by Matt Lo Cascio
How appropriate that on Memorial Day weekend, two Patriot Boxing fighters and a young man headed off to the Marine Corps dominated their fights and won titles Saturday night at the first-ever Praetorian MMA show.
In the main event, Team Top Notch fighter Ray Bunker took Omar Jasso down at will and used vicious ground and pound over five rounds to win the Praetorian featherweight title. The former Fenton High School wrestler did a lot of damage from inside Jasso’s guard, shaking off submission attempts and landing big shots to both the body and the head. Jasso did rally late in round 5, and bloodied Bunker’s nose with a well-placed up kick, but all three judges scored it 50-45 in favor of Bunker.
Bunker said in his post-fight interview that he recently joined the Marine Corps and he told Chicago’s MMA that he leaves for Camp Pendleton and basic training early in August.
Patriot Boxing took home two championship belts and had an entire section filled with fans to support their fighters. Both Manny Vazquez and John Marino came out to huge roars and neither disappointed in their performances.
In the bantamweight title fight, Vazquez fought through an early submission attempt from opponent Thaddeus Nestor, got to full mount and pounded on Nestor until referee Rob Madrigal stepped in to end it at 2:05 of the first round. Vazquez remains undefeated at 4-0.
John Marino put on a wrestling clinic against Lydell Miller in the Praetorian lightweight title fight. Marino wasted no time in landing a double-leg takedown and putting Miller on his back. Miller showed plenty of heart, but Marino was relentless in his wrestling and Miller had no answer for it. The end came at 2:13 of the third round when Marino finished Miller with a barrage of strikes from the mount. Like Vazquez, Marino remains unbeaten at 4-0.
Combat Do’s Angelo Rivera Jr. and CounterStrike MMA’s Andrew Potapenko put on a fight that was pay-per-view worthy in the welterweight title bout.
Both fighters landed significant strikes in round one, and Rivera scored a huge slam at the end of the round. He walked back to his corner with a mouse under his eye, but it did not bother him nor become a factor in the later rounds.
In round three, Rivera attempted a spinning back kick that was not received well by one of his coaches. “F— those high kicks!”, was shouted from the corner, and Rivera responded but pummeling in on Potapenko and using a slick trip to get him to the ground.
Potapenko turned the tide in round four by working in the clinch and punishing Rivera’s midsection with a number of knees. But after an action-packed fifth round, the judges scored it unanimously for Rivera, who wins the first Praetorian welterweight title.
“I guess I had a little more in the tank,” Rivera told Ray Flores in the cage after the decision. “And my wrestling. Shout out to Combat Do. We are 18-0 this year. I don’t think any other gym can say that.”
Combat Do’s Bob Schirmer told us that nine of those 18 win have come in title fights.
In tournament qualifier bouts, CounterStrike MMA’s Kyle “The Vanilla Gorilla” Kurt showed tremendous poise in the cage in his fight with Levi Atkins. He displayed excellent Muay Thai and counter-striking (no pun intended) in securing a TKO victory in the second round. He definitely looks like a prospect to watch in the near future.
Kevin “Scrappy” Schmidt had the submission of the night when he fought through a gruesome looking shoulder lock, escaped and and quickly sunk in an ankle lock that made Austin Lizot tap almost instantly. Lizot was able to gingerly make his way out of the cage.
Kody Kilgore vs. Jeremy Redler (135)
Kilgore def. Redler :32 of rd.2 tap-guillotine
Andrew May (0-0) vs. Steve Gross (0-0)
Gross def. May 1:44, rd. 1 shoulder lock
Mason Crawford (0-0) vs. Ruben Hernandez (Sharp Martial Arts) (0-0)
Hernandez def. Crawford :48 of rd. 2, guillotine
Angel Carillo (Mota Martial Arts) vs. Anthony Cox
Ron Gray vs Joe Gross
1:30 rd. 1, TKO-strikes Gray.
Richard Wittman vs. Nick Olson
2:16 of rd. 1, Olson def. Wittman, ref stoppage, strikes.
Dan Almario vs. Max O’ Neill
29-28, O’Neill, 29-28 Almario, 29-28 Almario
Kyle “Vanilla Gorilla” Kurt (CounterStrike) vs. Levi Atkins 2:07, rd. 2 ref stoppage due to strikes
Oscar Oscar vs. Nikita Savrov
Oscar def. Savrov, TKO-strikes, 2:07, rd. 1
Kevin “Scrappy” Schmidt vs. Austin Lizot: Schmidt def. Lizot, 1:20 rd. 1, ankle lock
The XFO is coming to a TV near you this Summer.
A new partnership was announced today between Comcast SportsNet and the XFO that will feature the local MMA promotion in a new weekly series called “The Best of XFO”. Each show will consist of an hour of the best fights in XFO history, as voted on by the fans. Voting is already live on the XFO website, and the series premieres Thursday, June 6 at 11pm CT.
