The best of Minnesota MMA was on display on Saturday night, April 28, as many of the top promoters in the Twin Cities area came together to give the fans what will likely be the biggest event the state hosts this year, CFX 33: Minnesota vs. Japan.
3,417 fans attended the event, which was hosted at the Target Center and featured some of the best up-and-coming prospects from the state as well as from Japan.
In addition to the main event between Jeremy Hamilton and Yoshiyuki Yoshida, fans were treated to a long night that was jam-packed with a total of 20 fights. Needless to say, those in attendance got their money’s worth—and then some.
Here are the full results and play-by-plays from each fight on this epic Minnesota MMA card.
Togbah went for a body kick right away, but Field shot in and took him down with ease. That didn’t last long though, as Togbah shot back up to his feet. Field pushed him against the cage and took him down with a nice double. Togbah scrambled, but Field quickly took his back and began looking for a rear-naked choke.
Nice defense from Togbah prevented a quick submission, but he was still in some trouble. Field rolled him over and landed a couple shots to the side of the head, but Togbah rolled back over with Field still firmly attached to his back. The two fighters grappled for position here for the majority of the round, which secured a pretty easy 10-9 for Field.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Field
Field pushed Togbah against the cage again and began looking for another takedown, but Togbah saw it coming this time and tossed him aside. Togbah took the center of the cage and looked to keep the fight standing. Field tagged him and shot in for another time, pushing him against the fence once again. Togbah used nice positioning to prevent the takedown, eating some elbows along the way.
Field finally got him away from the fence before lifting him up by one leg and slammed him to the mat. Togbah looked for a guillotine choke, but Field easily passed into side control. Field looked to land a few punches on the ground, but didn't do much from the position before the bell rang.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Field (20-18 Field overall)
Sensing that he needed to finish to win, Togbah came out early and landed some nice punches and a body kick. Field grabbed him again and tried to put him against the cage, but Togbah got the better of it this time and brought Field to the ground for the first time this fight.
Field immediately looked for a triangle choke, but Togbah easily escaped and punished him with some ground-and-pound. Field didn't let that happen for too long, though, and Togbah finally stood up and the fight went back to the feet where he could try to finish.
The two fighters exchanged strikes on their feet before Field shot in. This time, Togbah sprawled out of it, though, and remained on his feet. Field did get a takedown with just seconds to go in the round and landed a few punches. He didn't have much time from there, though, and couldn't finish before the fight came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Togbah (29-28 Field overall)
Official Result: Mitch Field defeated Nate Togbah by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
A big leg kick from Courtright early set the tone for this high-paced fight. Sweezer flew in and went for a kick, but Courtright saw him coming. Sweezer took him down and went for a triangle right away. When that didn't seem to be working, he then transitioned into an armbar, but Courtright saw it coming and avoided it.
The fighters scrambled to their feet and exchanged punches before Courtright brought the fight back to the ground. Sweezer went for a knee bar, however, Courtright was able to stay out of danger and escape.
He began eating some punches from Sweezer on the ground though, who then stood up and allowed the fight to get back to the feet again. Sweezer landed a wild punch and Courtright turned away which allowed Sweezer to bring him to the ground again before the round ended.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Sweezer
A big body kick from Sweezer early, got semi-blocked. He went for another which allowed Courtright to catch him this time, pushing him into the cage in the process. Sweezer countered, though, and brought him to the mat where he quickly took Courtright's back. He tried to move to mount, but that allowed Courtright to wall-walk up and get back up to his feet.
A takedown from Courtright brought the fight back to the mat, this time with Courtright having some control for seemingly the first time in the fight. He landed some decent ground-and-pound as Sweezer scrambled from the bottom, ending what was a fairly close round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Courtright (19-19 overall)
A wild punch attempt from Courtright missed early and allowed Sweezer to grab him and eventually bring him to the mat. Then came a near sweep from Courtright, but Sweezer kept the momentum going and rolled him right back over, this time into mount.
Courtright held on for dear life from the bottom, but Sweezer finally broke loose and landed some big punches before Courtright flipped over onto his stomach, where Sweezer took his back and got the submission with a rear-naked choke.
Official Result: Ryan Sweezer defeated Aaron Courtright by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:51 in Round 3
An early head kick from Sullivan was answered by a double-leg takedown from Herrera. Sullivan looked for a triangle off his back and Sullivan continued to bring the pressure, pushing him against the cage on the mat.
