Matt Freideborn improved to 4-1 as an amateur with a win over Brian Pitanelo on Friday.
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.
Shawn Conallan (0-1) vs. Joe Lowry (1-0) - 170 lbs.
The first fight of the evening pitted two Philadelphia natives against one another in their amateur MMA debuts. In what began with good stand-up exchanges mixed in with some early grappling quickly turned completely in the favor of Lowry. While battling for position on the floor, Conallan gave up his back, and Lowry capitalized by rolling into a rear naked choke and forcing a tap by his opponent at 1:29 of the opening round.
Mauro Conte (0-1) vs. Standley Eugene (3-0) – 185 lbs.
A nice performance was put on tonight by Eugene in his third overall amateur bout. Throughout the six minutes of competition, the Philadelphia native proved to be a good striker and repeatedly showed off his takedown and ground game. When the final bell rang, the win belonged to Eugene when the judges revealed scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 in his favor to give him the unanimous decision victory.
Phil Parrish (4-4) vs. Joe DiFranco (4-2) – 166 lbs.
The result in this pairing would appear to be a bit of an upset, with Parrish taking on DiFranco in front of his hometown Philadelphia crowd and only possessing a single blemish on his amateur record before tonight. The action quickly went to a Muay Thai clinch after the opening bell, with both fighters looking to unload some knees and strikes when applicable. Parrish got the better of the exchange and eventually worked the match to the ground. At 2:29 of the first stanza, the New York native would get the victory after rolling into an arm bar and forcing the submission of DiFranco.
Derek Hart (3-2) vs. Jimmy Cerra (4-2) – 145 lbs.
Cerra, who hails from Philadelphia, did a very effective job of wrestling away the points in each frame of this fight. Each round seemingly played out the same way, with a stand-up exchange getting the action started before Cerra scored a big slam to make it a grappling battle on the floor. From that position, he worked into side control and withheld each of the attempts by Hart to power his way out of the disadvantage. When the judges were called into the result, Cerra had tallies of 30-27 from all three cageside officials.
Brian Pitanelo (3-3) vs. Matt Freideborn (5-1) – 135 lbs.
In what was a very entertaining affair, each of the three-minute frames on tap played out with a similar series of events. Both fighters showed off some striking to get the action started in the rounds, with the fight being taken to the ground after that early display. Freideborn got the better of the ground game, and the Philadelphia resident nearly got a submission victory right before the final bell of the night. Pitanelo was just able to hold on, however, and Freideborn was forced to settle for a unanimous decision win when the judges revealed three scores of 30-27.
Juan Vasquez (3-1) vs. George Hibbs (3-3) – 170 lbs.
This bout proved to be a very tight battle, and the final decision reflected its closeness. Hibbs appeared to do enough to take the opening round after slipping from a standing choke by slamming Vasquez and finishing out the frame in the full mount. The second stanza was a tight one that saw Vasquez gain a guillotine choke after an early takedown, then maintaining good control during a ground exchange. However, Hibbs did once again reverse into a full mount to end the second round action. The third frame showed a big slam by Hibbs, who then worked into the full mount, but Vasquez defended well from the bottom and reversed the advantage into side control. When the nine minutes had concluded, Vasquez would be the man to score the win when the judges gave him the split decision victory with a 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 count.
Anthony Guiterrez (15-3) vs. Julio Arce (10-0)
The final amateur pairing of the evening pitted two veterans with 26 matches combined on their fighting resumes. The opening round was a close-range affair, with Guitterrez seeking a takedown only to be well defended by his opponent from the standing clinch. The second frame showed a bit more striking, and Arce seemed to get the better of the exchanges. Towards the end of the stanza, he dropped Guiterrez with a sharp right hand only to allow him to return to his feet, but he followed that up by dropping him again with a left-handed blow at the bell. The third round played out more like the first, with close-range action being controlled by Arce. In the end, the judges would again be needed to determine the result, which was given to Arce by three tallies of 29-28.