I made the trip up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin late last week and it wasn't for the Bellator event, the UFC on Fox 3 show or even MFC. It was for a local show called the North American Fighting Championship which has become a hotbed for up-and-coming talent out of the Roufusport Gym.
The night was headlined by a welterweight bout featuring Duke Roufus product Rick Glenn against journeyman Charon Spain. Glenn looked in control, scoring multiple trip takedowns and barring a big flurry from Spain at the end of the first round, was never in any trouble.
In the second stanza, Glenn started quickly, hurting Spain on the feet and then pummeling him on the canvas to score a quick technical knockout (TKO) victory to improve his record to 10-2-1. Glenn is now unbeaten in his last eight fights and could be getting a promotion in the near future.
I've got plenty of other highlights of the action including a HUGE upset as well as comments on the Sergio Pettis fight after the jump.
Not every Roufusport fighter was victorious on the evening. Dustin Ortiz, a worldwide top 10 ranked flyweight took on Toledo area fighter Josh Robinson at a 130 pound catchweight and things didn't go as planned whatsoever.
Despite having a huge wrestling edge, Ortiz seemed intent on showcasing his striking skills and he allowed "Shortstack" Robinson to dictate the action. Robinson showed no fear despite the apparent mismatch and was clearly outlanding and outperforming Ortiz on the feet.
Ortiz was getting reamed by his corner for not utilizing his wrestling, only taking Robinson down briefly in the second round and he clearly lost both the first and third to the upset-minded Robinson, who was dressed to impress with matching pink water bottles, ankle wraps, shorts and mouthguard. In the end, Robinson was awarded a much-deserved split decision victory, something that stunned hardcore fans of the flyweight division as Ortiz had only previously lost to current UFC fighter Ian McCall.
The other heavily-promoted bout for the evening was a flyweight battle between Sergio Pettis (Anthony Pettis' 18-year old brother) and 3-3 fighter Chris Haney. It was by far Pettis' stiffest test to date and he was given all he could handle in a very tough first round which could have gone either way.
Pettis had stopped all three of his prior opponents, but in this fight, it was his conditioning that made the difference. He got stronger as the fight wore on while Haney slowed down drastically. While he still looked raw, that's to be expected in just your fourth professional fight especially at such a young age. Pettis' very untechnical escape from a heel hook (ripping his leg out instead of twisting free) was a notable example of this.
In the end, however, his offensive wrestling and superior kickboxing allowed him to win a unanimous decision, the first such outcome of his young career.
Other highlights of the evening were a pair of major bloodbaths in which Matt Gauthier remained undefeated by defeating Roufusport fighter Isreal Lozano via decision and Robert Coulliard's come-from-behind submission against Aaron Carter.
My favorite fight of the evening was an amateur bout featuring two undefeated fighters in Roufusport's Elias Garcia and 5-0 Iowan Dillon Woods. Woods started very strong showcasing his superior striking and some awesome sweep and submission skills on the ground but Garcia was relentless.
Garcia also was a great listener, adapting his style while listening to everything that his cornerman Ben Askren shouted from the side of the cage and was able to come back and win the fight via TKO in the third round.
Some personal observations:
- Ben Askren is an amazing cornerman. Rich Hansen from MMA Torch pointed it out as he was seated right next to him during the action but I could hear every word Askren said from the opposite side of the cage and he was handing out terrific advice. It seemed that as long as his fighters were listening, they were winning. Askren could make a ton of money as a cornerman/trainer once his fighting career is over but that's still a long ways away.
- Erik Koch was interviewed in the cage center during a break in the action and he called out UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Everything hadn't been made official yet so he couldn't talk specifics, but he seemed confident about his chances. He can definitely test Aldo in the striking department if the bout stays standing at UFC 149.
- Casino + fights is a bad idea for me. I lost $75 before the event started so I wasn't in the best mood at the beginning of the event. My own fault though. Should have put it all on red instead.
- Duke Roufus really tests his fighters. He's not bringing in complete cans for his fighters to crush during these events. He brought in guys that are expected to push his team and make them better. It was nice to see that he's not just padding records. By making his students earn their wins, they'll be more prepared once the UFC comes calling.