Video of the Miguel Torres vs. Giovanni Moljo fight at the United Combat League’s “Havoc in Hammond” on February 15, 2014.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Miguel Torres had just finished his first fight at the Hammond Civic Center in seven years — and he was ready for more.
“Who wants to see me fight here again?” Torres asked the crowd during his post-fight interview.
Torres soundly defeated Team Top Notch’s Giovanni Moljo in his first United Combat League fight, using speed and crisp striking as his main weapons. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Torres, who earned his first win in over two years.
Torres took control of the cage from the start of the fight and never relinquished it. He commanded the pace of the fight and backed down Moljo repeatedly, landing solid combinations throughout each of the three rounds. The well-known Torres ground game did not make an appearance, as the fight never made it to the ground. There were no takedown attempts by either fighter.
Moljo struggled with Torres’ speed from the first bell, and at times seemed more occupied with the hecklers in the crowd than he did with his opponent. He acknowledged them several times throughout the bout, including one instance where he replied to an audible taunt with both middle fingers raised high for the whole crowd to see. Moljo also tried to walk over to Torres’ corner after the end of a round but was stopped.
While Torres was free and fluid with his hands throughout all three rounds, Moljo’s corner was left to continually plead with their fighter to throw anything, especially in round three when Moljo was clearly behind on the scorecards. He was unable and perhaps unwilling to get in a firefight with the former WEC bantamweight champion. He never found a good rhythm, mostly due to Torres’ speed and constant pressure.
If this was to be a tune-up fight for Torres, consider the spark plugs changed and gapped and the tank filled with gas. Torres never labored with his breathing and looked fresh after 15 minutes of fighting. He easily could have have went five rounds, and that was after pushing the pace for all three rounds against Moljo. His hands looked fast and his stance resembled the one employed during his WEC championship reign. Torres worked with long-time striking coach Gene Calderon for this fight, and that seemed to have made a difference.
Rumor has it that next up for Torres is a showdown with a much bigger name, one you’ve all heard of and seen fight many times. But nothing has been signed or officially determined just yet. Until then, Torres will savor a solid win in front of his hometown fans. Just like old times.
Miguel Torres (Torres Martial Arts) def. Giovanni Moljo (Team Top Notch) – UD< 30-27 on all cards.
Joe Benoit (Gilbert Grappling) def. Jason Graves (Spider Gym MMA) - submission - RNC, 2:08 of rd. 1
Manny Vazquez (Patriot Grappling) def. Miguel Garza (Uflacker Academy) submission - armbar, 2:41 of rd. 1
UCL Middleweight Championship
Nick Garcia def. Josh Weddington (Team Undeground) submission – RNC, 2:10 of rd. 3, retains UCL Middleweight title.
Joe Mahy (Gilbert Grappling) def. Michael Shofroth (Team Underground) submission – guillotine, :45 of rd. 1
Jim Peterson, Sr. (Top Level MMA) def. Glenn Evans, submission – standing guillotine, 1:59 of rd. 1
Matt Giancarlo (Gilbert Grappling) def. Michael Dombrowski – submission – keylock, 1:52 of rd. 1
Anthony Lanovic (Top Level MMA) def. Mike Young (Team Underground) via unanimous decision
Daniel McGing (Team Underground) def. Bryan Titus (4th Street Hooligans) – Tap due to strikes, 1:39 of rd. 1
Jacob Morales (Duneland Vale Tudo) def. Neko Durant (Team Underground) – Submission – D’Arce choke, 2:14 rd. 2
Dean Neely (Team Underground) def. Phillip Garreau (Elite Performance) – Split Decision
Here’s the fight that promoter Paul Vale — and many others — are calling the best fight in Hoosier Fight Club history, as well as the first candidate for Fight of the Year.
It’s Evolution MMA’s Tom Shoaff vs. Austin Tweedy from HFC 19.
by Matt Lo Cascio
One of the more colorful personalities in local MMA belongs to Matt Giancarlo. The Gilbert Grappling bantamweight is a renaissance man of sorts. Besides fighting, he’s also a guitarist, photographer and punk-rock aficionado. The kicker? He likes comic books too. Giancarlo will return to the cage for his first fight in almost two years when he fights Michael Dombrowski, February 15 at United Combat League’s “Havoc in Hammond.”
