Total Warrior Combat held it’s BIGGEST and BADDEST event to date (which is an ASTRONOMICAL achievement, considering some of their previous fight cards) at the Best Western Plus Hotel in Lansing (formerly the Causeway Bay Hotel and Resort). One look at the card, and there was NO DOUBT that fans were going to be in for one of the most memorable events in recent history. And they were not disappointed! From the very first fight (which ended in a spectacular knockout), to the Ray Reynero/Dan Dunbar Co-Main event and the Adam Nixon/Kory Wertz Main event, the entire event was a barn-burner. The great teams and trainers that came out to rep their gyms and their fighters were a veritable A-list of the very best in the area…Grand Rapids Mixed Martial Arts, Team Striking Dragons, Murcielago MMA, Soldado’s Boxing and MMA, Pound 4 Pound MMA, Master Bill’s Karate, The Pit, Lansing Jiu Jitsu, The Factory, Old School Fitness, Parker’s Martial Arts and Freedom MMA, as well as a who’s who of individual coaches and trainers. From the National Anthem to the afterparty, TWC delivered intensity and excitement from A to Z. As we were looking down the fight card, we noticed something AMAZING. Beside EVERY fighters name on the card, there was a gym or trainer listed. No one-fight Facebook warriors, only TRAINED martial artists. This is quite possibly the only time we’ve seen this at an amateur event to date…a testament to TWC’s credibility.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the event turned ELECTRIC right from the get-go when Sammy Watchmaker entered the cage to square off against the VERY experienced Cliffy Creech. Like true warriors, the two engaged right away. In only a few short seconds, Sam landed a shot that rattled Creech. As the fight went to the canvas, Sam knew he was in a position to end the fight, and with Cliff caught against the cage, a few more DEVASTATING and well-placed fists brought an end to the contest, leaving Sammy’s always-game opponent temporarily in Dreamland. By the way…all of this occurred in less than THIRTY SECONDS. Is there any better way to start an event?! After a spectacular undercard that featured some of the area’s best up and comers, we move on to the next bracket. The eighth fight of the evening was a Welterweight WAR between One of Matt Torres’ proteges, Bobby Nash and the ALWAYS tough, ALWAYS game George “Superman” Allen. Nash was aggressive in this fight…but you could tell that there was a mutual respect between the two fighters. Nash controlled dominant position for a majority of the first round and dealt out some ground and pound, while George flaunted his experience with some pretty nice ground defense. As the second round began, the fight hit the canvas QUICK. There was a scramble for position that left Nash on top in side control. He shot the arm under George’s neck and rolled his shoulder forward, executing a PERFECT shoulder choke. Unable to alleviate the tremendous pressure, George was forced to concede the contest via tap, granting Nash a VERY impressive win over the uber-experienced Allen at exactly the thirty second mark in the second round. The very next fight on the card was an absolutely UNBELIEVABLE matchup between The Pit’s Josh “The Blood Shark” Fish and Team Striking Dragons’ Cameron Brewer. After a brief moment of feeling out on the feet, this fight went ELECTRIC, and so did the crowd. The pace was just plain GRUELING for the whole first round. In round two, both warriors came out with renewed fervor. Fish got the better of an early exchange, and the fight ended up on the ground. There was a battle for position, and Josh weathered the storm and took Cameron’s back. Fish managed to work the hand under the neck with the hooks in deep, and then cinched a really tight rear naked choke for the finish and the win. Fight number twelve on the card was one of the MOST IMPRESSIVE ladie’s debut fight that we have ever seen! Murcielago MMA’s Carly Mocny entered the cage for the very first time to face off against The Factory’s Nekhai Hong. Now, before we go any further, let me say this – when you have Murcielago in one corner, and Jen Kelly and Elsa Gallegos in the other, you are absolutely, 100% GUARANTEED to be in for a treat! These two ladies DID NOT DISAPPOINT! They both showed heart, skill and experience WELL beyond what their record would