This was one of the most exciting and Stacked Rage in the Cage cards ever and honestly I left impressed, fatigued (from cheering), and satisfied like every MMA fan should be. Did you know that Rage in The Cage has put on more Events than any other Venue in the world, and put more fighters in the UFC than anybody else? Well I learned that too, when the curtains opened for a very exciting night. I thought 139 was good, but this card shocked me with the level of talent we are building here in Arizona. I saw 3 standing KO’s that were absolutely brutal, guys getting Randleplexed, and all around exciting fights for a little over 3 hours. In the crowd walked some MMA superstars like; Ben Henderson (WEC 155 champ), Joe “Diesel” Riggs ( UFC Fighter) and the Lally bros ( AZCS/ UFC trainer and corner man). There were submission fighters, Muay Thai warriors, and well rounded machines. There were a few breaks in the action to give away free gloves, gear, and tickets. Even the motivational Matt Betzold who is a one leg amputee MMA fighter impressed us all with his last fight before he takes a shot at the Bantamweight title here in AZ. I can honestly say that some of these fighters are on a fast track to the big shows (UFC, Strike force, Bellator) and I very much look forward to all of their careers in MMA.
Once again I will break down each fight that made a lasting impression in my mind. I will give the Fight number, I apologize if anyone is left out.
Fight #1 Steve Mullenix (159lb Freestyle) Won Split Decision over Andrew Acosta (156lb Universal Martial Arts) this was a good start to the night, these guys were very evenly matched in skill and put on a good show. Steve had some very nice single arm throws, which I think gave him the split decision nod. There was a lot of ground work and reverses in this fight. It was a very technical bout. Even though some fans constantly cheered for a slugfest, they didn’t get it till the third fight.
Fight #2 Frankie Saenz (152lb Kingdom MMA) Won via Unan. Decision over Jimmy Scully (161lb siege MMA) Frankie was obviously a wrestling based fighter and showed his powerful takedowns in this fight. When this guy shot a takedown your can hear their bodies hit the mat hard with his devotion to it. Frankie showed very effective ground and pound, and at times I thought it would end the fight. Good job to Frankie, taking the underdog fight and surpassing the weight difference.
Fight #3 Chad Williams (177lb RITC training center #2) won via TKO 1:47 round 1 over Jarrad Duxbury (171lb Salinas Gym) This was a fight where you could tell there was going to be one sided aggression. Chad is a scary dude, I think there was a little bit of a mental break in the standup exchanges which ended up in a TKO near the end of the first round. Exciting fight, but Chad has Brawling sense of violence you don’t see too much in MMA anymore.
Fight #4 John Moraga (136lb Arizona combat sports) won via triangle choke 1:12 Rnd. 2 over Patrick Donovan(143lb RITC Training Center 2) In the first round it was all John Moraga, this guy is a extremely strong 135 pound wrestler, and he can pick you up and slam you all over the ring just like Randleman, or Rampage Jackson. He for the most part controlled round one, and in the last few seconds pulled a tight submission but ran out of time. In round two Patrick looked for some revenge and slammed John while he was working a triangle choke. This slam set the choke in and the fight was over. John has a lot of potential, I know I will see more of him.
Fight #5 Jason Richey (184lb Knockout Gym) Won via KO 10 seconds into Rnd. 2 over Jaysen Clements (182lb Catastrophe) When these guys walked out I knew this was going to be a war on the feet. Richey has some huge legs on him, and both these guys were in great shape. The first round went back and forth, but nearing the end of the first round Richey through the loudest landing leg to body kick I have ever heard. I don’t think anyone in the arena missed hearing it. Bell rings, here comes round 2, and I know it’s going to be good. Richey sets up a nice combo and a nice cross puts Clements out. Exciting fight, could watch it 100 times and it would never be boring.
Fight #6 Tim O’Mally (193lb TNT MMA) Won via Submission? 56 seconds into Rnd. 1 over Kieth Boatright (189lb United Fighters Association) Tim Was the larger fighter come fight night, and his wrestling and ground work was on point. He scored a fast takedown and eventually while working a Kimura forced what seemed to be a tap from Kieth. Before the tap Kieth seemed to have good sub defense against the Kimura. The angle I was at I could not see If Kieth tapped I will have to wait to see the tapes, because Kieth looked very frustrated when he was talking to the ref who stopped the fight.
