by Rob Francis
One of the characteristics of a fighter is the ability to take a punch and get back up . This characteristic was on display Friday night. Not only from the fighters, but from the promotion itself. Less than a month after the tragic passing of promoter Steve Smith, Rumble Time Promotions returned to their home at Ameristar Casino. It would be easy for an organization to give up following such a loss, but the Rumble Time family picked themselves up and paid tribute to Steve by finishing the last show he started.
The show started with a pair of amateur kickboxing fights. The first fight saw Lucas Clay take on Yola Akak. Round one consisted of Yola striking while moving in and out and not letting Clay establish any effective offense. Lucas was finally able to get inside on his taller opponent in round two. He controlled the clinch against the cage and evened the fight heading into the final round. Round three was more of the same. Clay trapped Yola against the cage early in the round and again as the round ended. In the end Clay defeated Akak by split decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
In the second fight of the night Montrel James faced off with Luis Pena. Neither fighter wasted any time as they both came out swinging. Pena landed some good kicks to the body in round one and was able to get shots off quicker in the exchanges. Round two was bell to bell action again. James looked to slow his opponent with some heavy leg kicks. Pena started round three fast. The key point in the fight came in the third round, when Pena landed a hard knee. He was able to stun James and land some good shots to finish out the round. In what was fight of the night Luis Pena won a unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 28-28.
The MMA portion of the card started with a heavyweight fight between Chris Gideon and Matt Matteson. Gideon landed a nice kick then followed with a quick takedown. Once it went to the ground he used some hard knees to the body from side control. This opened his opponent up for the submission attempt, and Gideon got the victory at 1:25 of the first round with an americana.
Oscar Ahutzi continued to be quietly impressive in his fight versus JR Lonegran. Round one started with some powerful punches from Oscar leading to him grabbing a standing guillotine. When that didn’t finish the fight, he used a nice hip toss to get the fight to the ground. Both fighters got back to their feet, and Ahutzi pulled guard looking for another guillotine. Lonegran escaped and tried for an ankle lock. After another scramble the round ended with Ahutzi trying to lock in an inverted triangle. JR came out for round two looking for the takedown, but ended up on bottom. Oscar doesn’t let him up this time as he forces the referee to stop the fight at 2:32 of the second round to pick up the tko victory.
The next two fights saw Angelo Young defeat Johnathan Higgins by strikes at 1:45 of the first round. Timothy Jackson followed that up with a 45 second tko of Christopher Garner.
Jace Burcham and Ben Gray came up from Robbins MMA in Springfield Illinois and they brought a crowd with them. Burcham faced off against Alex Clymer. The action was fast in this lightweight fight, but Burcham was too much for Clymer. Jace Burcham defeated Alex Clymer by tko in 2:23 of the first. Ben Gray one upped his teammate by coming out fast and furious. He ran right through Glen Zogg with a 38 second tko in round one.
Demetrious Wilson made his pro debut against Isaac Badger to kick off the professional card. The 6’1” Badger had a big reach advantage that he wanted to use against the shorter Wilson. Once Wilson got inside of Badger’s kicks he took the fight to the ground. Wilson landed some good elbows from the top. Isaac got back to his feet, but was trapped against the cage where Wilson unloaded a barrage of strikes to force a stoppage at 1:38 of the first.
Nick Pohlman got back on track. After running through the amateur heavyweight division and winning a state title, Pohlman lost his first two professional fights. Friday night he faced Jake Zogg a superheavyweight from Illinois. Zogg tried for a takedown right off the bat. Pohlman stuffed the takedown attempt and landed a big knee to the body. Both fighters go to the ground after a scramble against the cage. Pohlman landed in side control and used his elbows to open Zogg up for a straight armbar.
Geoffrey Neal played spoiler against prospect Ty Flores. Flores came into the fight 2-0 as a pro and on a ten fight winning streak going back to his amateur career. Neal is a hard hitter from Texas with a 15-2 combined amateur and professional record. The action started right from the bell as the fighters each threw a head kick to open the fight. Neal showed solid striking while Flores threw some nice kicks. The action went to a clinch against the cage, and after the break Neal landed a left to drop Flores. A couple more shots and the referee jumps in to give Neal the tko at 3:25 of the first round.
The co-main event matched a pair of veterans, with Jimmy Donahue taking on Romon Barber. Donahue looked good working his jab and utilizing his speed against Barber. Romon looked to utilize his power. Donahue landed some good knees in the clinch, but on the break Barber connected with a hard right that led to the tko victory.
Kendrick Latchman got the win in the main event, but it wasn’t the one he was looking for. After months of trash talking in social media the main event between Latchman and Ken Porter was signed and ready to go. Unfortunately just days before the fight Porter suffered a cut in training, and had to withdraw from the bout. Joe Estrada took the spot in the main event on a day’s notice. Estrada took Latchman down multiple times in the opening round and did a good job controlling the fight. Latchman came out of his corner with a sense of purpose to start the second. Latchman worked the body before Estrada secured another takedown. Latchman was able to get the fight standing, and the next takedown attempt from Estrada was stuffed. Kendrick followed up with a nice head kick that was good for the knockout at 2:13 of round two.