Fighting at home for the first time in a decade, eight-time world champion Roy Jones, Jr. (53-5, 39 KOs) fought before a packed house of loyal fans last night in Pensacola, Florida and gave them exactly what they came for. Providing a dazzling display of superior quickness and athleticism, Jones was declared victorious via a fifth-round stoppage of four-time world title challenger Omar Sheika in a match to determine the new owner of the vacant NABO championship.
According to eye witness accounts, while Jones was clearly dominating the fight, many observers felt the referee stopped the fight prematurely due to a minor cut sustained by Sheika. The Jones vs. Sheika main event headlined a hybrid pro boxing/mixed-martial-arts show, presented by Jones’ Square Ring Promotions that aired live on pay-per-view live from the Pensacola Civic Center.
“I want to give thanks to Pensacola in the house,” Jones announced from the center of the ring after the fight. “I felt really good. I’m ready. With my father, Coach Merk and my team I’m more comfortable. Do you want me back? (Roy asked the crowd that responded with a thunderous yes). I’ll be coming back.”
In the featured MMA fight of the night, former UFC heavyweight title challenger Jeff Monson won a close three-round decision over former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson. Monson was awarded the decision by winning via a score of 29-28 on all three cards, althought a case could be made that the bout should have been scored as a draw.
After clearly losing the first round, it appeared as though Monson’s edge in the grappling department made the difference in the second and third rounds.
“I wanted to go on the ground,” Monson proclaimed. “I kept right with him. It was a big win. Roy’s a tough guy.”
Nelson was in complete agreement with some observers who didn’t agree with how the fight was scored.
“I got robbed. It was a boring fight on the ground, but I was controlling the fight and that usually determines the winner. Only in Florida does Roy get robbed,” said Nelson, making an obvious reference to an Oct. 4 defeat in South Florida against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.
The card also featured former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley in his second-ever pro MMA bout. Going into his scheduled match with Jason Guida, Lashley had just one round of fighting under his belt.
Guida took the fight on just one and a half weeks notice after Lashley’s original opponent, Ken Shamrock, was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for a positive steroid test.
Lashley’s inexperience showed during the bout, as he used his superior size, athleticism, and wrestling skills to control the fight. However, he inflicted little damage during a bout that was short on action.
Despite almost being forced to tap to a guillotine choke that was applied by Guida in the third round, Lashley still managed to prevail by winning via decision and improving his record to 2-0.
“I thought I had him,” Guida noted as he shook his head in frustration when the scores were announced.
“He had it on tight and deep,” Lashley stated when asked about Guida’s guillotine. “But I held on and got out. I didn’t use all of my wrestling skills. This is a sport where we’re gentleman and fighters. His talk got to me a little but my corner helped me keep my mind strong. I’m going right back to the training room.”
In another boxing match, unbeaten B.J. Flores improved his record to 23-0 and captured the vacant NABO junior heavyweight title in a one-sided, 10-round unanimous 10-round decision effort against Colombian knockout artist Jose Luis Herrera (16-6, 16 KOs).
“He’s a veteran with 16 knockouts,” Flores said of Herrera. “By the third or fourth round I knew I could hurt him with some big shots, but I hit him with a left (hurting his hand) in the forehead. I used it early but not later. In the 10th I started to put it together. I went the distance with Herrera and next I want Victor Ramirez (WBO Interim junior heavyweight champion).”
“He was a little faster than me and he moved better,” Herrera agreed with the decision. “I was a little frustrated by him throughout the fight.”
Former UFC lightweight competitor Din Thomas’ experience and striking advantages resulted in a TKO victory over one-time Strikeforce veteran Gabe Lemley at 4:13 of the first round. Thomas’ series of powerful strikes led Lemley to try and shoot underneath Thomas (23-8), who countered with a picture perfect knee, sending Lemley down, face first, as the referee immediately halted the action due to the force of the impact.
“Yeah,” Thomas explained, “I set him up with my punches. I had a lot of fun here; I love Pensacola. Boxing is a major part of MMA and was glad to be part of this (boxing/MA event). I took advantage of my experience. I can fight in a cage, ring or parking lot – I don’t care.”
Sixty-three fight MMA veteran Dennis “Superman” Hallman (49-12-2) didn’t miss a beat despite having his first fight in 16 months as he locked-in a rear naked choke from the back, forcing welterweight Danny Ruiz to tapout at 1:50 of the opening round.
“I guess the layoff didn’t hurt,” Hallman said after the fight. “It took a few seconds for me to get going, but once he hit me I knew I was in a fight and got going.”
- Light Heavyweight: Roy Jones Jr. def. Omar Sheika via TKO at 1:45 of round 5. Jones wins vacant NABO light heavyweight title.
- Junior Heavyweight: B.J. Flores def. Luis Herrera via 10-round decision (99-91, 99-91, 98-91). Flores wins vacant NABO junior heavyweight title.
- Heavyweight: Kelvin Price def. Kevin Howard via six-round decision (59-55, 58-56, 57-57).
- Super Middleweight: Richmond Dalphone def. Eric Clinton via four-round decision (38-37, 38-37, 38-37).
- Bantamweight: Kieyon Bussey def. Robert DaLuz via six-round decision (58-56, 58-56, 57- 57).
- Heavyweight: Jeff Monson def. Roy Nelson via three-round unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Heavyweight: Bobby Lashley def. Jason Guida via three-round unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
- Welterweight: Dennis Hallman def. Danny Ruiz via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:50 of round 1.
- Welterweight: James Freeman def. John Mowry via knockout (punch) at 2:38 of round 1.
- Featherweight: Din Thomas def. Gabe Lemley via TKO (knee) at 4:13 of round 1.
Editor’s Note: Portion of Square Ring Promotion’s Press Release were used in this article.