ARLINGTON, VA - Just over the Potomac River from Washington D.C. and a stone's throw from the Pentagon sits Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, an installation that houses multiple U.S. military services and also serves as home to the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard. This was the site of Odyssey Fights Saturday night affair, Battle on the Base, an MMA showcase for military personnel their families and the surrounding community. Odyssey bills itself as the #1 Professional MMA promotion in the Mid-Atlantic region and the irony was not lost on me that a location that is utilized by a mix of military service personnel, played host to a combat sports competition that utilizes a mix of martial arts. O.K. maybe a stretch but that's where my head was.
Nine bouts were scheduled for the night with the main card featuring a Welterweight title fight between, JD "Swamp Thing" Domengeaux of American Top Team vs. Portland "The Promise" Pringle fighting out Four Seasons MMA of Lexington, Kentucky. This weekend's event included three fighters who served in the military. They included Sean Reed, ten year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp., Kenny Gaudreau currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserve and Martin Davila, an eight year veteran of the U.S Marine Corp. One of the promoters of the event, Pete Ward is also a former Marine.
Cage announcer Giovanni Lemm, himself a former cage fighter and MMA trainer, got the show started with a call to the crowd to stand as the Marine Color Guard marched in to formally kick off the evening. The energy of the fans could clearly be felt in the building as the first fight was introduced.
Featherweight competitors Darnell Murphy and Anthony Tisdale got the early call as they made their way from the formal gateway entrance to the cage set-up about twenty-five feet away. All of a sudden the music stops, the cage door locks and it's on. Tisdale was in trouble early after being on the receiving end of a couple of range finder jabs. After being taken down by Murphy, he immediately fell into a mounted crucifix, which clamps your legs on your opponent's one arm, while keeping a grip with one hand on the other arm and launching strikes with the free hand and elbow. Murphy moved quickly but was careful not to rush. He ended the fight at the 1:54 mark in the first round, when the referee stepped in to stop the contest. That first contest would set the tone for the evening as most bouts were decided early.
In the light heavyweight division, Karl Reed of Pitch Black MMA took on General Marrow of No Limit MMA next. Reed begin the round with low hands and stepping in early with a strong offensive side kick, obviously his way of welcoming Marrow to the fight. While Marrow danced on the outside, Reed slide in and out while pulsing on both feet, obviously measuring his kicking distance for a strike. Marrow seemed oblivious to this and tried to keep what he thought was a safe distance as he tried to get comfortable. Before he realized it, his back was against the fence, his body became square and Reed unleashed what he'd been measuring. A right rear leg kick to the head. It's moments like this where I see people in the crowd who are often shocked the first time they attend a live fight or MMA match, and hear the sound of bone hitting flesh. The strikes are real and they're hard. The crowd let out a uniform,"OWWW!" Marrow was hit before he could react and his body met the cage and mat in quick succession. The first KO of the night.
Everett Sims and Ricardo Ramirez, fighting Super Heavyweight and Welterweight respectively, made quick work of their opponents in the next two matches. Sims delivered a thunderous left knee catching John Calloway coming in on an attempted a takedown and Ramirez got a submission via americana armlock.
Francisco Isata vs. Kenny Hill at the catchweight of 150 lbs., was an interesting match. Isata who fights out of Disciple MMA, came in all business. Hill, of Combat Club Martial Arts on the other hand, was in the entertaining mood as he danced his way to the cage, feeling his walk-out music, which got cheers from the crowd who appreciated his moves.
Hill may have been trying to lull Isata into a false sense of security as he immediately went for a take down during the opening bell. Isata promptly stuffed and reversed the position against the cage and tried his own hand at a takedown which proved successful. Hill spent the rest of the first round defending mount and choke attempts from Isata who seemed to have an edge on the ground. In the second round, Isata shot in and got a double leg takedown that he was able to use to work his way to the half-guard position for most of the round. Hill put on a gritty effort as he made several attempts to either wall-walk his way to his feet or rise to his knees before he was taken back down by Isata. Isata stayed on him throughout and eventually was able to sink in a rear naked submission choke to end the match at the 4:15 mark in the second round.
The Welterweight title fight would pair two fighters on a current winning streak. Pringle who had won his last 2 fights and Domengeaux who was on a blazing streak of 8 wins in a row. Round one began with one of the tell tale signs of experienced fighters, the feeling out process. Lots of movement, feints and pawing each others hands. Pringle was caught against cage mid-way through the round and taken down. He managed to roll out of trouble and Domengeaux pulled him into guard to start a ground fight. Domengeaux attempted to slap on a triangle but Pringle calmly fought his way out as the two traded positions with sweeps and reversals before regaining their feet and closing out the first round. The second round began where the first round left off, lots of hand fighting and open stance engagement. Ultimately, Pringle was able to pull off the victory defeating Domengaux via rear naked choke in the Second Round.
ODYSSEY FIGHTS ROUND 3 RESULTS
For more information on future Odyssey fights, visit http://www.odysseyfights.com/.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He holds a black belt in Taekwondo and is also a practitioner of Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.