Custom Search

October 1, 2017


Combat Zone 63: Mayhem in Manchester

It’s Friday night and all the cool kids in Manchester, NH (all three of us) are at the Radisson Hotel getting ready to watch a bunch of lunatics willingly allow themselves to be locked inside a cage to fight a complete stranger who really wants to hurt them for no real reason. Because the people in charge have lost their minds and decided that it would be a good idea to give me a microphone, I am helping with the commentary, so I can’t actually write anything while the fights are happening. The good news is that you won’t be stuck with another fifty page manifesto about the fighters’ hair styles and walk-out songs. The bad news is, I’ll probably forget a lot of stuff. Like maybe entire fights. I can’t be blamed for this because there are, after all, FIFTEEN of them. I’m not entirely convinced that this was intentional because when I asked Combat Zone matchmaker Ryan Fennelly on Thursday how many fights were on the card, he said, “I don’t know. I didn’t count.”

***Amateur Kickboxing***

Bout 1: 157 lbs Nick Quattrock 0-0 (FAA) vs Chris Weinstein 0-0 (Lucky Devil FC)

Both of these guys are 0-0 in amateur kickboxing. Chris Weinstein is a sixth grade math and science teacher in New Jersey. Chris does not own a cat, but he is a cat uncle to Tiggy. I did not get a chance to ask Nick about his cats, but he looks like a nice man, so I’m sure he has at least two. Chris walked out to Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road.” This is one of my top ten all-time favorite songs ever, so it erased from my memory whatever crap that wasn’t Thunder Road that Nick walked out to.

Nick dominated the first round. I can’t remember the details, but I’m sure there was a lot of punching and kicking. Then the second round began, and the tables quickly turned. 0:24 into round two, Chris Weinstein KO’d Nick Quattrock. Pretty brutally, too. Like it was one of those KOs where the dude drops immediately with his leg folded under him at a weird angle and you worry that maybe he might have blown his knee out. After a couple of minutes, though, Nick got back up, looking a little foggy but with both knees intact.

Winner: Chris Feinstein via KO at 0:24 in round 2.

Bout 2: 135 lbs Michael Alfano 0-0 (Lucky Devil FC) vs Jack Greene 0-0 (CageStrikers)

Another match between virgin kickboxers, one of whom walked out to Bon Jovi, though I can’t remember which one. Jack was wearing some truly fabulous American flag vale tudo shorts. This fight was fairly one sided. Michael seemed to be having difficulty getting past Jack’s reach, and Jack landed significantly more leveraged strikes. For two rounds, Jack battered Michael, who looked increasingly exhausted. At the end of the second round, Michael had wilted like a sad dandelion and didn’t answer the bell.

Winner: Jack Greene via retirement.

Bout 3: 195 lbs Caynen Wills 0-0 (High Speed Defense) vs Matt Gordon 2-2 (Burgess)

This bout was a last minute addition to the card with Wills accepting the fight against Gordon just three days ago. I don’t know Wills and have never heard of High Speed Defense, but a quick Google search tells me that it’s a “one stop shop” catering to all your fighting needs, whether they be kicking your shitty ex-husband in his peanut dick or cage fighting at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester. Matt trains at Burgess MMA right here in Manchester with Nate LaMotte. Nate is one of the OGs of New England MMA, and he owns a cat named Flashlight.

Caynen does not currently own a cat, but tonight he is fighting in memory of his recently deceased feline companions, Tom and Morris (may they live in glory forever). Matt does not own a cat, but he does have a husky named Kato.

Matt was handily winning the fight up until he ate a hard shot from Caynen in the second round and fell to the canvas. He immediately popped back up, but his legs were a bit wobbly and his eyes were moving independently from one another. Matt staggered along the fence for a few seconds, and the ref called the fight. Nate LaMotte did not appear pleased with the ref’s decision to stop the fight rather than giving Matt an eight count. As a mother, I was fully on board with stopping the damn thing, but as a fighter, I would have liked to have seen an eight count because it’s possible that Matt could have come back if he’d had a few seconds to recover.

Winner: Caynen Wills via TKO sometime in round two (I don’t know the exact time cuz I was busy commentating).

Bout 4: 165 lbs Eddie Ramos 0-0 (Lucky Devil FC) vs Brian Leach 0-0 (Team Link Hooksett)

Eddie Ramos does not own any cats, but he has two dogs named Logan and Broly. I didn’t have an opportunity to ask Brian Leach about his cats, but I can tell you that he makes a super psychotic face right before he throws a punch. Like his eyes bulge and his mouth stretches open like he’s being hit by a hurricane-force wind. I’m not sure if this is a good thing because it’s kinda intimidating or if it’s a bad thing because it telegraphs that he’s about to throw a strike.

