Well folks, it looks like we have a new main event for August 29th. With Mark Cherico injured and on the sidelines for the time being, Dom Mazzotta (7-1) will step into the marquee bout for his sophomore Pinnacle FC outing as he takes on South Carolina's Varon Webb (8-2) for the bantamweight title that Cody Garbrandt vacated when he went to the UFC.
There are a ton of reasons why you should care about this top-flight matchup, but here are the top 5:
5 – Mazzotta has picked up the pace
We’ve seen it time and time before, but when a guy finally gets that “and 1” on the wrong side of his win-loss record, it’s like something clicks that helps him turn the corner and finally reach his full potential.
Garbrandt got clipped by Hodge, Cherico got tapped by Kelleher, and Mazzotta came up short against Garbrandt. All three guys have been different fighters after those losses and have improved tremendously since.
I’ll be honest that I initially thought Tim Goodwin was a BAD matchup for Mazzotta in May and I really thought that Dom was in danger of losing his Pinnacle FC debut. But like many times before, I was proven wrong and Mazzotta put together what was probably the best performance of his career by completely shutting down anything that Goodwin tried and eventually tapping him near the end of the first round. It was just a beautiful performance all around and I can’t wait to see how he follows it up.
4 – Webb has wins over some tough guys
Webb’s 8-2 record looks impressive on paper, but it only looks better when you look at some of the guys he’s beat. Samir Farid is an up-and-coming fighter and C.J. Hamilton is tough as nails. Webb was also officially 11-5-1 as an amateur and apparently had even more wins than that.
What’s more is that he has five of his wins via decision. While some may look at that as a negative, it should also be pointed out that the decision wins show that he has a good gas tank and knows how to be patient in fights.
3 – Gold
Webb has already earned titles in the NFC and Glory Fights Promotions, but those were both at what appears to be his natural weight class of 125 pounds. Now he’ll get a chance to bump up to bantamweight to earn his third regional title in what will be the toughest fight of his career.
Dom is the Gladiators of the Cage champ and also went to Ohio and won a national title as an amateur over a guy in Wes Hanson who is now wrecking fools as a pro.
2 – It’s the new main event
As mentioned above, with Cherico out Mazzotta now has to carry the card as the headlining attraction. And he’s just the guy for the job. It’s almost like he was built to be a main event-er, from having droves of fans follow him to Ohio during his amateur days to coming right out of the chute and headlining pretty much every card that he has been on as a pro. Those are the types of things that will get him ready for the big show and the bright lights, and the guy has just so much charisma and takes everything in stride, that having him headlining here makes all the sense in the world.
1 – This is a great style matchup
Let’s face it: Mazzotta is really everywhere. His footwork has drastically improved in recent fights and he’s been traveling to get work with guys like pro boxer Bill Hutchinson and Joey Holt for awhile now but he still knows how to use distance from his traditional martial arts days. I guess if you had to pick a weakness in his game you’d say that on paper it’s wrestling and Webb may be the guy who can exploit that, but Mazzotta's home team is a literally a wrestling magnet school for the area. Meaning he sees high caliber grapplers on a daily basis. Webb is well rounded and has a ton of power, but he is moving up from flyweight so the size difference may play a bit of a factor here. Mazzotta shut down Webb’s Columbia Martial Arts teammate Tim Goodwin in May, so I’m thinking he’s going to use a similar game plan of using his striking to set things up to eventually get to the ground and use his superior positioning to get the tap.
Tickets are still going fast for this event, and you can reserve yours here now.
Don’t look now, but we’re under three weeks away from yet another massive fight card in the suburban dreamscape that is Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, as Pinnacle FC 11 goes down on August 29th.
This next part may feel a little bit like Groundhog Day, but headlining the event is Mark “The Pride of Bloomfield” Cherico (8-1) as he takes on yet another tough foe in South Carolina’s Solon Staley (7-2). These two will be scrapping for the Pinnacle FC featherweight title, and this will be such a hard fought battle that I’m sure either man who wins will deserve the crown once the final set of lights are shut off inside the beautiful Iceoplex late in the evening.
