St. James, N.Y. – The eighth installment of MMA Platinum Gloves took place last night, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, at the Sports Area on Long Island. The doors swung open at 7 p.m., to a long line of fans waiting to support their fighters. Nine bouts of MMA action began shortly after the doors opened. The main event was a featherweight title matchup between LionSport MMA’s Errol Murphy and Bellmore Kickboxing’s Paul Geraci. The title fight went the distance delivering the fans three rounds of action.
In the main event, Geraci fought three solid rounds against Murphy for the Featherweight belt. Both warriors entered the cage with unblemished records. These two tall lean fighters started round one off with small exchanges. Geraci used low kicks to find his range as Murphy answered with strong combinations. Murphy attempted a takedown, which was stuffed by Geraci, whom took his opponents back earning full-mount. The two scrambled into a front head-lock for Geraci and eventually found themselves back on their feet standing in the clinch. Geraci ended round one with solid knees to the body and Murphy answered with a few strong straights.
The second round began with heavy pressure and low kicks by Geraci. Murphy continued to answer the pressure with counters. Each fighter delivered loud body kicks. Murphy found some success in the second round with his hooks. Murphy started applying pressure until Geraci scored a takedown at the end of the second round.
In the final three minutes of the third round, Geraci came out on the attack landing a body kick. Murphy also had a head kick of his own that made the crowd react. After Murphy appeared to be gaining on Geraci in the third round as he was putting together strong combinations, he decided to go in for a takedown. Geraci stuffed the shot and wound up in full-mount. A scramble began and the Bellmore Kickboxing fighter took back control. He transitioned from half-guard to full-mount using head and body strikes to advance his transitions. The round ended strong for Geraci as he rained from the top with fists to the face of Murphy.
Paul Geraci improved his record to 3-0 against Errol Murphy (3-1) by earning a unanimous decision by a score of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Phil Barns started the event off with his first round, first minute TKO victory over Juan Penaloza. Barnes evened his record up at 1-1.
In the second fight of the evening Jude Paulemon (Church St.) earned a split decision victory over Tom Kern (Bellmore Kickboxing) by a score of 29-28, 29-28, 28-29.
Paulemon won the split decision with his clinch. He landed multiple knees from the clinch while they danced all over the cage. Both fighters were unable to score a takedown throughout the competition’s multiple events and remained standing throughout the bout. Paulemon and Kern went back and forth with flurries. Heading into the third round they were even at one round a piece, and Paulemon’s knees via the clinch took over as the last round was coming to a conclusion.
John Gotti (Bellmore Kickboxing) suffered his first loss to Francesco Merante of Black Belt Academy. Merante made his amateur MMA debut in a dominating performance against Gotti.
The fight started off right away with an ankle pick by Merante. He climbed right into full-mount and delivered a couple of strikes. Merante was reversed a couple of times during the fight, but managed to quickly answer with a reverse of his own. After the two fighters reached their feet in the first round, Merante wasted no time in scoring another takedown. He took the back of Gotti and then attempted a Rear Naked Choke.
The start of round 2, Gotti caught Merante with a head kick stunning him for a moment. The Black Belt Academy fighter quickly recovered and dragged Gotti to the canvas again. While in full-guard he worked his strikes. After a transition Merante slid into full-mount where he delivered more punches. Gotti pulled off a reversal where he claimed his opponents back and landed a few of his own strikes. After Merante’s own reversal he finished the round with a crucifix and several powerful punches.
The third round was by far the best round for Gotti. He stuffed Merante’s initial takedown in the round, using a guillotine to defend it. Once they got back to their feet, Gotti went for a massive head kick that Merante ducked and scored a takedown. Merante quickly found himself back in full-mount. A couple of reversals had Gotti on top landing massive body punches, then Merante was back on top.
Merante frustrated Gotti (1-1) throughout the entire fight with his dominating wrestling skills. The score appears closer than the fight actually was as the judges scored the fight 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 in unanimous favor for Merante (1-0).
An honorable mention goes to the impressive first round triangle choke by James Gonzalez (Serra BJJ). Gonzalez improves his amateur record to 3-1 with his 2:39 submission.
The official results are as follows:
145- Title Bout- Paul Geraci def. Errol Murphy via Unanimous Decision 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
155- Nyko Harrynarine def. Rich Appenzeller via Rear Naked Choke in Round 3 at 2:53.
170- Ryan Castro def. Drew Nolan via TKO in Round 1 at :22.
185- Francesco Merante def. John Gotti via Unanimous Decision 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
HWT- Brett Sanchez def. Damon Mulazzi via TKO in Round 1 at :32.
205- Vinny DeRiso def. Michael Merante via TKO in Round 2 at :25.
160- James Gonzalez def. Eric Finch via Submission, Triangle Choke in Round 1 at 2:39.
170- Jude Paulemon def. Tom Kern via Split Decision 29-28, 29-28, 28-29.
160- Phil Barnes def. Juan Penaloza via TKO in Round 1 at 1:00.
MMA Platinum Gloves will return to the Sports Arena in St. James in April. Fans hope to see the highly anticipated Bantamweight title fight between Shaquan Moore and Danny Ochart.
Kyle Carroll is a Long Island, N.Y. native and avid MMA and amateur wrestling fan. He has been a part of the wrestling community for nearly 20 years. Carroll has six years of experience coaching high school wrestling. His father coached high school wrestling over 35 years, passing on his strong knowledge. Carroll has been reporting MMA news since January 2011. The former wrestler’s coverage includes the 2012 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials, 2013 & 2016 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championship, and numerous MMA events (Bellator MMA, King of the Cage, North American Fighting Championship, and Glory).