Three Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based fighters captured the straps of their respective weight classes at Cage Fury Fighting Championships 65 inside the 2300 Arena in Philly on May 20, 2017.
In the opening fight on the main card, Karl Robertson (4-0 MMA, 2-0 CFFC) fought Derrick Brown (7-4 MMA, 0-1 CFFC) in the light heavyweight category. Robertson wasted no time while landing sharp and heavy leg kicks.
Brown caught one and use it to put Robertson on the mat. It only took a few moments for Robertson to catch his opponent in a arm-bar, forcing Brown to tap.
The 26 year old fighter from Neptune, NJ., showed plenty of class when he dedicated his victory to Nick Catone and his late son Nicholas.
In the following bout, lightweights Cesar Balmaceda (3-0 MMA, 3-0 CFFC) and Joe Solecki (3-1 MMA, 3-1 CFFC) entered the cage. After the bout started, it took only a few moments before Solecki got a hold of Balmaceda’s back.
With almost a minute left, Solecki had sunk in a rear naked choke.
“I was a little worried because he did have it very deep,” Balmaceda said. “But I kept fighting and I heard my corner say ’45 seconds, 45 seconds’ and I just kept pulling his arm away from my neck and he gave it up.”
In the next two rounds, the Atlantic City native landed hard shots, both on the feet and inside Solecki’s guard. Balameceda was near a TKO finish in the third until Solecki was able to fend off Balmaceda long enough for the referee to stop the fight so the ringside physician can inspect the cut on his cheek.
When the fight concluded, the judges had it unanimously in Balmaceda’s favor.
The next bout was contested in the welterweight category between Chauncey Foxworth (6-4 MMA, 0-2 CFFC) against Bassil Hafez (7-4 MMA, 3-1 CFFC). Hafez worked quickly and submitted Foxworth in the first round via rear naked choke.
In continuation of the theme of first round submissions, chokes specifically, Mike “The Cowboy” Wilcox (6-3 MMA and CFFC) submitted Cristian “La Masacre” Torres (11-6 MMA, 0-1 CFFC) via mounted guillotine in the first round.
Two former contestants from “The Ultimate Fighter,” went at it next, Jamelle “The Beast” Jones (7-4 MMA, 4-1 CFFC) against Philadelphia’s Anton Berzin (5-1 MMA, 3-0 CFFC) to determine the Inaugural CFFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Berzin Hurt Jones with a right hand in the second round and although Jones fought through it, he eventually succumbed to strikes.
After his TKO victory, Berzin is the first Light Heavyweight fighter to raise a CFFC title.
In the co-main event of the evening, the hometown favorite Joe Lowry (6-0 MMA, 6-0 CFFC) fought the defending CFFC lightweight Champion Mike “Popezilla” Pope (7-3 MMA, 2-2 CFFC). This was Pope’s first defense of the CFFC lightweight title, but his fourth title fight (2-2) in the last year.
When the round started, Lowry wasted no time pressuring Pope, throwing and landing combinations before inadvertently poking Pope in the eye. After being looked at by the physician and a brief recovery period, the lightweight champion continued.
Lowry picked up where he left off and after some exchanges Lowry dropped Pope with a hard strike, winning via KO.
In his post fight interview, the new CFFC Lightweight Champion made it clear his goal is to make it to the UFC.
“UFC is the big show now,” Lowry said. “I want to get on there and show what I got. I want to fight the top guys, win belts and make money while doing it.
In the Main event, former WWE Tough Enough contestant Tanner “The Hammer” Saraceno (4-2 MMA, 1-1 CFFC) took on Sean Brady (6-0 MMA and CFFC) for the vacant CFFC welterweight title. Not to disappoint the crowd that was chanting “Brady” the entire fight.
The Daniel Gracie BJJ fighter took control of the fight quickly, and submitted Saraceno via guillotine for another first round finish.
“When I knew I had that choke, and I just felt him tap, my dreams became a reality,” Lowry said. “Winning the CFFC belt was a dream, ever since my teammate Jonavin [Web] had it, I wanted it- I knew where it could get me. Once I felt him tap it was the most memorable thing.”
By Matt Steck