“Cage Rage” at the Sherman

The third "Cage Rage" was hell on Saturday at the Sherman Theater. Photo Credit / David Nostrand
The third "Cage Rage" was hell on Saturday at the Sherman Theater. Photo Credit / David Nostrand

The third “Cage Rage” was hell on Saturday at the Sherman Theater.
Photo Credit / David Nostrand

BY DAVID NOSTRAND

SC Copy Editor

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, the third Cage Rage – an MMA (mixed martial arts) event featuring amateur and professional combatants – was held at the Sherman Theater.

The opening bouts consisted of three amateur fights with three two-minute rounds to decide the winner.

The night’s opening match between Scott Dirkson and Wally Hess was won by Dirkson in a unanimous judges’ decision.

Though the fight went the full three rounds, Dirkson continuously got the better of Hess, thanks to a superior ground game.

Because the rules of amateur fights do not allow punches to the face when one competitor has his opponent pinned, Dirkson spent much of this match wrestling to hold his position on top of Hess.

Jacob Bohn defeated JD Bender in another unanimous  decision. This match proceeded with less emphasis on the ground game, as Bender came out swinging with several haymakers, forcing Bohn to do some defensive and reactionary work. Clearly hyped up for his first MMA match, Bender’s unbridled enthusiasm left himself open for the more experienced Bohn to take advantage of Bender’s mistakes. Though it appeared Bender may have landed a finishing knockdown blow, the referee stopped the fight, as Bender’s punch was called illegal.

In the final amateur fight, Justin Adams beat Clint Pittendorfer, again in a unanimous decision. The most evenly matched of the first three fights, it appeared the winner could go to either contender.

Pittendorfer seemed to get the advantage in the first two rounds, while Adams took the third. To the chagrin of the crowd, as Pittendorfer is a local fighter who attracted a sizable group of supporters, Adams still managed to garner the judges’ support.

With the transition to professional fights, these decided in three five-minute rounds, the event’s slick-looking announcer promised more physical fights and less stoppages, as there are less rules in place to protect professional fighters. The first two matches delivered on this promise.

The first professional fight almost went the full five minutes into the first round before Bekzod Abdurakhmonoz defeated Philip Parrish by TKO (technical knockout).

Getting its first taste of the raw unchecked brutality MMA fans crave, the crowd rose to its feet and roared in approval as Abdurakhmonoz found an opening and delivered a series of punches without resistance from Parrish before the fight was called.

The night’s most lopsided match was between Julio Germain and Andrew Bell. Before even two minutes elapsed, Germain mounted Bell and delivered a series of blows to Bell’s head.

Without finding a way to defend himself, the fight was awarded to Germain by TKO.

The Cage Rage’s main even, between Demetrius Lindsay and William Baptiste, went the full three rounds, and the judges ruled in favor of Baptiste in the night’s only split decision. Much of this fight was spent with both athletes on their feet working each other against the cage. While not the most exciting style of play, Baptiste stuck with the strategy that could get him the win.

The Sherman Theater promised the “closest thing you’ll find to a UFC-level production,” and while the production was functional, the event did proceed with a few missteps. To its credit, once the event began half an hour late, very little downtime was afforded between matches, keeping the pace quick.

Because the referee was not mic’d up, the reason for the stoppages in the amateur fights were not explained to the audience, which became visibly frustrated during these times.

The Sherman Theater’s website and the event’s program listed four amateur fights, but only three were held. No explanation was given for the absence of the bout between James Fox and Michael Corter.

Email David at:

dnostrand@live.esu.edu

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