Sullivan got to his feet momentarily, however, Herrera brought him to the ground again fairly easily. Sullivan went for a kimura and had it fairly deep, forcing Herrera to give up position. Sullivan flipped over and got in mount, landing a few shots there before Herrera flipped him back over. Sullivan worked from his back for another triangle, landing punches from his back as the round came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Sullivan
Another held kick from Sullivan to start this round and this time it grazed Herrera’s head. He went for a body kick, but that allowed Herrera to push him into the fence in the process. Herrera worked and finally got the takedown, almost exactly where he got it early in the first round and began looking for some space to land some strikes.
Sullivan was active off his back, even looking for a gogoplata at one point. Herrera did separate a bit at one point and landed a few punches while the one-minute warning came over the speakers. Herrera wasn’t able to do much damage from the position, but did control the round for the most part, likely earning him the round in the process.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Herrera (19-19 overall)
Another takedown attempt from Herrera early in the round. Sullivan avoided it for a few seconds, but eventually lost his balance and was taken down back into guard. Sullivan worked a rubber guard from the bottom and was utilizing it pretty well for a short while before Herrera broke free and hit him a few times.
The fighters stayed ere for the majority of the round without much damage being inflicted one way or another. Sullivan finally worked back to his feet with about 30 seconds in the round. Herrera went for another takedown, but Sullivan rolled through, ending up on top and finishing the round with some nice punches before the bell rang.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Herrera (29-28 Herrera)
Official Result: Thomas Herrera defeated by Joe Sullivan by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This was very close and could have gone either way. Herrera’s wrestling controlled the action enough to get him in the win column, much to the frustration of Sullivan who booed the decision.
The fighters didn't waste much time in this one as Nick Porras seemed to tag Kyle Todd early and went to follow up. This allowed Todd to get a takedown against the cage very quickly. Porras attempted to work back to his feet. Todd didn’t allow that through and took half-guard where he did some damage with punches. Porras couldn’t seem to break loose as Todd gave him no breathing room. Finally Todd moved to side control where the round came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Todd
Todd caught Porras with a punch right out of the gate and immediately moved for another single-leg takedown against the cage. Porras got back to his feet, but Todd yanked him down yet again. Porras got back to his feet one more time before Todd finally brought him down for good about halfway through the three-minute round. Porras went for an up-kick from his back and missed, allowing Todd to land a nice string of punches from the top near the end of the round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Todd (20-18 Todd overall)
Todd shot in for a takedown almost immediately again, but Porras saw it coming this time and countered with a nice sprawl. The fighters got back to their feet and Todd went for another takedown, which Porras sprawled out of again.
Porras started getting things going on his feet momentarily, however, it didn’t last long before Todd had grabbed him and put him against the fence once again. Porras avoided the takedown and landed some big punches to the side of Todd’s face in the process as he worked for the single-leg. Todd ate them and did get him down momentarily, but Porras got back to his feet. Todd got another takedown with less than 10 seconds left in the round, only to eat some more punches from the bottom before the round came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Porras (29-28 Todd overall)
Official Result: Kyle Todd defeated Nick Porras by split decision (29-28 Todd, 29-28 Porras, 29-28 Todd)
Not sure what the judge who scored this fight for Porras was thinking. It seemed fairly obvious that the first two rounds went to Kyle Todd and the third to Nick Porras, which should have meant a unanimous 29-28 for Todd. Nevertheless, Todd won't be complaining as his win will still show up as such in the record book.
Phillips backed Rheaumme off early, seemingly intimidating him with his striking, but Rheaumme may have been baiting him in as he shot in and quickly brought him right to the mat. Phillips scrambled, allowing Rheaume to take his back with a full body-lock. He did some damage from here while looking for a submission, controlling most of the round in the process.
Phillips finally broke free and flipped over with about a minute left in the round, ending up on top. He then lifted Rheaume right off the mat from guard and slammed him down. Rheume slithered to avoid punches from Phillips and looked for a triangle choke from the bottom, but the round came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Rheaume
A leg kick from Rheaume was answered with Phillips throwing a couple of punches. Rheaume shot in and went for a takedown, but Phillips saw it coming this time and was able to sprawl out of it. Not to be denied, Rheaume pushed him into the fence and swung him to the mat into half-guard. He began working for mount and eventually achieved it.
