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April 6, 2014

CAGE TITANS REVIEW By Guest Writer Jeff Nader 4/5/2014

In what was a busy New England MMA weekend, Mike Polvere's Cage Titans event at the ever-awesome Plymouth Memorial Hall put on a stellar show. We had bruisers slugging it out, little dudes in perpetual combative motion for 15 minutes, 4 FOTN winners, some slick ground work, a couple horrible walkout songs, an amateur DJ, and some beautiful women. Fat jokes no longer apply as Mike Strazzerre isn't fat anymore, although looks like an underfed snapping turtle now. Greg Rebello was there supporting color blind awareness in an outfit that didn't even come close to matching. Mark Dellagrotte, Bill Mahoney, Mike Polvere’s new baby boy, The Barrett Bro’s, The Surgeon, Loco Lobo, Lionel Young’s powder blue Cosby sweater, the Jeffrey Bro’s, Jorge Rivera coaching/cornering/and acting as a camera man, and several great scraps all made the night worthwhile. This will be part roast/part review…..

Buun Teng vs Dave Baxter

1st rd
Buun giving up some size. Dave charges in with punches and earns a double leg. Buun gets it back up and grabs a 1 arm guillotine. Dave takes him down and Buun takes the guillotine again. Buun back down but works his guard. Dave postures up and tries to walk around and pass. Buun locks up the armbar, Dave escapes but gets swept. They scramble and trade, each land a right hand and Dave shoots. Single leg, into a double. Buun crawls away and is back on his feet. Clinch into the cage and dirty boxing from both. Dave shoots again and earns a double leg, into half guard. Very active GnP from Dave as Buun defends into the bell. Very active 1st round from these little dudes.

2nd rd
Neither breathing hard to start, Buun throws a jab and Dave shoots under, into the cage and down again. Dave in half guard, Buun defending little punches from Dave. Dave postures and throws some heavy rights. Buun with posture control. Dave up again dropping bombs. Buun sweeps but ends up with Dave in his full guard. More heavy hands from Dave. Ref moves in to stop it but relents and lets them continue. Dave dives in on a double and gets it. Postures and bombs away with GnP. Ref moves in to stop it, giving Dave the rd 2 TKO win. Very active scrap and a good start to this Cage Titans event.

Evan Aubrey vs Jake Weeks

Aubrey serenades the crowd with John Legend as he walks out to the cage. Many panties were moist and many men were uncomfortable with all the romance in the air. Jake walks out to Imagine by that one guy from the Beatles. Much estrogen floweth from the speakers for this fight.

1st rd
Jab and liver kick from Aubrey to start. Weeks with the shot but gets turned on and Aubrey ends up on top. They trade and Weeks throws up a triangle. Turns it into an armbar and has it locked. Aubrey drills for oil with Weeks’ head as he spikes him about 27 times. He’s out of the armbar and they circle. Aubrey with the shot and they're back on the ground. Great fight! Weeks in half guard. Ref stands it up after 3.5 seconds of no action. Weeks takes Evans back standing, Evan works a kimura. Weeks hits a trip into side control, Aubrey regains half guard, works another kimura, hits it and uses it to get the sweep, lets it go to end the round with GnP.

Very active 1st rd. Both showing pretty good ground games. This is a fun fight to watch.

2nd rd
Aubrey sticks a jab to start the 2nd. Weeks on the shot, Evan stuffs it, spins out and takes Weeks’ back standing, locks in a RNC briefly, Weeks defends, they drop to the ground, Aubrey with full back mount. Weeks spins out and ends up on top in side control. GREAT scrambling from both. Weeks setting up an Americana, Aubrey escapes but falls into a guillotine, the tap comes quick and Weeks gets the win via guillotine sub in rd 2

 Very slick transitions from both, especially Weeks, who brilliantly snatched that guillotine up while both were in transition. Very fun match to watch. Polvere matched these 2 well.

Dan Krall vs Ryan Kane

Krall comes out to Imagine wearing the longest purple BJJ belt in the history of purple belts as well and I “Imagine” what it must be like to have forgotten my walkout music and have to be at the mercy of the DJ. Kane comes out and the arena sounds like The Staples Center when Kobe hits a 3.