Fight #7 Matt Betzold (147lb Gracie Barra/Cannon fighting/Lions Den) won via RN choke 54 sec. Rnd. 1 over Dock Phelps (145lb Freestyle) Matt is such a inspiration to all of the RITC fans, and I am glad to see him improve so much since his first bout. Matt pretty much charged across the ring pushing Dock up against the fence, and scoring the takedown. He transitioned to the back and sunk a Rear naked choke in as soon as he was there. Great Job Matt
Fight #8 David Shaw (182lb kingdom MMA) Won via submission rear naked choke over Kent Stonebreaker (172lb Siege MMA) They felt each other out picking their shots, and eventually David sunk the RNC on Kent after a takedown halfway through the first round.
Fight # 9 James Shulte (163 lb Freestyle gym) won via UD over Johhny Carrasco (158lb RITC training center 3) these guys were both striking well so it came down to the wrestling. James had good takedowns and control and this is what won the decision for him.
Fight #10 Reyez Ortiz (189 lb Arizona Muay Thai and Fitness) won Via Guillotine Submission :49 seconds into round 1 over Mitch Wheeler (189lb Siege MMA) Reyez has some nice bricks he packs into his MMA gloves, because that guy hits like a Mac truck. Reyez has great Muay Thai and striking but surprised me when I saw the submission finish. I think he is working on being well rounded and I know this guy will go far. His combo dropped Mitch, he followed with crazy fast and hard hammer fists, pulled a guillotine and it was over.
Fight #11 Jeff Fletcher(161lb RITC training center 3) won via RNC submission 1:49 round 1 over Gabe Rosa (162lb phoenix fight club) This fight was evenly matched until Gabe dropped awkwardly and was positioned wide open for a rear naked choke.
Fight #12 Dean Sanchez (166lb Apex) Won by ref stoppage 2:17 round 3 over Casey Milliken (162lb warrior training center LV) This was mostly playing survivor for Casey and he almost succeeded but in the third round he had enough and was stopped via Ref stoppage for not defending strikes.
Fight #13 Chris Gruetzemacher (162lb MMA Lab) won via Ref stoppage (strikes) 3:51 into the 1st round over Nadeem Al-Hassan (161lb the Asylum) I knew coming into this is was going to be two great wrestlers Vs each other and it started off that way. Both were attempting takedowns with little success due to the experience levels of both fighters. Eventually both scrambled for a takedown and Chris gained top position. From there He showed his skill be leaving no room to breathe for Nadeem. Chris abandoned his body punches for a set of brutal shots to the face and chin. They went defended at first but it became overwhelming. The ref stopped in at the right time declaring Chris the winner. The better wrestler in Chris had a very impressive performance, and he improved a lot since his last fight and had a tougher opponent in Nadeem.
Fight #14 Dave Hulett (191lb Warrior training center) won via TKO 1:49 into Rnd. 3 over Dano Moore (189lb Chamber MMA fitness) this is another fight where I am going to have to go to the tapes for further Analysis. I would say 80% of this fight was controlled and dominated by Dano, so I would like to see a rematch. Dano had really nice and fast kicks in the first two rounds, and was quite impressive everywhere. In the first round when Dano was going for a finish he applied a nice head kick, but it seems as if his opponent was grounded. Dave turned it all around in the last round catching Dano on his chin and eventually Tko’ing him standing. Great fight and effort by both fighters.
Fight #15 Charlie Brown (175lb MMA Lab) won via triangle choke 1:35 into round one over Joe Cronin (172lb Freestyle) Joe was fast out of the gate winning all of the striking exchanges. This was a fast paced and very exciting fight. Joe landed strong takedowns and was very dominant. Eventually it made it back to the feet where some of the strikes coming from Joe set Charlie off on a rampage. Charlie turned the fight around backing Joe up, but Joe landed a perfect takedown. Charlie was attempting a triangle choke and a slam by Joe sunk it in. Tough break for the crowd favorite in Joe, but a very impressive Fight for Charlie.
Fight #16 Richard Hale (225 RITC Training Cntr 2) Won via Guillotine 1:28 Rnd 3 over Mike Zansky (241lb TnT Training center) Mike is an ex navy seal who is a private contractor. Richard Hale is a Pro fighter with 3 weight classes’ belts. The difference was obvious but Zansky held in there like a warrior for three rounds and even managed to open up a cut on Hale. Eventually Hale used his skill to pull a standing Guillotine. Great fight with fireworks all over, just like the whole night.