Darrell Horcher successfully defended his CFFC Lightweight Title in the main event (Photo courtesy of CFFC).
Cageside Report by Resolution Sports
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) put on another great night of action with CFFC 52 at the Borgata Events Center in Atlantic City on Saturday night, presenting a pair of title bouts as the co-headliners of a 10-fight card.
In the main event of the evening, CFFC Lightweight Champion Darrell Horcher (12-1) put his belt on the line, with the Pennsylvania native defending against Stephen Regman (5-2) of Brooklyn. The opening two rounds of this contest saw both men taking a countering approach, using precaution in a bout that was fought predominately on the feet. The lone takedown over that span was a short-lived one in the first round by Horcher.
In the final 30 seconds of the second frame, Regman maneuvered into a standing guillotine amid an exchange from the clinch, mounting his most significant advantage to that point of the fight. However, the elusive Horcher was able to pop his head loose before the bell, sending this bout to the third of five scheduled rounds.
Again battling on their feet in third frame, Horcher created an opening and was able to quickly close the show. About two minutes into the stanza, he feinted with a right hand to make Regman bite, and he then immediately fired a brutal left hook to the liver that saw Regman instantly crumble. Horcher initially jumped onto him for some ground and pound, but it would be unnecessary. His job was done, and an official referee stoppage was made at the 3:03 mark.
In addition to being a successful title defense, the victory was the fifth straight for Horcher inside the CFFC cage.
In the co-feature, the vacant CFFC Bantamweight Title was on the line, pitting UFC veteran Nick Pace (7-3) against Nick Catone MMA representative Ricky Bandejas (5-1).
During the opening two minutes of the first round, the two combatants participated in some back and forth action as they tried to get a feel for one another. About two minutes into the opening frame, Bandejas switched levels and shot for a double-leg takedown on Pace, and the gritty veteran was able to use his momentum against him. As Bandejas approached, Pace timed him and quickly dropped into a guillotine choke that was tightly locked up. Bandejas looked for a way to break free of the choke, but he was eventually left no decision but to tap.
The official time of the stoppage came at 2:51 of the first stanza, crowning Pace as the new CFFC Bantamweight Champion.
Fighting at a catchweight of 175 pounds, Levon Maynard (13-10) and Samuel Oropeza (13-3) participated in a chess match of combat, with Maynard in steady pursuit of the takedown. When he was able to get the action to the ground, Maynard was not really looking to do much besides hold the position and grind out the clock. Anytime Oropeza got back on his feet, Maynard would again shoot and do his best to keep it on the canvas. The strategy inevitably worked, with Maynard earning a unanimous decision by flush tallies of 29-28 from all three cageside judges.
In a very entertaining women’s flyweight bout, Katlyn Chookagain (5-0) was able to grind out a much-deserved unanimous decision over a game Sijara Eubanks (1-1). Chookagain used impressive foot movement while working behind the jab, constantly remaining in motion and doing a nice job of keeping the shorter Eubanks on the outside of her range. Eubanks found her best chances when she was able to take the action to the ground, but Chookagain looked extremely comfortable fighting off her back and working her jiu-jitsu.
The well-rounded skillset of the Chookagain eventually saw her hand raised when three rounds were completed, as the judges saw it 30-27 and 29-28 (twice) in her favor.
In the first contest on the main card, the action was instantaneous between lightweights Dave Marfone (4-1) and Justin Bonafitis (3-1). As soon as the bell rang, Bonafitis went on the attack, working behind the jab while throwing punches in bunches. Early in the frame, he had Marfone hurt on the fence and made the referee give a really close look at the damage as he briefly considered stopping the fight. However, Bonafitis lost his footing, giving Marfone a chance to shake the cobwebs.
About two minutes into that opening frame, Marfone scored a takedown and maneuvered himself into top control to fire some ground and pound. Bonafitis tried to roll his way out of the position, but that left his back vulnerable. Marfone quickly seized the opportunity, locking in a rear naked choke and forcing the tap at 4:32 of the first stanza.
In a 200-pound catchweight scrap, Tim Williams (11-3) dominated Walter Howard (3-4) over three rounds, snapping a two-bout skid when he eventually forced Howard to tap due to a rear naked choke. The time of the stoppage came at the 4:19 mark of the third frame.
Fighting at 178 pounds, Emmanuel Walo (9-2-1) was able to break down Jason Norwood (15-4) over three rounds to earn an eventual stoppage win. Norwood did as best he could to smother Walo in the clinch to avoid his power, but those intense efforts began to quickly drain him of his energy and make him more vulnerable to the advances of the hard-hitting Walo. Midway through the third frame, Walo began unloading on Norwood and clipped him with a short left uppercut. The blow quickly sent him to the canvas, where Walo finished him off with some ground and pound. The end officially came at the 2:36 mark.
With a maximum weight of 141 pounds, Scott Heckman (20-7) and Jay Haas (14-15) also stepped inside the CFFC cage on Saturday night. Heckman was able to use an effective takedown game plan against Haas, with his most effective ground work coming about a minute into the second frame. With both men on the canvas, Heckman maneuvered himself into north-south positioning and locked in a choke that forced the tap from Haas. The time of the stoppage was at 1:17 of the second stanza.
In a featherweight encounter, Pat Sabbatini (3-1) was able to spoil the professional debut of former Southern Conference wrestling champion Tony Gravely (0-1). Knowing his wrestling pedigree, Sabbatini immediately attacked the back of Gravely and never allowed the action to go to the ground. After taking the back of Gravely while he was still on his feet, Sabbatini was eventually able to apply a standing rear naked choke that left his opponent no option but to tap. The end came at 2:47 of the opening frame.
The first bout of the night was a quick one, with boxer/mixed martial artist Dwayne Holman (3-4) putting his hands to work early, overwhelming Andrew Aguilar (3-4) with strikes to a TKO victory that came just 13 seconds after the opening bell.
Next up for Cage Fury Fighting Championships is CFFC 53,which will take place on December 4th at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.