1st rd
Feeling out, side kick from Krall misses. A head kick from Kane blasts Krall who eats it and shoots. Somehow he is not dead as that kick was flush. Kane defends the guards pass and scrambles to his feet, driving forward into a single leg. Kane on top of Krall at the base of the cage. Krall defends the pass. Kane passes into side control and pounds away with a right hand. Krall recovers guard and ties up Kane. Kane postures, drops left hands and connects. Krall with posture control again. Krall works a high guard. Hip battle for leverage, Kane postures and strikes again. More strikes from Kane at the bell.

2nd rd
Krall the aggressor as Kane hits a double. Kane on top, Krall rolls for an omoplata and gets it, Kane escapes beautifully. BJJ clinic from both finds Kane on top of Krall at the base of the cage. Kane passes to side control. Krall with the headlock. Kane breaks it and postures, Krall again pulls him down. Kane postures again and punches away until Krall can get ahold of him again. It’s a fight for posture control at this point. Kane making Krall uncomfortable at the base of the cage. Kane slams out of posture control and lands a few punches at the bell. Another good rd.

3rd rd
Kane’s fight as we head into the 3rd. Both look fresh. Krall misses a big right and they clinch. Krall trying to drag Kane down. Kane spins him into the cage. Kane with underhooks. Krall reverses, hooks a leg for a trip but gets reversed. They separate into the center, HUGE right from Krall airballs, Krall lands a leg kick and Kane counters with a  straight right, both land. Krall throws a couple haymakers that land and Kane clinches and gets the takedown into half guard. Kane postures with some punches. Krall fishes for a kimura and Kane walks him to the base of the cage. More punches from Kane. Krall covers and holds on for the bell. Kane wins a UD.

Kane awarded his purple belt after the win. He def showed the skillset in there tonight. Krall looked good on the ground as well. FOTN so far

Jose Rustrian vs Jeff Perez

Some sort of uncoordinated noise trumpets from the speakers as Jose comes out. Perez walks out in sparkle shorts and looks like he can cut down trees with just his beard.

1st rd
Glove touch and a double jab from Jeff to start. Jeff standing righty and Jose southpaw. Whiffed head kick and a long jab again. Jeff ther aggressor pushing the pace. Jose still measuring Jeff. Jeff barely misses a head kick. Long knee from Jose lands lightly. Nice body kick from Jeff. Another long jab and a head kick from Jeff. Jeff throws more jabs and Jose launches another knee to the midsection, landing lightly again. Jeff circles away. Head kick from Jeff and Jose responds with a body kick, both are blocked. Jeff lands a leg kick and they trade at the bell. Jeff seems to be hunting for that righty/lefty headkick.

2nd rd
More jabs and a head kick from Jeff. Looping left hand from Jose starts the brawl and they trade heavy hands until Jeff ducks under for a slick trip but Jose takes the guillotine on the way down. Jose lets go and Jeff passes into half guard. Jeff works to pass into side control but Jose defends well. Jeff gets to side control and postures up off of Jose’s face with an elbow. Knee on belly, Jose turns away and Jeff takes his back, full back mount with both hooks and Jeff starts dropping heavy hands to Jose’s ribs and head. These are some heavy punches but the bell comes before the finish. Jeff is walking away with this fight so far.

3rd rd
Jeff again throws the head kick and misses but lands that trip again into side control at the cage. Jose recovers to half guard. Jeff takes his back and immediately gets the hooks. More of those heavy punches from Jeff. Nothing Jose can do as Ref Gary Foreman steps in.

Very smart and technical win from Jeff Perez. His pro debut and flannel shirt sponsorship can't be very far off.

Ryan Pompeii vs Randy Costa

Ryan is flanked by the Jeffery bros on his way to the cage. Randy has the Lauzon trifecta of Joe Lauzon/Proctor/Palmquist. This should be a barn burner. Randy has impeccable hair.

1st rd
Randy with 2 head kicks to start. I can't even keep up with all the action from both. Randy is basically sprinting across the cage purely with kicks providing the forward motion. Ryan covers and Randy fires a knee down the middle. Ryan counters with 2 quick hooks and Randy dives in with about 37 more head kicks. Ryan covers against the cage and Randy unloads with punches to the head and body. Ryan is covered and seems fine but isn’t working out or punching back and the ref steps in. Randy wins by TKO rd 1.
No contesting from Ryan on the stoppage as he seemed fine, but overwhelmed.

