Mixed Martial Arts returned to the queen city of Cincinnati for the newest installment of ICE 8: Return of the Heavyweights. Promoter Monte Cox was on hand, creating and setting up some interesting match-ups, with 13 matches in total rounding out the card. Headlining the event was the return of Meat Truck Inc. creator Kerry Schall,...
Mixed Martial Arts returned to the queen city of Cincinnati for the newest installment of ICE 8: Return of the Heavyweights. Promoter Monte Cox was on hand, creating and setting up some interesting match-ups, with 13 matches in total rounding out the card. Headlining the event was the return of Meat Truck Inc. creator Kerry Schall, as he was attempting to rejuvenate his career taking on Chris Herring in a battle of heavyweights. Also on the card, were some up and coming fighters, hoping to be successful and possibly move on to bigger paydays down the road.
Ice 8 opened with Clay City, KY fighter Brian Richardson taking on local Cincinnati fighter Thomas Zapf. This fight opened with Zapf getting the initial hard takedown and delivering some strikes from the top. As Richardson made his move to get back onto his feet, Zapf sunk in a tight guillotine choke and forced Richardson to tap at 1:26 of round 1. The crowd cheered for their local fighter and the win kept the crowds blood pumping for more action throughout the night.
The 2nd fight of the night turned out to be an excellent match between two 160 lbs fighters in Brian Paul and Jeremy Brenner. Brenner, from Cincinnati, came out determined to keep the fight standing and let his hands fly. Paul was willing to trade early, as both fighters landed significant blows in the early stages of the fight. Benner then went for the successful takedown and began his own version of ground and pound as he landed some punches from the top, but Paul did his best to defend the strikes and smoothly manoeuvred himself grabbing Brenners arm in the process and hooking in a kimura attempt. Brenner did his best to roll out of the hold, but subsequently rolled in the wrong direction and was locked in a beautiful kimura. It actually took a few seconds before Brenner finally tapped. Those few seconds must have felt like hours as his arm was up so high on his back that I was surprised it wasnt broken. The fight was stopped at 2:53 of Round 1 with the Zanesville Ohio fighter getting the submission victory.
The next fight was one of the more anticipated fights of the evening; Undefeated Jon Murphy from Minersville PA took on Maurice Walker, who sported a 6-1 record. Walker wanted to keep the fight standing to display his striking ability, while Murphy looked to take the fight to the ground but both fighters stood early on and looked for the one punch knockout to start the bout. After trading a few solid blows, Walker took Murphy down and began to throw punches but Murphy did his best to defend and eventually made his way up and began trading knees with Walker in the clinch. Murphy was eventually able to push himself away then something bizarre happened.
Murphy was able to push himself away, but was clearly getting tired and winded. Seeing his opportunity, Walker threw a left kick to the abdomen, which seemed to land solidly and Murphy fell to one knee from the strike. Walker quickly backed away thinking that the fight might be over but the referee Billy Rush thought otherwise, checked Murphy, and determined the kick was an illegal low blow, and gave Murphy a five-minute rest period. The crowd booed as everyone in attendance saw that the kick was more then likely legal and Murphy was given his five-minute rest period and took full advantage of the miscue.
Once the fight resumed, Murphy seemed like a different fighter. Somewhat refreshed, Murphy came out swinging and caught Walker with some good blows and pushed him up against the cage. Walker covered up and was consistently moving to get out of harms way from the bombs when suddenly, referee Rush came in and called a stop to the fight. Walker stood in bewilderment as he was so close to victory, and now it seemed he was on the losing side of an early referee stoppage. Initially, Murphy was declared the victor due to referee stoppage, but both fighters discussed what had happened in the cage and it was determined through mutual agreement that this fight was to be considered a No Contest. Murphy did admit that the kick was not low and both agreed that the fight was stopped a little early. I was very impressed with the sportsmanship between these two fighters and a possible rematch should be a great way to settle their differences.
