The King of the Cage production returned to the Ohio region for the first time since late February when it steamrolled into Canton, OH. Promoters Corey Fischer and Terry Trebelcock didnt hold back and successfully recreated the atmosphere and excitement that normally surrounds a KOTC event on the west coast. A big screen teleprompter displaying all of the action, a laser light show, and a smoke machine all helped in creating the mood for the evening. Even with the major names pulling out of the event (Wes Simms, Brandon Lee Hinkle, Travis Fulton, etc.) there still was plenty of young guns looking to make their mark in the professional ranks of the KOTC to go around.
Josh Souder, fighting out of Jorge Grugels gym in Middletown, OH took on Donnie Walker out of Cleveland, OH in the first fight of the evening. Souder looked to finish the fight early, by getting the initial takedown and at one point taking the back of Walker. But, just when you thought Walker was going to be out, he was able to reverse and get back into guard. Walker looked for revenge, throwing stiff punches but Souder, defended well and looked for the armbar but was unsuccessful as round 1 came to a close.
Round 2 started with each fighter trading leg strikes, with Souder trying to set up the shoot, but as he moved in, Walker was waiting for him and sunk in a nasty guillotine choke. Holding Walker in his guard, Souder was able to reverse his opponent and eventually get on top with Walker pushed up against the cage. After a few punches that distracted Walker, Souder fell back and sunk a heel hook to tap Walker midway into round 2.
The 2nd fight of the night pitted another Team Grugel protégé Dustin Hazlett against Cleveland, OH native Justin Heinz. As the round started, Heinz attempted a head kick, but Hazlett saw it coming and was able to slam Heinz to the ground. From there, Hazlett attempted a guillotine choke, but Heinz fought it off and attempted to defend himself from Hazlett who now found himself in the full mount. Seeing his opportunity, Hazlett swiveled for an armbar that Heinz defended but Hazlett transitioned into a triangle choke. With Heinz refusing to tap from the triangle, Hazlett extended his opponents left arm and combined the armbar with the triangle and Heinz has no other option but to tap from the pain midway into round 1.
The 3rd fight of the night was a true grudge match between two fighters that really looked to hate each other. Dan Swift took his undefeated record of 20-0 against tough Dayton, OH fighter in Matt Hornick. Both fighters talked a lot of trash on the underground, and after numerous attempts to get this fight put together in the past, it was finally going to happen. The fight started with both fighters looking to strike early and often. Swift landed the first significant shot and knocked Hornick to the canvas. After a few kicks and punches thrown by Swift, Hornick was able to make his way back to his feet. Both fighters again traded shots, when Hornick saw his opening and attempted to take Swift down. As both men slamed onto the mat, Swift maneuvered himself and got on top of Hornick. who left his neck exposed, Swift sunk in a guillotine choke and forced Hornick to tap in round 1. Swift was victorious, but Hornick vowed revenge.
The remaining fights of this action packed card are as follows
4th fight- Jason Gilliam was victorious over Division I wrestler Dwight Decker. The win did have a bit of controversy as Gilliams camp thought that chest stomps were legal and Deckers camp thought they were illegal. Needless to say, both fighters have agreed to a rematch, which is sure to contain just as much fireworks as this fight did.
5th fight- Two undefeated fighters put their unblemished records on the line as Jamie Tony took on Drew Hitman Longshore. Tony proved to be too much as he avoided the initial choke attempt by Longshore and eventually made his way to full mount. Once there, it was a matter of time before the punches started raining down and Longshore was forced to tap in round 1.
6th fight- Salazar Sanchez traveled all the way from Trevor City, MI to take on Dorian Price out of Columbus, OH. Sanchez executed a perfect throw on Price but landed right into a triangle. After performing what seemed like three big slams to get out, Price kept his legs locked and forced a disgusted Sanchez to tap midway through round 1.
7th fight- Kentucky Fighting Challenge Heavyweight champion Braden Workman took on Dave Animal Stone in the 7th fight of the night. This fight ended quickly as Workman shot in and took Stone down. From there, Workman locked in a tight guillotine choke and forced Stone to tap early into round 1.
8th fight- Wiley veteran Leo Sylvest took on Thomas Hitman Jones in a battle of the big men. Jones gets the initial takedown and forced Sylvest against the fence and from there, landed bomb after bomb until Sylvest had no where to go, and no other option but to tap in round 1.
9th fight- Doug Sour survived an attempted rear naked choke and executed a perfect ankle lock to submit a very game David Heath in round 1.
10th fight- Ryan The Punisher Stout took on a tough Mike Russo in the 10th fight of the night. Stout locked in a chicken wing on Russo early and landed a few well timed knees to the head but Russo fought his way out, only to be taken down again. Working his way into the full mount, Stout pounded away and forces the referee to call a halt to the action midway through round 1.
11th fight- Jay Estranda took on Hammer House protégé Luke Spencer in the 11th fight of the night. With both fighters having numerous chances at victory, Estranda was the one that was able to seize the opportunity to lock in a rear naked choke and force Spencer to tap out towards the end of round 1.
12th fight- Undefeated Cleveland fighter Jeff Cox proved third times a charm when he finished third takedown, and was finally able to secure the rear naked choke and completely choke out Jake Man of Steel Short towards the end of round 1. The scene looked to be a scary one as Short was convulsing on the mat after being choked out, but finally came around and walked out of the Octagon on his own accord.
13th fight- With the only fight to make it to the distance, Shawn Hoffman repeatedly took down Eli Ayars and controlling him to pull out a hard earned unanimous decision victory. One quick note about this fight, it was later discovered that Ayers had actually either injured or slightly dislocated his shoulder during the 1st round of the fight. My award for tough guy of the night goes to Ayers for not giving up and putting up a good fight against a very tough Hoffman.
14th fight- MMA veteran John Dixon took on Don The Animal Richards in a battle of heavyweights in the semi main event of the evening. Richards did very well in taking the Dixon to the ground and grounding and pounding him up against the fence. Dixon, who had over 50 MMA fights to his credit, survived the onslaught. At one point, Dixon was able to get back to his feet, but Richards immediately reached for the legs and pulled him down again. Unfortunately, he left his neck exposed, and Dixon easily sunk in a guillotine choke and forced Richards to tap in round 1.
15th fight- The main event of the evening pitted Brandon Quigley from Davenport, IA against undefeated Mike Bunchokvich. This fight did not last long as Bunchokvich gets the initial takedown and takes the back of Quigley. Unsure of where the next punch was coming from, Bunchokvich landed a huge left hand that completely knocked out Quigley. The referee Herb Dean immediately saw that Quigley was out and called a halt to the fight early in round 1. Quigley was immediately examined by the ringside doctors and had to be taken out of the cage by a stretcher. He seemed to be responsive to the doctors, we at mmaringreport wish him a speedy recovery.
All in all, the KOTC show was a success in the eyes of the average MMA fan. With only one fight making it to a decision and only one other fight even getting past the 1st round, with plenty of KOs and submissions to go around for everyone in attendance. The KOTC seems to be making more and more of a presence in this region of the US, with shows scheduled for Cleveland, OH and the Belterra Casino in Indiana, the KOTC looks to have a very bright future ahead.
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