Gabriel Gonzaga and Rick Hawn scored big wins this past weekend on the big stages. A little closer to home, Cage Titans XVI saw two Champions defend their belts and two new Champions crowned.
Team Link Heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga used some well timed striking to score a first round KO of Shawn Jordan at UFC 166 on Saturday night in Houston, TX. A well place right hook followed by some G&P brought an end to the fight at 1:33 of the first round. The win, Gonzaga’s fourth in five fights since his return to the UFC, improves his record to 16-7.
Rick Hawn, training out of Tri-Star and Renzo NH, beat Brent Weedman via unanimous decision in the semifinal round of the Bellator Welterweight Tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday Night. Hawn used crisp striking and a few well placed takedowns to control the pace of the entire fight. The win moves Rick on to the tournament finals where the Dracut, MA fighter will face Ron Kesslar for the tournament championship. The winner of the tournament will face the current Bellator Welterweight Champ for the World Title.
On Saturday night in Plymouth, MA, Cage Titans XVI saw four of their Amateur titles being contested. Kyle Bochniak, fighting out of Carlson Gracie, improved to 4-1 when he scored a first round submission win over Max Barrett to take home the vacant Lightweight title. The end came just 2:17 into the first round by way of the RNC.
Cage Titans Middleweight Champ Mike Rodriguez, fighting out of Team Trifecta, successfully defended his belt with a five round unanimous decision win over the visiting Mark Glover. Rodriguez used a strong clinch game and a steady supply of well placed knee strikes throughout to impose his will and improve to 4-1.
Richard Hunter scored a five round unanimous decision win over Felix Gomez to win the Cage Titans Welterweight Title. The DCNU fighter kept the fight standing and was just a bit quicker to the punch throughout the fight. Richard improves to 4-1 in his young Amateur career.
Defending Featherweight champ Peter Barrett and challenger Nestor X waged what many press table denizens are calling the Fight of the Year. Barrett was coming off a first round KO of previously undefeated Ruso Khubejashvili in which he won the title. Nestor came into the fight perfect at 4-0 and having never been out of the first round. The end came via TKO to G&P strikes at 1:10 of the third round when Nestor X was unable to defend against the onslaught of strikes from Barrett. The win, Barrett’s third in a row, improves the Team Maxx fighter to 5-2 overall.
In the Main Event at Cage Titans XVI, Lauzon MMA Bantamweight Joe Cushman returned from two year sabbatical to score a brutal second round KO to beat Fernando Perez. Cushman’s game showed a bit of cage rust in the first round, but just ten seconds into the second round the powerful 135er caught Perez with an uppercut that dropped his opponent like a bad habit. Fernando was able to recover and walk out of the cage on his own. The win improves Cushman’s record to 11-4 and puts the rest of the region’s Pro Bantamweights on notice that Cushman is back!
Pro-Elite brother tandem Brian and Sean Sparrow each earned wins on the Cage Titans card. Pro Welterweight Brian scored a first round submission via triangle choke over Chris Paolini to improve to 2-0 while brother Sean, an Amateur Welterweight, won by first round TKO over Justin Ouellette to improve his record to 2-0 as well. Pro-Elite teammate Bobby Flynn completed the three-peat for the Cape Cod MMA camp when he submitted Alo Alf in the third round of their Pro 160lb fight.
Other notable winner on the card include Erin Cooney (SSSF), who improved to 3-0 with a first round submission and Ruso Khubejashvili (Connors), who scored a flashy spin back fist to head kick KO to improve his record to 6-1.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor