If UFC President Dana White was paying attention to last night’s Ring of Combat 60 card, there were at least two young fighters who should be on his radar.
Alexander ” AK-47 ” Keshtov faced off with James Quigg for the 135 lb championship. Keshtov entered the cage with a calm and smooth demeanor, as if it were his home. He felt out Quigg for a couple of minutes, exchanging some strikes, then landed a highlight reel worthy, spinning back kick at 2:54 of the first round. Referee Bill Bookwalter, who officiated the fight said “It happened so fast. Keshtov couldn’t have hit him more flush. The heel perfectly to the jaw. I dove in there as fast as I could because I knew he (Quigg) was out.”
Alex, out of K-Dojo Warrior Tribe, has all the tools in the toolbox and stands perfect at 9-0. It’s just a matter of time until he is competing on live TV or PPV.
The main event pitted Tiger Schulman prodigy, Mike “The Lone Wolf ” Trizano (4-0) up against James “Speedy ” Gonzalez (4-1) who represents Serra-Longo.
Adding intrigue to this fight was the fact that these two fought each other in their pro debuts back at ROC 54, eighteen months ago. It ended in the same result as Trizano won on all three judges scorecards 30-27, 20-27, and 29-28.
Trizano stalked his opponent the entire fight. Gonzalez did a solid job, trying to counter and get takedowns, but was unable to match the brute strength and ferociousness of the new 145 lb champion. Gonzalez did manage to get a takedown in the third round, but Trizano was just too powerful and fought his way out of it. The only thing keeping the Lone Wolf from the next level, may be experience. Talent wise, I think he belongs, but five fights may not be enough for him to earn that call, yet. 145 lbs has a lot of good fighters on the regional scene, Mike may have to defend his belt a couple of times, but regardless, he’s a monster and is a name to remember.
Taj “the Black Spartan” Abdul-Hakim won the 170 lb title with a first round (1:29) TKO stoppage due to strikes. Taj landed a nice combination that sent his opponent, Willie Hosch to the ground. He then jumped right on top and landed several hammer fists, forcing the stoppage. The Black Spartan now stands at 6-1 and is another ROC alum with higher level hopes. He’s a very fun fighter to watch perform in the cage if you’re a fan. Not so much if you’re his opponent.
Stephen “the Predator” Regman took home the 155 lb title with a first round KO of Anthony Giacchina. Regman predicted a first or second round knockout and backed up his words with a right hand that put Giacchina down and out. Regman’s last fight was in front of Dana White and after that fight, White asked him how come it took him so long (3rd round TKO) to end the fight. This time, Regman came out guns blazing. He’s another ROC alum who feels he is on the radar of the UFC as he improved to 7-3.
Egyptian National Boxing Team stand-out, Ahmed Samir Hefny, who is trained by Bellator’s Liiam Mcgeary, came into his title fight (185) against Eric “the Viking” Roncoroni with only 1 professional MMA fight, charged Roncoroni at the opening bell and caught him with a right hand that knocked him to the canvas. He then jumped on top of his opponent as the referee hustled to get in and stop the fight just 11 seconds in. I’m looking forward to getting a better look at him when he defends his belt.
In a tremendous match-up of two bulldogs at 135 lbs, Phil Caracappa won a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Brandon “Mega” Urquijo. This fight could have gone either way. It was nonstop action from the opening bell. Caracappa is a lifelong wrestler and did score on some takedowns, but readily stood and struck with Mega for much of the fight. I thought Urquijo did win the stand-up battle, but two of the judges gave more credit for the takedowns. A very hotly, contested, hard to judge, battle between two excellent mixed martial artists. The place was on it’s feet for most of this fight. Kudos to both men as they left it all in the cage. This result made Dante Rivera BJJ 3-0 for the night. (Caracappa, Dooling, Joe Schick)
Fight of the night, to me, had to go to Kenny Foster and Tim Dooling. This fight at 145 lbs was a war from the opening bell. Dooling took home the win with a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Dooling lost the first round as Foster controlled the attack. Rounds 2 and 3 were a complete stand-up battle back and forth with many vicious exchanges. Dooling seemed to have more in the gas tank and eked out the victory. A hell of a fight. Both men were bruised and visibly battered after the final bell. Dooling vs Trizano may make a lot of sense and be a great bout as Tim has gone 6-1 over his last 7 fights.
Joe Schick by unanimous decision 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 over Phil Doig at 145 lbs
Nekruz Mirkhojaev by unanimous decision 30-26, 30-27, 29-28 over Jerome Mickle at 155 lbs
Sodik Ismoilov by unanimous decision 30 -27 on all cards over Pampos Grigoriou at 145 lbs
Alex Myers by unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 at heavyweight over Edwin Smart