There’s no doubt he tired of all the questions from friends and fans about when he was coming back. If you’re a fighter, you’re incessantly asked “When’s your next fight?” It’s everyone’s go to question. For someone that wasn’t ready and actually didn’t want to fight, all those people turned into a legion of Judge Smails-like goads echoing the half-taunt, half-question: “Well…we’re waiting!”
He fell out of love with the sport. The euphoria of winning was nice, but hardly worth the mental and physical grind of training. I interviewed Giancarlo before his last fight in 2012, and he gave not-so-subtle hints about his growing distaste for the sport. To wit: he hoped MMA would die and go under.
But that was then and this is now. Giancarlo is back to fighting. Still, inquiring minds want to know — why come back now?
“Six, no — two months ago, I would’ve told you that I’m retired from MMA. Things change so much, so often that it’s crazy,” Giancarlo told Chicago’s MMA.
“It’s been such a layoff for me that I started to miss being on the mat so much, and lifting weights at LA Fitness just wasn’t doing it for me. A little while after my last fight (March 2012), I suffered a an injury in practice, that I still feel to this day, to be honest. At the time, it was painful driving, let alone me thinking I could get back into training any time soon. So all I was really able to do was sit at home playing and writing music. That lead to me starting a band called Ghost Sector.
“Since then, it kind of became my main focus, and we’ve been on the road and released an EP. As for future plans, I learned I need to just go with the flow. Right now all I’m focused on is the 15th, where I get to step back in the cage, and play with my band at my own after party. It’s hard to have fun with this sport, but I’m finally finding out how.”
That plan — playing a set with your band at an after party following your own MMA fight — shows that Giancarlo still has all the confidence in his game and thinks he will come out of the match unscathed. It might seem a bit arrogant, but it’s all part of his new goal in MMA: make it fun.
“It’s not that I don’t respect who my opponent is, in regard to me playing the same night. MMA is grueling, it’s difficult to train for, and the training itself really sucks. It’s not just about how hard it is physically, but mentally it’s even worse. You can’t have fun at all. So that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to have as much fun possible during this training camp — and on fight night.”
Ghost Sector will be playing at The Mutiny after “Havoc in Hammond.” The set will be more fun after a win than a loss, but either way, Giancarlo plans to just go with the flow from here on out.
For tickets to United Combat League’s “Havoc in Hammond,” visit the United Combat League website.
by Greg Harrison & Matt Lo Cascio
Evolution MMA’s Tom Shoaff and Austin Tweedy put on a fight for the ages Saturday night at HFC 19, with promoter Paul Vale calling it the best fight in Hoosier Fight Club history. The lightweight battle might have given new meaning to ‘main event.’
Tweedy was aggressive early and got a takedown, but Shoaff weathered the early storm and picked apart Tweedy with a series of kicks and devastating shots, knocking Tweedy against the cage. Tweedy appeared hurt by Shoaff’s explosive punches, but was able to survive the round.
The second round was a huge back and forth battle both standing and on the ground, a round that two judges gave to Tweedy and one gave to Shoaff.
Shoaff went off in the final round, displaying a relentless attack of speed and power. He started by cutting Tweedy’s nose open with devastating knees and continued to punish him throughout the round. Tweedy showed a huge amount of heart, but Shoaff dominated. The final horn sounded with Tweedy appearing to have a broken nose and the cage canvas splattered with blood. Shoaff won via unanimous decision, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
After the fight ended, Paul Vale made an announcement proclaiming it the best fight in the history of Hoosier Fight Club.
“It was an honor fighting Austin and receiving greatest fight in HFC history. I’ll remember last night for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing. We put on a beautiful show and I was able to walk away, barely, victorious,” Shoaff told Chicago’s MMA.
The card at the Porter County Expo Center featured a total of eight professional fights and five amateur bouts, including the first-ever women’s atomweight title fight.
