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West Coast Fighting 16: A King Is Crowned

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By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA

On January 23, 2016, West Coast Fighting (WFC) took role for its first honors class of MMA. Although bubbles of hope popped in the absence of Dana White, President of the UFC, the fans and fighters in attendance of WFC 16: King of Sacramento checked-in as present, attentive, and more than ready. Prior to the start of the show, people filed into the heart of the McClellan Conference Center like army ants, and combatants were scattered throughout the venue, preparing to offer patrons something to feast their eyes on. From the amateur ranks to the crowning of the evening’s elite, WFC 16 delivered everything it promised: highly touted talent at the regional level.

It’s uncommon when the skillsets in a local event compare to the MMA stars broadcasted on a worldwide stage, but WFC 16 proved to be an exception. Layering the card with individuals who have competed in top-tier promotions, such as Bellator MMA and the UFC, the executives at WFC provided the perfect assessment tool for their athletes, differentiating a stay in the status quo or passing with flying colors onto the next phase of their careers.

Main Event

Max Griffin def. David Mitchell in round 1 (:43) by way of KO.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 11.09.24 AMThe call for the main event quickly parted attendees into either the red corner of Max “Pain” Griffin or the blue corner of David “Bulletproof” Mitchell. Unlike the red and blue affiliation of politicians, these current WFC champions followed through on all the things they said they would do in their debates before meeting in front of their constituents at a catchweight of 175 pounds.

Mitchell, WFC’s middleweight champion, muted any chance of dragging the fight to the canvas, arguably his bread and butter, as a means of highlighting the development of his stand-up game under the watchful eye of Team Alpha Male’s boxing coach, Joey Rodriguez. Unfortunaltely, Griffin, WFC’s welterweight champion, discovered a way to puncture Mitchell’s armor. A visit to the ground never registered into Griffin’s attack, and he uncorked several shots to Mitchell’s jawline that would have crumpled others after only one, evidencing the “Bulletproff” nature of Mitchell.

Three strikes and you’re out; the same rang true in Griffin’s offensive onslaught. At the forty-three second mark of round one, a severely dazed Mitchell couldn’t nullify the arsenal of speed and power infused into Griffin’s training at Marinobles Martial Arts and MMA Gold. Even if the pre-fight montage lasted five times longer than the fight itself, the conclusion lived up to the hype. Griffin’s final right hand was punctuated by both reaching for the stars and walking off in victory; Sacramento’s King was crowned.

Photo courtesy of Max Griffin

Co-Main Event

Josh Emmett def. Christos Giagos in round 3 (2:21) by way of KO.

Leading into WFC 16, Giagos, freshly removed from the UFC, had been described as a gatekeeper out of the regional circuit; Emmett, the hometown hero and reigning WFC lightweight title holder, understood the immensity of the task at hand, and the Team Alpha Male standout believed he possessed the key. Not only were demands placed on each fighter’s ability to apply their craft, but their grit and tenacity were also run through a gauntlet.

Emmett versus Giagos morphed into a clash of speed and brute strength opposing accuracy and veteran savvy. The lighting in Emmett’s movement coupled with the thunder in his punches lifted any dangling question marks as to which style faired better. A crushing right hand from Emmett swept Giagos’ eyes into the back of his head.

In his post-fight interview, the, still, undefeated WFC champ encouraged anyone within earshot to visit his Instagram (link here) to assist in spreading the word to Dana White that he’s a necessary cog in the wheel of the UFC’s lightweight division.

Feature Bout

Josh Appelt def. Roy Boughton in round 2 (4:58) by way of TKO.

Once Appelt and Boughton entered the WFC cage, it immediately became cramped. These heavyweights occupied the cage with intentions to light up the ‘no’ next to the WFC heavyweight belt’s vacancy. Appelt wore his confidence with a calm demeanor, even when met with adversity early on: a couple inadvertent shots to the groin or being taken down. Nearing the close of the second round, Appelt’s sniper-like striking dramatically shifted power in his favor. Smelling the finish, Appelt sprinted toward the finish line, pumping a barrage of unanswered shots and forcing the referee to wave off the punishment.

Honorable Mention

Justin Baesman def. Scott Smith in round 2 (:57) by way of TKO.

Smith and Baesman, stapled and storied veterans in the sport, was a matchup that pulsed a rich red on everyone’s radar, and they were eager to carve a new path in their careers, using one another’s resume as a springboard. Smith, formerly of the UFC and Strikeforce, loaded up all of Elk Grove to make the travel with him. After a three-year layoff, Smith vanquished his personal demons and felt ready to return to the sport he loves; his entrance and introduction was deafening. In fact, Smith’s supporters also rained down boos on Baesman, formerly featured in Bellator MMA, though the heckles read on Doppler Radar as another method to cheer for Smith, instead of actually disliking Baesman. The first round ran its course as a feeling out process, and, in the second round, Smith tried to turn up the pressure. Baesman quickly halted the forward movement of Smith with a hard right hand, and he secured the win with several follow up punches when Smith toppled to the ground.

Other Bouts Included:

Lewis Gonzalez def. Ty Freeman by way of unanimous decision.

Michael Gonzalez def. Kito Andrews in round 1 by way of rear-naked choke.

Tyler Diamond def. Jimmy Jones in round 3 (:30) by way of TKO.

Jason Powell def. Sergio Quinones in round 2 (3:00) by way of TKO.

Luis Jauregui def. Danny Ramirez by way of unanimous decision.

Albert Morales def. Kurt Weinrich in round 1 (2:31) by way of triangle choke.

(Amateurs)

 Isaiah Wright def. Josiah McHale by way of split decision.

Arlene Culbreth def. Gabriela Rios by way of unanimous decision.

Joseph Cardoso def. Shawn Birkley in round 1 (:40) by way of KO.

In conclusion, WFC 16 unfurled a parchment with a roster of potential superstars from the Northern California area and demonstrated why they are royalty in the region’s MMA landscape. Stay connected with WFC to witness how large the kingdom will grow:

Website: westcoastfighting.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/westcoastfightingMMA

Instagram: @westcoastfighting

Twitter: @WFC_MMA

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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