Extreme Challenge 'War at the Shore' took place Friday, Jan. 23, from the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., featuring the biggest female mixed martial artist (not named Carano or Santos) looking to make it 13 straight.
She didn't disappoint.
Tara LaRosa shook off some initial ring rust to stop challenger Alexis Davis in the third round via technical knockout thanks to a pesky cut on the face of Davis that ringside physicians deemed too severe to allow her to continue.
Getting punched in the face will often do that.
Alexis, a black belt in Dayboll Jiu-Jitsu and a 4th-stripe purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Royler Gracie, proved why she was Canada's Open grappling champion with a stingy guard that not only kept her competitive in round one, but also saw her take the second round with a textbook trip and suffocating mount.
LaRosa regained her composure in the opening minutes of round three and introduced a cut above the eye of Davis. From there she poured it on until the referee was forced to halt the action and get the input from the nearby medical personnel.
The doctor's stoppage was LaRosa's sixteenth victory overall, sending the crowd into a frenzy and providing a satisfactory ending to an event that suffered a mighty blow when scheduled headliners Eddie Alvarez and Wilson Reis withdrew from their bouts.
Alvarez (15-2) was still on hand to accept an appreciation award (and help sell tickets) for his fight with Tatsuya Kawajiri at the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix last July. The Philadelphia native, who could be seen later in the evening in LaRosa's corner, gave a brisk thank you speech and ducked out in order for the fights to continue.
Also in the mix was UFC lightweight contender Frank Edgar, cornering Charlie Brenneman as he faced off against Edward O’Daniel. Brenneman showed exceptional wrestling, slamming O'Daniel at will before eventually pounding him out in the third frame.
Edgar was the most vocal cornerman of the night and showed how a strong corner can help guide a fighter to victory.
Speaking of victory, Brazilian Sidemar Honorio earned his with a devastating head kick in the second round of his bantamweight slugfest with Iowa’s Mike Powell. In what was easily fight of the night, Honorio and Powell tested their hearts (and chins) with an exchange of punches and kicks that had the entire Tropicana Showroom on its feet by the end of the first.
Honorio was looking for the head kick all night, and after landing one in the first, sealed the deal in round two when he connected flush and a weathered Powell collapsed in pain.
Powell would recover and draw cheers from the stands for his entertaining scrap.
And while we have the topic of scrap on our minds, one-time UFC product Sherman Pendergarst looked like he belonged on the scrap heap as he lumbered to the cage in a less than impressive physical condition only to get choked out by ShoXC veteran Joshua Barnes.
The fans let "Tank(ed)" hear it with a chorus of boos following the quick defeat.
That reaction however pales in comparison to the fury of the crowd when they blacked out on the debuting Dan Stittgen, who turned a submission attempt by Greg Killian into a standing rear naked choke for the win.
Coming into the match as an up-and-comer with Team Kurt Pellegrino, Killian was clearly the crowd favorite, and Stittgen took some serious verbal lumps from the audience before and during their battle.
After silencing the crowd with his win, a vengeful Stittgen climbed the side of the cage and issued the double-bird to just about everyone in attendance, causing the Pellegrino camp to rush the cage in protest.
Referee Dan Miragliotta quickly ripped Stittgen from the cage and ringside officials immediately intervened to stymie any potential incidents.
Not coincidentally, Stittgen was nowhere to be seen at the evening's after party later that night.
It was an entertaining night of fights that also saw New York native Jonathan Evans fall to British wrestler Kamal Shalorus and Philadelphia Fight Factory's Zach Makovsky submit World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Justin Robbins.
Here are the results for Extreme Challenge MMA 'War at the Shore:'
Jon Meyer (6-3) defeated Craig Kaufman (6-2) via submission (heel hook)
Tuan Pham (1-0) defeated Nat McIntyre (4-2) via TKO
Dan Stittgen (1-0) defeated Greg Killian (1-1) via submission (rear naked choke)
Sidemar Honorio (3-0) defeated Mike Powell (6-2) via KO
Josh Barnes (3-1) defeated Sherman Pendergarst (11-12) via submission (rear naked choke)
Zach Makovsky (4-1) defeated Justin Robbins via submission (rear naked choke)
Kamal Shalorus (3-0) defeated Jonathan Evans (1-1) via TKO
Charlie Brenneman (6-1) defeated Edward O'Daniel (5-2) via TKO
Tara LaRosa (16-1) defeated Alexis Davis (6-2) via TKO