CageSport XIII took place Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd in Tacoma, WA. It was an entertaining, action packed card from top to bottom, with a main event of the night featuring a clash between Landon Showalter and Justin Davis. While Showalter sports a less than remarkable 6-11 record, it’s important to note that he’s been in the cage with the likes of UFC veterans such as Robbie Lawler, Brad Blackburn, Drew Fickett, Chris Leben, Dennis Hallman, Matt Lindland, Steve Bruno, and Pete Sell, holding victories over Bruno and Fickett. His adversary this evening was “Dangerous” Justin Davis who many believed would be outgunned against the talented and battle tested Showalter. It didn’t turn out to be the case.
The two fighters spent the entirety of the first round, battering each other with kicks, punches and knees while also fighting in the clinch positioning for the upper hand. Showalter had excellent knees and he hurt Davis to the body on more than one occasion. The first round was a dog fight, both men fighting hard and exciting a raucous crowd who was thirsty for action. Justin was taken to the mat twice, by nice inside trips from Showalter, but in the end nothing definitive took place on the mat. The bell rang ending the first round as the crowd stood and yelled for more.
The second round began, and then ended very swiftly as the two fighter met in the middle of the cage and Showalter ate a shot that stumbled him. He was then dropped to the mat with a three punch combo and Davis swarmed on him to get the TKO inside the first minute of the second round. The crowd was going crazy, and it capped a great night of action.
In the co-main event, UFC veteran Brad Blackburn, who after suffering back to back losses in the UFC was cut, squared off with up and coming welterweight Jory Erickson (11-2) from Missoula, MT. I’d seen Jory fight before, at local events in Montana, and was pleased to see him on the bigger stage. That delight was immediately shaken when Blackburn came out and peppered Jory’s face with a series of stinging right hands that dropped and hurt Erickson early in the first. The last time Jory competed in CageSport he was dropped in the first and the referee called a halt to the action a little too hastily some might argue, and it looked like Jory would be finished early once again. Erickson fought back to his feet, only to miss with his shots and be countered with drumming right hands that had him dazed. Blackburn and Erickson clinched and Blackburn landed a low knee on Erickson.
After a break they went back to it, and Jory again was on the bitter end of a right hook competition, before out of nowhere, Erickson landed a shot that folded Blackburn up and he went down hard. Jory Erickson followed it up with a couple of shots but that was it, Brad Blackburn had been Knocked Out, 2:50 into the opening frame. The crowd was stunned, as was Erickson who jumped up on the cage in celebration. The win is the biggest of his career, and the loss for Blackburn will certainly hurt. He was directing every aspect of the fight, until he got caught.
In other action, undefeated Shorty Weikel made the trip from Oregon, also looking to step up in competition as he faced the durable and talented Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway. Caraway is a fighter who is too good for smaller shows, but went 0-2 during a stint in the WEC in 2010. With a few more wins under his belt, he could again be knocking on the big show’s door.
As the bell rang, Shorty charged ahead and was immediately taken down by Caraway who then immediately took the 22-year-old Weikel’s back and sunk the hooks. Welker did a commendable job of holding off the choke, utilizing good grip and determination but after three minutes of fighting it, he couldn’t hold Caraway off any longer, and he was submitted via Rear Naked Choke at 3:17 of the first round.
In what could have been the Fight of the Night, Tyson “Straight Jacket” Johnson met Matt Coble in an absolute ground war. These two young fighters spent the entirety of three rounds on the mat. They went for submissions, reversals, had great transitions and were met with loud cheers as they put on an absolute grappling fest for the full fifteen minutes. Matt Coble came into the fight with a 3-3 record, but he looks like he has a bunch of potential and could do well in the future. After the judges awarded Coble a unanimous decision victory, the Welterweight should be looking towards big things in the years to come.
Perhaps nobody generated a larger crowd reaction than Natalie Evans, making her professional debut at 145 pounds against another debuting fighter named Jennifer Gonzalez. The crowd was firmly behind Natalie Evans who looks to be the next star in the local female ranks. When the bell rang, the two fighters met momentarily in the middle, where Natalie unleashed an uppercut that had Jennifer reeling. Jennifer spent the next ten seconds of the fight trying to avoid big shots, but couldn’t and was finished just :19 seconds into the first round by TKO. The crowd went crazy as Natalie jumped around, celebrated and then hugged her fallen opponent. Natalie will certainly be one to keep an eye on as she progresses as a fighter.
Greg Jackson product Anthony Hamilton met Jared Torgeson in a fight that was not a fan favorite. Anthony Hamilton used a tried and true method of takedown, good positioning and doing enough to avoid being stood up for three consecutive rounds to earn a 30-27 across the board unanimous decision. While the performance may not have been popular, it was effective. Anthony Hamilton took Torgeson down at will, and kept him there to win the fight. The win drove Hamilton’s record north to 2-0 as a professional.
Julian Erosa and Omar Avelar fought at a catch weight of 150 pounds. The two spent a ton of time in the clinch, and Omar fought constantly to take Erosa down. Omar would take Julian down, and Julian would fight his way back up, into the clinch and then down he’d go again. That was the entire first round. The second round opened with Omar again taking Julian down, but this time Julian established a high guard and locked on a Triangle Choke to end the fight in the second round.
Jesus Rodriguez and Mike Riddell fought at heavyweight next. Both fighters weighed in at 261 pounds and after a scramble to start the fight, Riddle takes top position. After another scramble, Rodriguez took the top position and never left it, as he worked to get the mount. Mike Riddell ate some ground and pound and gave his back, but wound up stuck and with nowhere to go, the fight is stopped by TKO at 3:05 of the first round.
Roy Bradshaw faced Nate Becker in a fight Lightweights and they wasted no time getting down to business. Bradshaw lifted Nate up and slammed him down hard to the mat, but Nate grabbed ahold of the neck and sunk a deep guillotine forcing Bradshaw to tap at just :46 seconds of the first round.
The first scrap of the night took place between Angel Diaz who was (1-0) facing off with Ernesto Tuscano who was making his pro debut. Angel Diaz met Tuscano in the opening moments with a right hand that dropped and hurt Diaz, but was unable to follow-up and finish him when he followed Diaz to the mat. Angel Diaz made his way back up to his feet, where the two fighters spent the remainder of the round in the clinch against the fence, much to the unhappiness of the capacity crowd.
In the second round they spent more time clinching, but this time when the fight hit the mat, it stayed there, as at 3:13 of the second round, Angel Diaz was forced to tap out to a Rear Naked Choke.