Phillips flipped over again, allowing Rheaume to take his back once again with about a minute left in the round. Rheaume threw some punches to the side of Phillips’ head, attempting to open him up for the choke, but it never happened. He did give up an arm, though, and Rheaume took it with less than 10 seconds left, nearly achieving the submission by arm bar before the bell rang.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Rheaume (20-18 Rheaume overall)
Rheaume pushed Phillips against the cage early, but got swung around and to his back on the ground. Phillips stood above him, throwing some absolute bombs as Rheaume covered up. He was able to weather the storm, though, and shot to his knees where he looked for a takedown. That didn't happen and the fighters got back to their feet.
Phillips knew this was the place where he had the best chance to win, but Rheaume pushed him against the cage again. He looked for another takedown, but slipped and Phillips ended up on top as the fight came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Phillips (29-28 Rheaume overall)
Official Result: Justin Rheaume defeated Vyron Phillips by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Justin Rheaume was holding his ribs after the fight. Let's hope he's not hurt.
Given his significant reach disadvantage, it wasn't surprising to see Ericson shoot in for a takedown almost immediately. Even Noetzel saw it coming, but still couldn’t stop it. Ericson worked him over to the cage and landed some hard punches to the body and head.
It looked as if Noetzel was in trouble against a more powerful fighter, but Noetzel surprised just about everyone as he threw up his legs for a triangle. Ericson kept punching through it, but Noetzel tightened the hold. Ericson couldn’t escape the choke and was forced to submit.
Official Result: Brandon Noetzel defeated Jake Ericson by submission (triangle choke) at 2:10 in Round 1
A leg kick from Diego early was followed by an attempt at a body kick, but Winslow tossed him into the cage and then onto his back. Garcia grabbed him tight and tried to cover up, but Winslow landed some absolutely brutal punches to the body.
Garcia eventually broke free and the fighters got back to their feet. Winslow tagged him again with a punch, followed by a big kick to the body. Another huge body kick followed from Winslow, but Garcia seemed to eat it without much pain.
Garcia’s striking just didn't seem to be very polished as Winslow easily moved out the way of his punches, taking nearly no damage in the first round. Winslow pushed Garcia against the cage and grabbed his head, dragging him down to the mat in the process. Garcia got back to his feet, but was slammed to the mat again by Winslow before the round ended.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Winslow
Garcia looked tired coming out of his corner already, as perhaps the punishing body shots he took in the first round were beginning to set in.
Garcia came out of the corner and landed a nice jab which seemed to catch Winslow off guard. Winslow landed a nice jab of his own a few moments later. Winslow then accidentally caught Garcia in the eye with a strike which caused a momentary stop in the action.
As they came back, Winslow landed another kick to the body. Garcia threw a punch, but Winslow ducked it and smashed him with yet another body kick and a punch before Garcia fell to the mat. Winslow quickly took his back and flattened him out before applying a rear-naked choke. Garcia tapped a few seconds later.
Official Result: Ron Winslow defeated Diego Garcia by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:09 in Round 2
The professional fights got underway at this point as Bellator veteran Carey Vanier made his return to perform in front of his hometown fans against Jordan Larson.
It was a feeling-out process early, before Vanier finally broke that up with a leg kick. Larson answered with a leg kick of his own, as neither fighter did much in the first minute.
A Superman punch attempt from Larson got sidestepped by Vanier, whose experience in the cage started to become very obvious. Vanier went for a body kick and Larson caught it and went for a takedown, but it was Vanier who countered and ended up on top. Vanier wasn't able to hold him there too long before the fighters got back to their feet.
Vanier landed a few punches before scooping him up and slamming him to the mat against the cage. Larson was able to get back to his feet momentarily, but found himself on his back again just seconds later as Vanier’s wrestling was clearly superior.
Larson went for an armbar from the bottom, but Vanier scouted it and nearly took his back in the scramble. Larson shot up to his feet and pushed Vanier against the cage. The fighters eventually got back to the center of the cage where the round ended.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Vanier
A takedown attempt from Larson got things started in Round 2. Vanier lost his balance and nearly allowed Larson to take his back as they fell to the mat. Vanier ended up on top, though, and smashed Larson with big punches from guard.
Larson caught Vanier off guard and flipped him over with a nice sweep. Vanier went for a guillotine choke from the bottom. Vanier then took the top position again and tried to land some more ground-and-pound, but Larson stopped that as he went for a triangle choke. It was pretty loose, though, and Vanier was able to slip out after a short battle in that position.