The next fight had ICE veteran Gerald Pearson taking on Brian Klonowski from Detroit, MI. Pearson proved to be too experienced as he landed a solid right hand at the beginning of the fight that dropped Klonowski to the floor. Quickly realizing that Klonowski was not quite out, Pearson resumed his attack and gained the full mount. Once there, Pearson rained numerous punches from the mount that Klonowski was unable to defend and when Klonowski was able to take no more he tapped due to strikes at :58 seconds of round 1.
The fifth fight of the evening had 240 lbs New Lebanon, OH fighter Shawn Coffman, one of two sets of brothers fighting on the card, taking on Iron Cobra Karate member Shaun Strange from Stanton, KY. Going on appearances alone, one could see this was going to be a huge mismatch. Strange came in with a Gi and as the fight started, Coffman quickly landed some solid punches and took Strange down to the canvas. From there, it was a matter of time before Coffman began unleashing devastating punches to the head of Strange and with nowhere to go, Strange was forced to tap out at :51 seconds of round 1.
In what ended up as fight of the night, up and coming ICE veteran Jim Bova took on Greco Roman national team wrestler John Paun. Round 1 was a Muay Thai war, as both fighters traded strikes and numerous knees while in the clinch. Bova was able to impose his will a little more as he was able to take down the wrestler and deliver numerous elbows that all met their mark. A small cut was opened over the eye of Paun as a fast paced round 1 came to a close.
The second round started exactly where the first had left off, with both fighters trading, and as the exchanges heated up, Bova shot in and was able to get the takedown. Paun was able to work his way up against the fence and get back onto his feet, with Bova trying desperately to keep him on the ground and the seesaw battle continued as they traded even more punches and knees. As the final minute approached, Paun decided to attempt to pull Bova into his guard awkwardly falling backward and Bova took advantage of the situation, gaining full mount and beautifully transitioning into an armbar attempt. Paun did a great job of defending the attempt and eventually was able to get back on top and drop some stiff punches as round 2 came to a close.
The crowd stood on their feet as round 3 began, showing their appreciation for an unbelievable fight between the two up and coming fighters. Both fighters, battered and bruised, took their precious one minute break and let it all hang out in the final round. As with the previous two rounds, both fighters came out swinging and throwing knees, hoping to end the fight. Paun makes the first move and attempted to bring Bova into his guard, but it proved to be a bad decision, as Bova was able to take advantage of his position and almost locked in a choke that Paun eventually slipped out of. By getting out of the choke, Paun found himself in the position to throw punches from the top and began landing some solid shots to the bloody face of Bova, but always looking for an opportunity, Bova grabbed an open arm and almost locked in a kimura, and Paun was again forced to work his way out of a submission. Equally determined, both fighters were worn and spent, as the crowd cheered with exhilaration. In the end, the multiple submission attempts and solid ground and pound won Bova the unanimous judges decision.
After the very exciting fight, the seventh fight of the evening lasted just as long as the exits of the two exhausted fighters in the previous match. Nathan Fitch, of Monroe Martial Arts in Dayton, OH, took on Josh Pelfrey from Stanton, KY. Pelfrey, wearing his gi as all of the other Kentucky fighters did, was clearly outmatched against Fitch. As the fight began, Fitch was able to body lock Pelfrey and execute a perfect throw taking Pelfrey to the ground. Pelfrey tried his best to hang onto Fitch, but was unable to and ate numerous punches for his efforts, and after taking what seemed to be six punches in a row, Pelfrey had no answer and tapped from strikes at :52 seconds of the first round.
With older brother Shawn Coffman winning earlier in the night, it was younger brother Clay Coffmans turn to step into the cage against Jeff Walcott of PA. Coffman looked to take the fight to the ground and was successful in catching the front kick of Walcott and taking him to the ground early. From there, Coffman looked to throw punches and even attempted a neck crank but as Coffman looked to be finding some openings, Walcott slipped in a triangle choke that Coffman was unable to escape and tapped out at 1:50 of round 1.
The ninth fight of the night pitted Ricky Hutchins from Dayton, OH taking on Josh Strange from KY. Even with a significant weight advantage for Strange, inexperience was his enemy on this night Hutchins opened the fight with some solid punches and was easily able to take his opponent down. Seeing his opportunity, Hutchins took the full mount and began raining punches and offering the referee no choice but to call a stop to the fight at only :26 seconds of the first round.
