually, Wolff shot for a double-leg takedown, and he finished it, putting Vo on his back. Wolff looked slick on the ground, quickly passing Vo's guard and moving to full mount.
Vo, feeling pressure from Wolff's ground and pound, rolled to his knees. Wolff remained poised and transitioned to a triangle choke from the top. The mounted triangle was tight, and Wolff adjusted to make it even tighter. From the top, he could have rained down punches, but the choke was so tight, Vo tapped out just 2:30 into the fight.
Just three weeks after his last fight in Minnesota -- a quick win over Shane DeZee -- Wisconsin's Cully Butterfield was back in action Saturday, taking on unbeaten North Dakota product Matthew Pazanin.
It was a dominating performance for Butterfield from start to finish, as he controlled the fight with his wrestling.
Pazanin was able to avoid much serious damage in the opening round. But Butterfield was on top for the bulk of the round, and he did land a few strikes, while Pazanin was unable to get off anything.
The second was more of the same. Butterfield started to land some good strikes after another takedown. He cut open Pazanin's face with an elbow, and continued to pound away with punches.
The third was almost identical. Pazanin was excellent avoiding submissions and avoiding most of Butterfield's power strikes. But Butterfield still was dominant.
The fight went to the judges, with two of them scoring it 30-27 and one going 30-25, all for Butterfield.
The upset of the night came from veteran B.J. "Da Beast" Lacy in his showdown with fellow standout Isaiah "The Striking Viking" Larson.
Larson controlled the first round. His striking looked good, and he caught Lacy with a few good punches. After working for it, Larson finally got the big takedown he desired late in the round. He stayed on top, dishing out a little punishment before the end of the round.
Lacy looked good to start the second round, but Larson rocked him with a right hand once again and then pounced for another takedown.
Larson remained on top for a time, but Lacy eventually worked for a nice sweep and found his way on top.
Lacy held top position for the final 90 seconds. He was in Larson's guard to start but worked his way to side. From there, Lacy landed a few solid knees to Larson's body. He looked for elbows, too, but Larson defended.
It looked like the fight was tied up heading into the final frame.
That's when Lacy turned it up a notch. His striking in the third was incredible. Lacy started chopping away at Larson's legs. Each time Larson would come forward, Lacy would perfectly time a chop kick to the front of Larson's leg. Lacy knocked down Larson several times with those kicks. But Lacy wasn't done. He kept coming with the kicks, inside, outside, high, low.
Larson wasn't going away, though. He kept coming forward, but Lacy got the better of the exchanges for the bulk of the round.
After a big right hook by Lacy, Larson finally shot for his takedown late in the round and got it. Lacy immediately looked for a kimura from the bottom. For the first 30 seconds on the ground, Larson could do nothing other than defend the kimura attempt. He eventually broke the hold, but Lacy never let Larson get off any ground and pound in the final seconds of the fight.
So, was Larson's one takedown in the round enough to win it for him? Or was Lacy's dominant striking early enough to secure the fight?
The judges didn't even agree on those questions. One judge scored it 29-28 for Larson and the other two scored it 29-28 for Lacy, giving the longtime vet the split-decision win, arguably the biggest of his career.
Minnesota's No. 2-ranked 145-pounder Rich Taylor picked up a big win Saturday night. He knocked off North Dakota's standout Ryan Burwick.
After a brief early exchange, Taylor shot for a takedown and secured it. But the fight didn't stay on the ground for long.
Back on the feet, the fighters traded punches. But it seemed every time Burwick would land a hook, Taylor would come right back with two punches of his own.
After another solid combination by Taylor, Burwick ended up on the mat. Taylor tried to throw punches and kicks at Burwick, while hovering over him. But the round came to an end.
The second round was similar. Taylor and Burwick mixed it up several times, but Taylor usually got the better of the exchanges.
After a Taylor combination, he changed levels and scored another takedown. Taylor was cut open from one of the exchanges, but it was nothing series.
After a little ground and pound, the fight slowed and the ref stood Taylor and Burwick back up. Taylor landed a nice hook before shooting for another takedown. He missed it and Burwick landed a kick, but Taylor still ended up on top as the round came to a close.
The fight slowed down a bit in the third. Nothing big was thrown early and eventually Taylor locked up another takedown. Taylor was in and out of Burwick's guard. He did some damage with hammerfists but nothing serious.
The fight would go to the judges' scorecards, but it was a dominating performance by Taylor and all three judges scored it 30-27 in his favor.
The night's main event featured Wisconsin's Tony Belvedere and Josh Rave, who fights out of Nebraska.
The first round was very close, with the two fighters trading punches in a very similar fashion. The 125-pounders put on a show, both landing big shots, both dancing in and out.
Rave seemed to be landing more power shots, but Belvedere got his punches in, too. The entire round was the same -- all non-stop striking.
It was a tough opening round to score. Luckily, the judges didn't have to worry about it.
Early in the second round, Rave caught Belvedere with a left hand that dropped him. He jumped on top and Belvedere never seemed to recover 100 percent. Rave pounded away for a while and eventually moved past Belvedere's guard, with the fight up against the cage. In side control, Rave delivered a couple of brutal knees to Belvedere's ribs.
After the knees, Rave transitioned to full mount. He immediately looked for an arm triangle. It happened so quickly, Belvedere had no time to defend. And the veteran was forced to tap out with just 17 seconds remaining in the second round.
Rave moved to 20-6 as a pro, while Belvedere dropped to 14-6.
(Special thanks to Jesse Kelley for taking pictures Saturday night -- with my camera, nonetheless -- while I was doing commentary on the internet broadcast.)
Fighter of the night: Josh Rave.
Fight of the night: BJ Lacy vs. Isaiah Larson.
Submission of the night: Zach Wolff.
Knockout of the night: Jesse Midas.
DOWNTOWN SHOWDOWN 8
7-14-12, Minneapolis Hyatt
125 — Josh Rave def. Tony Belvedere by submission due to arm triangle choke at 4:43 of second round.
145 — Rich Taylor def. Ryan Burwick by unanimous decision (30-27 on all three).
200 — BJ Lacy def. Isaiah Larson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
185 — Cully Butterfield def. Matthew Pazanin by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-27).
125 — Zach Wolff def. Erik Vo by submission due to triangle choke at 2:30 of first round.
185 — Jesse Midas def. Derek Smith by KO at :11 of first round.
185 — Chase Waldon def. Nate Hoffman by submission due to armbar at 2:48 of second round.
170 — Patrick Delgado def. Roland Larson by submission due to strikes at 1:38 of first round.
155 — Nick Ammerman def. Jesse Coca by unanimous decision (29-28 on all three).