Very impressive performance from Randy Costa. Perpetual forward motion the entire fight.

Chris Suarez vs Max Barrett

1st rd
Right hand from Chris misses but Max counters with a right and a head kick. Another Max head kick and they trade, separate, trade, separate, then clinch to the cage. Max in control with knees to the legs. Seatbelt from Max with more knees to the legs. Chris defends the knees and eats some punches to the ribs. Max has a very good clinch game working. Chris spins out and they're back in the center. Teeps from Max land. They circle, leg kick from Chris and a long jab from Max, 2 leg kicks from Max land. Chris appears to have good boxing but is at a severe reach disadvantage and Max is def working that long jab. Max on the offensive with hooks and uppercuts at the bell.

2nd rd
Chris is shaking his head. Not sure what is up as he is conversing with the ref. He seems fine but the ref waves the fight. Max wins by cowardice/quitting/flu/vaginitis. Chris then takes the mic from the announcer, tells the crowd he took the fight on 24hr notice, he’s sick, doesn't care about the crowd, curses a bit. Polvere takes the mic from him and the crowd boos. He grabs his crotch and flips them off. I sincerely hope this kid is never allowed to fight again. What a great performance by Max Barrett and it’s a shame its overshadowed by this waterhead’s behavior and lack of testicular fortitude and sportsmanship.

Barry Liseno vs James Manning

Touching moment as Polvere announces that Barry Liseno's son who was born 16 weeks early on Valentines day this year recently passed. I can't even imagine losing a child and don't want to. Props to Barry for even being able to move on from that, let alone have a fistfight in a cage so soon.

1st rd
James charges out and into a brawl as they trade shots. James presses to the cage and hits a rolling throw. Liseno is guard. James hits a slick triangle. Liseno defends and James turns it into an armbar, rolls belly down. Liseno stacks him. James rolls again and adjusts it. Liseno defends but its tight . Liseno tries to roll out again but James has BJJ in spades. Another adjustment and James gets the triangle sunk, earning the tap and the impressive 1st rd submission from the CCFA prospect. Very impressive ground game from James Manning. That triangle was something fierce.

SOTN so far.

Dan Dubuque vs Billy Keenan

Dan and Billy looks like a helluva fight on paper. I have high hopes for this one being a back and forth brawl.

1st rd
Leg kick from Billy and a return from Dan. They circle and measure each other and then Dan 5-holes a foot into Billy’s babymaker. Brief pause to allow Billy to recover. Leg kick right hand from billy. They swap right hands. Another stiff leg kick as Billy is working the Muay Thai. Dan rushes forward to the clinch. Billy reverses and throws knees to the legs of Dan. Dan reverses again. Billy defends the seat belt double. Dan rips him down and Bill rolls for an arm, loses it, then hooks a leg for the sweep.  Dan walks out of it and passes to side control. Billy gets it standing but Dan keeps the underhooks. They're hand-fighting against the cage. Slick back take attempt from Billy.  Dan gets halfway out as they fall to the floor and the bell rings.

2nd rd
Glove touch to start and Dan launches a kick. They both miss on big rights. Dan gets a leg kick in. Billy rushes in with punches and Dan reverses and gets the seat belt again. Billy defends the trip. They separate and punch out and we're back in the middle. Each throws a head kick. Both miss again on big rights. Glancing liver kick from Billy. Dan charges into the clinch and hits a toss, Billy rolls it into a beautiful armbar but Dan escapes. Bill throws up a triangle and locks it but Dan is defending smartly. Billy angles for pressure. Billy squeezing but Dan dropping right hands at the buzzer. Great fight!

3rd rd
Another leg kick from Billy lands and Dan returns fire with one of his own. Dan presses to the cage with a single, switches to a double and gets it. Dan walks to half guard and works to pass to side control. Billy has him tied up pretty well. Dan punches as Billy rolls for a heel hook. Dan escapes and passes to side control, then a half north/south. Back into side control. Billy working to roll out. Punches now from Dan. Billy active in trying to get up and gets to his feet. Seat belt for Dan but Billy spins out and they clinch to the cage. Dan drops for another double and gets it just before the bell.

