It was a lively and raucous crowd that filled the Crown Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for the Carolina Fight Promotions 16 event on Saturday night. The fighters did not disappoint as both the amateur and professional fighters came out and put on a great show. My only complaint is that a portion of the crowd(like 10 people right behind me had very little knowledge of MMA and were yelling for the referee to stand the fighters up when one of the fighters had side control on the ground several times throughout the night. Uh, you don’t do that). Other than that they were great and provided a good atmosphere for MMA.
The night began with a cool CFP highlight montage on the big screen and then a presentation of the colors from our military troops followed by a good rendition of the Star Spangled Banner from a young female that was local to the area. Then the fights began, and the thing I like about last night was that there was very little time wasted between fights. Let’s get to the fights:
Richard Affong-Waithe vs. Aaron Reyes
Both fighters came out with Reyes getting a good pop from the crowd since he was local to the area. However, they wouldn’t be on his side by the time the fight ended. After Reyes declined to touch gloves in the center of the cage the fight began and Reyes was able to scoop Affong-Waithe up for a big slam after a brief initial exchange. However, Affong-Waithe was able to reverse Reyes and get back up to his feet and they both exchanged strikes in a wild flurry that saw both fighters do significant damage. Reyes was able to get another takedown and mount Affong-Waithe, but Affong Waithe was able to get top position after Reyes went for an armbar and missed it. Affong-Waithe took Reyes back and was working for a rear naked choke as the bell sounded to end the first round.
The second round began with Reyes landing leg kicks. Affong-Waithe answered with a big right hand. Affong-Waithe landed an illegal kick to the head(amateurs). I couldn’t tell if the kick landed solid, but Reyes seemed out of it or was doing a really good job of acting(he feel awkwardly which drew a response from the crowd). After a pause in the action a point was deducted from Affong Waithe. The action resumed and Reyes got a big takedown and landed some ground and pound. They get back up to their feet and Reyes landed a huge right hand that rocked Affong-Waithe. Reyes swarmed and Affong-Waithe tried to answer with a knee but it landed a little low which prompted Reyes to fall like he got shot at point blank range with a double barreled shotgun. The crowd gave him a hard time for all the gestures he was making. The action finally resumed and Affong-Waithe landed a big right hand that makes Reyes retreats. Affong-Waithe again gets Reyes to the ground, takes his back and is working for the rear naked choke as the bell sounded.
The final round began with an exchange from both fighters. Affong-Waithe landed a good knee but Reyes answered with flurry of his own and got a takedown while landing some ground and pound. Affong-Waithe went for an armbar but missed with Reyes ending up on side control. Affong-Waithe swept him to get back to his feet and landed a big knee and punches. They clinch with Reyes moderately going for a kimura as the bell sounded to end the fight. The judges originally scored the fight a split decision win for Reyes, but later in the night officially ruled the bout a draw. The crowd boo’ed Reyes heavily when the decision was announced initially and during his post-fight interview.
Francisco Mercado vs. Dale Arnold
The fighters came out and I immediately noticed how much larger Mercado is than Arnold. The fight began and Mercado wastes no time in shooting a double leg takedown and putting Arnold on his back. He obtained side control and spent the entire round there landing hammerfists and knees to the body. He didn’t do much damage, but landed enough that it made no sense for the referee to stand them up even though the crowd was dying for the referee to do so.
The second round began and Mercado landed a double leg takedown right off the bat. Again, hammerfists and knees to the body. I could tell that Mercado was working for an arm triangle and he cinches it up after mounting Arnold, and then hopped over to the opposite site to lock it in and Arnold was forced to tap. Good debut for Mercado winning via arm triangle in rd. 2
David Emerson vs. Jason Dillon
The fighters come out, both pretty calm and stoic expressions. The fight began and they trade leg kicks. Dillon lands another leg kick and then shoots for a takedown and gets it. He had Emerson against the cage and locked up a standing guillotine. It was so deep that Emerson tapped as Dillon was beginning to torque it and pull guard. Dillon via guillotine in rd. 1
Walter Smith vs. Antwon Harris
The fighters came out both seemingly very respectful of one another and that was just foreshadowing of what was to come. The fight began and after a brief feeling out period Harris got a single leg takedown with Smith locking up full guard. After a brief moment on the bottom, Smith is able to sweep Harris and pins in against the cage and the rest of the round is spent there with Smith landing a little ground and pound.