Lightweights kicked off the professional portion of the card with James Mogollon facing John Dutton. Mogollon landed a flush right kick that floored Dutton in the first round, and he would make quick work after the knockdown getting submission by guillotine choke at 1:02 of the first round.
Gilbert Grappling fighter Justin Hughes made his pro debut against Michael Jordan in a bantamweight battle. Hughes managed to floor Jordan early with a strong overhand right. As Hughes went in for a finish, Jordan recovered and seemed to be active on the top position. Hughes looked to escape and got a reverse. Hughes tried to get busy on top but was caught in triangle choke by Jordan, forced to tap at the 4:08 mark of the opening round.
In other fights:
- Dustin Pape scored a unanimous decision victory over Yousef Al-Ghoul.
- Booby Moffat survived an early slam from Terry House to win by D’Arce choke in round one.
- Gilbert Grappling’s Rob Caulfield won via unanimous decision over Erick Lozano.
- Matt Henry proved to be too fast for Zach Harvey, stunning him early then sinking in a fight-ending guillotine choke at 2:45 of the first round
- Veterans Kevin Nowaczyk and Shamar Bailey fought to the final horn, with Nowaczyk’s wrestling and cage control the difference in a unanimous decision win.
HFC 19 Quick Results
Tom Shoaff defeated Austin Tweedy by unanimous decision
Kevin Nowaczyk defeated Shamar Bailey by unanimous decision
Matt Henry defeated Zach Harvey – submission by guillotine choke at 2:45 of round 1
Rob Caulfield defeated Erick Lozano by unanimous decision
Bobby Moffatt defeated Terry House - submission by D’Arce choke at 3:25 of round 1
Michael Jordan defeated Justin Hughes – submission by guillotine choke 4:08 of round 1
James Mogollon defeated John Dutton – submission by guillotine choke at 1:02 of round 1
Dustin Pape defeated Yousef Al-Ghoul by unanimous decision
by Matt Lo Cascio
The XFO will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in a big way — putting on their 50th pro show featuring a veritable who’s who of Chicago’s best MMA fighters.
The show will take place on Friday, March 21 at the UIC Pavillion, the first MMA show there since the WEC came to town in 2009.
Here are confirmed fighters/matchups as of now:
- Fallon Fox will fight in Chicago for the first time as a pro.
- Joey Diehl will drop to 115 lbs. and fight in the XFO’s first-ever men’s strawweight bout.
- MMA Stop/Uflacker Academy’s Danny Aguirre vs. Team Curran’s Cory Galloway
- Vince Romandine vs. Manny Vazquez
- Lawrence Dunning vs. Andrew Potapenko
- Matt “The Monster” Paul makes his pro debut against Lukasz Grabowski
- Anthony Goodwin vs. James Martin
- Midwest Training Center’s Rafal Skibinski will fight on the card, fresh off his dominating performance against Drew Reed at XFO 49. Skibinski recently opened Body TransforMMAtion Center in Oak Lawn with Andrew Krzeptowski, who will also fight at the event.
- As we previously reported, MTC’s Adam Maciejewski will continue his comeback at this event.
- Pearl Gonzalez, who had a remarkable amateur career here with Combat-Do, will fight for the first time in Chicago as a pro.
- Other fighters on the card include Oliver Vazquez, Ramy Daoud, Evolution MMA‘s Tom Shoaff and Maurice Greene.
Tickets will be on sale soon at Ticketmaster.com. More to come…
by Matt Lo Cascio
Mike Davis has wanted Miguel Torres to fight on one of his cards for many years. He finally got his man. The former WEC bantamweight champion will fight Giovanni Moljo on February 15 at the United Combat League show at the Hammond Civic Center.
That’s not necessarily news. But what you might not have known is that Davis was close to signing Torres years ago when he was trying to establish a bantamweight division for the short-lived Bodog Fight, a promotion that featured fighters such as Duneland Vale Tudo’s Keith Wisniewski, Chael Sonnen, Nick Thompson, Eddie Alvarez and many others.
