Toledo, OH. Dave and Lori Gomez have consistently proved that their abilities to market mixed martial arts to the public are right on the money. Even with bad weather, they still finished up the year with a capacity crowd at the Toledo Sports Arena. The Fightzone presented thirteen bouts that included three title matches and a superfight. The fans were able to see veteran and newcomers alike vying for the chance to raise their arms in victory.
This super heavyweight bout between Andy Burwell and Jonathan Ivey started out with Burwell controlling position. At 3:54 in the first round, Ivey, using his upper body strength, powered out of Burwell’s half mount and was able to sink in an heel hook while Burwell was off balance. Burwell was forced to tap.
Mike Mackenzie start the match out the aggressor landing multiple strikes ending in dominant position on the ground. Mackenzie tried to go for an ankle lock but Dave Vitkay was able to reverse. Vitkay attempted a smoother that failed. The fighters were stood up for the last few seconds of the first round. Mackenzie slammed Vitkay to the ground landing knees and strikes with no decision.
The second round started with the fighters clinching. Mackenzie used a hip toss to bring Vitkay to the ground and gaining mount. Vitkay tried to reverse the position but Mackenzie was able to get Vitkay’s back. Mackenzie forced the tap with a rear naked choke at 1:23.
Jake Short stunned Dave Madera with a body slam followed by multiple strikes and knees. Referee stopped the fight because Madera was not defending. Official ruling was TKO at 1:30 in the first round.
Quinn Valley made, at least, four triangle attempts that Jason Bender was able to escape. Bender was able to execute a couple of slams on Valley.
The second round had Valley still attempting triangles and Bender escaping. Bender weighed in as the aggressor with Valley biding his time waiting for Bender to make a mistake. Valley attempting more triangles but could never lock one in.
Quinn Valley got the judges decision over Jason Bender. The submission attempts were the deciding factor.
This exciting match between Travis Wright and Chad Washburn had the crowd on its feet the whole fight. Both fighters were very aggressive at the beginning of the first round. It finally settled down with Wright in Washburn’s guard. Wright able to land a few strikes. A triangle attempt by Washburn failed.
The second round was hard fought by both fighters. Wright maintained the superior position through most of the round.
Travis Wright by Unanimous Decision
This match was the perfect example of, young and aggressive, against ,experienced and patient.
Mike Large came out of his corner hungry and took the fight to, the veteran, Dave Knaggs. Knaggs having to give ground to protect against the onslaught. Large attack was strong but reckless. Knaggs was able to attempt two submission when Large left himself open. By 1:30 in the first round it was evident that Large had a wind problem. Large continue the attack backing up Knaggs into the corner. Large, thinking that a win was within his reach, increased his attack in the corner. He made that fatal mistake that rookies make in the heat of battle. He underestimated his opponent at the end. Knaggs was able to move away and land a devastating strike that buckled Large’s knees. Knaggs moved in for the finish and with just a few more strikes, the referee stopped the fight.
Dave Knaggs was declared the winner by knockout at 3:25 in the first round.
Tom Kirk, a newcomer to mma out of Indianapolis, gave the veteran Jason Ireland all he could handle throughout the entire fight. Kirk’s hunger to win and raw strength had Ireland defending from the first bell. Kirk drove Ireland into the corner and forcing him into a tight package that prevented any offensive moves. To Ireland’s credit, experience allowed him to defend and deflect virtually all of Kirk’s strikes.
The second round had more of the same but Kirk was starting to wear down and Ireland stepped up him offensive moves. Kirk seemed to want to stay standing while Ireland was maneuvering for a position to allow him throw Kirk. Ireland landed some good Thai kicks that Kirk seemed to absorb without damage. Best position of the night came as Ireland was able to pin Kirk’s arms and land multiple strikes to the head. They were starting to effect Kirk when the bell rang ending the fight.
The judges, unable to come to a decision, proclaimed a majority draw.
Eddie Sanchez’s dominated position through most of his fight against Brad Burrick. Burrick seemed to be waiting for Sanchez to leave himself open enough to land a, fight finishing, strike or kick. Sanchez never gave Burrick the chance. Staying close and working for position and submission, Sanchez dominated the fight.
In a split decision, Eddie Sanchez was given the win.
Light Heavyweight Title Match
The Light Heavyweight Title Match was completely dominated by Brendan Seguin. Joey Guel was punished for three rounds. Seguin, while spending most of his time in Guel’s guard, rained strikes down Guel seemingly at will. It was Guel’s stamina and determination that kept this fight from ending early. Though Guel was not able to mount an offense of his own, one could tell that he was always looking for that opening.
On this night, it was all Seguin. The decision of the judges was unanimous.
The war between Jason Myers and Eric Pelt was the most exciting fight of the night. Evenly matched in both talent and hunger to win, these two fighters gave everything they had for two rounds. From the beginning it had all the ear marks of a standup fight. Pelt seemed to want punish, passing up some good opportunities for submission, in favor of throwing more strikes.
Myers, more rounded, maneuvered for position but when the time came for an exchange of strikes, Myers was able to go toe to toe.
There was absolutely no dominate fighter and the judges declared a majority draw.
Dave Gardner did exactly what he had to in his fight against Dan Gilbert. Gilbert, known for his superior wrestling abilities, was knocked completely out of his game plan with the unrelenting attack of Gardner. For three rounds, Gardner pounded Gilbert into the mat, never allowing Gilbert position or rest.
The judges came to the unanimous decision that Dave Gardner was the winner of the match.
Super Flyweight Title Match
Dan Swift made quick work of Sean Bonner gaining the submission with a hanging armbar. A stunned crowd couldn’t believe that the fight was over so fast. Dan celebrated with his people in the ring as the belt was secured around his waist.
Lightweight Title Match
This three round Lightweight Title Match allowed the crowd to stay in their seats. Position was dominated entirely by Anthony Hamlet but, he couldn’t seem to doing anything with it against Steve Hallock. There was some close quarter work but nothing that did any damage to either fighter.
The judges gave Hamlett the decision and the belt.
The Fightzone has truly become one of the best shows the great lakes has to offer. Each one of these shows is better than the next. The shows give not only the veteran but, the novice fighter alike, the opportunity test their skills in a controlled environment.
The crowds have steadily gotten larger allowing more frequent competitions. The next show will be on February 28, 2003 at the Toledo Sports Arena. Hard hitting action is always on the Fightzone card. DON’T MISS IT!