Titan Fighting Championship 17: Event Recap & Reflections

I was proud to be in attendance this past weekend at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS. Not only does TFC provide great fights for MMA fans in our local KC area, but they treat their press members great! Special thanks to Joe Kelly (President of TFC) for taking the time to do an interview with us about the event, and to Thomas McCulloch (Director of Communications) for hooking us up all night with fighter interviews, and some much needed bottles of water. But seriously, TFC has a great future here because they've got a great staff.


Prelim Fights (not aired on HDNet)

There were 3 fights before the cameras officially turned on. Being that there's so much to cover on the main card, I'll have to keep this short and sweet.

Marcus Jackson def. Tony Surewood via submission @ 3:00 in Round 1. There's not a whole lot to talk about in this fight, other than Jackson had superior wrestling and evidently knows how to perform an arm triangle choke.

Laura Marcus def. Emily Reed via submission @ 1:50 in Round 2. Yes, this was a female fight. And yes, I would be scared if they shut the cage door behind me, trapping me in an octagon with one of these chicks. I would have approximately 50 lbs on either of them, at least a 5" height advantage, and the advantage (or disadvantage) of facial hair. Still, I'm 100% sure after watching them trade bombs that I would be counting tweety birds while they had their hands raised. Props to these ladies, and to anyone who bashes on chicks fighting, I say we let one of these girls bash on you. (inappropriate comments will be at your own risk)

Isidrio 'Chilo' Gonzalez def. Travis Sveum via TKO (strikes) @ 0:50 in Round 1. Yep - pretty much exactly what it sounds like. 'Chilo' Gonzalez is for real, folks. He completely dominated a good fighter, and we're excited to watch this local talent move up to the 'gooder' competition. Plus, it should be mentioned that we talked to him after his fight, and he's freakin' NICE. (inappropriate comments deserved). But seriously, he's a cool guy and wish him the best. Now to the televised card...


Anthony "Sharkbait" Gutierrez vs. Jon Hollis

These 140 'pounders put on a great fight. Fights in this weigh class are so exciting to watch, because the stand-up is fierce and the ground game is relentless. This fight was actually a rematch from a previous fight that Gutierrez won by Triangle Choke. Jon Hollis - being a kick boxer first - started out with some serious combinations. They didn't land cleanly, however, and Gutierrez was able to get into his realm by taking Hollis down early in the first round. After a sweet arm bar attempt (not sure how Hollis didn't tap) into Triangle Choke transition, Hollis shook "Sharkbait" off of him and got the fight standing again. Gutierrez threw a couple of leg kicks that made Hollis uneasy, and Hollis went for a single-leg takedown. Wrong move. On the way down, Gutierrez threw his free leg over Hollis's shoulder and cinched in a TIGHT triangle choke. With 42 seconds left in the first round, Anthony "Sharkbait" Gutierrez defeated Jon Hollis when Hollis tapped from a well-timed triangle choke.

"Sharkbait" got the win again over Hollis, by way of another triangle. But it wasn't Hollis's repeat mistake as much as it was Gutierrez's impressive BJJ. We got a chance to interview Anthony the day before the fight, as well as after the fight. The day before, at the weigh-ins, Gutierrez 'called it' by saying his ground game was superior to Hollis's and that he planned on winning from the ground. Keep your eyes out for Anthony "Sharkbait" Gutierrez. He's only 20 years old and he's got a passion for the sport. This guy could be a star.


James Krause vs. Nathan Schut

This fight took about as long as it took you to read their names. Seriously. In all honesty, I didn't even see this fight go down. I was looking down at this very computer I'm writing this article on, typing their names when I hear ****SMACK**** | ****DEAFENING CROWD NOISE****, looking up just in time to see the ref pull James Krause off of Schut. Luckily, my partner in crime was watching through a camera lens and filled me in. At 4:20 in Round 1, Krause defeated Nathan Schut by TKO. How? One. Single. Head Kick. He threw it with his right leg, and the blade of his foot collided cleanly on Schut's jaw (hence the huge **SMACK**). Krause did pounce on his opponent in an attempt to put a period on the fight, but the ref was running to stop it by the time I looked up from my computer.

