Brylan Van Artsdalen (right) worked a very agressive game plan to defeat Julio Rosario in the main event.
Matrix Fights III took place on Friday night at the Sheet Metal Workers Union in Philadelphia, showcasing a total of 11 matches on an entertaining card of Mixed Martial Arts. Seven total amateur bouts got the evening started before the main card took place with four professional fights. With the exception of the second paring of the night, which consisted of three two-minute rounds, the amateur matches were three rounds of three minutes, while the professional bouts rolled out three frames of five minutes each.
Desmond Walker (0-1) vs. Azuna Anyanwu (1-0) – 265 lbs.
This fight was a pairing of two massive superweights, both making their professional MMA debuts. The first round started with some powerful kicks from Walker, who then worked the action into the clinch and applied a standing choke. Anyanwu responded by picking up the 265-pounder and slamming him to the canvas, but Walker was able to maintain the choke. Anyanwu then answered by scoring a second slam of his opponent and slipped into side control. Walker was able to stand it back up, but Anyanwu again scored a takedown and cranked on a guillotine choke. The match then stood up once again, and the opening bell rang with both men locked up in the clinch.
The second frame saw the duo immediately locked up on the fence, with both maneuvering for the advantage. Walker tried to keep his opposition at bay to work a striking game, but Anyanwu disallowed that by sticking with a game plan focused upon grappling. Walker was able to work more kicks in the stanza, but Anyanwu frustrated him with his wrestling.
The final round began with another attempt by Walker to bang, and he landed some hard kicks to the temple of his opponent. Anyanwu then shot for a clinch and was able to quickly work Walker into a standing guillotine. He began to crank up the choke hold until Walker could no longer hold on, and he was forced to tap 35 seconds into the third frame.
Chad Vanderberg (6-2) vs. Jeff Cressman (2-3) – 135 lbs.
Vanderberg made the long trip from Kansas City for this encounter, and he definitely made the most of that commitment. The action started quickly with strikes and kicks from both fighters, but Vanderberg scored the first takedown early and rolled into the full mount. Cressman closed his guard from the bottom and made an attempt to work some elbows, but the referee stood both competitors up when the pace slowed. After a quick exchange, Vanderberg swept his opposition and returned to the full mount. After once again standing up, a good bit of banging ensued before Vanderberg used a standing clinch to maneuver himself into side control on the ground. He then applied a choke hold and began to fire off on the face of Cressman. Unable to defend himself, Cressman then tapped due to head strikes, and Vanderberg had himself a first round submission win.
Adam Albright (4-3) vs. Kasheem Peterson (3-1-1) – 170 lbs.
Peterson put on an impressive performance in this fight, immediately scoring a takedown after powering through a sprawl attempt from Albright in the early going. The action quickly returned to a stand-up setting, with Peterson showing off some great striking and cutting open the mouth of Albright. Peterson then began aiming his punches directly on the mouth of his opposition, but Albright displayed his toughness by trying to battle through the damage. However, the power of Peterson finally proved to be too much when he dropped Albright with a huge right hand and immediately pounced on him. The bout did not last much longer at that point, as Peterson pounded on his opponent until the fight was stopped.
Julio Rosario (3-2) vs. Brylan Van Artsdalen (2-1) – 145 lbs.
The main event of the evening featured a lightweight pairing that turned out to be about as entertaining an affair that a fight fan could hope. The energy of the room reached its peak when the two fighters made their way to the cage, and the crowd only got louder as the opening bell approached.
Once that first round bell did ring, these two Mixed Martial Artists wasted little time in getting the action started. Immediate strikes led to a very active clinch that returned to some fast stand-up banging. Van Artsdalen then scored the first takedown of the match with a hip toss, but he shortly after returned to his feet. However, Rosario seemed comfortable from the floor and remained in a crab position. He did eventually jump back up as well, and another fast striking exchange led the action to the floor where both looked to work a submission game. Rosario looked comfortable working from the bottom, but Van Artsdalen was very active from his top position on the ground at the same time. After he gave up his advantage to jump to his feet, Van Artsdalen again battled Rosario in the crab position with the Philadelphia native looking to land some upkicks. At the end of the first frame, both fighters were stood up, and Van Artsdalen scored one more takedown as the bell sounded.
As soon as the second stanza got underway, the duo picked up right where they left off with an exchange of fast strikes. Van Artsdalen did wobble and drop Rosario with a hard right hand, but the Team Semper Fi representative was able to recover from the blow fairly quickly. The two fighters then returned to a standing position, and an outstanding exchange of punches resumed. Van Artsdalen was opened up on the left side of his face, but the New Jersey native was not phased, nor was he backing down. He then shot on Rosario and scored a takedown, next maneuvering himself onto the back of his opposition. He then found just enough of an opening to apply a rear naked choke, and he immediately began to crank on the hold. Unable to shake loose, Rosario was eventually forced to tap out, ending a very entertaining and fast-paced match.
The official time of the submission victory for Van Artsdalen was 2:22 of the second round.