reflect. The majority of the entire fight stayed on the feet, with some BEAUTIFUL striking exchanges, footwork and clinch work. After three SOLID, NON-STOP rounds, the judges concurred that Nekhai had gotten the better of the amazing exchanges, and awarded her her very first of what will surely be MANY more victories in her career via unanimous decision. Mark my words…BOTH of these young ladies will be ones to watch! Next up, it was a HIGHLY anticipated battle between Murcielago MMA’s Kevin “The Silent Assassin” Shacks and Pound 4 Pound MMA’s Mike Thompson. Intense is really the only way to describe this fight…aside from EXTREMELY well matched. These two chose to stand and bang it out for ALL THREE ROUNDS, keeping the fans screaming the whole time. After what was a veritable standup CLINIC for all three rounds, the judges were assigned the unenviable task of deciding who would get the glory this night. As they reached their decision, they handed over a RAZOR-CLOSE decision (and we say razor-close because it came right down to splitting hairs) in the favor of Mike Thompson. As with any split decision, but ESPECIALLY with this one, it has REMATCH written all over it! Up next, it was time for the Renegade Welterweight title to be put on the line in a rematch that had been MONTHS in the making – Murcielago MMA’s Skeeter Kittle versus Striking Dragon’s shooting star, Denato Richardson. Round one was much like their first encounter, exciting and fast-paced. Both warriors put it down in the first round, trying to one-up each other on the feet, as well as on the ground. Round two started in similar fashion, with the pace going full tilt right out of the gate. The back and forth exchange continued deep into the second round, and around the two minute mark, Skeeter got into full mount and let the fists fly, bringing a stop to the contest via (a somewhat controversial) TKO. Then, it was on to the TWC Interim Lightweight championship, featuring Lansing’s local legend, Pound 4 Pound MMA’s Zack Shaw taking one of Bob Fish’s disciples, Joe Rogers. Zack came right out and did a smart thing…he used his experience and pushed the pace so quickly, he did not afford Rogers the luxury of being able to fight HIS fight. The strategy paid off, and in rapid fashion, when Zack got the back and whipped out a textbook rear naked choke for the win and the title. Then, it was time for the BIG boys to wage war for the Heavyweight gold, when Lansing Jiu Jitsu’s Joe Clementz took on Grand Rapids Mixed Martial Arts’ “Big” John Lofquist. Now, we all know that when two heavyweights of this caliber are throwing hands, WHEN one of those shots find it’s mark, the results are DEVASTATING. And that is precisely what happened. Both fighters came out with the intention of emerging the victor, and let the leather go early. Joe’s fist found the mark first, dazing Lofquist, and after a quick follow-up, Joe was able to end the night early with a spectacular KO. Clementz was proud to FINALLY be wearing the TWC gold, so much so that it was rumored that he slept in his hotel room with it! Congrats, big guy. The next fight was one for the “WOW” category, as The Pit’s seasoned veteran, Luke “The Assassin” Hnevsa, took the center cage against Murcielago’s undefeated Mario “Wario” James. This is a fight that you could really only fully appreciate it’s magnitude by having been there in person. What a barn-burner! Luke wanted the gold BAD, and you could see it etched on his face. Mario, on the other hand, was not willing to just let him take it, so the frenetic battle ensued. Luke came out to FINISH. The relentless assault began immediately, and early on Mario found himself in some serious danger. At one point, Mario actually rode the momentum of Luke’s VICIOUS flurry of uppercuts back up the cage from the ground! SOMEHOW, Mario endeavored to weather the storm and dish out some gnarly strikes of his own. The onslaught continued at a break-neck pace until nearly the end of the second round, when all of the body shots and kicks were really starting to take their toll, making it impossible to breathe, forcing him to concede the match, leaving a tired, yet satisfied Mario James holding the title strap. Next on the card was the 135 pound title fight, featuring the highly anticipated cage return of GRMMA’s Dan “The American Badass” Dunbar, as he