As if you needed a freaking reason to care about the main event of a stacked fight card in the beautiful Steel City, here are five:
5 – The old Cherico is back
There’s almost no way to underestimate how big May’s TKO win over Darby Halferty was for Cherico. Last year was by far the toughest year of Cherico’s career, and although he went 2-1, he was unable to finish guys who were clearly at least a level below him.
And then came the loss.
As much as I’m sure it stung, it proved to be exactly what he needed. He was forced to re-evaluate and realize the things he needed to do to get back to his old form. If he ever wanted to make it to the UFC and actually excel there, then he needed to bring the old Mark Cherico back.
What we got in May was a hungry, driven, angry, bearded Mark Cherico 2.0, and I was frankly a little excited and a little scared all at the same time. He looked mean and healthy and realized that perhaps featherweight is his best weight class.
4 – Staley is a tough matchup for Cherico
Talk to anyone in the MMA “business” and they’ll tell you that styles make fights. Hell, that’s even part of my Twitter bio. In the most basic of terms, Staley’s strengths are some of Cherico’s weaknesses. For example, Staley has a good guillotine and will go for it often. Cherico is a guy who likes to rush in for takedowns and sometimes guys who do that can leave their necks exposed. But Staley is also a little more willing to pull guard to finish his guillotines than I’d like, which would put Cherico on top right where he wants to be. It’s a veritable chess match, and that’s just from one position.
This is a great style matchup.
3 – It’s the main event, and it’s for a belt
Watching some of Staley’s videos from his amateur days, it’s pretty clear that he’s a fan of shiny gold attached to leather that he can carry to the cage on his way out from the dressing room. He competed in at least nine title bouts as an amateur and one more in his second fight as a pro.
And Mark is no stranger to either gold or main event status. After winning a “national” title for that one organization in Ohio that we’re pretty sure has gone the way of WCW and Affliction Fighting, he has been the undisputed Pinnacle FC featherweight champion (of the universe) for over a year now. This will also be his eighth time headlining a Pinnacle FC event. To say that the man has been the backbone of this company is an understatement. Any time that he fights in the area now could be the last time that we see him grace the Iceoplex in fancy shorts, and that’s reason enough for fans to purchase tickets if only to earn the right to say that you knew that guy who is fighting on TV before he was ever fighting on TV.
2 – Staley has the best resume of anyone that Cherico has faced
Aside from a 7-2 pro record with all 7 wins coming via finish, he was also officially 13-4 as an amateur (although multiple reports have him with even more wins than that in unsanctioned fights). He’s proven that he’s one of the best fighters in the south, and now he’s ready to prove that he can come north and beat a tough opponent with clear UFC aspirations.
But although he’s faced increasingly stiffer competition as his career has gone along, it’s also worth noting that Cherico is the toughest opponent that he’s faced as well.
1 – Cherico is this close
You probably can’t see over the internet, but I’m holding my thumb and forefinger so close together that it’s actually kind of hard to type. That’s how close Cherico is to the big show. Mark has recovered from the loss, but time is ticking as he’s inching closer to 30. He’s still in the prime of his career, and if (when) he makes it to the UFC, then technically his career is still in its infancy.
Pinnacle FC 11- Press Release and Card:
(PRESS RELEASE) PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Just under a month out from Pinnacle Fighting Championships’ return to the Iceoplex in the Pittsburgh suburbs, the organization announced the two headlining title bouts for the event.
First up, Pinnacle FC featherweight champion Mark “The Pride of Bloomfield” Cherico (8-1 / fighting out of Pittsburgh, PA) will look to defend his championship for the second consecutive time when he welcomes Solon Staley (6-2 / fighting out of Columbia, SC) to the Pinnacle FC cage for the first time.
Cherico got back on the winning track at Pinnacle FC 10 in May, when he produced a dominant second round finish of the previously undefeated Darby Halferty. The performance was very Cherico-like, as he used his wrestling and offensive submission game to repeatedly put Halferty in bad spots before eventually picking up the second TKO win of his career.