This was the first fight to go the distance. Brian easily won the first two rounds, backing Eddie up and hitting him with many hard right hands. Eddie looked rather complaisant, and Troy Pickering, who was also commentating, speculated that he might be drawing the younger fighter into deep water so that he could open up on him in the third round. This turned out to be an astute observation because it’s exactly what happened. Eddie looked like an entirely different fighter in the last round, driving Brian to the cage and landing one looping hook after another. It looked as though Eddie was close to finishing the fight toward the end of the third, but the bell sounded and the fight went to a decision. Based on the simple arithmetic of fight scoring, I thought that Brian took the decision as (IMO) he clearly won the first two rounds, but the judges declared a draw.

Winner: Everyone and no one

Bout 5: 165 lbs Isaih Ocasio 1-0 (Ocasio’s Martial Arts) vs Joe Siejkowski 0-0 (Title Boxing)

Joe Siejkowski must have sold at least a thousand tickets because half the crowd was wearing Title Boxing t-shirts and everyone went absolutely bananas when Joe walked out. The fight went all three rounds. Joe was outmatched by Isaih, who was landing spinning back kicks (spinning shit!) at will during the second and third rounds. The judges gave Isaih the nod, which didn’t sit too well with the Title crowd, who boo’d vociferously.
Winner: Isiah Ocasio via decision

***Amateur MMA***

Bout 6: 135 lbs Devon Monty 0-0 (IND) vs James Ploss 0-1 (Kaze)

Devon owns two cats named Ashes and Majin. Majin is a Maine Coon with an M on its forehead. Devon is listed as independent, but he was cornered by the guys from High Speed Defense, where he’s been training for the last month. Evidently, as Devin himself explained to me, he accepted the fight on his eighteenth birthday and then decided he should probably go find a gym at which to train, so he wandered into High Speed Defense and said, “Hi, I’m Devon, and I have a fight next month.” As both a mother and a retired fighter, this is not an approach I recommend, but Devon seems like a sassy little fellow who doesn’t give a f**k about what stodgy old retired fighter moms like me think.
James Ploss also has two cats: Shadow and Mischief. James’s coach appraised me of their game plan, which was essentially to keep the fight standing. At some point in round one though, James said ‘f**k the game plan’ and hip-tossed Devon to the ground. He mounted Devon and looked to be setting up some sort of choke (a head and arm triangle, perhaps) when Devon reversed him and, stealing his opponent’s game plan, stood back up. James executed a fancy backward roll and regained his feet. During the second round, James attempted a number of ill-advised judo takedowns and basically ended up pulling mount on at least two separate occasions. I can’t remember the specific details (including whether the fight ended in the second or third rounds), but I do remember that James looked to lock up first a head-and-arm choke and then a kimura, but he seemed a little perplexed about how to figure-four his arms properly and so it was pretty clear that the kimura was not going to work. James ultimately sunk in a guillotine to get the tap.

Winner: James Ploss via submission (guillotine) at some point in the second or third rounds.

Bout 7: 170 lbs Josh Wesley 2-4 (FAA) vs Mohammad Al Kinani 0-0 (Evolution Athletix)

Josh is very lanky and from the moment he entered the cage, it was evident that he has some difficulty convincing his arms and legs to move in harmony with each other. This is something to which I can relate as I am also tall and gangly and have been told that I run like Phoebe from Friends.

Mohammad has two cats named Toby and Cheppi. Cheppi is a Hispanic cat who meows in Spanish, so he and Toby struggle with a language barrier. Mohammad also has crazy eyes. By this, I mean that throughout the entire fight, he stared malevolently into Josh’s eyes without blinking or looking away.
During the first round, Mohammad walked right through Josh’s punches to beat a sizeable mouse beneath Josh’s left eye. Josh started to find his range in the second round, but he wasn’t able to keep the psychotically-aggressive Mohammad away from him and, as Troy Pickering quipped, the mouse under Josh’s eye began looking more like a rat. The doctor came into the cage after the second round to check an enormous gash that had opened up in the center of the rat. I was pretty sure the fight would end there, but the doctor allowed Josh to come back out for another round. Josh ate more punches, the rat started to look more like a baby possum, and then Mohammad kneed Josh in the balls. The ref separated them and the doctor came back in to check the baby possum. Josh staggered a little and then projectile vomited all over the cage. I squealed and looked away while Troy pulled out his phone to take pictures. Josh vomited again, and the match was stopped. After a few moments of confusion, they went to the score cards, and Mohammad won the decision.

Winner: Mohammad via decision.