Vanier controlled the majority of the rest of the round, landing some ground-and-pound on Larson to very likely secure the advantage on the scorecards going into the final round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Vanier (20-18 Vanier overall)
Vanier moved in and got Larson’s back against the cage in a standing position early in the round. Larson seemed content staying here for a few moments, but was met with a vicious knee right to the back of his leg. Larson spun around and Vanier quickly took him down from there.
Vanier continued to control Larson who struggled to stop the grinding wrestling attack from the Greg Jackson student. Larson worked back up, but did so while giving up his neck, which Vanier used to put him in a kneeling guillotine choke and get the submission.
Official Result: Carey Vanier defeated Jordan Larson by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:14 Round 3
One of the top 135-pound prospects in Minnesota was up next, as Andre "The Diva" Tieva took center stage to battle Zach Kelso. Kelso's record leaves a bit to be desired, but takes nothing away from him as he's absolutely fearless.
The word is that the promoters had a tough time finding an opponent for Tieva who went undefeated in his amateur career and earned a very quick submission win in his professional debut earlier this year.
There was a long feeling out process in this one, as neither man seemed to be underestimating the power of the other’s hands.
Tieva shot in, but Kelso sidestepped with relative ease, allowing the fight to remain on the feet where he may have been the more powerful striker. Kelso did shoot in for a takedown of his own, pushing Tieva against the cage in the process. He looked like he was going to go for a throw, but Tieva pushed him onto his back.
Tieva looked for an armbar from the top, but Kelso was able to escape and got back to his feet. As he stood up, Tieva tagged Kelso with a punch. The punch seemed to rock Kelso a bit as he shot in for a takedown out of desperation, but Tieva took his back and began working for a rear-naked choke.
Tieva rained down big punches and Kelso was in trouble with over 1:30 still in the round. After taking some damage, Kelso nearly tossed Tieva off him in impressive fashion, but Tieva went for an armbar. Kelso landed some big shots while defending the submission and both fighters got to their feet after that scramble. When they got back up, Kelso tagged Tieva again and got a nice double-leg takedown to end the round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Tieva
This was a very close round after Kelso’s explosion of strikes and the takedown at the end of the round. It really could have gone either way, but given that Tieva controlled the majority of the action, I gave him the slight edge.
A big leg kick from Tieva really hurt Kelso and his lead left leg then became the target for the “Diva.” Tieva threw more leg kicks that connected and it began to look like this one might be ending soon.
Tieva got too confident, though, and Kelso smashed him with a punch him as he came in, nearly getting the knockout in the process!
Tieva was in trouble as he scrambled to get back up. Kelso kept the pressure on, but made a mistake, allowing Tieva to take his back again. With Kelso flattened out, Tieva hammered down with some punches to the side of the head. Kelso was eating quite a bit of damage from the bottom, but it wasn’t enough to get the finish as he covered up for most of them, at least breaking the impact of the punches a bit with his hands.
Kelso got back to his feet for a moment, but Tieva’s weight and momentum brought him right back down. Kelso finally broke free and swung for the fences when the fighters got back up, but Tieva brought him down yet again.
Tieva inflicted more ground-and-pound and took Kelso’s back once again. With the amount of punches being landed, Kelso was lucky that the referee didn’t opt to stop the fight in the second round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Tieva (20-18 Tieva overall)
Both fighters looked dead-tired as they got back to their corners. Kelso could barely stand as the doctor got into the cage and called an end to the fight. Kelso simply could not continue, due to the damage he sustained from the leg kicks early in Round 2.
Official Result: Andre Tieva defeated Zach Kelso by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 in Round 2
Triumphant but not satisfied, Tieva told the fans in attendance that he would be back and better than ever for his next fight.
“I’m not too happy with my performance. There’s a lot I can work on,” he said.
Still, at 2-0 as a professional, it must be nice for the "Diva" to know that he still has a long way to go before he even reaches his prime.
There was no glove touch from Jensen to start the fight. This one is all business. Jensen kept his chin very low as he stalked Aburia around the cage early. Aburia went for a body kick, but ate a punch to the jaw for his trouble.
Aburia backed up but slipped and Jensen landed on him. Not seeing much of an opportunity there, Jensen allowed him back up to the feet. A jab from Aburia shockingly got countered by an attempted head kick from Jensen who showed that, even at 265 pounds, he’s still pretty agile.