James Krause is a local fighter here in Kansas City, and has some incredible stand-up. He was wearing the Muay Thai shorts and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he prides himself on that Martial Art. Krause also possesses a great ground game, but we didn't get a preview of that on this night. You can watch a video of that head kick here.


Alonzo Martinez vs. Aaron Derrow

Joe Kelly, the President and Founder of TFC, called Aaron Derrow "the best BJJ practitioner in the area". He also predicted that this match-up would get "Fight of the Night" honors. Well, we think he was right. Martinez, surprisingly, came out and took Derrow down pretty quickly. Derrow put his BJJ on display early, attempting a triangle, transitioning to an arm bar, and finally, to an omoplata. Martinez finagled his way out of these attempts and probably took the first round with some fierce elbows and work from Derrow's full guard. Round 2 began with much more striking than what we saw in Round 1. Martinez actually dropped Derrow at one point in this round, but Derrow found a way to survive on the ground. He quickly recovered and, in my opinion, took the rest of the round with some incredibly active BJJ.

I would have given this round to Derrow. He did get rocked early, but after he recovered, he absolutely CONTROLLED the round with his ground game, and had Martinez in some real trouble. Round 3 was ALL Derrow. We start the round with Derrow stunning Martinez with an overhand right. Derrow takes Martinez back momentarily, but loses it because of the sweat. He then threw another Triangle attempt - barely missing. Back on the feet, Derrow had Martinez wobbling all of the cage. The crowd is going nuts sensing this fight is seconds away from stoppage. The fight went to the ground, Derrow in full mount, then to half guard, then side control - the whole time raining down some serious blows. We then moved to North South position, and finally end up with Derrow on Martinez's back. Alonzo is trying to stay alive at this point. Derrow sinks in his best submission attempt with a tight RNC. They're up against the cage, so Derrow only had one hook in from the back. Martinez was able to escape by the skin of his teeth, rolling into the cage and getting to his knees. With only 10 seconds left, they stand up and trade "fight-ending", swinging for the fences blows. Fight of the Night for sure.

The fight went to the dreaded "judges decision", and we got exactly what you can expect from judges when you've got a great BJJ player being active ... from his back. Derrow lost the fight via decision. The scoring went 28-28, 29-28, 29-28 for Martinez. You can make your own decision after watching the fight here. Not sure WE agreed with this decision, but we did get a chance to meet up with Aaron Derrow after his fight. Check out that interview here.


Eric Marriott vs. Willian DeSouza

It's tough to follow a great act. Marriott and DeSouza did pretty well, though. The first 30 seconds of this fight was the most exciting part. They came out like wild men, throwing fists and kicks quicker than my partner and I could type. By the first minute of this fight, you'd have never thought this fight would go the distance. But it did. The first round can be categorized as a 'striking' round. In fact, DeSouza look awkward and 'clunky' in his ground game (at least his bottom game). Marriott's experience (24 professional fights) definitely showed in Round 1. Marriott was calm and intelligent, backing up DeSouza with accurate striking and well-placed kicks. While DeSouza did look more calm in Round 2 & 3 with his BJJ game (some nice leg lock attempts scattered throughout), Marriott was clearly too much for him. When DeSouza wasn't attempting a leg lock, he was mostly taking cover from Marriott's fists, curled up in the Turtle position.

Marriott won this fight easily with all judges scoring the bout 30-27. Eric Marriott could be a strong competitor in his weight class. Pairing his calm and intelligent approach with some great kicks (this kid was throwing spinning back kicks like I throw back Oreo's), Eric Marriott is a strong name for himself in TFC.


"And Now... Page 2"

For anyone from Illinois - you get that "Paul Harvey" reference. Needless to say, with 4 strong fights (2 GREAT fights) already in the books, we were looking forward to the biggest 3 fights left on the card.

If you're interested in reading part two covering the fights of former UFC fighter Phil Baroni, Abe Wagner's upset loss, or Bobby Lashley's disappointing bout, check out the rest of the original article on BJJ in MMA.

Did you catch any of the fights? Tell us your thoughts in the comments...

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