Toledo’s own MMA organization, Purgatory Championship Fights, held its third event on May 7th at the Erie Street Market. The Toledo MMA Examiner wasn’t able to attend live, but thankfully, CageFightingLive.com was streaming the event.
The replay of the show was finally made available this past week so here is my official rundown of all seven professional fights at the event.
The first professional bout between Matt DiMarcantonio and Rustin Jones was primarily a stand-up affair. DiMarcantonio utilized his reach advantage and mixed in some flashy jumping front kicks to keep Jones at Bay. Jones, who was making his professional debut after going undefeated in his amateur career, had a lot of trouble getting inside. He had no answer for DiMarcantonio’s reach advantage. Whenever Jones did get aggressive, Matt would either clinch or take him down. DiMarcantonio began mixing in head and leg kicks as the fight wore on and was able to pull out a split decision victory. Matt evened his professional record at 1-1 while Jones is now 0-1.
Toledo fan favorite Ray Hernandez out of Bad Dog MMA dropped to 145 pounds for the first time in his career and he had a very exciting match with tough wrestler, Blane Bailey. This fight features some very exciting ground action as both men scrambled, trading reverses and sweeps early. At one point, Baley had Ray’s back with a figure four body lock and was attempting a rear naked choke but Hernandez gutted his way through the bad position, spun into Baley’s guard, grabbed an arm in a scramble and finished the fight with a beautiful arm bar. Ray is now 2-0 in his brief professional career.
Nikolaos Boscarino pulled off a big upset by making quick work of Josh Johnson. Commentator Joe Maiani warned viewers about Boscarino’s excellent guillotine choke and he sounded like Nostradamus when Niko pulled off the submission victory in the first round. It wasn’t easy though. Johnson took the mount early in the fight and was raining down elbows but Boscarino wisely kicked off of the cage to roll out of danger. When Johnson left his neck exposed, Boscarino seized the opportunity by latching on the submission and pulling a tight full guard to finish the choke. Boscarino improves to 3-11 while Johnson drops to 2-2 as a professional.
Brett Ewing and Jeremy Czarnecki both put on a tough grappling exhibition in their pro fight. Ewing showcased his fantastic wrestling credentials early, taking Czarnecki down and passing his guard but Czarnecki threatened with submissions and sweeps constantly. If there was one criticism of Ewing’s top control it would be that he wasn’t looking to do much damage from above. Czarnecki swept Ewing early in the second round but Ewing’s wrestling prevailed and after a few seconds, he was back on top. In the third round, Czarnecki got off early with his striking and hurt Ewing but he was taken down again. This time, though, he latched on a triangle and threatened with the submission but Ewing again squirmed free. Czarnecki also threatened with an arm triangle from bottom and he used it to take Ewing’s back late in the fight. The judges must have been impressed with Czarnecki’s activity from the bottom because Czarnecki pulled off a decision victory despite spending about 90% of the fight on his back. Ewing was visibly upset with the decision but he has to be more active from top position if he wants to impress the judges.
The consensus pick for “Fight of the Night” was an extremely even matchup between “The Irish Hammer” Jake Grigson and Jeremy “Kamikaze” Myers in a 140 pound catchweight fight. Both small fighters flew around the cage with lightning quick speed in the first round, a round that Myers controlled slightly with his clinch and a takedown. Grigson bounced back in the second with a wild flurry of punches that hurt Myers and he scored a big takedown late in the round and landed in mount with beautiful ground and pound but Myers weathered the storm, kicked off the cage, got back to his feet and closed the round with a big slam of his own. In the deciding third round, Grigson scored an early takedown and spent the whole round in Myers’ guard, pounding away. It was enough to earn him a decision victory. Jake will be fighting for a Purgatory title later this year. Grigson moved his professional record to 4-0 while Myers drops to 3-2.
Bad Dog’s Jacob Draves made a big splash in his pro debut against Greg Caryer in the second to last fight of the evening. Draves swarmed Caryer early with punches and took him down quickly. Caryer latched on a guillotine choke but couldn’t squeeze it and Draves slipped free. Draves passed Caryer’s guard and advanced to mount, eventually posturing up and dropping some big punches and elbows that opened up a nasty cut. Draves continued to pummel Caryer until the ref stopped the fight. It was a violent debut for Jacob Draves, a performance that definitely earned him some fans.
The main event of the evening was the first Purgatory professional title fight between Findlay’s Tyler Beckley out of Team Demolition and the extremely active Brandon Saling. Beckley shot in on Saling and easily tossed him to the canvas with a beautiful over-under drop into side control. Beckley threatened with a north-south choke and took Saling’s back. All of Beckley’s three previous professional victories had come by way of rear naked choke but Saling defended well and Beckley instead transitioned to an arm bar but couldn’t complete the submission. In the second round, it appeared to me more of the same with Beckley scoring a quick takedown. “The Shoot” attempted a Kimura from side control and when Saling defended, he transitioned to another arm bar attempt which ended up being his undoing. Saling stacked Beckley, passed to side control and started dropping some nice ground and pound. When Beckley turned away from some of the punches, Saling latched on a rear naked choke and forced the tap. It was a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Saling, forcing Beckley to go to the second round for the first time in his professional career to win the belt. Saling and Beckley both sport 3-1 professional records now.