squared off against Soldado’s Boxing and MMA’s Bantamweight badboy, Ray Reynero. While many were expecting to see a lot of boxing in this fight, it ultimately became more of a grappling match. For the ENTIRE first two rounds, both warriors pushed the pace without cease. Round three maintained the same intensity. It was a virtual Grappling 101, with a non-stop chain of submission attempts, sweeps, escapes reversals…you name it, they did it. Nearing the two minute mark in the third round, a well timed reversal found Dan in a compromising position. Ray maintained position, a started delivering blows to the head. Dan fought valiantly to escape the position, but to no avail. The cumulative effect of Ray’s fist were too much, and the referee was forced to stop the fight, crowning Ray Reynero as the NEW TWC Bantamweight champion. The final fight of this CRAZY card was a battle for the TWC Junior Lightweight title pitting Team Striking Dragon’s Adam “The Atomic Zombie” Nixon and Pound 4 Pound MMA’s rising star Kory Wertz. As the battle began, these two wasted no time getting right in the pocket and banging it out. Adam fought like a soldier, but this night would see Wertz emerge the victor, when he landed a series of well placed and timed hands that brought about an early FLASH KO…at just barely past the thirty second mark of the fight! Kory seemed VERY happy about his new hardware, as did his team and his fans, evidenced by their ear-shattering roar of approval! As with EVERY event, FightMichigan honors and recognizes EACH and EVERY fighter and trainer that came out to represent and make this show that will carry an afterglow for a VERY long time!
Now it’s time to shout out the TWC dream team that made this event run silky smooth from top to bottom, starting with the promoters. In only eight shows, Adam Molnar and Petey have made LANDMARK improvements with each event, very quickly scaling the promotional food chain and fixing the TWC name on the lips of fans across the State. The staff they have elected over the course of their tenure in the sport has changed minimally, also providing the consistency that the fans have come to expect. One staff member that has been there since the very beginning is TWC’s head ref and referee for the ENTIRE event, FightMichigan’s T.J. Corwin. The panel of judges were comprised of the experienced trio of Ed Pigeon, Dru Gardner and Mickey Millis, with Scorpion Fighting Systems’ LEGENDARY BJJ master James David Gray and Miss Shannon Hale from FightMichigan (who was also armed with the trusty stopwatch for the event) stepping in to judge a couple of fights. Handling Vaseline duty at the cage door and occasionally stepping in as a ring GUY was Marky “Cash” Christiansen. The man on the mic for the event was the crowd-pumping up-and-coming MC extraordinarre, Michael “Skipnosis” Gorham. Backing him up on the DJ stand with the street-shaking beats was the one and only Bobby “DJ BabyDaddy” Cantwell. The Director of Sales and Marketing for TWC is the one-man street team, Bear K. Fitz. Heading up TWC’s team of hotties (ring girls) was the always eye pleasing Michaela Prevost. Handling still photography AND video for the event was Fierce Photography’s Noah Paris. The pics look AWESOME…check out the gallery HERE. Assisting Mr. Corwin with the cage door and keeping the competition area clean were the extremely helpful trio of Jake Prosser, Max Little and Dillon Deal. Last, but MOST DEFINITELY not least, were the guys who MASTERFULLY handled ALL of the coordination in the locker room (a challenging and unenviable task, for those familiar with the promotion game), Mr. Tony Sterk and his assistant, Josh Stuer. We also noticed there were a LOT of people sporting Loved By A Pit gear…if you haven’t got one of these SWEET shirts that support an awesome cause, GET ONE. We did! Well, folks, it’s safe to say that Total Warrior Combat is not only here to stay, but with future plans that include MANY yet-to-be publically announced events and other HUGE, HUGE things on the horizon (that we can’t WAIT for the green light to reveal), TWC has already, and will continue to be, one of the front-runners in the sport. As Petey and Adam release all of this great info to us for public dispersal, we’ll IMMEDIATELY release it to YOU, our loyal readers. Until the next great event, here are your results…