Ashburn, VA – The Silver Eagle Group training facility was bursting at the seams Saturday night with the 48th installment of CageZilla, featuring a swollen card of 17 fights for the evening.
Fans of combat sports couldn’t have picked a better show to attend this evening. There’s not a chance that you couldn’t find something you wanted to watch at this event. Small guys, big guys, mid-size guys, women, and three title bouts at 125 lbs., 155lbs, and the headliner at 115lbs. Muay Thai, Glory rules kickboxing and MMA were all on tap. The fight was also streamed live on FloCombat.com.
As someone who relishes sitting back, writing and analyzing each fight on the card, I must admit I was a little overwhelmed at this event. At the pro level, you might see 4-7 prelims depending on the promotion and 4 fights on the main card. But hey, when you have venue that allows local talent to put on display everything they’ve been working on in the gym for family, friends and spectators, it’s a great combination. So I grabbed an energy drink and settled in for the evening.
Video produced with permission of Cagezilla.
The first title fight kicked off nearly half-way through the event with Tia Jablonsky of Bang Bang Kickboxing in Richmond, VA facing Faye Huynh of Fairfax Jiu Jitsu for the women’s 125 lbs. Muay Thai title. Jablonsky was able to walk through Huynh in fairly dominating fashion. She marched towards the title belt without much resistance claiming a unanimous decision 30-27 on all the judges’ scorecards.
Stephen Nguyen of Lotus Muay Thai would bang it out with Nahom Demissie of BETA Academy for the Light Middleweight Muay Thai title. This was a very competitive fight with both men looking to establish their own game. At this level, what you tend to see a lot is guys not taking the time to set-up their work. By that, I mean they attack openings they see versus creating openings to exploit. But it’s a process and when the lights go on, the adrenaline is pumping and another fighter is in front of you, the natural tendency is to punch and kick what you see. The best at this level begin to emerge when they can be calm under fire and process the tendencies and weaknesses of their opponent. Nguyen and Demissie started a bit tentative at first and then begin exploding with leg kicks at all levels. Most of the fight took place on centerline with neither fighter doing much to create angles of attack. This usually produces an enjoyable fight for the crowd because just about everything one side throws against the other lands somewhere.
Nguyen has a very quick rear leg kick but he sometimes telegraphs his intentions by stepping into the kick first, rather than just delivering in space. Demissie no doubt could see this coming and began to time Nguyen’s entries with kicks off his own or straight line punches. This was a close fight and justifiably came down to a split decision with Demissie getting the edge and leaving with the belt.
Dylan Sieng of Urban Boxing DC would close out the evening in a Strawweight Championship MMA match against up and comer Vincent Striker of Level Up Boxing. Striker who is fresh off a national title win with the World Kickboxing Association, proved his fight game is well rounded as he was able to submit Sieng by arm bar at 2:42 in the second round.
Full main card results for CageZilla 48 can be found here. More information on CageZilla's upcoming fights can be found at www. cagezilla.com. For additional photos of the event, click here.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a black belt in ITF Tae Kwon Do with additional training in Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.