A nice combo from Aburia got the crowd's attention. Jensen then threw TWO spinning roundhouse head kicks within a span of about 10 seconds, but neither connected. Aburia continued to jump in and throw a few punches which mostly got blocked before jumping back out, seemingly frustrating the veteran, who could only counter with leg kicks.
Jensen dropped his hands and motioned for Aburia to “bring it.” Another spinning roundhouse head kick was attempt from Jensen but Aburia saw it coming and shot in for a takedown in the process. A nice sprawl from Jensen stopped that.
The fighters got back to their feet where Jensen landed a nice overhand right but Aburia backed away and didn’t allow him to follow it up.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Jensen
Both fighters seemed to have a decent amount of energy remaining as we entered the second round. More combinations from Aburia this round, which Jensen continued to block and answer with grazing leg kicks. Jensen seemed to be pretty tired at about the halfway point in the round while Aburia began to gain confidence on the feet.
Aburia continually tagged Jensen with quick combinations before bouncing away, not allowing him to answer with anything of significance. Jensen blocked most of the punches, but the pure number of punches began to wear on him as the round came to an end. The momentum had swung toward Aburia as we entered the final round of action.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Aburia (19-19 overall)
Aburia still looked very fresh as Jensen was almost a walking target early in the round. He did back Aburia up with a string of punches, which forced Aburia to shoot in for a takedown. Jensen sprawled, though, and laid on Aburia for quite some time.
The referee finally stood the fight up and Aburia got right back to throwing fast combinations, ducking in and out to avoid damage. Then came a nice punch/knee combination from Aburia as Jensen looked completely out of it.
Jensen threw a flailing head kick that missed by a wide margin and ate another big combination from Aburia immediately thereafter. Sensing that the fight was beginning to slip away, Jensen seemed to get his second win with about two minutes left on the clock and finally began to throw again.
Aburia shot in for a takedown and Jensen saw it coming again, easily sprawling on top of him and controlling him there. Aburia got back to his feet and pushed Jensen against the cage, finally getting a takedown with about a minute left in the fight. He wasn’t able to do much with it, though, and the fight came to an end with Aburia on top.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Aburia (29-28 Aburia overall)
Official Result: Mahmoud Aburia defeated Zak Jensen by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This was very likely the biggest upset of the night as former UFC veteran Zak Jensen just didn't seem to have it against an opponent making his professional debut.
This bout was changed to an amateur contest despite not being noted as such in the program.
Padget wasted no time, taking down Immel with relative ease. Immel tried to get up but ate some big punches from the top in the process. Padget moved in and went for an arm-triangle choke, but Immel showed off his submission defense by escaping quickly. Padget didn't stop there, though, as he sensed that Immel was in trouble and hammered him with some brutal ground-and-pound before the referee mercifully ended the fight.
Official Result: Brad Padget defeated Jake Immel by TKO (punches) at 1:04 in Round 1
Kittelson looked very confident as he stood in the center of the cage and threw. He tagged Muldinado with a punch just seconds in and proceeded to pounce on him. Muldinado tried to get back up but ate another punch that knocked him down. Kittelson followed it up with a violent knee to the body and some vicious ground-and-pound before the referee called a stop to the fight.
Official Result: Randy Kittelson defeated Aaron Muldinado by TKO (referee stoppage due to strikes) at 0:49 in Round 1
Williams came out with an early axe kick that missed. Both fighters seemed fearless as they went in with full power. Lacy shot in and lifted Williams off the mat, held him in the air for a moment and then delivered a running slam right in front of his corner!
Lacy landed some nice ground-and-pound, using knees to the ribs against the cage before taking mount. In full control, Lacy used his positioning to control and punish Williams with some punches to the top of the head. Williams did his best to buck Lacy off, but couldn’t do it. Lacy finally saw an opportunity and slapped on a picture-perfect armbar which got the submission.
Official Result: B.J. Lacy defeated Danyelle Williams by submission (armbar) at 2:43 in Round 1
Lots of respect shown from B.J. Lacy who thanked Danyelle Williams for taking the fight on short notice.
Nice takedown defense from Kuchlong early, who knew that his best chance in this one was to stay on his feet. Martin caught him with a punch, less than a minute into the fight and then followed it up with a nice slam into half guard.
