Article by Adam Crist, photos by Lance Stein
The highly anticipated Art Of War Cage Fighting’s innagural show went down Friday, April 28’th without a hitch! The Lanco Field house was packed full of eager fans to see local fan favorites and the melee that would ensue from the start of the night to the finish.
In the main event of the evening, Zak Kelly made his third step into the cage as a professional against Josh Stanley in what would prove to be an all around mixed martial arts war! Between punches, elbows, knees, and kicks, mixed with technical grappling and a slew of reversals that would make most dizzy, this bout included it all and kept the fans on their feet and their voices echoing throughout the venue.
Kelly fired heavy left head kicks at will, with Stanley blocking most, but the impact was evident as Stanley would shoot after Kelly’s heavy strikes. It was when the contest hit the floor that things got interesting as both fighters would go head-to-head exchanging submission attempts. Kelly attempting a straight arm lock, landing some solid ground and pound that had Stanley seemingly hurt, however, Stanley was able to endure the onslaught and had some submission attempts of his own as referee, Bill Bookwalter stayed closely on top of the fast paced action.
Most of the fight would lead the similar path as Kelly was clearly the better striker, hurting Stanley with anything landing and Stanley continuing his attempt to get the fight to the ground where they would both trade positions and multiple submission attempts.
The last round of this bout was a ground battle packed with a slew of submission attempts which ended with both fighters scrambling from position to position and having the fans roaring with such an intense back and forth war until the final bell rang in what proved to be one of the most active and action packed bouts of the evening.
Following the contest, Zak Kelly had this to say:
“It feels kind of surreal honesty. I mean I never really knew how far I’d actually go with this when I started. But after a few ammy fights I knew I was in this for the long haul. I’m proud of myself and I don’t say that often. This was a good fight. I needed that. Josh Stanley is one tough dude who pushed me from bell to bell. It was great proving that I can go the distance and also that I proved I can fight through adversity. I look forward to what the future holds.”
In the co-main event of the evening Blaine “Shuttdown” Shutt put a clinic on his opponent, Lloyd Thorton with his striking and transitioning to his ground game. The two fighters met center cage exchanging strikes until Shutt saw his opportunity to press Thorton against the cage, score a heavy slam and work to gain control of the back and a quick submission via rear naked choke was quickly executed.
Following Shutt’s win, he said he feels:
“Relief…It was a huge moment considering my birthday was the day before and today ( the day after ) being the 4th anniversary of my grandfather’s passing. And the cherry is the hump of having my heart broken from my ex and proving I can win with out her in my corner. And won’t let anything hold me back anymore. I wanted this back to the original reason why I wanted to win….to be the best and for my grandpa.”
Mike “No Mercy” Serrano stepped into his second professional fight against Adam Roll. Coming off of a loss, Serrano had a lot to prove coming into this bout considering losing his pro debut. However, that didn’t play any factor and “No Mercy” didn’t disappoint. From start to finish, it was all Serrano. He was clearly the bigger fighter, landing the heavier strikes, taking his opponent down at will and raining elbows on Roll’s head that would put most out. Roll fortunately endured the onslaught, got to his feet and shot in on Serrano as Serrano perfectly timed the D’arce choke and in minimal time, locked it up and forced the tap.
After the dominant win, Serrano had to say about his win:
“It felt well deserved after all the hard work day and nights between my day job as a standup forklift driver and training. I put in a lot of hard work in for this fight. If my pops was here that’s what he would want me to do… ‘attack first, be aggressive. Hit first ask questions later as my pops would say’ haha
My chest cold really had a impact on me after the fight… took me like 20 min to recover my breathing
FYI, I am now 3-0 at bantamweight under Gracie717. Got my hand raised all 3 times at that weight!”
Adam Atiyeh and Shane Wilson had fireworks written all over it. Especially for a title belt and this bout lived up to the hype! Two animals whom seemingly can’t stand each other stood head to head in the cage in front of hundreds of people to settle their differences.
This bout proved to be Atiyeh’s night as he was able to stick his jab to keep Wilson at bay. Atiyeh stuffed Wilson’s takedowns while firing with uppercuts which made Wilson think twice about coming in further, and favoring Atiyeh as the fight continued. However, Atiyeh left the venue knowing he was in a fight as Wilson’s left hooks found their mark several times and cutting Atiyeh’s right eye open.
However, at the end of the day, Atiyeh captured the inaugural Art Of War advanced rules amateur belt and had this to say about the contest:
“It felt like a cool breeze on a hot day, my man! Because shit was hot and real. That Shane dude lied to my face and then after I whooped his ass didn’t even shake my hand! But hey! It feels good I’m back training and onto bigger and better. Honestly, I should have finished him, so, I have work to do! But thank you for reaching out I’m grateful for the opportunity!”
Ben Moser took on Will Warrick for the 135lb. strap which proved to be one sided for the crisp striking, Ben Moser. Both fighters exchanged early with Moser landing the better of the two. Moser would utilize his Muay Thai skills in the clinch by firing brutal knees to Warrick’s mid section which seemingly took its toll after several exchanges.
In the second round, Warrick jumps on Moser quickly with wide shots, while Moser clinches early, fires knees and trips as a scramble ensues and Moser gaining full back mount and begins firing away to Warrick whom doesn’t intelligently defend himself and referee, Bill Bookwalter calls a stop to the contest, thus beginning the reign of a new champion.
Following the bout, Ben Moser said:
“Hey man, it felt great! We knew going into this fight that his cardio wasn’t the best. So the game plan was to wear him out and ground and pound him. We stuck to the game plan and pulled out the W. I’m looking forward to a title defense later this year!”
FULL RESULTS FROM ART OF WAR CAGE FIGHTING 1:
Zak Kelly defeated Josh Stanley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Blaine Shutt defeated Lloyd Thorton via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:03
Mike Serrano defeated Adam Roll via submission (D’arce choke) – Round 1, 4:42
Adam Atiyeh defeated Shane Wilson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Ed Shupe vs. Elijah Harris ruled a No-Contest due to an illegal upkick and Shupe not being able to continue. (Stopped at 2:10 into round 1)
Jon Tuxford defeated Gavin Nickel via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:58
Ben Moser defeated Will Warrick via TKO – Round 2, 0:59
Antoine Wertz defeated Eric Norris via TKO – Round 2, 1:30
Eugene Aubrey defeated James Murray via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:59
Kyle Cassel defeated Jordan Grenyion-Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
PHOTO GALLERY BELOW BY LSS PHOTOGRAPHY