Dom Mazzotta (7-1) stepped into the Pinnacle FC cage for the first time Saturday night and came out victorious against one of his toughest opponents to date in Tim Goodwin (9-5). Mazzotta has proven that he is one of the area's elite over the course of the last few fights but this win over Goodwin sets him apart from the pack. Make sure that you don't skip past the walk outs because you'll miss something huge.
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I wasn’t really planning on making this a “Top 5 Article” but I ended up with 5 things so I figured why not. Check it out below in no particular order.
Dann Cucuta’s victory proved a point to me Saturday night
As I get older and become more aware about the long term impact of head trauma I slowly but surely have started to find myself wondering why do we (not actually we, I mean the commission mostly I guess) allow certain fights to continue, even if in the moment they appear to be completely one sided.
I don’t mean one sided in that one obviously dominant fighter controlling another for most of the fight but more of a mercy rule for those guys who are just too durable to go down regardless of what is happening while absorbing heavy head shots from his opponent who appears that they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Recently I have found myself watching these clearly one-sided scenarios play out while thinking to myself “They should probably consider stopping this”. In some very real way I feel a serious pang of moral contradiction, especially in bouts like Cucuta/Murray. Why you ask? Dann Cucuta and Jesse Murray both destroyed each other’s faces on-purpose Saturday night and it’s because I paid them for it. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t bother me a little bit in the moment. Cucuta is a great guy with a great son and I don’t necessarily enjoy watching him get blasted with huge power shots while barely hanging on to whatever remaining consciousness he has left - I’m sure Murray is a very nice guy too I just didn’t have the chance to talk with him.
However, once in a blue moon something remarkable happens that turns the tide and the guy who was just barely clinging to his remaining faculties pulls enough energy and heart and whatever the fuck it is to put something in the air that is substantial enough to winback the game. It has happened a handful of times before and it happened again Saturday night. For those of you who missed the fight, Jesse Murray was ahead on points and had Cucuta in serious trouble for the majority of the 2nd round and just when it looked all but over Cucuta tagged him with a beautiful hail mary elbow that split Murray open bad enough that the doctor called the fight. It’s a fairly subjective thing but I would guess that these “come from behind” scenario wins happen less than 10% of the time. I would say that most of the time when you find that you are on the wrong side of a one sided beating it only gets worse until we are waking you up asking you questions like “do you know where you’re at?” and “what month it is?”, shit like that. My point is that I felt like “they” allow the “losing” fighter to absorb way more punishment than necessary because he or she is still hanging on even though they shouldn’t and the odds of them turning it around are very, very low. In the end it is a very interesting turn of events and makes for a great story and a hefty hospital tab.
Dom Mazzotta’s real secret is that he’s just better
Dom Mazzotta’s win over Tim Goodwin Saturday night was arguably the biggest win of his career. Goodwin is bigger, more experienced and very dangerous but in the end Mazzotta was just too much. On the feet Dom changed his advance almost immediately which made Goodwin have to think about what was happening and then when they did clash Dom met him in the middle. Goodwin is probably the better striker on paper if you took a poll, but Dom proved to be better here. When they were against the fence and Goodwin was working to find a handle on something and advance his position, Dom hit him with a beautiful hip toss that would make Rhonda Rousey blush and won the exchange again. On the floor Mazzotta moved carefully but quickly and was enough steps ahead that Goodwin was already in the deep end before he knew it. Dom quickly took away all of his options and from there it’s only a matter of time. Tim Goodwin is a serious opponent and prospect; Dom Mazzotta was just better.
Mazzotta is talented enough in all areas to shut his opponents down wherever they decide to take the fight and ultimately that is the reason why he shouldn’t be fighting on a regional level for much longer.
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STU Scribe Jesse Saxon was on hand to jot down the action that took place last night at Pinnacle FC 10. I know pics of this cut are circulating and it's borderline over done but I feel like this one is kind of unique, not sure if that's weird or not. I'll save you another filler sentence and leave it at check it out below:
The Iceoplex in Canonsburg was once again home to Pinnacle Fighting Championships this past Saturday, May 9, 2015; in what was one of the most exciting local cards in all of local card history. Whether you love stand up slugfests, technical ground work, knockouts, submissions, bloody doctor stoppages, a DJ who personally never let me down with his musical selections, or grind-out decisions victories, Pinnacle Challenge Series 10 brought it all.
Despite a couple of fights having to be scrubbed due to fighters having to pullout, the nine-fight-card came together in a great way to deliver, yet another, quality production.
