The second installment of Spartan Promotions’, Battle of the Spartans II, occurred last night, June 23rd, in Ruther Glen, VA. The all-amateur promotion was held at the Virginia Sports Complex, in front of a hot but ready crowd of VA fight fans. In a week that saw temperatures soar into the mid to upper 90’s, the lack of air conditioning at the venue didn’t stop area fight fans from coming out to see the promotion’s sophomore event.
The Battle of the Spartans II fight card was full, with 13 fights, including 4 title fights. The belts for Spartans’ Middleweight, Featherweight, Bantamweight and Flyweight divisions were up for grabs. Teams from around the Mid-Atlantic traveled to the rural Caroline County town. Filling out the card were fighters from Team Assassin, Team Rock Bottom, The Cave, Team No Limit/Plainfield Fight Club, Mountaineer, TECH MMA, Technical Combat Academy and many Independent fighters from around the area.
The venue slowly filled as the day cooled down a bit, but the fans that showed up early were treated to a concert by the band Mikey Rukus. Mikey Rukus is known for crafting personalized walkout songs for fighters such as Leonard Garcia and Carlo Prater.
The Battle of the Spartans II card kicked off in somewhat peculiar fashion as the first fight was a Championship matchup. The Flyweight belt was up for grabs as Team Rock Bottom’s Joe Hipps took on Team Assasin’s JoJo Stringfield, in Stringfield’s first fight in that weight class. Both fighters came out swinging and the fight went to the ground very quickly. During the roll, Stringfield was able to secure a figure-four body lock and was looking to roll Hipps, but Hipps somehow secured one of the rarest of leg locks, the Scorpion Death Lock. With so much pressure being applied to Stringfield’s knee and ankle, he was forced to tap and Joe Hipps became the Spartan Promotions’ Flyweight Champion.
Hipps started a trend for his Rock Bottom teammates, as the next three fights, following Hipps’, were all won by Team Rock Bottom. Chris Scales, Chris Bremley and Jerry Brown all were victorious and Team Rock Bottom found themselves sitting at 4-0 on the night, only four fights in.
The fifth fight of the night was for the Featherweight belt, as Team No Limit’s Chris Hendrick took on Independent Nathan Miller. Both combatants waged a very even war for the first 2 rounds of the possible 5 rounds, but Miller was able to capitalize with his reach advantage and secure a very impressive KO at the 1:29 mark of the 3rd, thus crowning him as the new Featherweight Champ.
Winston Tesi, an Independent, made a huge jump up, from his normal Welterweight class to fight a debuting Light Heavyweight. The undersized Tesi needed less than two minutes, however, to dispose of Jack Christoph, via TKO. I am not sure if Spartan rewards fights or finishes of the night, but Tesi was my KO of the night winner.
The Bantamweight belt was on the line next, with Team No Limits’ Travis Tisdale taking on Charles Kessinger. This war had previously started, with a war of words on Facebook over a year prior and finally came to a head in the Spartan Promotions’ cage. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Kessinger prior to the fight. The calm and collected fighter who stated that his “heart rate was a calm 62 BPM during his medicals” came out like a man on fire and choked out Tisdale, into unconsciousness, at 1:19 of Round 1. Kessinger who had been on the shelf, for the previous year, due to a spinal injury, showed no ring rust in his return to the cage. The belt that was placed around his waist, at the end of the fight, showed no rust either.
17-year old, undefeated phenom, Christian Leonard, from TECH MMA showcased his future promise and his slick Jiu-Jitsu by defeating Dreon Martin of Team Rock Bottom at the 1:47 mark of Round 2. The win ran his record to 5-0 and was the first loss of the night for Team Rock Bottom.
Finally, the Main Event arrived, featuring Team Assassin’s Ty Blake vs. Independent Bryan Sager. Everyone in the place was standing and it appeared that the West side of the venue was in Sager’s corner and the East side was in Blake’s. Blake and Sager met in December of 2011 in a fight that saw Blake TKO Sager in the 3rd Round of another promotion. The re-match, this time, was for the Spartan Promotions Middleweight Title belt. Sager came out very strong, winning the first two rounds, on my score card. Blake stormed back, however, showing his usual toughness and longevity and took rounds 3 and 4, on my score card. Early in Round 5 Blake hit Sager with some vicious shots, but Sager was able to get the fight to the ground for the better portion of the round and went on to win the Middleweight title by Unanimous Decision. This fight was my Fight of the Night and will have to warrant a third fight, to break the tie.
In summary, Spartan put on a very good show that featured exciting fights and mixed in great pre-fight and between fight entertainment, for what was an overall entertaining night for the fans. It also featured a good mix of vendors and was very crowd interactive with t-shirt giveaways and fan photo opportunities. The night flowed smoothly, with minimal interruptions, which is rare for a startup promotion.
Complete Battle of the Spartans II Results
Joe Hipps def. JoJo Stringfield via submission (ankle lock) – Round 1, 1:26 (Wins vacant Flyweight title)
Chris Scales def. Danny Bryan via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Chris Bremley def. Luis Ortiz via TKO – Round 1, 1:55
Jerry Brown def. Randy Fadley via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Nathan Miller def. Chris Hendrick via KO – Round 3, 1:29 (Wins vacant Featherweight title)
Derick Lambert def. Anthony Tisdale via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Winston Tesi def. Jack Christoph via TKO – Round 1, 1:45
Charles Kessinger def. Travis Tisdale via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:19 (Wins vacant Bantamweight title)
Thomas Schacter def. Zack Cofer via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:32
Christian Leonard def. Dreon Martin via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:47
Travis Davidson def. Eric Belcher via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Tyrek Barksdale def. Ian Salter via submission (neck crank) – Round 2, 2:33
Bryan Sager def. Ty Blake via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47) (Wins vacant Middleweight title)