Martin freed his leg eventually and moved into side control, but that didn’t last long as the moment allowed Kuchlong to stand back up. Kuchlong pushed Martin’s back into the cage, but Martin swung it around and gave him a nice belly-to-belly suplex/slam right next to his corner.
Martin began looking for a kimura, but Kuchlong appeared to be very strong. Martin cranked as hard as he could and Kuchlong whipped his body around like a fish out of water to avoid getting it broken. This allowed Martin to position himself for both the kimura AND a triangle choke. After quite a battle, Martin finally was able to finish the submission and Kuchlong was forced to tap.
Official Result: Tony Martin defeated Kuchlong Kuchlong by submission (triangle choke) at 4:19 in Round 1
A victorious Tony Martin invited his girlfriend into the cage after the fight, where he asked her to marry him in front of the thousands of fans in attendance.
Shocked and noticeably excited, she took the ring and exclaimed "Yes!"
The fans roared in approval as the two lovebirds embraced in the center of the cage. This was a very sweet moment that will be remembered for quite some time.
The first Japan-vs.-Minnesota fight on the card featured lightweights Yuki Yamamoto and Mike Zimmer.
A long feeling-out process started the fight, as neither man really committed to throwing much until Zimmer threw a body kick. Yamamoto pushed him against the cage and tagged him, which knocked Zimmer down.
The Minnesotan covered up as Yamamoto threw down on him, but never really seemed to be in much danger of being finished. Zimmer kept his composure and saw his escape route, getting back to his feet quickly to avoid taking more damage.
Zimmer landed a few shots himself when they got up, but then they went back to the chess match in the stand-up. Zimmer moved in and threw a couple of punches with a few seconds remaining, but got caught by counter from Yamamoto.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Yamamoto
There was really not much damage done here and this round could easily have gone either way or even as a 10-10 round. I opted to give it to Yamamoto because he knocked Zimmer down with a punch even though it didn’t seem as though he was close to finishing after it.
The fighters exchanged strikes early, but didn’t really follow it up with much and went back to feeling one another out on the feet. A nice body kick and a takedown from Zimmer seemed to get things moving, but Yamamoto shot back up to his feet and pushed Zimmer’s back into the cage.
Zimmer broke free and caught Yamamoto with a punch, sending him backpedaling in the process. Zimmer tried to follow it up with a head kick but Yamamoto blocked it. They finally began to open up at this point, about halfway through the fight, exchanging numerous combinations both ways.
As they clinched, Zimmer threw a knee to the body, which landed low, sending Yamamoto to the mat. Yamamoto took plenty of time to try to recover from the knee to the groin.
The fight restarted and they went back to the stalemate which has been the stand-up through most of the fight, with neither fighter wanting to open themselves up. Zimmer threw a body kick which Yamamoto blocked with his arm, but it at least sounded fairly painful as the round neared its end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Zimmer (19-19 overall)
A big punch missed from Zimmer early in the round which likely could have ended the fight if it had connected. Yamamoto moved out of the way, though, and began to hunt Zimmer down on the feet.
Zimmer threw a lot more early in the round, which may have had an effect on the judges’ scorecards. Both fighters dropped their hands at one point, as if to say, “Come on!”
Zimmer tagged Yamamoto and knocked him down but didn’t follow up on it, allowing Yamamoto to get back to his feet. With a minute left in the round, it would have been wise for both fighters to go for broke as this could have been a very close fight either way, but neither man wanted to throw and it went to a decision without much happening in the round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Zimmer (29-28 Zimmer overall)
Official Result: Mike Zimmer defeated Yuki Yamamoto by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Pasquale went in for a big punch early and Neumann ducked it. Neumann went for a takedown, but Pasquale avoided it and pushed him against the cage. Neumann couldn’t escape as Pasquale continued to control him there. Neumann jumped up and tried to pull guard while trapping Pasquale’s arm, but it didn’t work and he slipped off. Neumann shot in for another takedown but Pasquale slapped on a deep guillotine choke, which forced Neumann to tap.
Official Result: Cody Pasquale defeated Ben Neumann by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:12 in Round 1
There was some controversy in the post-fight interaction on this one.
As he stood up from submitting Neumann, Pasquale used his fingers to mimic shooting hand guns at Neumann as he sat on his knees in frustration with how the fight turned out.
The two fighters did shake hands before the official result was read by the announcer, which seemed to indicate that things were fine between the two of them, but when the microphone got in front of Pasquale's mouth, that all changed.
