Story by Fightjunky
In the spring of 2005, Elite Cage Fighting staged its inaugural event at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis before a modest crowd of MMA enthusiasts. On Saturday night, almost four years later, Elite Cage Fighting returned to the fairgrounds for its milestone 30th event, in front of a larger and even more enthusiastic crowd. As regulation of MMA under the state boxing commission looms, Elite has established itself as a local model in fighter safety standards, honest and compelling matchmaking, and skilled officiating. Saturday’s fight card, like most others over the years, did not disappoint.
The main event of the evening was easily the best fight of the night, and showcased two superior amateur fighters. Team Atchison’s Matt Morgan (5-0), who had largely mowed through his previous competition, stepped up in class to take on the defending ECF lightweight champion John Asbury (10-2). Both guys entered the cage in exceptional condition and ready to go. The fight largely featured a back-and-forth clinic on submission attempts and defenses between the well-versed fighters. In the first round, Morgan worked an early takedown to side control and landed knees. Asbury pulled guard, and Morgan worked to stack him on the cage and land elbows from within guard, then looked for a can opener, which Asbury defended well. After a restart, Morgan shot again, but Asbury stuffed the takedown, and the round ended. The second round began as the first ended, with Asbury stuffing a takedown. Asbury worked for a kimura, then an armbar, but Morgan defended gamely and took side control. Asbury was able to roll to north-south and, after Morgan tried and failed a guillotine attempt, Asbury eventually gained a takedown and side control of his own. Morgan was able to pull guard though and go for another guillotine. This time he had it locked, and Asbury was forced to submit. At 3:33 into the second round, Matt Morgan became the new lightweight champion, looking very impressive in doing so.
The co-main event of the night saw veteran amateur fighter Jason Law making his professional debut against Joe Cox. Although largely a stand-up fighter, Law seized an early opening and took Cox down to the mat. From there it was textbook transitioning, from side control to full mount, then separation, then strikes and elbows that absolutely shredded Cox and forced the ref to intervene. Jason Law won his pro debut with a dominating TKO just 1:16 into the first round.
Notable undercard fights included James Falk (who despite already fighting earlier in the evening agreed to step in as a substitute for a second fight) suffering a terrifyingly brutal knockout at the hands of David Stephens just 0:22 into the first round. Falk was motionless for several minutes afterwards, and later in the evening had to be taken to the hospital as a precaution. Fortunately, the medical personnel at the venue was top-notch, and Falk was quickly discharged from the hospital later that night.
Also suffering post-fight maladies, although not quite as serious, were Ken Wert and Kevin Bumbala, who each made their cage debut and fought their hearts out against each other in a two-round war of non-stop action. Neither fighter had a clear advantage until the second round, when Bumbala was able to gain mount and finish the fight with punishing strikes that forced the ref to intervene 1:15 into the round.
In other undercard fights:
James Smith defeated Chester York by submission (rear naked choke) 2:53 into the second round.
Gary Dunn earned a TKO victory 1:07 into the first round against Brett Hopkins.
Landon Hembree forced Jeff Warner to submit with a head/arm choke 1:40 into the second round.
Chris Wheeler submitted Chris Blevins with a guillotine choke 1:26 into the second round.
Jamie Trotter didn’t fare so well in his second amateur fight, getting punished by James Patton and submitting to a guillotine choke just 1:00 into the fight.
James Shaw improved his record to 2-1 with a submission victory (guillotine choke) over Derrick Russell.
Joe Black eked out an oddly-scored split decision (30-26, 28-29, 29-28) over Edward Leflore in both fighters’ debut effort.
Devon Cissell worked from guard to secure an armbar submission against Jeff Eubanks 1:58 into the first round.
James Falk (in his first fight of the evening) prevailed just 0:14 into the fight when his opponent, Alex George, somehow sustained a dislocated shoulder despite little apparent contact.
Ronez McGrady, who had showcased devastating striking ability in earlier fights, took his fight with Damon Roberts to the ground and was able to secure a triangle choke 1:43 into the first round.
Videos of all fights from this event will be posted shortly at WatchTammyTV
Elite Cage Fighting will host its next event in Bloomington, Indiana on May 2, and next returns to the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis on June 13.