The Elite Federation of Fighters was back in action once again at the gracious and spacious MRCC Banquet Center in Warren this past Friday night with yet ANOTHER spectacular night of cage fighting excitement. As usual, there were many, many well-known faces from the Michigan MMA community on hand for the event. There were also a lot of well-known and respected trainers and teams in the house, representing their respective camps and showing off the fruits of their labor. Isaiah Gathings and the Academy of Soo Do Thai, Al Cooper and Cooper’s Gym, Titan MMA and Vicious Fight Team, H8 Squad, Team Pound 4 Pound Canada, Master Bey’s Motor City Satin Panthers, the Institute of Mixed Martial Arts, Stealth Squad and Fitness 24, Team Wolfpack, Club Kickbox Detroit, and the Family. With a breathtaking rendition of our National Anthem by one of the best singers we’ve seen, Anitra Rice, followed by a formal hyping of the fans by one of the best announcers in the entire Midwest, Phil “The Voice” Davey, a truly great night of action was about to get underway.
The first thing that we would like to point out is the fact that a third of the matches went all the way to decision, which is a sure sign of solid matchmaking. Out of the first three fights, TWO of them went the distance, while the other came close. The third bout of the evening was fought under kickboxing rules, and featured Coopers’s Gym’s Hassan “Blaze” Albajad and the Academy of Soo Do Thai’s Isaiah Gathings Jr. This was a spectacular match between two great up-and-coming young strikers. Throughout the entire regulation time limit, both of these warriors put it all out there, with a clinic of kicks and punches. After three solid rounds of action, the judges were all in agreeance, awarding the hard-earned unanimous decision to Isaiah Gathings Jr. The battle immediately following was a HIGHLY entertaining one, pitting Titan MMA and Vicious Fight Team’s Chris “The Predator” Hansen and Stealth Squad and Fitness 24’s Kyle “Little Bull” Morgan. The opening round was an excellent one, with Morgan landing some great strikes, and Hansen returning fire with his own hands and takedown attempts. In round two, it was more of the same, with Hansen landing a series of vicious knees from the clinch. In the third round, Morgan took more control of the pace of the fight, exhibiting more excellent striking. The fight went down to the mat, and after two minutes of the third round, Morgan unleashed an impressive ground and pound assault, ending the fight via highlight reel knockout. The sixth fight of the night culminated in yet another full three rounds of action, as Club Kickbox Detroit’s Matthew Ray took on Team Wolfpack’s Mike Mendoza. These two were in it to win it, and it was evident that both men wanted that win for themselves. After all three rounds were in the books, the judges went to work again. They returned the verdict shortly, granting the unanimous decision victory to a tired but still excited Mike Mendoza. The tenth fight of the night was another amazing, memorable WAR that went all the way to the cards, as Pound 4 Pound Canada’s Andrew Vass and the H8 Squad’s Joseph “Ghost Bushido” Dale. In the first round, there was a very brief feeling out period as the two combatants felt out the other’s reach and tactics. Once that was over, the two went to work on the feet, with both landing multiple shots and some great takedowns. In the second round, the leather flew again early, and some more takedown work, with some great sweeps and transitions on display. Round three was an amazing blend of every aspect of MMA, just as the first two rounds were. After it was all said and done, the judges were left the unenviable task of having to decide which man had made the more effective efforts. And after all the cards were turned in, the judges concluded that Andrew Vass would emerge victorious in one of the best and closest fights of the entire event. Next up, it was time to put some gold on the line, starting with the E.F.F. Bantamweight belt. Cooper’s Gym’s James Park stepped up to face Team Wolfpack’s Clinton Montgomery. This was a five rounder, since it was a title fight, and ALMOST went all the way AGAIN! The ENTIRE fight was a non-stop clinic of jiu jitsu sub attempts, sweeps and escapes. Throughout the entire bout, Montgomery’s jits was on a whole other level, as he masterfully grappled his way through the first four rounds, while all the while, Park exhibited a warrior’s heart and managed to escape potential fight ending danger. It all came to an end in the final minute of the final round, as Clinton locked on a TIGHT armbar for the tap, the win and the strap. Now, it was time for the Middleweight title fight, as Pound 4 Pound Canada’s defending champion, Matt “The Meat Hammer” Socholotiuk faced Academy of Soo Do Thai’s LaBron “The L-Train” Oldham. Both warriors came out to finish, but Matt took control of the fight early on, and kept control for the entire first round. Round two started in similar fashion. LaBron executed a KILLER sweep, but Matt ended up finishing the round working an active Kimura. In the third round, at just over a minute in with the fight back on the ground, Matt unleashed a vicious ground assault, forcing LaBron to concede and retaining his title belt. It was now time for the MAIN EVENT – a battle between two highly skilled young men with AMAZING amounts of experience. Master Bey’s Motor City Satin Panthers’ Marcus “Icemane” Wheeler stepped up to face the current champion, the Institute of Mixed Martial Arts’ Mario “The Infamous Spider” Aguilar. Once the fight began, these guys wasted NO TIME in getting down to business. After some great exchanges that saw Mario getting the advantage, at just under two minutes in the very first round, Mario was able to dispatch a very game challenger on the ground with some fast and furious strikes that caused the referee to step in and stop the contest, making for another successful defense of one of his MANY belts. With the consummation of this fight, E.F.F. checked off another highly successful event in their rich history. Hats off to all the fighters, trainers and support staff that made this night the epic success that it was.
Now, it takes a really great cast and crew to put on a really great show, and one look at this well-known lineup of experienced officials, and it’s no wonder why this production turned out so well. Starting right from the top, the man who orchestrated it all, Sensei and promoter Isaiah Gathings, along with his lovely assistant, Christine Reed. Overseeing all the safety and action inside of the cage was E.F.F.’s mega experienced head referee, Michigan trainer and pro fighter, “Vicious” Vance Swerdan, alternating periodically with his trusty sidekick, Doug “The Thug” Gallegos. keeping close watch outside of the cage door and handling last-minute preparations was our buddy and distinguished gentleman, Bubba Mackenzie. Monitoring the overall safety from outside of the cage was one of the best cageside medics out there, and one of FightMichigan’s personal favorites, James Hill-Harris. Judges for this SPECTACULAR set of matchups where the exceptionally experienced trifecta of Mr. Samuel Crawford, alongside FightMichigan’s own Shannon Hale and T.J. Corwin. Timekeeper for the entire event was the lovely Miss Lianne Shami. The announcer for the evening’s festivities was one of the most prolific and experienced guys out there, as well as long-term friend of FightMichigan, Phil “The Voice” Davey. Spinnin’ the beats that kept shakin’ the streets was DJ Diallo. Keepin’ the crowd informed and excited between rounds was E.F.F.’s long-time head Ring Girl, Leanne Rumsey. Also a special shout out to Garage Muscle and Trained in Detroit’s Rye Spiteri, who was on hand with some awesome merch, as well as showing fans that red carpet treatment with their on-site professional photo booth. The Elite Federation of Fighters has big things planned for the future, and with every event, the phenomenon grows. So check back right here, click on that little “Upcoming Events” link at the top, as soon as we get the good news, we’ll deliver it straight to you! And don’t forget, the Elite Federation of Grapplers will be on the mats this Saturday, March 24th, right back at the MRCC Banquet and Conference Center. Don’t miss it! Until next time, here are your results…