“Good fight Ben, but if you went to the right gym, you could win some great stuff,” Pasquale said.
The fans booed as Pasquale yelled back at them, “I–DO–NOT CARE! I win, he loses!”
Not sure what caused the bad blood here, but apparently there is some sort of heat between Pasquale and Neumann, or at least their camps.
Note: Cody Pasquale has since sent out a public apology to Ben Neumann and his camp at The Warrior's Cove. It's good to see him step up and take responsibility for his actions.
The next fight had "Fight of the Night" written all over it as two of the Twin Cities' very best clashed in a lightweight battle.
Hodges swung for the fences early and connected with a punch as Reddinger moved in. Unfazed, Reddinger went for a head kick but Hodges avoided it. A nice knee to the body from Reddinger seemed to slow Hodges down. Starting to feel it, Reddinger followed up with a leg kick as Hodges appeared to be wary of his opponent's power.
Reddinger went for another kick, which Hodges caught this time and brought him down to the mat. Reddinger worked his striking off his back, landing some nice elbows, but Hodges controlled him and looked to break free to land some strikes.
Reddinger went for an armbar off his back, but that allowed Hodges to connect with a few punches before the fighters got back to their feet. Reddinger caught Hodges and held him against the cage where he looked for a throw. Hodges stayed on his feet, though, and the round came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Reddinger
Hodges threw a wild haymaker in response to a leg kick from Reddinger, but didn’t connect. Both fighters swung with some punches and kicks that mostly missed and Reddinger finally grabbed onto Hodges.
Looking for a throw again, Reddinger slipped and was nearly decapitated from another wild punch from Hodges that just missed. With Hodges against the cage, Reddinger threw some knees to the body and legs in an effort to weaken Hodges’ core.
Reddinger went for another throw but couldn’t get Hodges over. He finally got a trip, though, and Hodges fell to his back where Reddinger could work his ground-and-pound.
Amidst raining down with big punches, Reddinger allowed Hodges to get back to his feet momentarily before he took him back down again. Hodges desperately tried to escape, but Reddinger wouldn’t allow it, punishing him further with more ground-and-pound before the round came to an end.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Reddinger (20-18 Reddinger overall)
Reddinger appeared to still have a lot of energy as he pumped up the fans before the third round. Meanwhile, Hodges looked to be very tired after having to spend practically entire round trying to avoid being taken down or trying to get back to his feet after getting taken down, not to mention the damage he had already taken from Reddinger's relentless body and leg strikes.
Likely knowing that he was down two rounds to none, Hodges began to lay it all on the line early in the round, throwing with more power early. Reddinger saw an opening, though, and tagged him with big body kick followed by punches against the cage. The referee stepped in and called a stop to the fight as Hodges was taking quite a bit of punishment.
Official Result: Travis Reddinger defeated Floyd Hodges by TKO (Referee’s stoppage due to strikes) at 1:01 in Round 3
Some might say that the stoppage was a bit premature in this one, as Hodges did get back to his feet pretty quickly after the referee stepped in, but it's the referee's job to stop the fight when he feels that a fighter isn't intelligently defending himself. While he was still awake, Hodges was getting hammered and it could have turned ugly very fast if he didn't pull Reddinger off.
There were leg kicks from Buck early and Greenberg tried to answer with a combination, but missed. Early, big punches from each man were followed by Greenberg catching Buck with a nice left hand that staggered him a bit.
Rather than follow up with more strikes, Greenberg opted to bring the fight to the mat, ending in Buck’s half-guard. He eventually took Buck’s back and went for the rear-naked choke. Buck fought it off for a while but eventually had to tap in a surprisingly quick bout.
Official Result: Gabe Greenberg defeated Courtney Buck by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:24 in Round 1
There was a near takedown from Perzynski early but Koyama got right back to his feet. The fighters clinched and Perzynski landed numerous uppercuts right on the chin which momentarily rocked Koyama, but he was able to regain his composure without getting knocked out.
Perzynski stalked Koyama around the cage, jabbing him constantly and bringing nice follow-up punches as well. Koyama tried to clinch but ate a knee and some big punches!
He stumbled back and Perzynski smashed him with a running knee to the face! Koyama looked like he was out, but the referee didn’t stop the fight. Perzynski continued the punishment on the ground, landing numerous big shots, but Koyama somehow got back to his feet again and continued to fight.
