(PreView’s Note – I was unable to post a true live blog as I intended, so here is my pseudo-live blog.)
I’m here at the new ICF Fight Club/MMA Sports Bar for the inaugural event of what is believed to be the nation’s first establishment of its kind. The crowd has been filing in since the doors opened at 5:00 pm and the card is just getting ready to start. Headlined by a lightweight matchup between Chad Hinton and Dustin Walden, the card features a number of the surrounding area’s up-and-coming amateurs as well as pro fighters. The event is being taped to be shown later as part of the recently signed deal between the ICF and Fight Zone (Fox Sports Network) and Luke Zachrich has been brought to join the Fight Zone commentator for the play-by-play.
The vendors here tonight include Fight For Life USA, School of Fight and Actual Fighter.
Additionally, uber-hottie Amanda Bentley, in the running to be named Maxim’s Hometown Hottie, is here as a special guest ring girl.
Robert Nguyen vs. Eric Moell (135)
Nguyen fights out of Performance Edge in Lexington, KY. Moell fights out of Invincible MMA.
Moell comes in with a right but Nguyen answers with a two punch combo and clinches up. The two trade knees and multiple shots as Nguyen pushes Moell against the cage. Nguyen scores the takedown and Moell briefly takes his back but Nguyen reverses and starts landing some good ground and pound. Moell stays busy landing shots from the bottom, but Nguyen is landing more shots of the two. Moell gets Nguyen locked up in a triangle but Nguyen keeps protecting his head and trying to land shots while Moell lands numerous shots from the bottom. Nguyen gets his head out and resumes the ground and pound and the ref stands them up (seems premature). Moell rushes in and lands a hard right that stuns Nguyen but Nguyen continues to press forward. Moell trips Nguyen and lands more shots to the head before taking his back, landing a few more head shots before the round ends.
An extremely fast-paced round, a good start to the night. I think Moell would be able to win that round based on his more effective striking.
PreView sees it 10-9 Moell.
Moell opens with a body kick and Nguyen answers with a right but Moell lands a solid two punch combo and two trade multiple head and body shots in the middle of the cage. Nguyen gets Moell against the cage but Moell trips Nguyen and takes him down, landing in half-guard. Moell lands head shots from the top and Nguyen pulls guard briefly before going for an armbar attempt that fall short. Moell takes Nguyen’s back, sinks in the body triangle and starts landing shots to Nguyen’s head. Nguyen initially is able to control one of Moell’s arms before Moell briefly sinks the choke in. Nguyen scrambles but Moell continues to land more unanswered shots before the ref stands them up (this time too late). Moell comes in with a body kick when the two stand but Nguyen rushes him and gets him against the cage, locking Moell’s head up. Nguyen scores one final takedown before the round ends, but I think Nguyen will ultimately fall short on the judge’s scorecards in this round as well.
PreView sees it 10-9 Moell.
Nguyen takes control immediately after the two touch gloves and takes Moell down. Nguyen works on landing head shots but Moell once again works for a triangle, pulling Nguyen’s head down. Nguyen defends, trying to improve his position and Moell eventually lets go of the triangle attempt. Nguyen goes back in to land more head and body shots and Moell fires off an upkick that seems to be illegal since Nguyen wasn’t standing. The ref stands them up as the action slows. Moell comes in with an overhand right that Nguyen ducks under and shoots in, but Moell keeps the motion going and flips him over. The two land some final shots on the ground as the round expires.
A closer round this time, that I think Nguyen was likely to squeeze out in spite of the triangle he was stuck in for a little bit. However, I don’t think it was enough to win him the fight.
PreView sees it 10-9 Nguyen.
Eric Moell wins via Unanimous Decision (no scores announced).
Brett Ewing vs. Jerry Hunt (155)
Ewing fights out of Team Cruelty. Hunt fights out of Team Nemesis.
Ewing fakes a left and shoots in to score a big slam. Ewing lands in side control and quickly transitions to full mount, landing head shots. Hunt rolls and Ewing takes his back looking for the rear naked choke and landing shots to the side of Hunt’s head. Hunt rolls again and then again, giving up his back where Ewing scores the fight-ending rear naked choke.
Brett Ewing wins via submission (RNC) at :51 in Round 1.
Joe Maiani vs. Wesley Barrentine (160)
Maiani, making his debut, fights out of Walker MMA. No team affiliation is announced for Barrentine.
Barrentine misses with a huge overhand right and Maiani takes him down but Barrentine works for a triangle, then an armbar from the bottom. Maiani is still standing but Barrentine has his arm locked up and the two are stuck in a static position before Barrentine lets go and Maiani backs off but quickly rushes back in and lands a solid head shot. Maiani works for some ground and pound from inside Barrentine’s guard, landing multiple unanswered shots. Barrentine manages to pull Maiani’s head down but Maiani still lands more body shots. The two are stood up just as the ten second mark is announced and Barrentine comes in with a hard right to stun Maiani before time sounds.
