The music is cranking and our first fight is on the way.
Eric "Dream Catcher" Spicely vs. Kemran Lachinov
Our first fight of the night features two men making their professional MMA debut. Both guys are looking to make an impression on the crowd as they both coming out throwing some nice leather. Lachinov is standing right in the pocket and looking crisp with his boxing. Spicely has a stance that reminds me of Drew McFedries. Both guys are standing tough and throwing hard. Lachinov looks to be getting the better of it. Both guys land as the crowd reacts with a few ooohs and ahhs... The fight hits the ground as both fighters look to be trying for heel hooks. After a brief scramble, both guys return to their feet and the bout is stopped briefly for an accidental low blow. The round is restarted and the bell rings ending the first round. Good round, I'm giving it to Lachinov 10-9.
Round two begins with both guys throwing hard again. Spicely lands a takedown and is fighting to get Lachinov's back. Spicely has his hooks in but he doesn't seem to be close to a submission. Lachinov stands up, carrying Spicely with him. After a few seconds, Lachinov slams down backwards, to the roar of the crowd. Spicely holds his position however and keeps looking for the choke. The second round comes to an end with Spicely securing a body triangle but unable to get the finish. Easy 10-9 round for Spicely.
Gabriel Gonzaga is working the corner for Lachinov. I just can't stress enough how much smaller in person this UFC proven heavyweight looks compared to when he is in the cage.
Round three begins and both guys come out round and tumbling. Lachinov lands a trip takedown and is working the half-guard. Gorgeous sweep by Spicely and he is looking for a knee bar. Lachinov fights it off but Spicely has his back again. With two hooks deep, we've got three minutes to go and Spicely has Lachinov's back, landing strikes and looking to finish. Spicely can't finish, but Lachinov also can't get him off his back. 80 seconds to go for Spicely to hold on for UD. With thirty seconds to go, Lachinov shakes him and looks for a leg lock to no avail. The bell sounds and this one is over. Seems a pretty clear 29-28 win for Spicely.
The judges make it official; Eric Spicely defeats Kemran Lachinov by UD across the board.
Adam Quitt vs. Terell Clark
Clark comes out a house of fire throwing huge leather with Clark trying to cover up and clinch. Clark isn't having any of it and lands a takedown of his own. Clark quickly mounts him, lands some leather and is looking to finish. After about a minute of punishment, the ref steps and calls this one off. Dominating with for Terell Clark in his pro MMA debut.
Terell Clark wins via TKO
Eric Bedard vs. Pat Walsh
Walsh comes out and lands a fast takedown. Bedard tries for a guillotine but can't get it. Both guys are back standing and Walsh finds himself in the mount. Walsh is landing some bombs, Bedard gives up his back and this fight is over.
Pat Walsh wins via TKO
Shedrick Goodridge vs. Brett Oteri
Both guys come out fast and hard. A quick flurry has Oteri bleeding from his right eye. It's hard to tell if it's above or below the eye. Both fighters are scrapping against the cage and it seems that Oteri's cut has sealed itself. Goodridge lands another take down but Oteri is looking for a triangle. Not enough time left in the round as the bell rings.
Round two begins and Goodridge is looking to land another takedown. He gets it and finds himself again on top of Oteri. Goodridge is landing some big blows and the crowd is getting riled. up. Oteri closes his guard but is still taking some shots. Oteri grabs a guillotine and the crowd gets on their feet. Strangely, Goodridge breaks out of the choke attempt, lands a few strikes and the ref stops the fight. It seems like Oteri must have hurt an arm and verbally submitted.
Goodridge wins via TKO
Joe Pingitore vs Sergio Moran Cabrera
Boy oh boy do they ever have the sound turned up loud tonight. Some deafening music introduces both fighters to the cage; in a related story, my ears are ringing loudly.