At this point, the intermission, which was originally supposed to happen between the twelfth and thirteenth fights, was rescheduled so that an elderly man with a towel could attempt to wipe the chunks of what Calvin Kattar later told me was a partially digested omelet from the floor of the cage. There appeared to be also a lot of corn or some other fibrous matter that the human body is incapable of processing mixed in with the omelet because the towel-man’s attempts to rectify the situation weren’t doing much good, and the chunks were merely being redistributed around the cage. The entire combat zone staff was standing nervously outside the cage door holding rolls of paper towels while I screamed unsolicited advice at them from cage side. After fifteen minutes, a majority of the vomit had been cleared, though there were still a few chunks of what might have been corn scattered throughout the cage.

Bout 8: 210 lbs Floran Kacaku 1-1 (SYT) vs Terrance Jean Jacques 1-0 (Team Link Hooksett)

I’m not sure whether either of these guys own cats, but Terrance’s hair looked spectacular. Florian, in a display of reckless disregard for the chunks of vomit still littering the cage floor, decided to enter the cage by forward rolling into it like Captain James Tiberius Kirk dodging alien phaser fire. Evidently, Terrance was aware that Sityodtong fighters are known for their striking because he wasted no time in bull-rushing Florian and throwing him to the ground, where he quickly locked up a rear naked choke to end the fight.

Winner: Terrance Jean Jacques via RNC in round one

Bout 9: 150 lbs Harry Giglotti 0-0 (IND vs Tom Pagliarulo 0-0 (Spero’s)

These guys narrowly edged out Jay Perrin and Chris Caterino to win the weigh-in award for Most Passionate Faceoff, owing entirely to Harry, who shadowboxed threateningly in Tom’s general direction and said something I was too far away to hear but that I assumed was not very nice. I later found out that the not-nice thing Harry said was “Your eyes don’t lie, Tom.” I’m not sure what this actually means, but it sounds sexy af. If I were Tom, I would be careful cuz Harry might be thinking he wants to be more than friends.

Harry took this fight on three days’ notice. It’s my understanding that he’s an amateur boxer. He is also a little unhinged. As soon as Tom entered the cage, Harry began pacing back and forth and shouting at him. I couldn’t hear what Harry was saying, but he appeared to grow increasingly enraged as Tom stood talking to his corner men through the cage, oblivious to the lunatic who was pacing and screaming behind him.

Harry made a number of interesting decisions during the first round, including leaping at Tom with his hands thrown open to expose his entire face and body to his opponent. Tom took Harry down and attempted to lock up a head-and-arm triangle, but Harry squirmed free to survive the first round. Tom took Harry down again in the second round, and after a lot of writhing around together on the ground, Tom managed to lock up a rear neket to finish the fight.

Winner: Tom Pagliarulo via RNC

Bout 10: 155 lbs Eddie George 0-0 (FAA) vs Ramano Medina 2-0 (Burgess)

I train with Ramano at Burgess, and he is evidently sick of my shit because he did not at all seem interested in discussing his cat, who is named Kitty, with me. I don’t know if Eddie has a cat, but if he does, I’m willing to bet that it has a more interesting name than “Kitty.”

This fight was, by far, the most technical of all the amateur matchups. Like many of the FAA guys, Eddie is a strong wrestler. Ramano, meanwhile, has an excellent guard game and is slick at baiting people into triangles. Not surprisingly, the first round consisted entirely of Eddie taking Ramano to the canvas and then trying desperately to avoid being triangled. Eddie threw a lot of punches from inside Ramano’s guard, but Ramano did a good job keeping Eddie’s posture broken so that he couldn’t get much leverage behind his strikes. The second round began similarly, but this time Eddie, who looks to be extremely physically strong, managed to stack Ramano to land some decent ground and pound before Ramano inverted to lock up an armbar. The armbar looked tight, but Eddie escaped, and the round ended. At the beginning of the third round, Eddie seemed to have decided it might be a good idea to keep the fight standing, but Ramano surprised him with a series of hard straight right hands. The fight ended, and all three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Ramano Medina, who was later awarded an enormous shiny trophy for being amateur fighter of the night.

Winner: Ramano Medina via UD

Bout 11: 170 lbs Brian Cosco 3-5 (SYT/Ironhouse) vs. Will McCall 1-2 (Evolution Athletix)

Will McCall has two cats, but he couldn’t immediately remember their names. This is probably because he also has six kids, so he has a lot of names to remember. I’m not sure about Brian Cosco’s cat situation, but I can tell you that he has an enormous set of balls because he decided to open the fight by attempting an imanari roll, which basically means that he threw himself onto the ground and tried to entangle his legs around his opponent’s legs in a move that looks cool af if it actually works but is pretty much MMA suicide if it doesn’t. The imanari roll did not work, and Brian was ruthlessly battered for trying it, but the attempt was sufficient to earn him the Ryan Fennelly Esoteric Jiu Jitsu Technique of the Night award, an honor that surely can be won only by doing weird and improbable shit like using your legs to lock up a kimura so that your hands are free to eat dunkaroos.