In spite of Barrentine’s initial armbar attempt, I think Maiani likely won that round due to the multiple unanswered strikes he was unable to land.
PreView sees it 10-9 Maiani.
Maiani shoots to open the ground and Barrentine briefly has an inverted triangle before Maiani rolls out of it and into a traditional triangle. Maiani works out of the triangle and lands a couple shots from the top but Barrentine is doing a good job of controlling Maiani’s wrists before the ref stands them up. Barrentine lands a short left and Maiani shoots in again and Barrentine again works for the inverted triangle, landing some body shots from the top position. Maiani tries to stand and gets out of the triangle but Barrentine transitions to an armbar attempt that Maiani defends and works his way out of to land some short head shots from inside Barrentine’s guard as the round expires.
A closer round that time. I think Maiani’s multiple submission attempts and overall control of the round will see him win that one on the judges’ scorecards.
PreView sees it 10-9 Barrentine.
Maiani tries a lazy jab before shooting in again, scoring a takedown. Barrentine ties him up on the way down, though, preventing him from posturing up and ultimately sweeping Maiani and taking his back, working for the rear naked choke. Barrentine briefly locks in a body triangle but Maiani shifts out of it before finding himself in yet another inverted (and now sideways) triangle attempt. Maiani tries to fall back to jar Barrentine loose but Barrentine stays locked in, but lets go of the triangle to go for an armlock as the round expires.
I think Barrentine’s solid submission attempts and control in that round will win him that round and ultimately the fight.
PreView sees it 10-9 Barrentine.
Wesley Barrentine wins via Split Decision (No scores announced)
Jimmy Brickler vs. Moses Hatfield (170)
No team affiliation is announced for Brickler. Hatfield fights out of Fight MMA.
Hatfield tries a spinning back kick but Brickler gets inside and almost takes Hatfield down. The two work their way around the cage, trading a couple punches, and Hatfield scores a takedown and takes Brickler’s back, quickly sinking in the rear naked choke for the win.
Moses Hatfield wins via submission (RNC) at :43 of Round 1.
Tommy Black vs. Jon Gill (195)
Black fights out of Mr. Christy's Tae Kwon Do. Gill fights out of Fusion MMA.
Gill comes in with a straight right and Black clinches up but Gill scores a takedown and pushes Black towards the cage, transitioning out of Black’s guard into side control, landing shots to the head. Gill tries to pass to full mount but Black sweeps him and takes the top position, landing body shots. Gill stays busy on the bottom trying to work some head shots in, but Black lands more body and head shots from the top. The ref stands them up as the action slows. The two both kick and miss their intended targets and Black tries to get a shot in but Gill jumps on him and pulls guard (with Black standing) working for a guillotine. Black manages to get his head out and score a big slam before the round expires.
In spite of the late submission attempt by Gill, I think the judges will score that round for Black as he was able to control most of it from the top position, landing a number of unanswered shots.
PreView sees it 10-9 Black.
Gill lands a leg kick and a two-punch combo to start the round, and gets an arm around Black’s head going for a standing guillotine. Black lands some punches to Gill’s leg and finally takes Gill down to get out of the guillotine attempt. Gill sweeps Black and ends up in full mount and works Black over to the cage, landing numerous shots to the head until the ref steps in to stop it.
Jon Gill wins via TKO (strikes) at 1:42 of Round 2
Brandon Demastas vs. Justin Hunt (170)
Demastas fights out of On Point Athletics. Hunt fights out of Team Nemesis.
The two circle, looking for an opening. Demastas tries to land a leg kick but Hunt lands a right which Demastas answers with a hard right of his own that floors Hunt. Demastas jumps on Hunt and starts landing more unanswered head and body shots. Hunt tries to roll out of it but Demastas is relentless, and the ref rushes in to stop the fight.
Brandon Demastas wins via TKO (strikes) at :33 of Round 1.
Lance Vinson vs. George Oiler (185)
Vinson trains out of Invincible MMA. Oiler trains out of Beckley MMA and represents Team JG.
Oiler land a leg kick but Vinson lands a right in the process that knocks Oiler down. Oiler immediately grabs Vinson’s leg going for a kneebar but Vinson gets out and takes the top position. Oiler then ties up Vinson from the bottom, going for an armbar, but Vinson manages to pull out of that and then a second kneebar attempt while landing shots from the top. Vinson takes the mount position, landing more shots from the top, but Oiler pull guard again and pulls Vinson’s head down briefly before Vinson gets out and stands, beckonging for Oiler to get up. The two meet in the center of the mat and trade multiple hard head shots, with Vinson getting cut under his left eye. Vinson pushes Oiler against the cage and Oiler gets him arm around Vinson’s head for a standing guillotine before pulling Vinson down and quickly securing the tap.