Andy Anderson Vs. Aaron Finch
The party got started with the amateurs Stout Training Pittsburgh-Team Renzo Gracie’s Andy Anderson welcomed Aaron Finch to the Pinnacle cage. Finch, a man nine years the elder, fought off a slew of armbar attempts from Anderson for most of the first round. But by the 1:42 of the second round, the slew of submission attempts was just too much and the fight was stopped by the referee who heard Finch’s pop—a sound that I’ll always remember any time I bite into a raw carrot from now on.
- Andy Anderson Via submission Rd.1
Brock McCelland Vs. Ian Jackson
Team Out of the Cage’s Brock McCelland versus Fight Club Pittsburg’s Ian Jackson was up next. Personally, I was just excited to see that McCelland, in a bit of a role reversal, was sponsored by Blush Gentleman’s Club. I had to admire a guy who could walk into such an establishment and ask them for money. The fight opened up with the two fighters trading a lot of punches through most of the first round and by the time the second round got underway, it was clear that McCelland was running out of gas. Jackson put such a pace on him that the doctor had to come in between the second and third rounds just to make sure McCelland could continue. But at 0:12 into the third round, Jackson made sure the fight wouldn’t go on past that when he smelled blood and went balls to the wall to get the KO victory by sending thunderous strikes (literally, they sounded like thunder) from technical mount, until the referee separated them. A great showing of determination and heart by Jackson.
- Ian Jackson Via TKO Rd. 3
Jason Alexander Vs Cortland Woodard
Fight Club Pittsburgh’s Cortland Woodard didn’t have an opponent three days before fight night. PFC reached out to Erie, PA and Three Elements MMA where Jason Alexander answered the call. The best that I can figure is that the 2.5 hour drive down 79 south must’ve been wrought with horrible traffic to make him so mad, or Mr. Alexander had to catch a plane before the starts of the second round because this one didn’t take long. From the bell Alexander dominated starting out with a huge right hand that put Woodard on his heels. Alexander didn’t let up though. He took the fight to the ground and unleashed sever ground-n-pound until he caught Woodard breaking the Wu-Tang Clans #1 rule: Protect Ya Neck. At 1:49 of round one the fight was stopped when Woodard tapped to a rear naked choke, allowing Alexander to catch that plane/get his road rage out in my FOTN.
- Jason Alexander via submission Rd. 1
John Saxton Vs. Josh Fremd
Josh Fremd and John Saxton were up next. Fremd, representing the Mat Factory, and my homeland of Fayette County, and Saxton of Fight Club Pittsburgh had all the appeal of a good fight. Both guys over six feet tall and both fighters looked like they didn’t want to be friends after this was over. Fremd opened up by landing solid kicks to accompany a great cage presence. He stayed aggressive and kept Saxton at bay with kicks to the body that made Saxton fight at Fremd’s distance. Which, in what may be the greatest game plan of all time, worked very well because when the shot opened up from the leg kicks, Fremd took it and hit John Saxton something fierce to put a stop to the fight at 2:16 of round one to get the TKO victory and improve to 3-1. “Josh Fremd,” write that one down, remember it.
- Josh Fremd via TKO Rd.1
Treg Wells Vs. Chris Mitchell
Next, Findly, Ohio and Demolition Fight Team brought in their fighter Treg Wells to take on Fight Club Pittsburgh’s Chris Humes-Mitchel in what would become a showing of athleticism, heart, and the example of all those times you work hard in the gym because ‘one day it’ll pay off’, for the Lightweight title. Wells looked to assert his dominance early. He came out in the first round very aggressive making it hard for Humes-Mitchel to do anything but be on the defensive for the entire first round. Punches, kicks, grappling, the first round had it all and Wells looked great. But since he was unable to finish Humes-Mitchel, the fight went into the second where cardio became Wells’ worst nightmare and Humes-Mitchel’s best friend. Humes-Mitchel came out hard and ready to throw while Wells was still trying to get his wind. Humes-Mitchel saw what we all did as well and kicked it up another gear to a pace that Wells just couldn’t keep up with. The fight continued to the third where Humes-Mitchel continued to dominate, but despite Wells being out of gas, the kid wouldn’t go down. Humes-Mitchel goes on to win by a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)and win the Lightweight title.