4th rd
Sweet left hook, right body kick from Dan. They trade and Dan shoots but gets reversed and Billy gets the takedown into the cage. Billy working half guard, Dan stands and Billy takes his back. Dan escapes and turns and is right into a double. Billy defends well. Billy grabs a guillotine but gets taken down. Dan passes quickly into side control. Dan works some punches but Billy is defending really well. Bill is very active on the ground. Dan controlling, gets knee on belly. Billy gumby’s his legs up to sweep but loses it. Dan throws a flurry of punches at the bell.

5th rd
Leg kick from Dan and punches from Billy. Dan dives into a double. Both are fighting with intensity this last round as it’s a close fight. Dan gets the double and lands in side control. Bills explodes out and starts throwing bombs. Lefts and rights for days. They’re trading bombs and the crowd is loving it. Dan hits another double, lands in side control, Billy turtles, then stands and is clinched to the cage. Dan with the seatbelt pumps knees into Billy’s legs. Billy stands out and gets tripped to the ground. Half guard for Dan as the final bell rings. Excellent fight for both and it could go either way. Hardly any idle time in this fight as it was virtually all action back and forth.

Dan Dubuque gets the win. I could see it going either way. Bill looks much improved since the last time I saw him fight. They have something special going on over at Redline with all them 135ers.

Steve Skrzat vs Pat Schultz

I would be willing to bet money this fight doesn't go the distance. Neither have ever been the type to have a boring fight either as well as both being known as powerful punchers.

1st rd
Body kick from Pat is blocked after a feeling out process. Steve rushes in and eats a right hook from Pat, lands a right of his own and gets the double leg. Pat defending at the base of the cage. Pat working his guard as Steve lands some left hands to his head. Body/head left hands from Steve. Pat rolls Steve and gets into side control at the base of the cage. Scarf hold for Pat. Steve works his way out and to his feet and they’re trading some bombs. Both land heavy shots as Pat ducks under into a double leg. Steve defends and spins Pat off and throws some short hooks. Punches in the scramble and Pat rolls into turtle, Steve drops some heavy shots from standing and Pat rolls to defend. Steve punches his way into mount. Pat defends as Steve leans in to his GnP. Pat is bucking and covering when the ref steps in to stop the action.

Steve wins via 1st rd TKO

Pat is visibly angry about the stoppage and the crowd seems to agree. Steve looked good and was throwing some absolute bombs and was really intense from the start.  Pat showed an improved ground game and some powerful punching as well.

Frank Falso vs Keegan Hornstra

1st rd
Heavy liver kick from Keegan to start. They trade and break with Keegan throwing consecutive liver kicks. Punch into clinch and Keegan gets a trip into Frank’s guard. Keegan postures and punches, then passes to half, then to side control, and right into mount. Frank rolls and Keegan takes his back, sinks in the hooks, and flattens him out. Keegan is putting a pounding on him and Frank is unable to escape. Gary Foreman stops the fight and as Frank sits up to argue the stoppage a good amount of blood pours down his face. Keegan was a savage and very aggressive. I don’t know how Frank’s corner can argue against that stoppage by Gary.

1st rd TKO win for Keegan Hornstra

Ralph Johnson vs Mike Rodriguez

1st rd
Long teep from Mike and a stiff jab from Ralph. Mike Rushes Ralph into the cage and snatches a double leg. Ralph throws up a triangle and then about 76 elbows to Mike’s head. Mike defends somehow. Who taught Ralph to grapple? He throws up another triangle and more elbows. Mike escapes and Ralph uses his 6’ legs to lock up a body triangle. Mike driving him into the bottom of the cage. Mike passes into halfguard. Postures and drops a series of left hands. Ralph working a sweep and defending. Mike stands up to punch, then falls back into Ralph’s guard. Ralph works an armbar but lets it go as Mike starts another barrage of left hands. Mike passes from halfguard right into mount. Ralph bucks but cant shake him. Ralph not taking damage but Mike isnt letting up. Ralph continues to defend but cant escape and the ref steps in, giving Mike the 1st rd TKO victory.

