Art of War Cage Fighting 16 will be held Friday, February 7 from the famed 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Seven fights were scheduled to take place, with a main event pairing middleweight champion Andre Petroski against the challenger, Andre Hall.
The night’s co-main feature paired Martinez BJJ’s Will Dill against AMA Fight Club and Gracie New Jersey’s Vilson Ndregjoni.
The opening bout of the night featured a pair of amateurs competing in the heavyweight division. Sean Glass was the first fighter of the night to make his way down the ramp towards the cage. His opponent, Bryan Torres, made the walk next, seeking to earn his first mixed martial arts win. Glass opened the contest with a series of kicks, followed by a knee in the clinch. He would continue to assault Torres with strikes until Torres press Glass up against the cage. Glass worked for a standing guillotine but then transitioned to strikes once again, dropping Torres in the first round.
In the next contest, 185-pounders Matt Slaughter and Payton Phillips made their way to the cage. Phillips, a Gracie New Jersey and World Class Boxing prospect, is the physically larger and more imposing fighter of the two. Slaughter is cut immediately on the side of his left eye from strikes. Slaughter is not letting a little blood scare him. He’s pushing forward, letting Phillips know he is in a fight. After a brief exchange, Slaughter grabs his eye and the referee temporarily halts the contest for the cageside physician to take a look. The doctor allows the fight to continue. With just seconds left the two competitors tie up and Phillips locks on a standing guillotine. It appears that Slaughter may have tapped just as the round expired and the fight is over.
Dennis Norton and Luis Angueira went at each other right from the get go. Norton, using his wrestling, attempts several takedowns on Angueira. Norton throws a punch that missed and Angueira looks at him and says “what was that?” The two scramble to the canvas, Angueira gets on top and throws a punch that lands flush on the ear of Norton. He immediately grabs the side of his head and screams. The referee temporarily stops the contest. The two corners get into a verbal altercation and Timmy Tyler (who is Angueira’s corner) gets ejected from the building. The physician looks at Norton’s ear and the fight is stopped. The officials call the bout a “no contest.”
The ladies would make their way to the cage for a strawweight bout. Taylor Samarco immediately took the fight to Nell Diebel, smothering her with strikes before forcing the fight to the canvas. From a dominant top position, Samarco threw hammerfists to the body. The first round should easily be scored in favor of the “Warrior of God” Samarco. The two ladies are standing and trading shots back and forth to open the second round before Samarco takes the fight to the ground and works the body. Diebel locks up choke from the body. The two are now in north-south position. Samarco moves to the side, locks up the arm, sits back and forces Diebel to tap. The two ladies showed true class. They went to war and then after the fight consoled each other as Diebel was on the stool being checked by the physician. They hugged multiple times and even as the ring announcer read Samarco’s name in victory, Diebel used her good arm to pound on her chest in applause and say “good job.”
We now move to a 20-minute intermission.
Following the break, Domo Brewer was the first man inside the cage. He would meet the night’s biggest ticket seller in Cody Russell at 155-pounds. This would be the first professional bout of the evening. Brewer, undefeated at 2-0, traveled from North Carolina for the contest. Russell, making his pro debut, received a loud pop from the audience as ring announcer Chuck Roberts called his name. The fight is underway. Brewer is the first to attack with a leg kick. Brewer connects with a right and shoots in for a takedown but Russell denies him. Russell tees off, shoots in and lefts Brewer off his feet. Seconds later, Brewer standing, knocks Russell down. Each fighter finding brief moments of success before the momentum changes. Russell lands a knee in the clinch. Brewer lands a flush uppercut that makes Russell smile. They exchange, Brewer connects and sends Russell’s mouthpiece flying. Russell pops up, snatches Brewer up and slams him down. The round ends with the two men pressed up against the cage in Brewer’s corner.