The second round began and I noticed Harris has his hands onhis knees breathing heavily. Both fighters engaged in a brief exchange with Smith going for a takedown and getting it. He’s able to mount Harris and land some pretty good ground and pound. Harris rolls and Smith takes his back and then Harris takes the mount again when Harris rolled to his back again. Harris verbally submitted and was motioning towards his chest. Harris spent a while on his back talking to doctors. Then his opponent eventually helped him get up to sit on a stool. Then after sitting there, Smith helped his opponent get out of the cage along with the doctors. Just a tremendous showing of sportsmanship from Walter Smith. Smith wins via verbal submission in rd. 2
The next fight was for the CFP interim middleweight title(amateurs). The current champion Samuel Vanderslice was injured so Kyle Sefcik took the fight on short notice to face Andre Adams. Since the fight went all five rounds I’m provide a synopsis of how the fight went.
Andre Adams vs. Kyle Sefcik
This fight was a back and forth affair and was Pro MMA Now’s fight of the night. The story of this fight was two things. Kyle Sefcik got the better of the stand up exchanges, but had no answers for the wrestling of Adams or his ground and pound. That’s how the first round went with Adams landing several takedowns and some really good ground and pound, but Sefcik was able to catch Adams and drop him right at the end of the first round.
The second round was more of the same with Adams landing two takedowns coupled with ground and pound. Sefcik landed a big right hand and a nice body kick while the fight was standing.
The third round saw Adams land a single leg takedown and move to side control, landing knees to the body. Sefcik was going for a Americana from the bottom as the bell sounded but it wasn’t close to being locked in.
The fourth round saw Adams with a takedown and ground and pound. The referee stands them up and Adams lands a right with another takedown. He lets Sefcik up and Sefcik landed a HUGE right hand, but Adams answered with a huge slam and ended the round landing some ground and pound.
The fifth and final round was more of the same. An Adams takedown with ground and pound. He mounted Sefcik and landed more strikes. Adams takes his back and looks for the rear naked choke but Sefcik defended well getting it back to halfguard as the bell sounded. The judges awarded the fight to Adams via split decision who will now fight Samuel Vanderslice to unify the CFP middleweight titles down in Myrtle Beach in October.
I disagree in that I thought Adams won the fight unanimously. He controlled the majority of the fight. I give major props to Sefcik though. He took this fight on short notice and did a lot of damage while the fight was standing. I thought Adams made the fight more difficult than it should have been though. It was clear that Sefcik didn’t have much when taken down, yet Adams let him up several times for no apparent reason.
Chris Kirkpatrick vs. Joe Sullivan
This one didn’t take long and was the first professional bout on the card. Both fighters came out and Kirkpatrick seemed all business and that’s how he fought. The fight began and Sullivan landed a left hook, but Kirkpatrick got a huge slam. Kirkpatrick takes his back and wings big punches. Sullivan rolls and Kirkpatrick mounted him landing punches. Sullivan gave up his back again and Kirkpatrick just unloaded on him which put Sullivan away face down on the canvas. Kirkpatrick wins via KO. Impressive pro debut.
George Hickman vs. James Watts
Both fighters came out and Watts was the hyped up animated one with Hickman looking calm and collective. The fight began and Hickman landed a leg kick and a jab. Watts answered with a right hand. Hickman with a jab followed by a takedown in the center of the cage. Hickman takes Watts over near his corner against the cage. Hickman landed some nice short elbows and then they scramble near the cage. Hickman landed a devastating knee to Watts head that put him away. Hickman via KO in rd. 1
Andrew Osborne vs. Jason Kwast
Both fighters come out and Osborne refuses to touch gloves before the fight. This was a pretty technical standup fight with Osborne showing an exceptional sprawl when Kwast tried to take him down. The first round saw Kwast landing with leg kicks and Osborne landing a knee in the clinch. That was the story of the first round with Kwast landing leg kicks and Osborne defending takedowns landing knees in the clinch thereafter.
