St. George, Virginia - I am on assignment in St. George, Virginia for tonight’s Combat Sports Challenge 26 card that will be taking place outside of the Harley Davidson dealership in Colonial Heights on 1701 Temple Avenue.
The parking lot of a Harley Davidson dealership is a unique place to be holding a Pro-Am MMA show but the reasons for the outdoor show is because the dealership is hosting a MDA summer fundraiser with an all-day festival that will be capped off with tonight’s MMA show.
I was able to help setup the cage (something I’ve wanted to do for a long time) for the show yesterday and I can tell you that it’s a pretty nice setup and I can’t wait to see my first outdoor MMA show. If you are in the area, I really recommend coming down and checking out the card because it is a great one.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com is sponsoring both fighters in one of the night’s most anticipated bouts. Regular readers of 5 Oz. know that we have been big supporters of welterweight prospect LeVon Maynard and we’re happy to once again be sponsoring him for this show. We’re also sponsoring LeVon’s opponent, John Doyle, who I first met several years ago when we both trained at Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia. This is a tremendous matchup and don’t ask me for a prediction, because I have no idea how this fight is going to go down.
It’s a big fight for both LeVon and John. After starting his pro career 2-0, LeVon has lost his last two fights. His first was several months back when he got caught early against Doug Gordon during a Ring of Combat show. He returned to New Jersey about a month later on a BattleCage Xtreme show and dropped a unanimous decision to Mike Medrano in a bout that a lot of people felt LeVon really won.
I first met LeVon last October during the IFL Draft tryouts in New York when he took the entire place by surprise and proved to be one of the most impressive fighters that tried out that day. There was a lot of media in attendance and the showing really put LeVon on the map and made a lot of people realize it was only a matter of time until he is fighting for a major national promotion. The New York tryouts were no joke as the UFC’s Matt Brown and the WEC’s Danillo Villefort both were there so to stand out with guys like that really speaks volumes.
Doyle was a top light heavyweight prospect on the East Coast for several years and got his shot at the big time this past February in Miami during EliteXC’s “Street Certified.” Unfortunately, I don’t think the conditions for John’s debut could have been any less ideal. Not only did he take the fight on short notice, but he was matched up against Rafael Feijao.
Despite stepping up for EliteXC and taking a fight on short notice against a fighter who will probably be a top ten light heavyweight in the next 12-16 months, the promotion decided not to pick up Doyle’s option, making him an unrestricted free agent. I hate to second guess, but I think that decision could prove to be short-sighted. I really believe John deserved a second chance having agreed to fight on short notice and the fact that he’s moving down two weight classes to welterweight is also another good reason for them to have given him another shot.
Tonight’s fight will be John’s first at 170. It was an extremely tough cut for him and he missed weight on his first attempt during weigh-ins last night. I can tell you that John worked his ass off to get down to welterweight. I hitched a ride with some of the fighters on tonight’s show and when we stopped to get gas, John got out of the van and started doing laps in the parking lot in his sauna suit. Soon as we got to the hotel, both he and his trainer, Tuan Pham, headed straight to the YMCA to hit the sauna.
When John weighed-in he was pretty drained and was still only at 174. I have seen fighters in his situation who get to that point and just quit cutting and try to force their opponent’s hand. But John went back to the Y and came back an hour later and made weight at 171. I already had a lot of respect for him and gained even more with his decision to go all the way down after such a huge cut (I think he cut over 20 pounds in the last two days).
If you come to the show, you will see a fight between two guys in LeVon and John who are capable of competing for just about any major national promotion. This is a high-profile regional show and you’ve heard me say it before, but I think the winner of this fight will probably land an offer from a big company. Fueling some of that speculation is the fact that there are rumors that UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Joe Silva will be in attendance at the event. The UFC will be featuring welterweights for the ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and Doyle and Maynard would both be perfect for the show.
As great as the Doyle vs. Maynard fight is going to be, it’s not even the main event. That spot is reserved for a 140 lbs. fight between Dwayne Shelton of Total Combat (where Amir Sadollah used to train) and Sedico Honorio of Daddis Fight Camps (home to EliteXC’s Jon Murphy, Wilson Reis, and Matt Makowski).
Shelton is a top prospect at 140 lbs. and it’s only a matter of time before you see him fighting in the big show. Despite being undefeated in MMA, Honorio is a bit of an unknown because all but one of his fights have taken place in Brazil. But his profile has increased in recent months, as he cornered Reis during EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” on July 26 and he won his first fight in the U.S. two weeks ago in Kansas.
It’s interesting to hear that the WEC will be dropping its light heavyweight and middleweight divisions because if they want to do 10 shows next year, then they are going to have to sign move fighters for its lighter weight divisions. If the WEC goes out and adds more talent at 135 lbs., then they should sign both Shelton and Honorio. Both these guys are sick and the bout between them tonight is going to be crazy. Like Doyle vs. Maynard, I have no idea who is going to win that one.
I’m also excited to be down here because two of my teammates at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United, Matt Nice and Lionel “Noreaga” Borelli, will both be making their amateur MMA debuts. They were supposed to debut close to home on Aug. 16 in Delaware but the card was canceled. A lot of people from our school were planning on supporting them but now that they are fighting in Virginia, not as many people can make the trip. So it’s good to be here and be able to support them. Matt will be fighting Jeremy Fields of Total Combat here in Virginia and Lionel is taking on Cory Getz of Ephrata MMA in PA. Make sure you get here early to see their fights because you will be hearing a lot from them in the future.
Two other fights I am looking forward to are Tim Williams vs. Jack Greene and Brylan Vanartsdalen vs. Israel Flores. I’ve seen a lot of Williams’ fights for Combat in the Cage and he never fails to disappoint. He’s extremely tough and hits like a mack track. It’s only a matter of time before you see him fighting on big shows as a middleweight.
Vanartsdalan is from Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia and was just added to the card earlier this week. I had a chance to speak with him in the weigh-ins last night and he has a strong wrestling background and is a full-time recruiter for the National Guard. He’s definitely a prospect to watch at 145 lbs. because you have to be good in order to fight for Daddis.
That’s it for now but I will be covering the show tonight. I am actually going to try and post results from my iPhone during the show and hopefully I will be able to get some interviews for you guys. If you are planning on being at the show, don’t hesitate to come up and say “hi.”