Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Juggernaut Fight Series Review

Juggernaut Fight Series Kicks Off With A Bang

In this day and age it is not difficult to find a Mixed Martial Arts event happening in your area on a Saturday night. As a strong supporter of the sport I have attended many shows, seeing the good, bad, great and everything in between. Any promoter can have a show that falls apart or fails to showcase a single entertaining fight. At even more of disadvantage, upstart promotions often have a difficult learning curve before they start producing quality matches. There are no guarantees in Mixed Martial Arts inside or outside the cage.

As one of the top fighters in the state of Michigan, Lee “The Juggernaut” Trombley was aware of the risks involved with promoting an event but was willing to accept the challenge and focus just as intently as if he were entering battle. Trombley’s organization, Juggernaut Fight Series, had plenty to overcome for their inaugural event “Saline Summer Beatdown”. The main event was originally Kema “The Wrecking Ball” Minnich versus Brandon Noble for the JFS Welterweight Title. Shortly after the fight was arranged Noble decided he was dropping to the Lightweight division. Noble was then slated to face the number one ranked LW in the state, Deven Brown. Minnich’s new opponent was announced to be the very capable Andrew Crushshon. An injury forced Crushshon out of the fight a couple weeks before the event. Gary Conradson agreed to fight Minnich on short notice until he too was also injured during training less than a week before the event. The man that had the intestinal fortitude to clash with Minnich was a solid wrestler with a good chin named Joe Bloom.

All seemed well after Bloom agreed to step up. Until two days before fight night, Brandon Noble announced he was hurt and could not compete. Finding an opponent on one days notice to fight the top ranked guy in his division and also make weight is nearly impossible, especially an opponent worthy of that opportunity. Terry Van Avery also known as Terry Travesty was the one man willing to take on that challenge. Travesty is not only a Championship caliber trash talker but a Championship caliber contender as well. Boasting an impressive 10-1 record entering the fight and being a top ten fighter himself, Van Avery was a worthy advisory for Brown and a test for each fighter.

Veteran ring announcer Pete Trevino, Jr. was on the microphone which is always a win in itself. Professional mixed martial artists Danny “The Falcon” McIntyre and Josh “Shortstack” Robinson displayed experienced, intelligent officiating throughout the night. Great matchmaking was apparent in each match of the night. All of the bouts were entertaining in their own unique way.

The first fight in JFS history was also the first fight for both Ron Orvis and Justin Wilson in their careers. The fight went back and forth several times, a nightmare for judges. Wilson managed to mount Orvis twice in the third round which likely became the deciding factor in Wilson’s very close split-decision win. Veteran amateur Don Trout was matched against newcomer Chris Sinic. Trout had much more ring experience but his poor record added a different element to the fight. Trout was working for a guillotine finish for the bulk of the fight until Sinic was able to apply an armbar forcing Trout to tap.

Justin Torocolacci and Chad Rouse each debuted versus one another. This fight had the crowd getting loud with excitement. Although very evenly matched Rouse did enough to win on all three judge’s scorecards. Bobby Sutherby and Ethan Fitzgerald displayed the electricity that the smaller weight classes are known for. Fists were flying fast, Sutherby’s proving to be the heavier, leading to a second round TKO. Kris Halstead fought hard against Nick Nguyen but a lost point due to an illegal strike to the back of the head. The end result was a majority decision for Nguyen so the point deduction played a factor in Halstead’s loss.

In a 160 pound catch-weight match Justin Hall was outpointed by Russell Campbell by unanimous decision. Steve Ekquist and Jason Clisham traded leather into the third round when Ekquist landed a big shot on Clisham forcing the referee to stop the fight. The big boys took the cage as the last non-title fight of the evening. Heavyweights Lamar Foster and Josh Franklin hammered each other with heavy punches. Foster landed a blow that saw Dan McIntyre intervene immediately and call an end to the action while both participants were standing. Referee McIntyre stated after the fight that Franklin’s arms went limp, knees buckled and his eyes went blank. You could tell he was out on his feet.

JFS crowned three champions on Saturday night; the first bout was for the Welterweight Belt. Kema “The Wrecking Ball” Minnich, a bjj brown belt, was set to face Joe Bloom, the fourth different opponent he was scheduled to fight. On top of that Kema’s wife Jennifer sat in the audience, 9 months pregnant, ready to give birth. This news was unsettling news for ring medic Patrick Fleming Jr., who has personally delivered two children, but he already had his hands full with all the brutality of a great fight card.

The fight started with Minnich and Bloom trading punches until it went to the ground with Minnich attempting several submissions. This was the story of the fight, as each fighter took a great deal of punishment. It is amazing that this fight even went to a decision. Throughout the fight Minnich landed hard, solid punches on Bloom’s chin but the guy wouldn’t go out. Bloom did his share of damage and appeared to be close to finishing the fight himself on more than one occasion yet Minnich survived each flurry and returned the favor. Minnich came close to locking in several submissions but the perspiration on each fighter made it much easier to slip and escape.

After five very hard fought rounds Kema Minnich won a unanimous decision to become the first ever Champion for the Juggernaut Fight Series. Two judges awarded him three rounds while the third judge scored four rounds to one in favor of Minnich. After the match each fighter appeared as if they were in a bad accident. Minnich had a busted up face and a sore hand. Bloom’s lip was split and appeared to have a broken nose and also possible damage to his orbital bone. Both fighters showed tremendous heart and spirit, far beyond what you see in many professional fighters. This was the Fight of the Night by far.

The Middleweight Title bout featured Eric “The Reject” Burress against Brian Davis. Davis knocked out his previous opponent in just over 30 seconds while Burress knocked out his last opponent in only nine seconds. This fight lived up to expectations resulting in Brian Davis landing the big KO punch just 21 seconds into the first round. This was Knockout of the Night without a doubt.

In the main event Deven “Bad News” Brown, who is widely considered the top ranked Lightweight and Featherweight in Michigan faced Terry Van Avery, with each fighter boasting only one defeat each. To the casual fan this match may not have been very exciting but true fans of the sport could appreciate the intensity. Terry took the fight to the ground fairly quickly. Most of the first round saw Terry attempting an armbar from his guard and Brown landing several shots to the body. There were a few points where Terry appeared very close to finishing Brown with a submission. The second round was headed in the same direction as Terry worked for a kimura lock from which Brown escaped and Bad News immediately began dropping bombs resulting in a TKO stoppage and giving Deven Brown his fourth Championship Title amongst the Amateur ranks.

Every fan in attendance was treated to a fantastic show. Each fight winner received either a trophy or a customized championship belt. Despite several obstacles, hurdles and injuries the fight card matched fighters very well and produced an extremely entertaining show. There is no date set for the next JFS show yet but it is almost guaranteed to happen in the near future. During the show, promoter Lee Trombley announced he will be moving to the Middleweight division. A decision that is surely not pleasant to 185 pounders across Michigan. In another big announcement from Trombley, a mini juggernaut will be on the way within the next nine months as he and his wife are expecting, congratulations.  If you haven’t attended a local MMA event yet, you are doing a disservice to yourself. Please go to a show and be sure to support the great sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Written by: Brandon New


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