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Cage FX

CFX 20: Cruz, Jones and Beane take home gold


Despite the fact that the temperature was in the 80′s on Saturday, Boston sports fans were focused on beating the Heat—the Miami Heat, that is.  While the basketball game was important to most of that contingent, it didn’t deter fight fans from coming out in droves for Cage Fighting Xtreme 20, which took place at the JunglePlex in Plymouth, Mass.  There were three professional title fights on the card along with one amateur title bout.  The evening was headlined by the lightweight title tilt between John Ortolani and Lucas Cruz.

Cruz battles back to capture lightweight title

Cruz (middle) poses after winning the lightweight title (Brian McKenna/The MMA Corner)Right off the touch of the gloves, John Ortolani dropped Lucas Cruz with a big uppercut.  It looked like that may have been it right then and there as Ortolani swarmed his opponent on the ground and unleashed a flurry of punches; however, the Nova Uniao fighter was able to survive, maintain his composure, and return to his feet.  Smelling blood in the water, Ortolani continued to press forward and back Cruz slowly into the cage.

What happened next might have been missed by fans who happened to blink, as Cruz unleashed a short left hook that landed squarely on the jaw of his opponent which promptly sent Ortolani to the canvas in just over two minutes.

With the victory, “Rude Boy” improved his record to a perfect 5-0 and claimed the vacant lightweight title.

Jones grapples his way to interim featherweight title

Bill Jones and Fernando Perez sized each other up for a little bit off of the opening bell.  It was clear that these two men were prepared for the fight to go to the distance as they strategically threw strikes and small combinations, trying to gauge the distance established by the fighters.  About halfway through the round, Jones successfully shot for a takedown and ended up in his opponent’s half guard.  From there, he was able to transition his way to mount and work the ground-and-pound to ride out the round.

In the beginning of the second round, Perez threw a strong punch that put Jones on his rear.  While it was clearly the strongest strike landed the entire fight, Jones quickly popped right back to his feet with a big grin on his face, acknowledging the blow.  Not wanting to get hit like that again, Jones shot for another takedown which resulted in a positional battle between the two men.  As it did in the first, Jones was able to get top position and ride out the rest of the round.

Like clockwork, Jones came right out and landed a successful takedown to start the third round.  For most of the round, he found a way to land strikes on Perez, even though Perez was protecting himself pretty well from the bottom.  Out of the blue, Perez caught his opponent off-guard and threw his legs up to secure an armbar attempt.  While it looked as though the submission finish might be coming, Jones was able to keep Perez from extending his arm and worked his way out of it.  Looking to turn the tide, Jones got back into the mount where he was able to end the fight with an armbar of his own with just twenty seconds left in the round.

The victory stopped Jones’ two-fight skid and allowed him to capture the interim featherweight title.  While it was not officially announced, it would be fair to predict that Jones will meet current featherweight champion Frank Sforza sometime in the future to unify the title.

“The Beast” captures super heavyweight title by early TKO

Fans were wondering if the cage had been reinforced prior to super heavyweights Lee Beane and Bobby Favors squaring off and receiving their instructions at the middle of the cage before their title fight.  Collectively, there was over 700 pounds in the cage between the two fighters and the referee, which left the fans knowing that something big was going to happen.

Off of the opening bell, the two fighters were finding their range and threw jabs along the way.  Due to the size of the fighters, the fight took place at a slower pace than the rest of the bouts, as Beane started throwing constant unchecked leg kicks to try and take out the legs of Favors.  “The Beast” continued to press forward, and as the round progressed, he found his range and started strategically throwing strong combinations.  The punishment that Favors was taking was really starting to accumulate, and Beane read the moment just right as he swarmed at the four-minute mark.  Shortly thereafter, Favors was forced to cover up and defend himself while the referee intervened.

Improving his record to 9-2, “The Beast” was awarded the TKO victory, and the vacant super heavyweight championship in the process.

Scott adds another amateur title

At CFX 17, Lauzon’s MMA product Evan Scott took down Ibraham Tody for the promotion’s amateur bantamweight title.  Looking to add another title to his trophy case, Scott squared off against Amron Alievy for the amateur featherweight crown.

The first round was filled with action as Alievy put Scott on his back with a quick takedown, only for the two to return to their feet as fast as they went to the ground.  Scott pressed forward, throwing multiple kicks and punches while doing so.  Alievy struck back with a flurry of his own as the two battled out the round.

It was all Scott in the second round, as he continued to press forward.  While the two were grappling in a standing clinch, Scott saw an opportunity to grab a triangle armbar by pulling guard.  He came close with the submission attempt, but his opponent battled out of it.