- Chris Humes-Mitchel via decision
Malik Epperson Vs. Chris Brooks
The Welterweight title was on the line next as Fight Club Pittsburgh’s Malik Epperson looked to defend his title against MTC Hornets/CMA’s Chris Brooks. The fight opened up with Brooks coming out aggressive athletic. Epperson attempted to stall the attack, but Brooks saw it as an opportunity to climb onto his opponent like the guy who fought like a monkey in “Bloodsport.” But Epperson was having none of it (also like “Bloodsport”) and took the fight from the 10th floor all the way to ground level when he slammed Brooks to the mat, hard. Brooks showed good ground work from bottom, but the round would end before much else could happen. In those moments, Brooks must’ve felt something on the ground that we didn’t see because when the second round opened up, the fight immediately went to the ground where Brooks secured a rear naked choke, and the Welterweight belt, at 0:31 of the second round.
- Chris Brooks via submission Rd. 2
Dann Cucuta Vs. Jesse Murray
The professional fights were up next and lead off by Toldeo, Ohio’s Jesse Murray of Demolition Fight Team against local Muay Thai standout, Dan Cucuta of Wright’s Gym. Murray came out like a bat out of Hell and putting on a striking clinic against Cucuta. Personally, I wasn’t shocked, but I was surprised to see Cucuta taking so much damage—but hey, anything can happen in the fight game. Murray easily won the first round and it was looking like Cucuta was going to be in for a long night. The second round picked up right where the first one let off. Cucuta was seeing, and landing on, openings but one particular—well maybe two—was all that he needed when he dropped in a wicked short elbow that ripped Murray’s left eyebrow open into the infamous MMA goat’s vagina. The doctor came in to take a look at it and it was an easy decision to stop the fight there, giving Cucuta the TKO at 3:21 of round two.
- Dan Cucuta via TKO Rd. 2
Dom Mazzotta Vs. Tim Goodwin
Next up was the co-main event and maybe the most anticipated fight of the night. Dom “the Honey Badger” Mazzotta made his Pinnacle Fighting Championships debut against South Carolina’s Tim Goodwin. Mazzotta is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. He’s an excellent fighter. Tim Goodwin didn’t get the memo. Kudos to Goodwin, though, for not giving a shit if he did get the memo because before the fight started he looked like he was ready to go to war. Mazzotta came out to roars of love from the crowd that gave the already-charged air a little bit more of an electric jolt. Mazzotta came out in the first with the intention of dismantling his opponent, and he did. There’s no real ‘nice way’ of saying this, but here at STU we don’t care (so much) about that so: Mazzotta beat the living shit out of Goodwin and made him look like an amateur. Mazzotta was more than happy to keep the fight at any level, being on the feet or on the ground, but when Goodwin was pressing, Mazzotta hit a beautiful uchi mata and it was basically a wrap from there. Remember the “BJJ Black Belt Memo”, well, Mazzotta used really smooth passing. To the untrained eye he made it look effortless, to the trained eye, he made it look effortless as well. I’m beyond impressed with his passing ability alone. But eventually Mazzotta was able to lock a rear naked choke, sink his hips, and force Goodwin to tap at 4:37 of round one.
- Dom Mazzotta via TKO Rd.1
Mark Cherico Vs. Darby Halferty
The main event brought back “the Pride of Bloomfield”, Mark Cherico against Darby Halferty out of Lee Brothers Submission Academy in Garrett, Indiana. The first round opened up with what looked to be a new Mark Cherico. Perhaps humbled a little by his last fight with Brian “Boom” Kelleher, or maybe something else; but in either case Cherico seemed to have abandoned the confident swagger that’s normally associated with him and his ring presence. Instead we saw a more concentrated Mark Cherico. Determined maybe. Focused, for sure. Round one saw Cherico gauge his opponent and not rush into any mistakes. His calculated approached eventually lead to him taking top side control and inspiring the chants of “CHER-RI-CO!”[sic] from the crowd and that’s where the first round would come to a close. In the second round, Cherico got to his bread and butter—wrestling—and got the fight to the ground where he was able to impose his will on Halferty and Ground-n-Pound his way to a TKO at 2:52 of round two.
- Mark Cherico via TKO Rd. 2
So there you go, something for everyone! PFC 10 was truly one of the great cards in local MMA action. From top to bottom a solid production with good food, good drinks, plenty of friendly faces, and great entertainment. Whether you’re new to the sport or not, PFC 10 surly provided something for you to love. The night’s fighters all demonstrated all aspects of the sport and truly showed why MMA fighter’s are really today’s top athletes and that Pinnacle Fighting Championships always provided the top tier fighters for its fans.
Josh Hilliard gives no fucks
Hilliard has proven that he will basically fight anybody, anywhere, at any time. He has taken on undefeated professional Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, the underrated one-time prospect Shawn King and made his professional debut against Mike Putnam, now he’s set to take on one of the stiffest tests of his career in Nick Browne. It’s safe to say he is not afraid to roll the dice.