I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I do know that Will eventually flattened Brian out, and I think he ultimately subbed him with an RNC. I’m not positive about any of this, though, cuz I was tired and busy eating fun-sized candy bars.

Winner: Will McCall via IDK

Bout 12: 145 lbs Ali Zebian 5-3 (FAA) vs Taylor Costantino 2-1 (Evolution Athletix)

So I don’t remember this fight at all, and I don’t feel bad about it because Taylor Constantino told me that he hates cats. I have it on good authority that Ali got on top of Taylor and blistered him with some nasty ground and pound, forcing the ref to stop the match a few seconds before the end of the second round.

Winner: Ali Zebian via TKO

***Professional MMA**

Bout 13: 130 lbs Jeff Silva 2-3 (PMA) vs Ken Murphy 0-2 (Team Link Hooksett)

This was another technical war and a very evenly matched fight. Ken Murphy is a much better fighter than his record suggests, and he is a solid striker and strong wrestler. The fight went all three rounds, with both fighters taking it to each other the entire time. By the end of the third round, the crowd behind me was so loud that I couldn’t hear myself talk, which was a relief cuz I was saying a lot of stupid shit. I thought that Ken took the win, but it was very close. The judges agreed with me and gave Ken Murphy the decision.

Winner: Ken Murphy via UD

***Professional Kickboxing***

Bout 14: 250 lbs JA Dudley 0-0 (Lucky Devil FC vs Ed Carr 0-0 Team Link Hooksett)

I was sitting near Carr at weigh-ins when Dudley walked in wearing a black leather fanny pack with the confidence of a man who knows he can wear a fanny pack and no one’s gonna say shit about it unless they want to be skinned and made into a fanny pack themselves. “Welp,” I said to Carr, “looks like you’re f**ked.” Carr laughed, but I could see the fear quivering in his eyes as he tried to avoid staring directly at his opponent’s fanny pack and its multitude of zippered pouches ideal for carrying a wallet, car keys, and a folding buck knife for skinning red-haired bishes who write smart-ass commentary regarding the fanny pack. JA Dudley informed that he neither has nor wants cats, but I like him anyway because he’s a self-professed “godless heathen” who wears a fanny pack.
Ed Carr does not wear a fanny pack, but one of his teammates told me at weigh-ins that Ed has enormous nipples, so at least he has something to distinguish him from the rest of us boring schleps with normal-sized nipples.

Ed and JA (which is what Mr. Dudley prefers to be called) had the friendliest face-off at weigh-ins, laughing and joking together. The convivial mood carried over into the cage, and for the first two rounds, they looked like a couple of dads who’d had a few Budweiser’s at a backyard bbq and decided to fight each other in the lawn. Both men landed strikes on each other, and Ed caught JA’s leg a number of times to sweep him to the mat. I’m a little fuzzy on the rules, but it seemed that perhaps some of the sweeps weren’t legal because at one point the ref pulled Ed aside to admonish him for something, though I wasn’t quite sure what. The pace picked up in the third round, and the two men started actually trying to hurt each other, but by then they were both exhausted, so neither one was able to stop the other. It was an incredibly close fight, but I thought that Ed might have taken it, especially if the sweeps that may or may not have been legal counted toward the scoring in any way. The judges saw it differently though, and JA won via split decision.

Winner: JA Dudley via split decision

***Professional MMA***

Bout 15: 135 lbs Jay Perrin 3-3 (SYT/Triumph) vs Chris Caterino 1-1 (Gate City)

Jay Perrin cohabitates with four cats (they aren’t his cats – he just lives with them). One of these cats is named Chubby Bunny. As anyone who’s Facebook friends with Jay knows, he’s the biggest thug to come out of the mean cow paths of Hudson, NH who likes to express his innermost feelings by posting rap lyrics and vague passive-aggressive statements that make no sense to 99% of the people on Jay’s friend list.

All shit talking aside, Jay’s striking looked pretty damn good in the first round. He won the round, but Chris managed to open up a small cut on Jay’s eyebrow. It wasn’t deep, but it was in a spot that could have resulted in a stoppage if it opened up too much. Jay seemed to realize that he needed to prevent that from happening because in the second round, he quickly took Chris down and locked up an RNC to finish the fight.

Winner: Jay Perrin via submission