One of the anticipated fights of the night pitted Trevor Garrett from Dayton, OH taking on Meat Truck Inc. member Neal Rowe. Both fighters sported the Muay Thai shorts and the possibility of a stand up war loomed. The fight started with Rowe pressing the action, throwing solid leg kicks before securing the underhooks and viciously slamming Garrett to the floor not once, but twice. Garrett kept his composure on the ground and was eventually able to make his way back to his knees, but as he was about to stand up, Rowe threw a vicious illegal knee to Garretts head that gave him an injury time out while he recovered from the illegal blow. After the injury time out, Rowe went back to work, attacking Garretts legs who was clearly beginning to feel the impact of the low kicks. Just like earlier in the fight, Rowe set up his shot and was able to take Garrett down once again and from there, Rowe mounted his attack with big punches to his opponents face. Feeling the effects of the stiff shots, Garrett gave up his back and Rowe obliged, quickly sinking in a rear naked choke from which there was no escape and Garrett was forced to submit at 2:05 of round 1.
Hoping to not get swept, Stanton, KY fighter Ricky Borders faced John Moore from Huber Heights, OH. With the two previous KY fighters losing, Borders looked to bring a victory home to the Bluegrass State but unfortunately for him, he would face the same fate as the teammates that preceded him. Moore started out throwing big punches and both fighters attempted to take the other to the ground but it was Moore who fell into the guard of Borders and found his opportunity to rain down heavy punches to his opponents face. After a few solid strikes, Moore manoeuvred Borders over to the cage, where he landed a few knees, opening up the opportunity for him to take full mount. From the mount, Moore began throwing punches, which Borders was unable to defend and it would cost him forcing the referee to stop the fight at 2:17 of round 1.
The second to last fight of the night pitted some of the best talent that ICE has to offer in Ice veteran Ron Killing Fields, who was coming off a valiant effort loss to Jeremy Horn at ICE 7, taking on Chad Mason. The ever-improving Fields, known mainly for his stand up ability, was looking to have an impressive showing at this ICE show and as the fight began, the two fighters circled each other looking to strike. Suddenly, Mason shot in and Fields was able to sink in a guillotine choke which forced Mason to submit at 33 seconds of round 1. Fields proved that he can strike standing up and improved his submission arsenal as well, with his ever improving performances, look for Fields to get the opportunity to display his talents at bigger shows in the near future.
The main event of the night pitted the return of Meat truck Inc. founder Kerry Schall, hoping to jump-start his career once again, taking on MMA veteran Chris Herring. Weighing in at a unbelievably solid 280 lbs., Schall looked focused and determined as he made his way into the cage. Both men were physical behemoths inside the ring, looking very determined to get the fight started. As the fight began, both fighters circled each other, seemingly measuring each other up for the big punch but it was Herring that made the first move and was able to get Schall up against the fence. Schall seemed very comfortable in this position, and bided his time for his chance to push off to throw some strikes but suddenly, Herring threw a low blow that crumpled Schall to the mat in agony. Special referee Rich Franklin called an injury time out and came to the aide of his training partner and after the official five-minute rest period, it was determined that Schall would be unable to continue the fight. Herring apologized for the low blow, ensuring to his opponent that it was purely accidental and Schall made his way out of the cage in disbelief. Unfortunately, due to the low blow, Schall was taken to the hospital later that night for a check up. One can only hope that all things do eventually come around for the skilled fighter who at times seems cursed with the worst luck.
All in all, ICE 8 was a pretty good show. With only one fight going the distance, everyone in attendance was treated to an action packed night of fights, some with a little controversy. I am glad that MMA is slowly finding its place in Cincinnati, with solid attendance numbers, and an increasing interest in the sport, ICE shows and other local MMA events are sure to be breeding grounds for future stars to display their talents. With cemented MMA stars Rich Franklin and Ruthless Robbie Lawler in attendance, to support this sport, it definitely looks to have a bright future ahead.