Gut Check Championship Series returned to the Greater Boys and Girls club of Newark, Delaware for a night that won’t soon be forgotten. With a cold blooded war of a co-main event, culminating in a super heavyweight knockout that’s certain to go viral, the Delaware based promotion made history March 23 by having its first professional Muay Thai bout ever in the “First State”, which alone was worth the price of admission, but assured the fans that they were in store for something special and would be erupting on their feet and hanging on every punch and kick thrown before the night was over.
The main event featured “Bazooka” Joe Stripling vs. “Cowboy” Heath Harris for the vacant Delaware WKA Full Rules Muay Thai Super Heavyweight title. This bout has the fans roaring in anticipation and generated an energy in the crowd that’ll carry over for days.
In the opening stanza, Harris opens with a leg kick which is parried and Stripling fires with some low kicks of his own. Harris begins pawing with some jabs and leg kicks but Stripling is finding his rhythm and showing the difference in power very early with the keeping his opponent at bay, yet stalking when he opens up with his shots. Harris begins taunting Stripling and staying on the outside as he mixes it up between head and body, but Stripling maintains the center of the ring and keeping Harris on the outside with his teep kicks and heavy punch combos.
With some slight technical difficulties to the ring, the bout is halted as the ring is patched up and the fighters get back underway.
Stripling resumes the action with some jabs followed by a side kick, culminating in a spinning wheel kick, but narrowly missing. Harris uses his time wisely by coming after Stripling with thunderous punch to kick combinations. Stripling would waste no time firing back, remaining active and landing the more significant strikes. After some circling, Harris threw an overhand right that Stripling evaded, stepped back and planted his hand on the canva to cartwheel his legs up, over, and through his opponents head. A strike not often seen in combat sports (especially super heavyweight fighters), but referred to as the Saenchai Kick (Cartwheel kick), putting an end to Harris’ evening and declaring “Bazooka” Joe Stripling the WKA Delaware State Full Rules Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion.
In the co-main event of the evening, Deauntre Smith took on Brian D’Amato in a 145lb contest that served as an all out slugfest.
In the opening round, both fighters touched gloves and Smith starts pawing with the jab which D’Amato returns with a leg kick. Smith looks to force the attack early but D’Amato isn’t backing down an inch meeting him in the middle to exchange heavy leather. After an accidental slip Smith comes forward firing hard punch combos that has D’Amato weathers the storm as these fighters are exchanging early with vicious intentions behind every punch/kick combination. These fighters spent the majority of the first round brawling to feel out who is the tougher of the two. In a late clinch at the end of the first, Smith fires a knee up the middle that hits D’Amato below the belt to put an end to the round.
Both fighters begin firing downstairs, exchanging leg kicks. Smith fires a right hand down the middle which connects flush which has D’Amato wobbled momentarily. Smith follows up with a nasty punch combinations upstairs to put Dmato down for the count. D’Amato wastes no time getting to his feet and quickly shrugs the cobwebs. D’Amato comes darting forward to show Smith he’s ok but Smith smells blood in the water and stays on the attack with straight 1-2 combinations that put his D’Amato on the floor once more to close the round and pick up some points in the process.
Smith fires a kick that D’Amato catches and tries to sweep Smith. However, Smith is able to stay composed and standing and charges his D’Amato with straight punch combinations that has D’Amato backing up in his tracks, but still stays active, getting in and out with his strikes. D’Amato’s backs up to the ropes and the fighters clinch and start to go to work the inside with knees. After some time spent in the clinch, the referee sees a break in action and calls for the fighters to reset. D’Amato comes flying forward with Superman punch that doesn’t find it’s mark on the exhausted Smith in the final seconds to close this contest.
Joe Stripling Def. Heath Harris via first round KO
Deauntra Smith Def. Brian D’Amato via Unanimous Decision
Casey Vizenor Def. Julie Keller via Unanimous Decision
James McCaffery vs. Lateef Scott (Exhibition bout)
Heather Hoskins Def. Rae Coleman via Unanimous Decision
Brandon Levin Def. Angelo Lochetto via Unanimous Decision
Juwan Gonzalez Def. Nick Hourit via KO 45 seconds into round 1
Steven Brown Def. Jason Oakes via Majority Decision
Ricky Saldan Def. John Wunder via Unanimous Decision
Fermin Ramos Vs. David Sykes (Exhibition bout)
Adrian Aguirre Def. Bills Perkins via Unanimous Decision
Currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Wilmington University, Adam’s passion for the sport only grows stronger when a fighter’s voice can be heard. He thrives on asking detailed questions to inspire the thoughts behind the punches in hopes that each fighter can find their proper justice. Specializing in pre and post fight interviews for MyMMANews, Adam strives to keep the fight fans up to speed with the most recent and authentic MMA news possible.
He is Co-promoter of Delaware’s premier kick-boxing and Muay Thai organization, IBF Promotions. Recently he has also accompanied MMA organizations Global Proving Ground and XCC as Co-host and ringside commentator.