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Lasalle, IL. The little giant, Phil Johns, has announced his retirement but continues to support and promote mixed martial arts. His Silverback's Classic series has helped new fighters get the experience needed for higher level competition. Phil has used his contacts to get up and coming fighters a chance in the bigger shows. Some of the fighters that have stood out over the last year will be on the card at some of this year's Hook-N-Shoot events.

The Silverback's Classic has added an aspect to their events that has attracted a wider range audience. This has given them a chance to show the public what mixed martial arts is all about. This added addition is the "IronMan Boxing" competitions. Local contestants can sign up to compete in boxing matches. They are outfitted with the proper safety equipment and are given the chance to compete against someone within their weight group. Between boxing matches, the audience is exposed to quality mixed martial arts. The reaction has been one of amazement and enthusiasm to see more.

January's competition produced all that it promised. Good IronMan Boxing matches and exceptional local mixed martial arts competition. Local fighter, Jason Rigsby, Ottawa, IL, was slated in the main event against Dan Houston.

The first NHB match of the night was between Brian Geraghty and Shane Danielson. A hard right hand stunned Geraghty but he was able to shoot in and take the fight to the ground. Geraghty was able to fight off attempted chokes and strikes by Danielson. Danielson over extended on a strike and Geraghty was able to lock in an armbar. Referee, Bob Long stopped the fight before any injury occurred.

Fight number two ended differently than most expected by the beginning of the fight. Bryan Zhor had explosive punches and his ground work was good. Robby Rose found himself in a shoulder lock that he was able to slip out of. Rose was able to lock in an armbar, for the win, while Zhor was attempting to pass his guard.

The best fight of the night was a war between Jimmy "Wildcat" Bruketta and "Dangerous" Dan Long. Long had the strength, ferocity and training to keep the Silverback's Lightweight Champion at bay well into the second round. Bruketta was like a whirl wind, always moving and trying different holds that Long would power out of. The constant strain eventually was too much for Long and he succumbed to a triangle. Long's corner threw in the towel when he was not able to defend against the triangle choke with head strikes.

Jeff Snyder's final fight of his career was against a tenacious fighter by the name of Mark Long. Snyder dominated almost all of the three round fight. It was only Long's stubbornness to give up that kept him going. After three rounds the judges decided that Jeff Snyder had won his retirement match. Jeff will go on to teach younger fighters and to help this sport along where he can.

Derrick Noble seemed to dominate most of his fight against Tevarius Hunter. Hunter was able to allude Noble's attempts at submission until the second round when Noble got a front to back choke that forced the tap.

Jason Rigsby's fight against Dan Houston was hard fought. Dan Houston had to withdraw in the second round due to a broken nose giving Rigsby the win.

We are hoping that Phil Johns and his organization can continue to bring us good competitions. Fighters need these types of competitions to learn the sport and test there progress.

We will bring you reports of the Silverback's Classic events when ever possible. They are worth the price of admission and more.

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