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December 29, 2015

Reality FC: New Years Bash 2016 Preview

One of the things I love about the sport of MMA is that there is no "season" which means there also is no "off season".  The hungriest of the hungry look for any opportunity to get in the cage and improve their records.  One of New England's elite promotions is the Reality Fighting Championship.  The promotion features Pro/Am cards each and every year since 2002.  To date there have been 52 cards with the upcoming event at Mohegan Sun Arena being the 53rd.  The New Years Bash has been a regular event since 2013 and featured the region's top names and the promotion's most gifted up and comers that have surged into the mainstream and the national spotlights in what many consider the next level promotions such as World Series of Fighting, Bellator, and the UFC.  

I imagine that taking a spot on this roster at this time of year has to be the most challenging of all both mentally and physically.  For many fighters it's tough just to get in shape while working a 40+ hour work week or perhaps as a full time student with a course load big enough to burn out even the most dedicated student.  Add to that the holidays that could have gone really well, like mine, where you make it through a year and get to spend that all important time with family and friends.  So many though won't have had that pleasure.  Some will be in agony over the loss of a loved one or have financial issues because not being the world champ yet is making them poor.  There are issues with food since Thanksgiving.  Perhaps the last time they ate something even remotely satisfying was at the bar-b-cue this past summer.  There are changes in moods, changes in nutrition, changes at home, at work, and in the gym that none of us can begin to imagine, but these hungry few move toward the cage hoping it's their time and their chance to be seen, cheered for, and maybe even loved by a room full of expectant men, women, and children only wanting one thing and that's C-A-R-N-A-G-E!  People will be judging them on appearance, on performance, and maybe even out of ignorance.  I hope to eliminate the former to a degree.  Before I go on with my brief teaser spotlighting each bout on the main card of 12 combatants I'd like to give you the details on the where, when, and how you can see these fights.
Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT is your destination
January 2nd (Saturday) 7pm
Doors open at 6pm
Tickets can be bought from any fighter on the card up until the day of weigh-ins usually.  Ideally this is how you want to get a seat.  The fighters are provided with a small cash commission for taking the role of ticket agent on for the last month.  Every penny earned is a good penny.
For those not fortunate enough to call even one of these fighters friend or acquaintance cam hit up the box office on fight night.
For those without the ability to be in Uncasville on the 2nd you can watch at home on the live stream provided by for about half the cost of the cheapest seat.  The view doesn't get much better for the average Joe than that captured by the veteran production crew positioned above the top rail. (subject to availability)
Big thanks to matchmaker Joe Cuff and Promoter Kipp Kollar for bringing another terrific night of fights that will be unforgettable.  The perfect way to start an amazing year in MMA.  Thanks also to for being hands down the most user friendly MMA Statistics site on the web.

Main Card (Pro Bouts)

Jamie Driver vs. Jessy Miele  @ 145lbs Women

In the close knit world of women's mma there aren't many oponents to choose from and even fewer who rise out of the ammy ranks to become pro that you don't end up rematching.  Jessy is a talented athlete and in this match up a relative veteran.  Jess is looking to get back to her winning ways and wash her last loss from the minds of the masses. 
As the out-of-towner, Driver, looks to close the gap between her wins and show New England proper what hard work and determination have given her since October.  The majority of Driver's fights have gone the distance, unfortunately they haven't been in her favor for all the effort.  Miele is a natural born finisher and in her combined Am/Pro record she's gotten the "W" in 4 out of 6 victories via KO or Sub.  She's seen two decisions so there aren't any surprises in store for her fans where cardio is concerned.  The only question left to ask might be has Driver studied Miele enough to seek out the weak spots in a rather well rounded game.  Best of luck to both women and no matter what transpires we salute their courage and ferocity on Saturday.

Tim Wheeler vs. Johnny Lopez @ 135lbs Men

Here's a fight that should attract a lot of attention and not all of it will be pleasant.  Johnny "Mr. Nice Guy" Lopez is keeping his fingers crossed that Wheeler doesn't bail like he has in nearly all of his previously scheduled bouts.  The list of men he's stood up on weigh-ins day is surprisingly long and yet he's still getting the call to fight.  The phantom fighter has one pro win despite there being a clear absence of any ammy experience.  The idea that he could get lucky is about the only thing he can rely on.  Hypothetically on Saturday there will be two fighters in the cage who are looking to bring home a pay check and some invaluable experience.  One thing is certain Lopez will show up to do damage to the inexperienced and immature "professional" fighter who has a long road to travel if he expects to be a contender in the division.

