On a national scale, Abe Wagner and Joe Ellenberger tend to be known best for something other than their fighting accomplishments inside the cage. Wagner, being remembered as a "supporting" cast member on The Ultimate Figher (TUF) and Joe as the "other" Ellenberger.
At Victory Fighting Championship (VFC) 35 show at the Mid America Center in Iowa both fighters made it clear they want UFC matchmaker Joe Silva’s attention, again, by winning in two different, but impressive fashions.
Ellenberger (12-0) might be best known as the older (by a minute) brother of UFC rising star and VFC vet Jake Ellenberger. What most people don’t know is Joe was offered a UFC fight and had to turn it down because of a rare blood disease.
Fast forward two years, the doctors have him healthy, and he’s looking to get the belt he had to vacate back in his possession. Standing in his way was James Warfield (17-9), but Ellenberger wasn’t letting Warfield spoil his return and put on a clinic on ground control and aggression en route to a unanimous decision victory.
In the main event of the evening, Justin Grizzard (7-13) was looking to exploit Wagner’s (10-3) perceived lack of a ground game. Instead, it was Wagner who wasted no time using his striking to work his way inside to find a take down. Once they were on the ground, it was all Wagner as he worked positions to eventually take his back and win in the first round via rear naked choke.
The build up to the main events were packed with exciting fighters looking to work their way up the ranks. Vito Agosta (3-2) used powerhouse wrestling, like a one armed shoulder throw, to grind out a unanimous decision over Derek Rhodes (0-5).
Jacob Philbren (2-0) started the first round with devastating strikes and never quit throwing them, stopping Joe Baudler (1-2) in the first round, while Drew Dober (7-3) went at it with the hard hitting Sam Jackson(14-13) and at the final bell, had won a hard earned unanimous decision, most of which he fought with one eye almost swollen shut.
And making his pro debut, Mirsad Bektic (1-0) lived up to the hype by finishing Shane Hutchinson (4-9) with a swarm of ground and pound before the first round had met its half-way mark. The VFC always starts the night out by featuring the best amateur talent in the Midwest, and tonight was no exception.
The undercard result were as follows:
- Nick Garrett (6-2) def. John Revord (1-5) via triangle choke
- Cody Rhinehart (2-1) def. Jimmy Rodgers (0-1) via strikes
- Heather Lambert (4-0) def. Sarah McLeod (3-3-1) via arm bar
- Nate Rodriguez (10-1) def. Jacob Keifer (6-1) via rear naked choke
- Tharron Ockenga (8-1) def. Corey Roberts via triangle
- Duane Johnson (4-0) def. Anthony Salazar (11-3) via rear naked choke