This Saturday evening New England regional promotion Reality Fighting produced a solid card that featured a host of finishes and a pair of quality title fights. The GFL.tv-broadcast card was fast-paced and the fights were action-packed; here are some highlights of the professional and amateur action that went down in the RF cage in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The show’s main event flyweight title fight was a back and forth affair that was notable for an impressive comeback finish. In round one challenger Matt Almy (3-2) dominated with a hands-down striking approach that helped him land quick counters whenever champion Johnny Lopez (8-3) attempted to close distance, and those fistic efforts paid dividends in the form of a medium-sized gash over Lopez’s left eye. Lopez regrouped and successfully altered the tenor of the fight in round two, engaging less readily on the feet and securing a takedown about two minutes in that he managed to parlay into top position for the remainder of the frame. In the third round Lopez again achieved top control and Almy decided to take the opportunity to work toward an armbar, but that decision proved to be fatal to his chances as Lopez expertly swept and eventually reversed to an armbar of his own that elicited the tap. This was a terrific comeback for Lopez, who is not a man to be trifled with on the ground; five of the seven victories in his current three-year winning streak have come by way of submission finish. That run has “Mr. Nice Guy” ranked among the top flyweights in the New England region, and with work on his striking defense he looks primed to break out on an even bigger stage in the near future.
The co-main event saw another RF title on the line, as #19 world ranked women’s featherweight Jessy Miele (6-3) dropped to bantamweight to challenge for the Reality Fighting belt against former King of the Cage strawweight challenger Calie Cutler (5-4). Cutler was successful in her efforts to take the fight to the ground early, but when the bout was on the feet Miele dominated with a barrage of persistent, piston-like left hands. By the third round Cutler’s reserves were on empty and Miele managed to finish the fight and secure the promotion’s vacant belt. While the win was an impressive introduction to the bantamweight division for Miele, a return to featherweight might prove even more fruitful given the lack of depth in that weight class and the fact that Invicta, UFC, and Bellator are all all in the market for 145 pound talent.
There were plenty of quality highlights on the Reality Fighting pro undercard:
* Dan Dubuque (4-2) and Tim Dooling (5-2) each showed off solid and diverse skillsets in their featured 145 pound undercard bout, with Dooling landing several solid takedowns and controlling much of the clinch game while Dubuque did his best work on the feet. Dubuque found particular success with consistently vicious body kicks and both lead and counter left hooks. This was a high energy, high pressure fight that saw both men open up the toolkit trying to put the other away; the crowd was treated to offense ranging from wheel kicks to superman punches to a spinning crescent kick. The two featherweights scrapped hard for the full 15 minutes, and when the final bell rang all three judges favored Dooling’s grappling over Dubuque’s striking acumen. Nonetheless this was an impressive outing for both men, who each showed the potential to make noise against top competition in the future. For Dooling the win looms large as he’s now won four straight contests.
* Nick Alley (2-0) found himself on his back early against strong grappler Billy Leishner (0-1), but after enduring some ground and pound he wrapped up a secure triangle choke to elicit the tap with 11 seconds to go in round 1. With the submission victory, Team Link’s Alley earned his second sub in as many pro fights.
* Stout, hard-hitting welterweight Kemran Lachinov (3-2) traded bombs with Tyler Rose (2-3) early and found the exchange to be profitable, dropping his opponent against the fence with a right hook and earning the stoppage with prompt ground strikes. The Team Link welterweight prospect tallies his first win since a October 2015 victory via heel hook in the Bellator cage.
Amateur Card Highlights
* Crowd favorite Steve Morrell (0-1 am) slugged it out for a full three rounds with fellow cage debutant Chizi Uwaga (1-0 am) in a rock em’, sock em’ performance that had the entire crowd on their feet. The southpaw Morrell landed a barrage of straight lefts throughout but struggled to defend his face from Uwaga counterstrikes. In the end one judge scored it a draw, while the other two gave the fight to the more precise and evasive Uwaga. Post-fight, RF president Kipp Kollar nominated this fight one of the best amateur bouts he’s promoted; in terms of all-out brawls, it’s got to be up there.
* Monstrously ripped 5’10 light heavyweight William Knight (3-1 am) took out Luiz Razuri (3-3 am) with a takedown and nasty ground and pound in under two minutes, and then the Massachusetts-based leviathan capped the show with a cartwheel and backflip celebration for good measure.
* 20 year old grappling phenom Jesse “James” Kosakowski (2-0 am) wasted no time tackling Ronie Arana (2-3 am) to the mat in their lightweight bout. He promptly advanced to side control and executed a sophisticated armbar finish, wrenching Arana’s shoulder socket by figure-fouring the arm between his legs and applying torque. Kosakowski, who began competing in NAGA grappling competitions at age 5, looks like a fantastic prospect to keep an eye on going forward.
All in all, this was a fast-paced show from Reality Fighting that featured solid performances from all participating fighters and refreshingly few consultations with the judges in the top matches. Plenty of prospects showed off the skills and grit that you hope to see on display in regional MMA; If you’re interested in catching up on the action you can watch the replay at GFL.TV.