Chad Kelly vs Remo Cardarelli

1st rd
Big size advantage for FAA’s Chad Kelly. Trading leg kicks and jabs until Kelly hits a double, works his way to halfguard. Remo fighting off the pass to side control well. Kelly very active in Remo’s guard. Elbows from Kelly. Body/head work for Kelly as Remo defends well. Kelly passes, then loses position back to half. Kelly stands to punch, Remo rolls out and stands. They clinch and Kelly takes the plum, throws some knees. Remo works out but eats some knees and then Kelly drags him back down. Kelly getting more aggressive with his GnP. Remo still defending the pass well. Kelly punches into side control, Remo spins and stands out with Kelly on his back. Kelly spins Remo down again and has Remo’s back. Remo rolling to get out but cant shake him. Kelly all over him. Remo throws up a surprise triangle about 4 seconds before the bell. It was tight and very close from my view.

2nd rd
Remo with a heavy leg kick. Remo catches a leg kick and gets his first TD. Kelly right into an active guard. Remo is all over him and dropping punches but Kelly still working his guard. Remo wont budge. Kelly throws up an armbar attempt but Remo slams out. Kelly turns away and Remo is on his back working the RNC. Its all Remo right now. REMO with the tap out from the RNC! WHAT A FIGHT!!!! Kelly is visibly heartbroken but what a performance by the FAA prospect. Both guys looked awesome. Another FOTN candidate.

Robbie Leroux vs Johnny Campbell

1st rd
Robbie the aggressor as they circle. Robbie charges in but Johnny circles away. Leg kick for Robbie. Robbie scoops a leg but Johnny works some impressive balance to stay on his feet. Robbie gets him to the ground briefly before Johnny is up with Robbie on his back. Robbie digs a RNC but Johnny shakes him off his back. Robbie lets it go and we’re back on the feet. Nice uppercut counter from Robbie but he misses. Johnny working a long jab. Leg kick from Robbie is checked. Johnny airballs a head kick. Robbie being elusive. The long jab from Johnnie is working. He’s using his range well. Robbie catches Johnny with an overhand but Johnny walks it off. Leg kick from Johnny is caught but he avoids getting taken down. Johnny lands a teep to the face of Robbie then a heavy right hand. Good back and forth scrap with Johnny being elusive and Robbie trying to close the distance.

2nd rd
More of the same to start the 2nd, Johnny using footwork and Robbie trying to catch him. Johnny misses a big kick and Robbie lands a teep to the body. They both are missing with big punches. Robbie gets a trip but cant keep Johnny down. Robbie lands a kick right in the buttcheek of Johnny. Robbie counters a jab with a nice leg kick. Good head movement from Robbie. Johnny still reaching out with the jab. Johnny changing levels but no real TD attempt yet. Robbie making Johnny miss and landing leg kicks. Both using great head movement. Nice straight right to the gut for Johnny. Spinnning elbow from Johnny misses and Robbie misses a head kick. Nice left hook/leg kick from Robbie. Robbie gets a single leg TD at the bell but Johnny makes him work for it by driving a couple one-legged hopping knees ala’ Jose Aldo

3rd rd
Johnny looking fresh to start the 3rd. Robbie ducks a jab to grab a leg but loses it. Another straight right to the gut for Johnny. Johnny drops Robbie with a right hand but Robbie bounces right back up. Johnny still using footwork. Johnny getting more aggressive. Robbie eats another right hand and Johnny pressing the fight. Robbie shoots a single but Johnny gets away. Robbie lands a light head kick. Johnny staying in front of him. Robbie catches him with a right. It’s a back and forth striking show. Good mix of offense and defense from both. Left hook lands for Johnny as a right counter from Robbie finds its mark. Robbie lands a flurry. Long jab from Johnny. Robbie ducks a jab and grabs a leg but Johnny again gets away. Robbie blocks a couple shots but eats a very heavy right from Johnny at the bell.

Johnny Cupcakes Campbell gets the win by split decision

This was a GREAT card up and down. Not a single mismatch and every fight was entertaining. Mike Polvere continues to establish himself as a phenomenal matchmaker. In addition we saw some very good prospects emerge. I've never been a big fan of amateur titles and guys bragging about their amateur records, but there’s no denying that our current crop of amateur fighters are light years beyond where a first time pro fighter was back in '05/'06. I could name more than a few current pro fighters that would lose handily to some of these amateurs. Jeff Perez comes to mind when I think of an amateur that could hang with most of the guys in the pro top ten of his division. Congrats to all the fighters for taking part in this amazing event. Except Chris Suarez, who I hope is banned from the sport.