“I’m honored to be the main event on such a stacked card for the eighth time at Pinnacle FC,” Cherico said. “It’s even better that I get to defend my featherweight title. I’ve been working like crazy in the gym to get better from my previous performances and I can’t wait to showcase my skills for everybody in attendance!”
Staley has earned a reputation as a finisher thus far in his career, competing on the southern regional scene and earning stoppages in each of his six victories. The 31-year-old has also proven to be durable, as he has yet to be finished through eight fights.
Also on the card is Lower Burrell’s own Dominic “The Honey Badger” Mazzotta (7-1 / fighting out of New Kensignton, PA) who makes his second Pinnacle FC appearance against Varon “Mighty Moe” Webb (6-2 / fighting out of Columbia, SC) in a bantamweight attraction. On the line will be the Pinnacle FC bantamweight title vacated by current UFC fighter Cody Garbrandt.
Currently experiencing a meteoric rise that many expect will land him in the UFC before long, Mazzotta put together a nearly flawless performance in May, stopping the very game Tim Goodwin via rear naked choke in the first frame. The 28-year-old jiu-jitsu black belt has earned six stoppages in seven wins, and plans to make it two-for-two in his sophomore Pinnacle FC appearance.
Never one to mince words, Mazzotta kept things short and sweet: “One more road to cross, one more step to take.”
Webb is no stranger to high profile fights, as his last three outings have all had professional titles on the line. “Mighty Moe” has had an impressive career dating back to his debut, when he knocked his opponent out in just 14 seconds.
With the two cornerstone fights in place, more bouts will be announced for Pinnacle FC 11 in the near future. Multiple notables will also be in action on the card, including the professional debut of Pinnacle FC lightweight champion Chris Humes-Mitchell, unbeaten rising star Nick Browne, the MMA debut of professional boxer Jason Bergman, the return of veteran Dave Gabig, and Brandon Seyler.
Here are some of the other official match ups:
- Chris Humes-Mitchell vs. Tobiaus Taylor- Professional Debut for both guys
- Andrew Cseh vs. Brandon Seyler - Explosive professional match up
- Vladimir Jean-Philippe vs. Kyle Holt - Holt's Pinnacle FC Debut
- Teshay Guthro vs. Chaka Worthy - Khama Worthy's younger brother
- Dave Gabig vs. Sean Felton - The return of Dave Gabig after a 4 year layoff
- Thomas Gormley vs. Jeff Crum - 2nd fight for either guy
Tickets for Pinnacle FC 11 are priced from $40-$100 and are available at www.cagetix.com/pinnacle.
For more information on Pinnacle FC, visit StandThemUp.org.
Side Note: I am co-producing a new reality show being filmed here in Pittsburgh and they will be in attendance and filming the event August 29th.
RFO August 22nd:
RFO is back in action August 22nd and has put together one of their better cards to date, which at this stage is pretty hard to do considering how many great events they have pulled off over the years. There are currently 15 bouts slated for the evening and from what I have been hearing there are a few more pending. The quantity is definitely there but so is the quality with higher end match ups including a main event between Bellator Vet Frank Caraballo and Keith Richardson, who is not to be mistaken with The Rolling Stones front man Keith Richards. Even though Richards looks like he’s been punched in the face repeatedly, he is definitely not fighting Frank Caraballo August 22nd.
Sorry to let you guys down.
The unfortunate part about that joke is there are probably a shockingly high number of you that are too young to know who Keith Richards or the Rolling Stones are. Kids these days I’ll tell you what, with their Meek Mill on fleek and their Fetty Wap, it’s exhausting.
Richardson is coming into the main event with the momentum of a 4 fight win streak while this will be Caraballo’s first fight since October 2014. I can’t remember ever seeing a bad fight with Frank Caraballo in it, if I did I forgot about it, and I would guess this one will be more or less status quo as is most Caraballo’s bouts. Frank will come out swinging death hammers forged by what I would guess was a shitty child hood or some other life hardening experience while Richardson tries his best to deal. It’s all part of Caraballo’s charm if you will
Editor Note: I have no idea what type of childhood Frank Caraballo had.
Even though he’s coming in off of a relatively long layoff, Frank “The Tank” is also riding a two fight streak with his last performance arguably being one of his best in a 5 round decision victory over local stalwart Cody Stevens.