The XFO has long been a springboard for the top MMA talent in the Midwest. They recently announced “XFO Legends“, which is a Hall of Fame of fighters that have made major contributions to the promotion. The first inductees were Jeff Curran, Bart Palaszewski, Clay Guida and Pat Curran. There have been a number of big-name fighters that have fought in the XFO. Felice Herrig, Jamie Varner, Jens Pulver, Kerry Schall and Terry Martin are just a few of the names that have fought in the XFO.
Local cage announcer and ESPN Chicago anchor Ray Flores will host each episode.
“It’s an honor and pleasure to be the host for the Best of XFO,” Flores told Chicago’s MMA. “I’d like to thank everyone involved with the promotion for giving me this opportunity. The show gives viewers a great chance to see the rich history of this amazing organization. I am thrilled to be a part of it, especially on Comcast SportsNet Chicago which does a sensational job of highlighting all of the major local sports teams. I think it’s a perfect match and look forward to seeing what the future has to hold for the XFO on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.”
The next event for the XFO will be the Rocktown Showdown on June 15 in Rockford. Local standouts David Sorensen, Tyler Reece, Dustin Stusse and Chris Conway will all be fighting on that card. Tickets are now available by visiting LocalMMATickets.com.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Praetorian Fighting Championships is the newest promotion to enter the Chicago MMA scene, and they will hold a press conference at Tilted Kilt in Roselle on Saturday at 5pm.
UFC featherweight contender and Team Top Notch fighter Ric Lamas will be on hand to sign autographs and Praetorian Fighting Championships fighters will be there for a meet and greet with both fans and media.
You don’t see many press conferences for amateur MMA promotions, but Praetorian is taking the time to introduce itself and some of their fighters to the public.
“This is just step one in showcasing some of the best the Midwest has to offer,” Praetorian president Alex Martinez told Chicago’s MMA. “It’s our way of saying this is who we are, these are the guys who will be testing their mettle in the cage for you the fan and there is a lot more to come.”
The first Praetorian event is May 25 at the Finish Strong Sportsplex in West Chicago. Team Curran’s Vince Romandine, Counterstrike MMA’s Andrew Potapenko and Patriot Boxing’s John Marino are on the card, and Praetorian will crown its first champions on that night with four title fights.
Martinez said that Praetorian will use a tournament format for their events, similar in style to Bellator MMA. The first event will feature a a series of opening tournament battles to go with the title fights.
“We are taking a page from Bellator with all our bouts slated as tournament bouts with the winner advancing. No question, in the end the tournament winner would have earned a title shot. The difference between Praetorian and the rest of the promotions is we are NOT in the fighter management business nor are we affiliated with any fight team or gym. We are open to everyone and focused on promoting our brand and most importantly the fighter. Amateur fighters are the backbone of this sport, so why not give them our very best as a promotion?”
Lamas and Ray Flores will serve as the commentators for the video broadcast, with Flores also serving as cage announcer.
Here are the four title fights that will go down on May 25:
Check out the first card and buy tickets at PraetorianMMA.com. You can also buy tickets at the press conference on Saturday.
Tyson who? “I didn’t know who he was.” That’s what UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez had to say about boxer Tyson Fury, who called out Velasquez, challenged him to a fight and called him a ‘midget’.
In an interview with Ray Flores for ESPN Chicago, Velasquez describes the only acceptable scenario in which he would fight Fury.
In an interview with Ray Flores for ESPN Chicago, Clay Guida talks about his drop to the featherweight division, how things stand with Dana White and him and how he thinks he picked apart Gray Maynard during their fight last June.
The UFC held its first event at the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks last Saturday, and Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz was there for the action.
In this interview for ESPN Chicago, Wirtz offers his thoughts on what he thinks about the UFC, what was most exciting about the event and if he’d like the UFC back in the United Center.
UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has a sharp tongue, with most of his ire usually reserved for Anderson Silva. But when Ray Flores and I caught up with him at the UFC press conference in Chicago, Sonnen even found some time to take a jab at everyone’s favorite punching bag — the Chicago Cubs.
Rashad Evans has a tough task ahead of him when he battles Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis at the UFC on FOX event in Chicago on January 28th. Evans took part in the UFC press conference yesterday at the United Center, and while he traded some verbal jabs with Davis, the conversation inevitably moved to his feud with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
Ray Flores and I caught up with Evans at the press conference, and he did his part to stoke the fires of his feud with Jones in this interview for ESPN Chicago.
Ray Flores was in Vegas for UFC 126 over the weekend and he caught up with Team Curran’s Bart Palaszewski, who recently signed with Headrush.
MMA broadcaster/cage announcer Ray Flores caught up with new UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo to discuss the UFC/WEC merger and his upcoming fight against Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Unfortunately for fight fans, Aldo has had to withdraw from that bout due to compacted vertebrae, which was causing some tingling in his arms, according to Heavy.com.