The two came out swinging to start the third round, and Scott quickly ended up on his back as a result.  Attacking from the top, Alievy landed a face stomp which temporarily paused the fight.  There was no point deduction as the strike was deemed accidental; however, it was a sign of things to come as shortly thereafter, another timeout came as a result of Alievy landing a knee to the head of his opponent from a Muay Thai clinch.  The strike was illegal under the rules of the amateur fight, and one point was taken from the Pin2Win fighter as a result.

Scott ended up on his back near the cage at the beginning of the fourth round.  With his opponent standing and looking for punches to land, the Lauzon product quickly grabbed his opponent’s leg and looked for any type of leg lock he could find, which resulted in Alievy defending it and grabbing the fence as a result.  After continuous warnings from the referee, he again had to pause the fight to take another point from Alievy for not letting go of the fence.  From there, the two fighters had minor exchanges until the end of the round as the pace was clearly starting to slow.

The leg kicks that Scott had thrown throughout the fight finally started to pay off in the final round, as early on he landed a knockdown from the accumulation of damage from the continued strikes.  Alievy was able to spring back up as the worn-out fighters threw punches at one another for the rest of the fight.

When the scorecards were tallied, it was announced that Scott took the unanimous decision with scores of 49-44, 48-45 and 48-45, adding another amateur title to his trophy case on what was a consensus fight of the night performance.

Other action

Jimmy Quinlan displayed a great ground game as he took a unanimous decision victory from Jason Dublin.  In both the first and third rounds, Quinlan picked up his opponent, walked him over to his corner, and slammed Dublin to the canvas the way that Matt Hughes did to Frank Trigg at UFC 52.

In heavyweight action, Artie Mullen stepped in on short notice to take on Juliano Coutinho, who was originally scheduled to take on Wade Therrien.  Early in the first round, Mullen let out a big cry of pain after “The Banana” landed a huge body kick which connected to his opponent’s liver, which left Coutinho with an opening to pounce.  Coutinho swarmed Mullen and earned the TKO victory in just under one minute.

John Fain earned a triangle choke submission in his professional debut against Jason Dolloff.  Fain dropped “The Angry Man” early in the first round and was able to pin him against the cage as a scramble resulted.  After the referee broke them up, Dolloff bullcharged for a takedown, which he achieved; however, he left himself wide open for the fight-ending choke in the third minute of the contest.

With 11 seconds remaining in the opening round, Ryan White earned a victory over Hector Sanchez by submission due to strikes.  After landing a couple of takedowns, White was able to slowly transition himself into more advantageous positions, eventually finding his way to the mount.  It looked as if he was going tighten up an arm-triangle choke, however he let go of the grip and punched his way to victory instead.

After three rounds of amateur action, Andy Aiello took a split decision, with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28, from Chad Kelly.  The first round saw Kelly throw multiple kicks, but they were caught by Aiello.  “The Raging Korean” took down Kelly several times as a result, which put him up on the scorecards.  The fighters displayed great kickboxing throughout the second round as both men wore the results on their faces.  By the start of the third round, Aiello was bleeding rather heavily from his face, but did not let it get the better of him.  He pressed forward, catching all of the kicks that his opponent would dare to throw at him.  In the end, the Lauzon’s MMA fighter did just enough to squeeze out the close decision.

An unsuccessful guillotine by Travis Demko was the story of the first round in his amateur fight against Chris Caterino.  The second round opened with a strong right hand by Caterino, but it was followed up with a takedown by Demko.  After battling on the ground, Demko was swept by his opponent and put in a kimura.  Turning the tide, Demko swept Caterino just before the end of the round.  Demko earned another early takedown in the third round and wrestled out the round.  When the scorecards were announced, the split decision was awarded to Demko with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.

It took just under two minutes for Jake St. Pierre to choke out Chris Palacios in their amateur contest.  “Air” quickly shot for a double-leg takedown of the Sityodtong fighter and was able to transition to back mount and sink in the rear-naked choke.

In lightweight amateur action, Jared Laganus landed huge punches from Ryan Dibartolomeo’s guard early in the first round.  The strikes left Dibartolomeo out cold, but fortunately he was able to return to his feet eventually and walk out of the cage with the help of his corner.

Billy Leischner was able to slam his way out of a triangle attempt by Voka Clay in the fairly even first round of their amateur bout.  However, the second round of their fight wasn’t so closely contested, as Clay controlled the grappling and the striking throughout.  Leischner came out strong in the third, landing a strong kick to the face of his opponent, but Clay appeared to be unfazed by it as he got top position after taking Leischner down.  From there, Clay looked for a kimura, which nearly ended the fight; however, Clay saw it was not working as he wanted it to and was able to transition to the fight-winning triangle choke from a very awkward angle.

Sixteen seconds was all that was needed when Gary Saindon earned a standing TKO against Mike O’Connell.  Saindon landed a huge punch right at the start of the round and swarmed on his opponent after sensing that he was in trouble.  (Brian McKenna/The MMA Corner)

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