I took the night off from my usual #MMATwittering to head up to a local casino, The Emerald Queen, to take in some regional fights put together one of the best promotions in my area, CageSport by Halquist Productions. They consistently put on great shows, curated with the PNWs best and brightest fighters, and this show was no exception.
It was a card filled with mostly lighter weights (BW, FW, LW), my favorite divisions to watch, but a big motivation for attending was to watch Juicy J Erosa defend his belt again. His previous defense of the CageSport lightweight belt was a barnburner of a fight, and my confidence in another one was high. Erosa hasn’t always been a winner, but he is undoubtedly an entertainer each and every time, and last nights tilt was no exception. The card was filled with mostly quick finishes from top to bottom. TKO’s, RNC’s, and an Armbar to boot, with only one exception, and I’ll start there for my quick recap of the event.
Eric Higaonna took on Jose Hernandez to top off what was already a great undercard, with the promise of a fun fight according to the guys at NWFightscene. While Hernadez was landing the better shots standing, there was smart wrestling on display from Higaonna, snagging single legs and turning quick corners. He mostly kept the fight where he wanted, on the gound and softening him up with with his fists, even almost getting deep RNC, and looking close to a finish from GnP a few times. Lots of heart and talent from both, but Higaonna snagged a close split decision. This kid shows promise, and I hope to see more of him soon.
Journey Newsome, a local favorite, arrived to much fanfare from the crowd to take on Anthony Zender for the vacant Bantamweight title. Newsome came out with plenty of energy, light on his feet, and the 1st round was your typical feeling-out affair. But it was pretty apparent Newsome has a significant speed advantage over Zender, and that came to bear quickly in the second. Newsome cracked him with a right for a flashy knockdown, and finishes up with a dozen shots behind the ear for a spectacular win to take that belt!
In the final fight of the night, the main card event that most were whispering was pretty much a squash, Bobby McIntyre took on the well-known TUF competitor and Cage Warrior fighter Julian “Juicy J” Erosa for the CageSport Lightweight Title. Erosa is a beloved son of the PNWs MMA scene, known for absolutely entertaining fights win or lose. Since losing a questionable decision at Cage Warrior Unplugged, Erosa returned to his native lands to successfully take and defend the lightweight belt. I honestly hadn’t heard much about McIntyre, but people “in the know” seemed confident that Erosa would end this quickly in the first. They were correct about the round, at least.
In what felt an almost Rockhold/Bisping-esque few minutes, Erosa spent the time showing some fantastic kicks, but an almost whimsical disdain for the power of his opponent. And he paid for it dearly.
At 3 and a half minutes, McIntyre caught him cleanly with a left sending him flat on his back, and followed that up with some shots leading the ref to call it. Quite a few complaints arose that it was stopped early, from the fans and Erosa (even some cage-side yelling from Mr. Halquist himself), but I watched the replay as many times as I could, and I’ve seen fights stopped for less. As the belt holder, should he have been given another second to recover? Maybe. But there’s a certain limpness in the arms and neck, a stiffenss in the legs, that indicate to me a fighter is out and only more damage would likely be incoming, and Erosa had those clearly to me.
All said, the crowd was roaring on it’s feet from wall to cage, and it closed off a fan-freaking-tastic night of local MMA with a banging #AndNew! Congrats, Bobby!
If you’re a native of the Great Pacific Northwest, and consider yourself fan of combat sports, you would be well advised to seek out and attend the Halquist Production events, everything from CageSport (MMA) to Battle At The Boat (boxing) In a part of the country rich with MMA history, gyms, and fighters, it’s surprising we don’t have more. But thankfully, these guys at BHP go to great lengths to consistently bring us amazing fights. I’ll be attending as many as I can find the time for, and will recap them here!
Main Event – CageSport LightweightChampionship
Bobby McIntyre d. Julian Erosa, TKO (1st round, 3:28)
Co-main event – CageSport Bantamweight Championship
Journey Newson d. Anthony Zender, TKO (2nd round, :24)
136 pounds: Eric Higaonna d. Jose Hernandez, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
146 pounds: Justin Hugo d. Jordan Mackin, arm bar (1st round, 2:05)
156 pounds: Wyatt Gonzalez d. Tyrone Henderson, rear naked choke (3rd round, 2:10)
186 pounds: Nick Coughran d. Jorge Cordoba, rear-naked choke (1st round, 2:15)
145 pounds: Armando Best d. Bryce Walden, TKO (3rd round, 1:07)
185 pounds: Justin Milani d. Steve Vasquez, TKO (1st round, 18)
CageSport 46 was brought to you by Brian Halquist Productions and CageSport MMA. For more information, please visit the CageSportMMA Facebook page and www.halquistproductions.com.