Ohio Combat League 17 emanated from the Cherry Valley Event Center in Newark, Ohio on Saturday night, featuring a total of nine bouts.
In the main event, Antonio Castillo Jr. put on a vintage performance, returning to his ground and pound roots to stop Andrew Huffman in the first round. Castillo showed off some striking early in the fight before landing a takedown, where he went for a submission at first. When Huffman defended, Castillo instead turned to strikes, eventually flattening him out in a back mount and forcing a tap due to strikes. The finish came just 3:29 into the first round.
It was the second straight win for “The Mexican Muscle”, who is now 3-2 in his last five outings after a stretch where he went 2-11 despite starting his career with a 9-4 mark.
In the co-main event, Mataeo Garner used striking from the outside to pick his shots against the longer fighter in Darryl Booker to take home a unanimous decision win. It was the third victory in a row for Garner, who takes home the light heavyweight title with the victory.
Two debuting fighters hailing from the Newark area got the crowd to their feet in back-to-back fights, as Travon Eller and Keegan Gallagher both earned first round finishes. Eller eventually earned the stoppage with punches from back mount, after getting the fight to the ground early against Zach Hutchins.
Gallagher and Gerald Labriola put on one of the most entertaining two-minute fights that you’ll ever see, as the fighters went back and forth like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots before Gallagher finished the fight with punches from a mounted triangle position.
Michigan’s Jeremy Henry took a fight against Jerad Patterson on less than a week’s notice, but he showed up ready to fight just two weeks after being handed his first MMA loss. Patterson nearly finished a rear naked choke in the first round, but Henry stayed tough and eventually outlasted the Ohio native to earn a decision victory after a third round that saw him nearly finish a rear naked choke himself. The win came on Henry’s 28th birthday.
The early fights in the card featured some of the best upcoming talent in the state of Ohio. Two fighters from Revolution Fight & Fitness on the opposite end of the weight spectrum both put on impressive performances. Heavyweight Mark Gordon shrugged off multiple opponent changes leading up to the fight to earn a rear naked choke finish over Isaiah Gade in just 48 seconds.
His teammate flyweight RJ Dumont earned the first win of his career in his debut, locking in a triangle choke in the first round to earn the stoppage.
Former Ohio State wrestler and two-time state champion Jaden Mattox continued to show that his power may be the scariest part of his game, as he knocked out the previously unbeaten John Leark with left hand power shots from inside his guard on the ground. It was the second knockout victory in as many wins for one of the most exciting prospects in the state of Ohio.
In the night’s opening bout, 19-year-old Strong Style MMA product Joe Corrigan survived an early knockdown to turn the tide and eventually submit Malcom Jones with a rear naked choke in the first round. It was the second win for Corrigan, who continues the tradition of dominant fighters from Strong Style.
Ohio Combat League returns on March 5 to hold an event in Columbus in conjunction with the annual Arnold Sports Festival.
Ohio Combat League 17 results
Antonio Castillo Jr. def. Andrew Huffman via Submission (strikes) – Round 1, 3:29
Mataeo Garner def. Darryl Booker via Unanimous Decision – Light Heavyweight Title
Travon Eller def. Zach Hutchins via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:46
Keegan Gallagher def. Gerald Labriola via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:51
Jeremy Henry def. Jerad Patterson via Split Decision
Mark Gordon def. Isaiah Gade via Submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 0:48
Jaden Mattox def. John Leark via KO (punches) – Round 1, 1:55
RJ Dumont def. Zach Hendrick via Submission (triangle) – Round 1, 1:42
Joe Corrigan def. Malcolm Jones via Submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 2:28
Knockout of the Night: Jaden Mattox
Submission of the Night: RJ Dumon
Fight of the Night: Keegan Gallager vs. Gerald Labriola
David McKinney has covered MMA since he was in high school in 2008. A former co-owner of BluegrassMMA, he currently hosts the Beers and Beards and Brewery Adventures podcasts. He covers regional MMA in the Midwest with a focus on Ohio.