Also on the card, Evolve destroyer Jeff Hughes takes on fellow dream crusher Curt Lemmon in a heavyweight affair that will make more people nervous than a guy named Mohammed boarding a plane with a copy of the “ISIS Daily Tribune” tucked under his arm. Nothing like a little current event slash terror jokes in the morning, am I right?
One only needs to Google either man to understand the impact, both literally and figuratively, this fight will have on the regional heavyweight landscape. These two are the very best heavyweights in the area not named Stipe Miocic and Adam Milstead and the winner will have the option to fight the latter prehaps at a later date this year. Either way this fight is huge not only because of the size of the combatants but also their potential upsides and skill sets. In my opinion, this maybe one of the best match ups of the year.
Rounding out the professional bouts is a match up between Tony Dipiero and Kyle Dunmeyer in what should be a pretty decent scrap between two experienced guys. At one point in time, Dunmeyer was the undefeated amateur prospect to watch who had finished all but 3 opponents in very dominant fashion. Now he is heading into his bout with Dipiero as a 0-2 professional having been stopped in both outings. Can he turn things around here is the question.
Check out the full card listed below:
Professional Line Up
- Frank Caraballo vs Keith Richardson
- Curt Lemmon vs Jeff Hughes
- Tony Dipiero vs Kyle Strong Dunmeyer
- Ryan Arce vs Aaron Neighbors
- Tom Murfield vs Mike Seibert
- Aaron Bush vs Ray Hollis
- Marlon Baker vs Kris Maruna
- Jason Rine vs Thomas Good
- Nick Adkins vs Wayne Lauvray
- Nic Lute vs George Murphy
- Aaron Bartow vs Alex Johnston
- Tyler Feller vs Paul Freeland
- Desmond Ford vs Justan Grandison
- Tyler Bostick vs Tony Hodges
- Collin Kaplowitz vs Dib Kaddah
Pinnacle FC 11: 8/29
Well ladies (probably lady but whatever) and gentlemen, I am pleased to provide you some information about our upcoming event August 29th that is going down at the Iceoplex arena in sunny Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. It probably feels like I should have released something sooner and that’s probably true, but until a week ago or so, there wasn’t a ton of information to report. When there are multiple events going off around the same time, it makes things more difficult based on availability and other stuff so here we are. But after some typical grinding and unexpected turn of events, it looks like we have put together one of the better cards in a while. Here are some of the features:
The Pride Of Bloomfield Mark Cherico (8-1) returns to take on Solon Staley (6-2) in a serious fight between two very talented, very dangerous guys looking to take their respective careers to the next step. Both Cherico and Staley are coming in off of big wins and both are noted finishers. Staley has finished every bout as a professional ranging from knockouts to submissions and looks to continue that trend August 29th. Mark has stopped all but two opponents as a professional (and amateur) and has put together some of the most dominant performances in Pinnacle history. Below is Staley’s last fight, yes he is coming out to KRS-one which in some ways could be considered an added advantage (I have no idea how I justify that last part).
Dom Mazzotta (7-1) returns to the Pinnacle FC cage taking on Varon Webb (8-2) in what is probably going to turn into a wild shoot out relatively quickly. Webb comes into the match up with a huge amateur career with +15 fights and a strong professional record of 6-2. He’s fast, he’s experienced and he has the technical abilities to make it a long night for anyone who signed the contract. Mazzotta is touted as one of the area’s top prospects and with good reason, he has moved through each opponent with relative ease and looks like he is the real deal leading off with a combination of athletic ability and high level technique. Below is video one of Webb’s more recent outings:
Like a pre-crack Billy Mays once said, “But wait, there’s more”. This event also features the professional debut of Chris Mitchell, the MMA debut of boxing destroyer Jason Bergman (yes, that Jason Bergman), the return of Dave Gabig, Brandon Seylor, a OTC versus Fight Club bout – Jackson vs. Jaquay- (who doesn’t like one of those) and a lot more.
Tickets are available now at Cagetix.com/pinnacle or through your local fighter friend. Stay tuned for more as it is released.