The transition of the Illinois shows is complete. A clamp down by the Illinois boxing commission to totally wipe out MMA in Illinois has more or less succeeded. Illinois’ prejudicial rulings against MMA have succeeded in bringing the revenue of the shows to Indiana and other states. The last vestige, Ironheart Crown, made it’s way to Hammond, IN on November 10th. Dr. Eric Moon combined his show with local promoter Braulio Corral to present the best Ironheart Crown to date. A crowd of over three thousand fans jammed the Hammond Civic Auditorium for a night of great fights.
The undercard for the night featured regional fighters in tournament competition. Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight tournaments brought eleven fighters to the ring. A last minute drop, due to sickness, gave one heavyweight fighter a bye.
The lightweight tournament ended with Miguel Torres, East Chicago, IN, taking home the belt after the doctor called the fight due to Steve Reyna’s broken nose.
Joe Paun submitted Herman Reyes with a rear choke to capture the middleweight belt.
It took Stephan Bonnar until the second round to submit Josh Krueger with an armbar for the heavyweight belt.
There was one exhibition match. Kyle Hensgen and Jeremy Morrison met in a rematch from the Chicago Challenge where they had fought for fourteen and a half minutes only to have the fight stopped by the doctor for a cut sustained by Morrison. Both fighters had not fought in a while due to injuries and it showed. Hensgen was able to lock in an armbar for the win at two minutes and eleven seconds into the first round.
The four main events featured three title defenses and one title match for the Ironheart Crown Championships.
Henry Matamoros showed that he could take some punishment and still go after the a submission. Shannon “The Cannon” Rich aggressive ground and pound attack came to a screeching halt when Matamoros locked in the armbar to everyone’s surprise, including Rich’s. It was obvious from outside of the ring that Matamoros was going for an armbar. An unsuccessful attempt was followed immediately another attempt on the same arm but this time Matamoros locked it in. With a scream of pain and frustration, Rich tapped to allow Matamoros to successfully defend his Ironheart Crown Lightweight Belt.
Ironheart’s Middleweight Belt had been vacated by Adrian Serrano. To fill the vacancy, Jay Buck and Bret Al-Azzawi stepped into the ring to decide which one of them would go home with the belt. It was a match where one fighter dominated while the other showed his unwillingness to submit. Jay Buck virtually pounded Al-Azzawi into the mat but Bret just would not give up. He made numerous attempts at a submission that Buck just powered out of. After nine minutes of grueling punishment, Al-Azzawi was forced to submit by a guillotine choke.
Jim Theobald’s defense of his heavyweight title was just what we expected to see. Pre-fight comments by Steve Lauretto had Theobald determined to teach him a lesson. Lauretto’s strong suit was his boxing but he had been cross training in jui-jitsu. Lauretto’s training was no match for Theobald’s experience and agressiveness. On the attack from beginning to end, Theobald dominated with strikes and position. Lauretto giving up his back while trying to escape Theobald’s attack, was an easy target for the rear choke that Jim locked in. Theobald’s successful defense put another mark in the win column in this phenomenal fighter.
Vaughn Palelei showed much more skill and finesse in the defense of his openweight championship than we had expected. In the past, Palelei had used a power attack, driving his opponent to the mat with strikes. His change of tactics surprised his opponent who seemed to be expecting the former. The guillotine choke that submitted Milan Timkovic was well applied in short order.
The Ironheart Crown has grown in prestige in the last three years. It has become the premier mixed martial arts show of the great lakes. We sincerely hope that Dr. Eric Moon continues to bring us great and exciting shows. The show has moved but mixed martial arts has not lost out. It still continues to flourish but from across the border where people put stock in facts, not rumor.