Browne is arguably the most underrated prospect in our region
Take a look at his record. No seriously, take a look at his record and tell me you haven’t been sleeping on this kid just a little bit. He went 11-1 as an amateur and 3-0 as a professional with all wins coming via stoppage?
I mean holy shit Nyquil you’re making the rest of us look bad.
Did you happen to see his WSOF debut where he gave Sidney Outlaw an instant case of baby deer legs with an overhand right that looked as though it was thrown by Ray Rice himself? - I’m just kidding you guys, Ray Rice knocked his wife out with an uppercut everyone knows that. Nothing quite sets the mood like a jab at domestic violence.
Seriously bros, if there ever was a legit prospect a step or two away from making a gigantic splash it’s this kid.
Hilliard can be described in one word; Tricky.
Hilliard will attack using damn near anything he’s ever learned and throw it at you with not so reckless abandon. His combinations are harder to predict because he kicks a lot more often than you would expect but then sometimes he just rips a 7 shot, all hand combination and it throws a curveball into the pattern. His wrestling and clinch work is solid and he has no problem dropping for submissions if they present themselves.
Nick Browne could have the highest ceiling on this card
I made the statement that Nick Browne could have the highest ceiling of any fighter on this card on BluegrassMMA Live on Tuesday night, and I really believe that. Despite being on a card with guys like Mark Cherico, Dominic Mazzotta, and Khama Worthy who could all big in the big show sooner rather than later, it could actually be Browne who is one day the biggest name to fight on this card. Looking at his resume and skillset, the only negative thing I can say about him is that he’s perhaps too quiet and doesn’t sell himself enough. But if that’s a guy’s biggest negative, you can always work with that.
Expect a shootout for as long as thing lasts. Both guys will be coming in looking to bring the heat. Browne has a little more pressure on him to continue living up to the prospect role that he has set himself up with so nicely in his past outings. I would guess that this one goes everywhere and shows off the deep skill sets of both guys. Browne has a slight advantage in experience but like I said before Hillaird has seen a lot of stuff in his 14 fight career and I would venture to guess he is well prepared for the challenge.
Keep an eye out for a top 5 article later next week and a special shout out to our sponsors for this one including Diane Tressa Bail Bonds, PGH made, Toast Pain Relief Products, The Micro Diner, Reaction Nutrition and Cellhelmet Repair.
Fans often come to Pinnacle cards to see the big-name professional stars like Mark Cherico, Dom Mazzotta, and Nick Browne, but one thing that a lot of the fans don't realize is that all of those guys were once just amateur fighters trying to make a name for themselves. They worked their way up through amateur cards, not getting paid and just excited for an opportunity to fight. While the pros make the big bucks, amateurs have to scratch and claw to sell tickets in order to make commissions, and obviously they must go out and perform if they want people to keep showing up to their fights. There's an insatiable hunger evident during amateur fights that adds just that little bit extra bit of excitement.
There's a deep and eclectic amateur lineup set for fans to enjoy at Pinnacle FC 10, including a title fight, longtime veterans, and fighters just looking to break in and get their first fight.
If you maybe aren't familiar with some of the younger guys or you just need some extra incentive to get jacked for Saturday, here are your Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Excited about the Pinnacle FC 10 amateur card:
People love belts. They are good for holding up your pants, getting the phone numbers of ring card girls, and using as weapons in WWE. I actually once even saw a fighter who was introduced as having an 0-1 record carrying a belt to the cage. I assumed that perhaps he was the world champion of losing, and then I remembered that Walmart sells belts.
In Japan you get trophies when you win, but we like to dole out belts, and Fight Club Pittsburgh’s Malik Epperson (4-1) will be looking to hold onto his against challenger Chris Brooks (4-2). I’ve actually seen both guys fight numerous times, and this is a matchup of two of the better 170-pounders around. Epperson gets better by leaps and bounds each time out, and Brooks is just as rugged as they come.
If there is one age-old truth in combat sports, it’s that fights are always more interesting when there is some bad blood. Now I’m not sure how the beef between Fight Club Pittsburgh’s Cortland Woodard and Out of the Cage’s Jon Rearick got started, but I know how it’s going to be finished: via fist fight. In a cage. With a couple thousand of their closest friends cheering them on and slapping high five as they drink beer (#merica).
I actually do think that I kinda sorta know how this thing started to get heated, as Woodard was apparently under the impression that fighters from the gym/MMA store that actually sponsors him (OTC) wouldn’t fight him. I guess that’s out the window now. If you see me getting up from the commentary booth right before this one, just assume that I’m going to get some popcorn in preparation for the show. And a beer.