George Oiler wins via submission (guillotine) at 2:00 of Round 1.
Jeremy Pender vs. Jesse Grindstaff (135) (PRO)
Pender (1-0 as a pro) fights out of Team Vision. Grindstaff (making his pro debut) fights out of Team Oxendine.
Grindstaff opens with a leg kick. The two both throw out jabs, testing the range and Pender lands a leg kick. Pender lands a left and Grindstaff a right. A body kick by Grindstaff falls just short but he follows it up with an overhand right that finds its mark. Pender takes Grindstaff down and immediately moves to side control. Grindstaff scrambles and the two get back to their feet. Pender lands a right followed by a one-two combo and the two separate again. Pender lands a jab and then a two-punch combo, then another combo followed by a right that takes Grindstaff down. Pender jumps on him to land more shots until the ref moves in to stop the fight.
Jeremy Pender wins via TKO (strikes) at 1:49 of Round 1.
Neal Craft vs. Michael Wright (170) (PRO)
Craft trains out of Walker MMA. Wright trains out of Sparta Atlima.
Craft goes in with a knee but Wright shoots in and tries to take him down. Craft defends and lands a knee to the head. Craft transitions and scores a single-leg takedown and ends up in side control. Craft is landing head and body shots from the top and fires off a hard knee to the body. Craft scores with another knee to the body and then works for a kimura from side control, then transitions to a reverse full mount still looking for the kimura, quickly securing the tap.
Neal Craft wins via submission (kimura) at 1:26 of Round 1.
Dustin Walden vs. Chad Hinton (155) (PRO)
Walden represents Team Oxendine. Hinton fights on Team Xtreme out of Cincy MMA & Fitness.
The fighters circle, looking for an opening. Walden throws out a lazy leg kick, testing the range. Walden lands an inside leg kick and misses with a straight right. Walden fires off a headkick but Hinton checks it and comes in with a hard right then left and Walden goes down. Hinton takes the top position and Walden pulls guard. Hinton lands some hard body shots followed by more hard body shots. Walden tries to pull his leg up Hinton’s back in the rubber guard but Hinton shakes him off and lands two hard rights to the head followed by more hard body shots. Hinton lands more solid ground and pound to end the round.
I don’t think there’s any question here – Hinton took control early and kept it for the round – I know the shots he was landing were hard ones because they spent the majority of the round against the cage right in front of me and I could hear the shots as they landed.
PreView sees it 10-9 Hinton.
Walden misses with an uppercut and Hinton shoots and takes him down. Hinton works Walden against the cage again, in Walden’s guard, and lands more hard body shots. Walden lands an elbow from the bottom and Hinton answers with more hard body shots. Walden tries to spin off the cage but Hinton is doing a good job maintaining position. Hinton works more ground and pound, landing some elbows and hard head shots followed by more body shots. The ref stops the action for a second to have the ringside doctor check a cut on Walden’s head. Walden is cleared and they restart, but he’s bleeding heavily. Walden scores a head kick that seems to briefly rattle Hinton but Hinton shoots in and takes him down and works more ground and pound. Hinton lands more hard elbows from the top. Walden is trying to spin but Hinton is still keeping a dominant position. The ref stands them up again as the action slows. Walden misses with a superman punch and Hinton picks him up and slams him hard, working more ground and pound until the round expires.
Again, I think Hinton should easily walk away the winner of that round.
PreView sees it 10-9 Hinton.
Walden lands an inside leg kick followed by a superman punch. Both miss with some head shots and Walden lands a body kick followed by a knee to the body as Hinton shoots in and takes him down again. Hinton takes the full mount position but Walden rolls out and almost locks in a triangle when Hinton dives back in. Hinton lands another hard elbow (which splatters my computer with Walden’s blood) and continues to work the ground and pound. The ref stands them up as the action slows. Walden comes in with a flying knee and Hinton picks him out of the air for another slam. Hinton goes back to work with the ground and pound. Hinton stands and lets Walden up and Walden lands a knee to the head as Hinton moves in for another takedown. Walden defends but Hinton pulls Walden’s legs out from under him for another slam which then leads to more ground and pound from Hinton. Walden is bleeding from multiple cuts on his head. Walden briefly transitions for a triangle, but then moves back to full guard. The ref stands them as the action slows. Walden moves for another knee as Hinton goes in for a takedown, and Hinton sweeps Walden to get the takedown, landing more shots to the head as the round expires.
PreView sees it 10-9 Hinton.
Chad Hinton wins via Unanimous Decision (no scores announced).
Overall, a great event - a lot of exciting fights and an impressive opening event for what stands to become the premier destination for MMA in the Cincinnati area. The production value was high, the crowd was good.
I'll be back in the coming days with my post-fight interviews with Hinton, Oiler, Pender, Demastas and a post-event chat with Amanda Bentley. Stay tuned.