Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blood on the canvas: Florida Combat Challenge III

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Keith Cooper at Florida Combat Challenge III
Two fighters slammed against the cage, sending a spray of blood onto my notepad. While Jordan Ammens (0-0) and Keith Cooper (1-1-1) may be amateurs, they bled like pros, never letting the damage they were inflicting, or incurring, slow them down.

I assumed Ammens, whose 185-pound body was stacked with muscle, would dominate the fight. He came out strong, landing hard, straight punches, but Cooper kept returning fire, punishing Ammens for not covering his face after he threw a punch. Soon, two large cuts opened under Cooper's eyes and blood streamed from Ammens' nostrils. After three, three-minute rounds of slugging, Ammens walked away with a unanimous victory, but Cooper, too, proved something to himself and the applauding crowd.

Dan Martinez VS Voytpka Clark
Florida Combat Challenge III was promoter Dion DeLauder's third time hosting amateur MMA bouts in Tampa for the Florida Combat Network. But like the fighters, little was amateur about the show. The event was a scaled-down version of what you might see on pay-per-view, complete with ring girls from Thee Dollhouse, entrance music, and the action projected on a big screen.

In Florida, a fighter must endure five amateur bouts before he is eligible to fight in one of the many professional leagues across the country. The bouts may have a few more rules than pro competitions — no knees to the head, fighters must wear shinguards, no "ground and pound" tactics — but the blows are just as bruising, and the chokes are just as tight.

MMA is the only sport where fans will pay $25 a head to watch amateurs compete for the first time. Why? There's something inherently compelling about people willing to put their bodies on the line in order to test themselves.

Below is a summary of the action:

-Julio Valladares (0-0) repeatedly dropped Paul Sandoval (0-0) to the canvas with a flurry of unanswered punches, earning Valladares a TKO in the first round. (155 lbs.)

-Brandon Nehls (0-0) kept taking down Mark Cain (0-1), but was unable to submit the musclebound Cain, giving Nehls a unanimous decision victory after three rounds of grappling-intensive fighting. (155 lbs.)

Fortt employing a head triangle to submit Garcia
-Ja'Far Fortt “Knox” (2-0) of SPMF came out swinging against Josh Garcia (0-0) of Tiger's World MMA. Garcia was able to slow down the fight and take it to the ground where he found himself in Fortt's guard. Garcia delivered a series of heavy blows to his opponent's stomach. This allowed Fortt to slip a leg around Garcia's neck and submit him in the first round with a head triangle. (170lbs.)

-When the final bell rang after three hard rounds, Jerad Gonsalves (1-1-1) and Robert Gillion (2-2) remained on their knees in the center of the cage, congratulating each other. It hardly mattered that Gonsalves came away with the split decision victory. (145 lbs.)

-The lankier Keith Swetland (2-1) used a series of head kicks to stave off the superior punching of the stouter Anthony Califana (2-2). Califana dropped Swetland once in the first round, but it was not enough to finish the fight. Swetland came back in the second two rounds to pull off the split decision victory. (145 lbs.)

-Jesse Gardner (1-1) defeated Tyrone Logan (1-2) with a split decision after attempting a series of submissions that Logan slipped out of. (155lbs.)

-After a brutal series of punches delivered by Michael Cora of Gracie Brandon, Tim "T-Bone" Simonell (0-0) verbally admitted defeat seconds before the end of the first round. (205 lbs.)

-Eric Gosnay (1-2) won a split decision against Telly Wells (1-2). (145 lbs.)

-Shaun Scott (6-2) locked up an airtight guillotine in the first round, choking out Keiton Jones (5-1), who refused to tap. (185 lbs.)

-Dan Martinez (7-2) of Gracie Tampa West repeatedly swept CC Jiu Jitsu's Voytpka Clark (4-3) with single-leg takedowns. On the ground, Martinez threatened with submissions until he eventually caught Clark with a finishing head triangle in the second round. (170 lbs.)

Check out more upcoming amateur MMA events at FloridaCombatNetwork.com and see more photos from Florida Combat Challenge III at ModelsandMMA.com

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