Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu went five for five Wednesday night at the Alaska Fighting Championship’s final show of the year where bells were rung on both sides of the cage.
Veteran Frank Watts lead the young team of Wolfpack fighters which included Daniel Cook, Steve Saccone, David Mason and Corie Geirman. They were alternately cornered by stalwarts Justin Charon, Kevin Barber, Doug Evans and Nate Hannah.
Greatland Mixed Martial Arts also made a statement by winning three of four matches with potential champions Derek Chalifour and Zach Eastlick proving their place at the top of their divisions.
Frontier Vale Tudo struggled on the night with highly regarded wrestler Gerald Pestrikoff and Terrence Mitchell dropping their matches to end out the year.
But it was Gracie Barra’s Michael Madrid who stole the show in the main event with the highlight reel knockout, a spinning backfist, to press his case for a shot at the title.
Fight 1 – Featherweights Corie Geirman vs. Josh Hubble
Corie ran out to the cage in anticipation of his match whereas Josh entered calmly. The one-sided affair began with a big left hand from Corie followed by a takedown. He quickly mounted his opponent but his corner instructed him to go “back to cross side” which he did. From there he took Josh’s back and was able to land some elbows which set up a clean rear naked choke at 59 seconds securing the first victory for ABJJ. “If you give your back to me it’s done,” the winner said post-fight.
Fight 2 – Lightweights David Mason vs. Aaron Ester
Aaron threw a wild flying knee to begin the match but David dodged it and got a takedown. Aaron tried a guillotine but his opponent was already in side control. As they resumed on their feet, Aaron attempted a takedown of his own but got caught in a real guillotine attempt tapping out at 43 seconds, another solid win for ABJJ and back to the drawing board for Aaron who has yet to win a fight in the AFC.
Fight 3 – Lightweights Steve Saccone vs. Josh Luther
“The Rooster” Luther arrived with his trademark red mohawk throwing a leg kick early against ABJJ’s third representative. It would be his only offensive move of the fight as Steve subsequently nailed a takedown and moved to mount. Josh rolled for a reversal but left his arm out in a beautiful transition to armbar for Steve, the Rooster taps at 1:13.
Fight 4 – Light-heavyweights Hipa Fouvale vs. Tommy Ide
Greatland’s Tommy “The Potbelly Assassin” entered with great fanfare wearing a Santa’s outfit. Upon introduction, his opponent Hipa received loud boos by the crowd for his behavior at AFC 77 where he knocked out his opponent as he was attempting to touch gloves. Tommy’s wrestling pedigree and 25 pound weight advantage made the difference as he gained a massive takedown to begin the match. Hipa got up again, threw some punches but once again was slammed back to the mat for his efforts. From there Tommy locked in an arm triangle to end the match at 1:50.
Headliners for AFC 79 are announced where featherweight champ Doug Evans will face Maurice Mitchell and Lauren Taylor will challenge Willow Bailey for the featherweight women’s title.
UFC veteran Sean Sherk will be on hand to sign autographs and take pictures with fans and will also be hosting a seminar the following day at Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Lauren and Willow enter the cage and Kevin asks the challenger what she intends to do at AFC 79. “I intend to take that belt,” she answers. “I’ve invested a lot in this. I’m looking forward to this fight.”
After announcing that she’s looking for a knockout since all KO’s will be aired on Spike TV, Willow says, “I’m going to bring everything I have to the table. And nobody’s taking my belt.”
Fight 5 – Lightweights Gerald Pestrikoff vs. Derek Chalifour
This match turned out to be more than just wrestler against striker as Gerald was unable to control a motivated D-Wreck. Gerald came out and tried to give the impression that he would stand with Derek but everyone new it was only a matter of time before he shot in which he did. Fighters maneuvered for position but Derek was able to take Gerald’s back which he then transitioned to an armbar attempt. Gerald got out of it but quickly found himself nearly caught in a leg triangle. Gerald narrowly escaped but was threatened once again by an armbar making him tap this time around at 2:28. “That Red Bull kicked in fast,” Derek announced before dedicating his victory to the memory of his grandmother. “I hope she’s proud,” he said.
Fight 6 – Welterweights Jeremiah Campbell vs. Daniel Cook
Daniel shot right away taking down the tall and lanky Jeremiah (6’5”) gaining side control then mount with strong ground and pound. Jeremiah appeared to tap but it was only once so Al Medina let the match continue. A few more strikes however was all it took to end this one, 1:19 by tapout to GNP, the fourth win for ABJJ.
Fight 7 – Frank Watts vs. Jordan Thickstun
Frank spoiled Jordan’s comeback from injury as in what easily could be the Fight of the Night. Jordan missed a head kick early but Frank countered with a takedown and top position. Jordan tried multiple guillotine attempts but was unable to lock them in. Frank then took control and began landing hard elbows and body shots to end out the round.
Second started with impressive striking by Jordan but Frank countered with another takedown to begin the round. Jordan nearly closed a gogoplata but Frank escaped, moved to mount and once again ended the round on top.
Final round had Jordan throwing a good head kick followed by a guillotine attempt but Frank rolled out of it, gained side control before Jordan attacked his leg and nearly submitted him with a kneebar. Frank spun out and reigned down elbows and punches to finish strong, judges all agree, 30-27, giving the fifth victory of the night to ABJJ. “He has a lot of heart,” Franks said. “He actually had a really tight kneebar.”
Maurice Mitchell and Doug Evans entered the cage for an AFC 79 preview. They both seemed reluctant to throw verbal jabs in favor of real ones next month. “No more talk,” Doug says, “the time has come to fight.”
“Let’s do it,” Maurice countered, “I’m ready to do it right now. I’ve been ready.” The show will take place Wednesday night, January 12 at the Sullivan Arena.
Fight 8 – Bantamweights Terrence Mitchell vs. Zach Eastlick
Zach landed swift left jabs to begin the match as Terrence shot in and took his back to threaten a rear naked choke. Zach got out of it by standing and throwing his opponent to the mat. After a few punches from Zach, Terrence went for an armbar but Zach elevated him and threw him to the ground, this time with devastating effects. Terrence landed on his shoulder but his head unfortunate bounced on the floor knocking him out at 2:01 in the first round. Paramedics rushed out to aide the fighter whose legs were shaking in what was a scary moment for all. Terrence’s brother Maurice rushed into the cage to be with his brother as did AFC owner Sarah Johnston while cornerman Giovanni DeVera and other FVT supporters came to tears. After a long, quiet spell Terrence announced “I’m alright” before he was carried out on a stretcher.
Fight 9 – Middleweights Michael Madrid vs. Jacob Meyer
Jacob was simply outclassed in the main event as Michael imposed his superior striking on his opponent by keeping his distance and landing numerous kicks at will. But the knockout blow came at the 2:38 mark where the Gracie Barra veteran threw a beautiful spinning backfist to add to his highlight reel. “I’m back” he yelled before jumping the cage to overwhelming fanfare. “I feel great because I got the knockout I wanted.” It was a great way to end the night closing out a great year of fights for the AFC.