The fight opens with both guys throwing some crisp punches. Pingitore presses Carera against the cage and lands a nice elbow. I can't help but be reminded of Frankie Edgar as I watch Joe Pingitore fight. He is a consistent aggressor even though he is giving up a physical height advantage. Cabrera never backs up and never seems hurt, but the round ends and he has clearly lost round one.
Second round starts and Pingitore is again the aggressor. He doesn't seem to be hurting Cabrera but he is throwing more and landing more. Cabrera whips out a nice back spinning kick that lands on Pingitore's face. Cabrera follows it up by landing a nice left hand that opens up Pingitore's nose. This is a really close round; I'm giving it to Pingitore, I think he pressed the action more, even though he received a few of the harder shots.
The last round opens up with Cabrera immediately shooting for a takedown. Pingitore gets warned a couple times for grabbing the cage, but still finds himself on the ground. The fight quickly is back standing with Cabrera noticeably more aggressive. Cabrera takes an accidental eye poke and the Twin River crowd shows it's ignorance by saying some unkind things for Cabrera. An unfortunate end to this fight as the ref stops the fight.
We go to the scorecards and the refs have it 20-18, 19-19, 19-19 for a majority draw.
Tough finish to the best fight of the night so far, but it only feels right.
Jimmy Burchfield takes the mic and lets us know that a rematch is on the way as soon as both fighters are able.
Darius Heylinger vs.Wilfredo Santiago
Goodness gracious... The sounds of The Notorious B.I.G. blast through the air as Heylinger takes the cage. Have I mentioned yet that the good folks in charge of production tonight have the sound up really, really loud? Like... Really, really loud..
Round one begins with Santiago staring directly into the eyes of his opponent as he appears to be measuring for a huge head shot. Right on cue Nick Mahood sitting to my left echoes the thoughts in my head of "he is headhunting."
Santiago lands a takedown and gets a few shots in. Heylinger stand back up and Santiago is back to headhunting. Heylinger could be doing more with his striking but appears a bit tentative with throwing shots. Round ends and I'm giving this to Santiago.
Second round opens and for some reason Heylinger is doing his best Nick Diaz impersonation by holding his hands up near his ears and daring his opponent to strike. Not sure what Heylinger is thinking. From where I'm sitting, he could be doing just find if he just uses his length and throws strikes. It's not happening and Santiago lands a nasty left hook that catches Heylinger's attention. Other than that, Santiago is doing next to nothing. Heylinger is landing strikes, though not nearly at a rate that should be landed for a fighter enjoying the length and reach that Heylinger has. I'm giving the second round to Heylinger.
Final round begins with a glove tap and a really loud Santiago fan yelling a lot of Spanglish instruction behind the fence. I am never not amused at the guys in the crowd who think the fighters are listening to the instructions being yelled at them from 40 feet away. Both fighters are very tentative as this round enters the last two minutes. Heylinger seems content to eek out a decision victory; Santiago seems unwilling to press the action. An uneventful round comes to a close and I can't help but feel disappointed. I have to give the last round to Heylinger.
The refs make it official, 29-28 across the board for Heyliger. This could have been a good fight. It wasn't.
Andre Soukhamthath vs Kurt Chase Patrick
I'm here to tell the Boston MMA Examiner readership that Andre Soukhamthath has a real shot at making the big time. He is as talented and humble a fighter as I've come across on the local MMA circuit.
As is the norm, Soukhamthath has a huge backing from the crowd.
First round opens with Patrick landing an immediate takedown and in a flash Soukhamthath wall-walks back to his feet. Andre lands a big knee and Patrick feels it. Soukhamthath presses Patrick against the cage and lands an uppercut that rocks Patrick. Patrick reverses the position and Andre lands a high left kick that sends the crowd into a frenzy. Some back and forth grappling leaves the round with Soukhamthath on his back and Patrick in his guard.
I'm giving this round to Soukhamthath.
Second round starts and both fighters flurry quickly. Soukhamthath lands a left to the body that wilts Patrick. Soukhamthath seizes the moment, pounces on Patrick and finishes the fight.