Janice Meyer vs. Sarah Payant @ 130lbs Women

Payant Vs Meyer 2 should get your heart racing.  Two dynamic young women that nearly fought three rounds in their first match earlier this year.  Payant sunk the fight ending submission in during the final seconds of that match that took place in the CES MMA cage.  Payant brings the confidence of her victory into the Reality cage with her which could be the advantage she needs to keep Meyer hesitating and under pressure.  A steady worker from bell to bell, Meyer, has to step her game up this time around and earn her opponent's respect without delay.  In her ammy career she has gone the distance to victory 3 out of 4 times, but the judges won't be impressed much if she isn't going for the kill.  She won't be rewarded for merely surviving.  Her chin is suspect after her last match with Miele, she's got to know that the Gladiator BJJ purple belt won't hesitate to re-enact their first match, and if the opportunity presents itself, add some other unholy pain inducing tactics to further humiliate and torment her with in front of 2,000 bloodthirsty fans.

Terrell Clark vs. Jason Ward @ 185lbs Men

A match nearly three years in the making is finally taking place between one of Reality's most employable fighters and one of New England's rising stars.  Clark seemingly always a pro fighter has a sub .500 record, but no where near the amount of time in the cage as his foe.  Grabbing up two first round wins and one decision loss he actually has proved he belongs where he is, but I doubt he actually knows what he's in for.  Ward is going to welcome him into his home with fire and bad intentions.  I imagine come fight night the crowd will do it's best to remind Clark who's house he's entered.  Ward will be looking to turn this opportunity into the start of a win streak.  The fans are never upset with Ward after a loss because he comes to the fight for action and delivers.  A brawler at heart he's been known to throw the submissions on those unlucky few he's gotten his hands around.  Jason will stand and bang if he can so it's up to these two men to show the crowd a fight to remember.  This might be my pick for fight of the night.  One thing I feel confident saying is that it won't go the distance.  Neither man believes in leaving it to the judges to decide.

Evan Scott vs. Dan Dubuque @ 145lbs Men

Even Scott has been visiting the cage since 2010 enjoying the kind of amateur record I could only dream of.  A few bumps in the road once he entered the pro ranks have kept the Lauzon disciple from enjoying the kind of acclaim that seems would fit him at this stage.  He's been matched up with Dan Dubuque who is arguably the most resilient fighter in New England.  Dan doesn't quit.  He doesn't know that word or it's meaning.  A veteran of 8 matches in total over both his amateur and pro career to date he has never finished a fight and never been finished.  So how does this match look to me?  Well, I don't think Scott will break any records for fastest KO or trick Dan into submission, but he may still end up with his hand raised at the end of the final round.  Dubuque could be ready to break from the norm, but we won't know until the ref gives them the all clear to engage.  

Montoyia Swilling vs. Tyler Rose @ 170lbs Men

The main card kicks off with the return of Tyler Rose.  Rose was once hailed as a promising up and comer destined for the next level stages found in the cages of the UFC, Bellator, and XFC.   Unfortunately he came to a slow roll following his pro debut back in the summer of 2013.  There should be some excitement in this match though.  Swilling is searching for a much needed win to keep him from disappearing into obscurity just at the moment when his home state of NY is rallying to legalize the sport he's given so much of his time and attention to.  One thing is clear he wants to keep Rose off his back or any limb for that matter.  Rose will undoubtedly look to pass through the reach and jam up the longer striker and seize whatever piece of anatomy he can apply his trade to.  

I'll be updating this portion as I obtain the requisite info.  Many of the matches feature debuting amateurs with no backgrounds to base a preview off of.
Prelims (Am. Bouts)
Will Smith vs. Luis Finateri
Ed Nook vs. William Knight
Austin Schalla vs. Hector Ramos
Cody McMahon vs. Anthony Lauria
Andrew Lischke vs. Harris Bonfiglio
Tom Foley vs. Zack Watson
Pat Casey vs. Diego Onishi
Giorgi Chilingarashvili vs. Mike Piacentini