Russell lands a spinning back kick in the second, but Brewer is not impressed. They stand center cage, Brewer connects with Russell’s nose. Russell chops the legs of his opponent and Brewer counters with a right. Russell lands a kick to the body that echoes throughout the 2300 Arena. Russell presses forward and Brewer takes him down. They stand, Russell grabs his opponent’s leg, spins him around and knees him in the face. They move back to the center and the round ends there. Another very difficult round to score. We have ourselves a fight ladies and gentlemen.
The third and final frame starts and immediately Brewer comes in and Russell connects. Brewer landing push kicks. Brewer rushes for a takedown but they just end up against the cage. The crowd getting behind Russell. Brewer’s corner getting louder, trying to ignite a spark in their fighter. Russell connects with a spinning backfist halfway through the round. He does it again. Brewer needs to do something if he wants to win here in Philadelphia. With 50-seconds left in the fight, Russell shoots in and takes Brewer down, ultimately denying him the opportunity to win. Brewer works free and goes on the attack but it is not enough to put Russell away. All three judges score it in favor of Russell.
Will Dill makes his way to the cage with the most interesting walkout music selection of the night in Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams.” He faces Vilson Ndregjoni in the second pro bout of the evening. As soon as the bell sounds Ndregjoni shoots in. Dill able to work out of the exchange and move to the center of the cage. Ndregjoni shoots again, misses, and now Dill is pushing his opponent up against the cage. Ndregjoni locks up the neck but Dill has an arm in to defend. They are right in front of Dill’s corner where coach Will Martinez can coach his pupil. Dill escapes and applies a squeeze on the body, working to half guar and then standing. Dill slams his opponent and then connects with an uppercut as they work to the feet. Ndrejoni shoots again but seems to be rushing it as Dill pushes him off and to the canvas. They exchange leg kicks at the bell.
Dill keeping the fight in the center of the cage as Ndregjoni circles around him. Dill landing the big shots. Once again Dill has control in his corner. Ndregjoni locks up the neck once again, rolling Dill over. Dill, calm and relaxed, fights out and back up to this feet. Ndregjoni’s corner shouts “Break his neck.” Ndregjoni throwing knees to the body while holding his opponent’s neck. Ndregjoni will not let go, but Dill will not give up. Ndregjoni throwing down punches to the head from back position before the round expires.
Ndregjoni shoots in to open the third. Dill counters, takes his back and applies a deep rear-naked choke. Somehow Ndregjoni survives and works out of it. After an exchange in the center, Ndregjoni once again works for a front guillotine choke. Dill must have been drilling this defense all month long because he is not letting this hold finish him. Dill defends the hold for more than three minutes before the fight concludes. We go to the judges’ scorecards. Ndregjoni wins unanimously.
It’s time for the main event…. no glove touch. The champion immediately works the body with a big kick. His striking is crisp. Petroski shoots in, takes Andre Hall down. Not much done on the ground so they work to the feet. Petroski throws a push kick. Hall lands a jab. Petroski throws a big left but misses. I’ve seen enough Andre Petroski fights to know something seems off right now. He isn’t moving as fluid as normally does. Petroski throwing shots but missing. Blood coming from his nose. I’m intently watching Petroski on the stool in between rounds to see if he complains of an injury, but nothing yet. Let’s see what happens here in the second frame. Petroski coming to life with the strikes. He clinches Hall up in the corner and lands two knees. Petroski teeing off on Hall who keeps trying to take the fight to the ground. Whatever was bothering Petroski in the first, has gone out the window as he looks to finish here. A switch is flipped and Petroski unloads to retain his title.
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Complete Art of War Cage Fighting 16 results below:
185-pounds – Andre Petroski (champion) defeated Andre Hall via TKO – Round 2, 3:37 (for AOW middleweight title)
150-pounds – Vilson Ndregjoni defeated Will Dill via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
155-pounds – Cody Russell defeated Domo Brewer via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
115-pounds – Taylor Samarco defeated Nell Diebel via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 1:50
170-pounds – Luis Angueira vs. Dennis Norton ruled a no contest due to illegal strike to downed opponent
185-pounds – Payton Phillips defeated Matt Slaughter via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:59
Heavyweight – Sean Glass defeated Bryan Torres via TKO – Round 1, 1:42