Perzynski tagged him with a straight right that rocked him a third time. Perzynski hammered him on the mat some more before taking his back and looking for a choke. Koyama covered up and seemingly was looking to escape the round with Perzynski hanging on his back.
Koyama finally flipped things over with about 10 seconds left in the round and tried to get some of his own ground-and-pound in, but didn’t land much before the bell rang to end the round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-8 Perzynski
This is the kind of round that could realistically have been scored as high as a 10-7 for Travis Perzynski. A 10-8 was definitely warranted but a rare 10-7 would not have been out of the question with this type of damage being inflicted and this many near knockouts from Perzynski.
Koyama baited Perzynski in and got a nice takedown early. Perzynski’s striking defense on his back looked good, though, as he prevented Koyama from doing much damage by keeping his body close and containing Koyama from posturing up and hitting him with big shots.
Perzynski tried to throw some elbows from the bottom but wasn’t doing much damage with them. Finally, Koyama broke loose and got a few punches in, but Perzynski grabbed control of his hands shortly thereafter. A nice sweep from Perzynski energized the crowd, but Koyama got back on top and kept control.
He stood up and landed some punches with about 30 seconds remaining in the round as Perzynski desperately looked to get free off his back. The round came to an end with Koyama in complete control with his wrestling, a total change in momentum from a disastrous first round for the Japanese fighter.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Koyama (19-18 Perzynski overall)
Depending on how the judges scored the first round, the third round was likely either to determine a winner or to see if Koyama could salvage a draw if it went to a decision.
Koyama used his striking early in the round to back Perzynski against the cage, where he again looked to get another takedown. Perzynski avoided it for awhile, but Koyama eventually got control of both legs and dropped him to the mat. Perzynski did work his way back to his feet, but Koyama was relentless and took him down again.
With Koyama not doing much damage on the ground, Perzynski finally got back to his feet again and broke away from Koyama. He landed a couple of shots on the feet before Koyama backed him into the cage again. Koyama grabbed Perzynski’s right leg and dragged him to the ground once more.
With about 35 seconds remaining, the referee finally stood the bout back up. Perzynski went in for the kill on the feet, throwing everything he head at Koyama’s head. The last-second flurry likely wasn’t enough to win the round, though, and this could have been headed to either a draw or a victory for Yoshihiro Koyama if the judges scored Round 1 as a 10-9.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Koyama (28-28 Draw overall)
Official Result: Yoshihiro Koyama defeated Travis Perzynski by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
This is the kind of decision that is absolutely terrible to see. While Koyama won two rounds, the way that Perzynski dominated the first round should have been enough to at least earn him a draw on the scorecards. Only one judge saw it this way, however, and Koyama was the beneficiary on this night.
Things opened with a nice early combination from Hamilton which seemed to catch Yoshida off-guard.
The Japanese star answered with a body kick, which prompted Hamilton to deliver one of his own. A nice takedown from Yoshida brought the fight to the mat. Yoshida delivered some ground-and-pound as Hamilton tried to slither away. Hamilton threw his legs up and worked for a triangle/armbar, but wasn’t able to secure either as Yoshida continued to control him from the top without being in any real danger.
Yoshida passed the legs and quickly moved to mount. Hamilton looked to escape but was taking some big damage. Finally, he turned over and somehow got Yoshida off of him before getting back to his feet. That didn’t last long as Yoshida picked him up and slammed him back down into side control.
A sweep from Hamilton changed the momentum, though, as he got the fight back up to the feet and began to unload with his striking. Yoshida shot in for one final takedown but Hamilton was able to stay on his feet until the bell rang.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Yoshida
Hamilton went for a big overhand right almost immediately, but Yoshida shot in and got a takedown with ease. Hamilton quickly threw his legs up and worked for a triangle again, nearly sinking it in this time, but Yoshida was able to avoid it and passed into side control. He then passed to mount and began to punish Hamilton with punches.
The Minnesotan did his best to avoid the punches, but took a ton of damage as he desperately tried to stay in the fight. Yoshida continued punishing him with brutal ground-and-pound, both elbows and punches.
Hamilton just couldn’t escape as Yoshida pounded on his face and there were still two minutes left on the clock in the round. Hamilton flipped onto his back and Yoshida took the opportunity to apply a rear-naked choke. Hamilton was unable to escape and was forced to tap.
Official Result: Yoshiyuki Yoshida defeated Jeremy Hamilton by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:30 in Round 2