TOC Cruiserweight champ, Keith Gones (left) lands a solid leg kick to Chris Hamlett of Roanoke
Grayson County High School played host to Titans of the Cage #17 this past weekend. It was the first time ever that a live MMA event had been held in Independence and a sold out crowd packed the school’s gymnasium. The fans witnessed twenty (20) action packed bouts that kept them on the edges of their seats the entire evening. Four titles were up for grabs.
Of the title bouts, current champion Keith Goines of Team SWMA in Wytheville retained his cruiserweight belt by stopping Chris Hamlett of Roanoke in the 2nd round by guillotine choke. Garrett Fosdyck of Bristol, TN became the new TOC heavyweight champ as he defeated Demetrius Dye of Halifax by TKO/Referee stoppage due to strikes. In the co-main event of the evening it was current featherweight champ, James Settle of Bristol, TN retaining his title by defeating Nick Beal of Asheboro, NC by TKO, due to a well placed liver kick that dropped Beal as Settle quickly pounced on him to finish out the fight.
The main event of the evening was a highly anticipated bout that pitted current TOC Welterweight champion, Austin “the eternal dragon” Cooper of Team SWMA in Wytheville, against Jeremy “backwoods” Caviness of Team Backyard Brawlers out of Hillsville. Jeremy was riding high on a 4 fight win streak as he entered the cage to face the undefeated Cooper, who is rated the #1 amateur welterweight fighter in the state. Caviness fought gallantly, but in the end Cooper was too much, as he came out with a dominant first round, then put Caviness away in the 2nd round with a beautiful arm bar to triangle choke submission.
Antwon Curtis (center) of team round 30 out of Roanoke, with ring girls Maggie Borchrevink (left) and Morgon Conner (right)
There were many other great fights on the card keeping the enthusiastic capacity crowd excited all evening. Local fighter Ray Ray “say it twice’ Holston of Team SWMA in Wytheville, won the “submission of the night” award when he landed a beautiful rolling kimura lock to defeat Jeromy “pretty boy” Mitchell of advantage martial arts of Princeton, WV in the first round. Holston was also presented with the TOC Persevere belt and inducted into the TOC promotions Hall of Fame. Holston was inducted because he is one of only three fighters to have ever competed in ten (10) TOC events in a row.
Wytheville attorneys Alex (left) and Stacy (right) Gomez watch the fights from the cageside VIP seating