The second round was more of the same but with Osborne becoming a little more aggressive. Kwast with leg kicks. Osborne answered with a body kick and a takedown in which Kwast immediately got back up from. Osborne with a leg kick of his own and then a jab. Kwast with a leg kick. Osborne came forward with punches and after shrugging off a takedown attempt by Kwast and finished the flurry with a nice body kick.
The third round saw Osborne land a nice right and a knee to the body. Kwast landed two kicks with Osborne answering both. Osborne landed another body kick after briefly clinching. Osborne with another body kick and then a flying knee. They trade punches as the bell sounds with Kwast winning the exchange slightly. Osborne won via split decision(Very close fight, but I think the judges got it right. I had Osborne winning the final two rounds).
Zed Mitchell vs. Jeremy Haskell
This fight featured the controversial call of the night. Both fighters come out and touch gloves. Haskell with a takedown landing in side control up against the cage. Haskell with knees to the body. Mitchell scrambles, lands an elbow to the body but Haskell gets a big slam landing in side control. Haskell with short elbows and apparently Zed Mitchell tapped. I couldn’t see it from my position. Mitchell protested briefly, but not adamantly that he didn’t tap. He then asked his corner if he tapped. Either way, Haskell won via submission(strikes).
The final fight was between Pro MMA Now #1 ranked welterweight Will Estes and #2 ranked Jake Whitfield with Whitfield putting his CFP welterweight title on the line. It was complete domination by the champion as he secured the Pro MMA Now #1 welterweight ranking.
Jake Whitfield vs. Will Estes
The fight began with Whitfield landing outside leg kicks. Estes returned fire, but Whitfield is able to land a nice left hook. Whitfield with a takedown but Estes scrambles to stay on his feet. Whitfield with another nice leg kick and then gets another takedown. Whitfield is able to mount Estes with about a minute left in the round. Whitfield with short elbows from the top. Estes tries to defend and Whitfield locks up an arm triangle submission. It’s deep but the bell sounds to end the round.
The second round began with Whitfield landing a leg kick and a solid straight right to the body. Estes lands a body kick. Whitfield with a nice 1-2 followed with a takedown into Estes’s halfguard. Whitfield works and mounts Estes landing some ground and pound. Whitfield locks up another arm triangle submission in which he has Estes in for at least 2 mins. Estes would not tap and defended just well enough that he didn’t go to sleep.
The third round began with Whitfield getting a takedown after eating a knee from Estes. Whitfield mounts Estes. Whitfield goes for an armbar but Estes escapes and ends up in top position. Estes with some ground and pound. Whitfield sweeps Estes and locks up another armbar and this one is DEEP. Estes was face down on the canvas with his arm fully extended with Whitfield torquing it(I’m talking like 190 degrees here) and Estes would not tap even though he was noticeably wincing. Just incredible.
The fourth round saw Estes come out a little more aggressive. He landed a knee but Whitfield got another takedown fight in front of me. Whitfield easily mounts the visibly tired Estes and just unleashes ground and pound. A single elbow lands for Whitfield which immediately produces a cut. Blood is flowing and Whitfield can sense the end is near and pours in on with ground and pound(getting blood on me) forcing the referee to save Estes. Whitfield retains his CFP welterweight title via TKO(ref stoppage) in rd. 4
Whitfield said that he felt he was the third best fighter in North Carolina and that he was the #1 welterweight. He said that he wants to fight once more on the CFP card in October and that he’ll call it a career at that point.
So as you can see, there was a lot of action. I certainly enjoyed the show and would encourage you to hit up the next CFP show in October that will take place in Myrtle Beach, SC. Stay turned to Pro MMA Now for details on that card as they emerge, and if you are a fan of local MMA in North and South Carolina this is the #1 spot for coverage. Be sure to become a fan on Facebook and you can follow me on twitter at @KelvinHunt for your MMA news!