“The WEC was recently purchased by the UFC and that they were also pursuing Miguel. It turned out to be somewhat of a bidding war and they were able to give him a larger contract than our budget allowed. In the end, Miguel made the right decision and although we didn’t do business together, we had always stayed in touch. Whenever I would run into Miguel, I would always mention to him that I wanted him back at Hammond. He would laugh, but he always had that look in his eye,” Davis told Chicago’s MMA.
One of the keys to sealing the deal was having the show at the Hammond Civic Center, where Torres fought the majority of his early fights with Total Fight Challenge and Ironheart Crown.
“The Hammond Civic Center is the crown jewel of the midwest MMA pioneer days, and the main reason it is so famous is because of all the blood and sweat Miguel gave while fighting in front of his hometown audience. As a promoter, I can not put into words the honor it is having Miguel on a card at the Civic Center.
“When Miguel and I sat down to discuss the event, we essentially had two options: we could either do an expensive ticket and have a good crowd in attendance, or we could have a ticket price that would guarantee that anyone who wanted to come see the event could afford to. It was an obvious choice. I am willing to bet that there isn’t a pro show that has been done in the Illinois/Indiana area with a ticket price as low as ours. On Feb 15, we are having a coming home party for Miguel and literally everyone is invited,” Davis said.
Although it will be the first time they work together on a fight card, Davis is almost certain it will not be the last.
“Both Miguel and I believe that this event is going to be special, if the event turns out the way he and I believe it will, I couldn’t imagine us working on another one in the near future.”
Although Torres is under contract with World Series of Fighting and is still featured on the WSOF website, he has no fights scheduled with them.
Davis isn’t sure how many events United Combat League will have in 2014, but he is sure that they will be back in Hammond, as well as 115 Bourbon Street.
“This event, outside of having Torres vs. Moljo, is kind of a coming out party for us as an organization. I do not have an exact number of events that I will be putting on, but I will say that I plan on being at the Hammond Civic Center at least four times this year. My event after this is going to be at 115 Bourbon Street on March 28, and our events will also feature some Saturday dates. I am looking at an event date in May for our next pro card in Hammond.”
Davis’ phone was working overtime after he announced the card and event, with a slew of fighters asking for a matchup to get on the card. He even received some calls from some of the sport’s luminaries.
“After I announced the card, I got a phone call from someone that I consider a lifelong friend, Wes Sims. He congratulated me on the announcement and said that he and Mark Coleman will be in attendance in order to help support the event. I have always been a fan of the Hammer House gym and for them to come out means a lot to me.”
Sims is a veteran of the UFC and a contestant on season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Coleman is the UFC Hall of Famer that is widely credited for paving the way for wrestlers to fight in the UFC, as well as being known as the “Godfather of Ground and Pound.”
The “Havoc in Hammond” show will also feature amateur fights, including a middleweight title fight between UCL champion Nick Garcia and hometown hero Josh Weddington. The two fought last July at 115 Bourbon Street, a fight that Davis says had the fans on their feet and screaming.
Gilbert Grapplng’s Matt Giancarlo will make his way back to the cage after a two-year layoff. He’ll fight Michael Dombrowski.
In other pro action, Gilbert Grappling’s Joe Benoit makes his return after more than three years away from the sport. He’ll take on Jason Graves, an exciting fighter that has fought in both Bellator and the XFO.
“Please come out and be a part of history on February 15, I promise that it will be an awesome experience for everyone,” Davis said. “But I suggest people get to this event early — it is going to be packed.”
For tickets and more information, visit the United Combat League website.
Ricardo Lamas met the media at the United Center Saturday Night, just one week before his title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 169.
Lamas talks about the support he’s getting from Chicago, how he won’t be intimidated by Jose Aldo and much more in this video by Miguel Cisneros (@MiguelCTV).
Chico Camus moved to 3-1 in the UFC with a unanimous decision victory over Yaotzin Meza at the United Center on Saturday night. Local videographer Miguel Cisneros caught up with the rising star after his big win.
Follow Miguel on Twitter: @MiguelCTV