M.A.S.S – A Legacy Begins
By: Mike Thorwart – MMA Melee – July 18, 2011 – 6:01 A.M.
Pictured above: Elliot Wilborn. Photo By: John Meyer
July 16th, 2011 marked a historic night in Wilkes Barre, PA as the first mixed martial arts (MMA) event was held at The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. From when I first got to the arena at roughly 11:30 A.M to when I took my seat around 7:00 P.M I could feel it in my gut that this was going to be a special night. From when the National Anthem was sung, to Elliot Wilborn giving the opening in only the way that Elliot can, I had chills.
The night started out in only the way a crowd dreams it, absolutely crazy. It was an amateur bout between Jeremiah Wells and Dave Spadell. Right away, these two warriors wanted to showcase there toughness as they were swinging for the fences with Wells catching Spadell in the 1st round but he showcased his will to win and made it out of the first round. In round 2, they came out swinging again, only this time, 19 seconds into the first round Spadell landed a very hard shot on Wells, knocking him out.
The 2nd fight of the night was Anthony McGlynn taking on William Weber. With the chants of ill will coming from all around the arena I’m sure it really boosted Weber’s confidence as this was his MMA amateur debut. He certainly showcased his wrestling skills at he displayed complete dominance all three rounds smashing out a unanimous decision. If Pennsylvania amateur rules allowed striking to the face on the ground, it wouldn’t have gone to decision. I spoke with Weber a little later on and he stated “It’s hard trying to follow fight like Spadell and Wells and I really wanted to entertain the crowd”. My response to him was “This is MMA, if people want to see all stand up, they can watch K-1 or boxing”.
The 3rd amateur fight of the night was Samo Beharovic and wrestling sensation, Steve Mytych. Mytych, who is an Olympic hopeful came out and wasted no time showing his superior grappling skills and only 1:20 into the first round secured an arm triangle for the submission victory. His ammy record improves to 3-0 and is now eligible to go pro.
Pictured L to R: Sean Diggs, Michael Zola, Kris McCray. Photo By: John Meyer
This brought us to the final ammy bout of the night which was John Ortiz taking on up and coming star Michael Zola. Zola, who is only 19 years of age is a very well rounded fighter already, is improving in every fight. This one was no different as only 1:18 into round one he sunk in an arm bar and secured the submission victory. Zola improves to an ammy record of 3-0.
The first pro fight of the night was Diego Peclat taking on Richard Patishnock. This was a fight of back and forth action. Patishnock dominated round one and Peclat, round two. The third round was very close and it could have gone either way that night but it was Richard Patishnock earning the split decision.
Jay Haas sinks the hooks in on Blesser. Photo By: John Meyer
Nick Blesser and Jay Haas would be your next pro fight. I spoke with Jay a few times through-out the week leading up to his fight with Blesser and you could tell that he was more than ready to get into that cage. Haas, who is only 20 years old and has been in over 20 fights already showed his experience and skills as it was a vicious ground and pound on Blesser. At 3:25 into the first round, Haas would get a TKO victory (from elbows) over Blesser.
That brought us to the 7th bout of the evening which was Ryan Harder vs. James “Humble Pie” Cianci. There really isn’t much to go into on this one as the fight only lasted 55 seconds. Most of Cianci wins have come by submission but this one was a little different. He showed some great stand up skills and power as he TKO’d Harder in devastating fashion. Cianci showed true sportsmanship as he did not jump on Harder once he was down and out. You could tell how amped up and excited Cianci was as he launched his mouthpiece into the crowd (which actually my fiancé caught by the way). Cianci improves to a pro record of 3-0 and an overall MMA record of 6-0.
Pictured above - T-Rex Harris. Photo By: John Meyer
This led us to the co-main event of the evening which was Chase Owens taking on T-Rex Harris who was making his professional debut. This, my friends was absolutely, fight of the night (in my opinion). Right away, these two tangled up and the war began. For almost 15 minutes these two battled back and forth, scrambling and showing their determination and strength. At one point in the fight, Owens had a rear naked choke locked in on Harris and T-Rex displayed some serious strength by simply just powering out of it and reversing the tables. In the 3rd round both men were visibly tired but, wouldn’t you be if you were throwing a 185 pound guy around for 10 minutes? I know I would be. Harris was showing dominance in the final round as I felt that if this was going to a decision, Harris was going to win. The crowd was going absolutely insane for this fight as the chants for T-Rex were shaking the roof on the arena. I was sitting right in front of Rex’s family and his mother was yelling “Finish It”! You could tell she is a very proud mom! At 4:39 into the final round Harris put Owens down and got on top and was throwing punches. Due to an injury, the ref stepped in and Harris’ pro debut was a success, winning by TKO. Harris’ over all MMA record is now 4-0 and he still remains undefeated in any combat sport he has ever participated in.
Hettes in dominant position over Kirwan. Photo By: John Meyer
This led us to the main event of the evening which was for the Martial Arts Super Sport Featherweight Championship. Jacob Kirwan and Jimy Hettes in a lot of people’s eyes are the two best up and coming featherweight prospects on the east coast. With Hettes coming into this fight with an overall record of 11-0 and all of the wins coming by submission (10 of them in the 1st round) he was clearly the favorite coming into it. The place was going insane for Hettes as he was in front of his hometown crowd. Being led out by Sean Diggs, Kris McCray and most of the MMA Melee team, I had butterflies in every part of my body.
The first round was a great round of action as Hettes showed some really crisp stand up skills coming right at Kirwan showing no fear. Once it hit the ground both men displayed skills but eventually you could see that Hettes was more superior. Jimy caught Kirwan in what looked to be a very tight guillotine choke but the strength and submission defense of Kirwan allowed him to escape it.
Jimy "The Kid" Hettes celebrating his victory! Photo By: John Meyer
The 2nd round was a completely different story as it was all Hettes. Once again, Jimy displayed some great stand up skills coming right at Kirwan. Kirwan did manage to take Hettes down but Hettes’ Jiu Jitsu was just too much for Kirwan. Hettes had sunk in a triangle choke and had Kirwan trapped. It wasn’t completely locked on yet but Kirwan could not go anywhere as he was the recipient of the nasty elbow strikes courtesy of Jimy “The Kid”. Eventually, Hettes was able to pull his leg up and securely sink the triangle deeper. Leaving Kirwan only one option, and that was to tap. Your winner and new M.A.S.S Featherweight Champion, Jimy “The Kid” Hettes.
A little added note here, if I was the one giving out the awards for the night, they would go like this.
Mike T’s fight awards of the night:
Knockout of the night: James Cianci
Submission of the night: Jimy “The Kid” Hettes
Fight of the night: T-Rex Harris vs. Chase Owens