Another impressive win as Andre Soukhamthath finishes Kurt Chase Patrick via TKO.
Rob Font vs. Saul Almeida
Saul Almeida forgoes his Anderson Silva DMX intro and picks something a bit more original to take the cage. This writer is a Saul Almeida fan, but he is also ready to see Saul Almeida finish a fight at this level.
Almeida decides to enter the cage with the haircut of the alcoholic Vietnam buddy of the mustache rich main character of "Enter the Ninja."
Almeida is the aggressor but he is not doing much damage at all. In fact, Font looks to be less winded as he ends the round with an indifference that does not at all seem reflective of a guy who is five minutes deep into the co-main event tonight. I'm giving the first round to Almeida, only because 10-10 rounds don't happen in a realistic MMA score.
The second round begins with more of the same lackluster action that is not going to do anything but make the fans want to leave.
I'm not even going to give my score for that round. As soon as they start fighting, I will start writing about it.
Saul Almeida, I expect more out of you. A lot more.
This fight is coming to a close and Saul Almeida is going to win the decision. As a fan. I don't feel entertained.
Saul Almeida wins via UD. Meh.
The evening's main event is on tap as the wicked loud musical background hurts everyone's ears and head as Mike "The Beast" Campbell is set to take on "Abner "Skullman' Lloveras
First round opens with some tentative striking on both sides. If I'm being honest, Lloveras kind of looks like Rich Franklin. We are at a minute to go in the round and there has been precious little engagement. The first round comes to an end and this is a round that nobody won.
I'm calling it 10-10. Let's go to round two.
Second round begins and Lloveras lands a couple kicks that get the fans yelling... Some exchanges get the fans yelling and Campbell is looking to take Lloveras' back. Lloveras fights it off and lands a single of his own. Campbell bides his time and stands right back up. The rest of the round is spend with Lloveras pressing Campbell against the cage. Lloveras gets some distance but the round ends. I'm going to give this to Campbell.
We start round three and each guy throws some moderately engaging strikes... Campbell lands an accidental eye poke, and on cue, the crowd starts to boo the fact that Abner Lloveras needs a moment to recover from said eye poke.
The action restarts and Lloveras has Campbell pressed against the cage. Sixty seconds later and we're still looking at more of the same. I'd say that the ref should not be afraid to separate the two fighers. Round ends and the crowd is still waiting to cheer. That round has to go to Lloveras.
Fourth round starts with a crowd fighting off yawns and sleep. To his credit, Mike Campbell comes out throwing and looking to engage. Lloveras dips under a left hook and takes down Campbell. Lloveras looks to establish a top position with Campbell throwing the KenFlo elbows from the bottom. Campbell gets up only to be taken back down. With ten seconds to go, Campbell stands back up. A loud leg-kick is thrown and the round is over. Have to call this 10-9 Lloveras.
Mike Campbell is a man who cares a lot about winning this belt and I expect him to come out hard in the final round. He needs to avoid being pressed against the cage. He shoots for a takedown, quickly lands it only to have Lloveras stand up almost immediately. Campbell is trying to work position but finds himself reversed and taken down. Now Campbell is pressed against the cage and trying to stand up. With half a round to go, Campbell just can't seem to create enough space while trying to stand up. This fight seems like it is going to be a study in Lloveras' ability to assert his will in pushing Campbell against the cage. Watching this fight, it is just a screaming example of a stronger fighter doing nothing but being stronger. With ten seconds to go, the ref splits them up. What a curious decision. An entire fight goes by with nothing but cage pressing, but with 10 seconds to go, the fighters are finally separated.
I'm going to give this round to Campbell, but I really don't know how this fight is going to be scored.
Judges score it a wildly ridiculous 50-44, 48-47 and I can't say what the last score was because of the screaming crowd. No disrespect to either fighter, but the fact that one judge called this 50-44 is absolutely absurd. Just absurd...
At any rate, congratulations to Mike "The Beast" Campbell on winning the CES MMA Lightweight title.