STANDING ROOM ONLY FOR TITANS OF THE CAGE IN BLAND
It was a packed house in Bland this past Saturday evening for Titans of the Cage #18. The fans came out in large numbers in anticipation of a fight card that featured the best amateur fighters in the region and TOC #18 did not disappoint. Five title fights, a super fight bout, a high powered junior expo bout and three female bouts, along with a dozen other bouts featuring local fighters and fighters from around the region were showcased.
In the main event of the evening it was the undefeated, undisputed TOC welterweight champion, Austin Cooper of Team SWMA in Wytheville putting his belt on the line against Kyle Johnson, a highly decorated fighter out of Roanoke who holds three (3) championship belts from other promotions around the region. The capacity crowd was left stunned, when Cooper dropped Johnson with a right cross to the chin, scoring the knockout victory only: 24 seconds into the fight. The win moved Cooper’s undefeated record to 9-0 as he continues to work his way to the professional ranks. Cooper is currently ranked the #1 amateur welter weight fighter in the state.
Another local fighter who was there to showcase his fighting skills was sixteen (16) year old “Razor” Robbie Ring of Team SWMA in Wytheville. Robbie faced the #1 ranked flyweight fighter in the Titans promotion in Logan “the hit man” Hurley of Team Decimation. Ring came out looking impressive from the opening bell, landing two outside leg kicks before dropping Hurley with a big overhand right only :10 seconds into the fight. Hurley was able to hurry back to his feet as the high paced action continued. With a little over :30 seconds remaining in the first round Ring landed a hard left hook to the body and then brought the crowd to their feet as he landed a beautiful flying knee to the chin of Hurley sending him to the mat for good and earning himself “knockout of the night” honors. Despite the KO loss to Ring, Hurley will be crowned as the interim men’s flyweight champion early next week, because Ring is unable to hold the title because he is not yet 18 years old.
In other title bouts it was Team Ironlock fighter, Megan Poe of Pennington Gap who stopped flyweight champion, Joy Miller of Mcleansville, NC near the end of round two by TKO due to strikes to become the new TOC women’s flyweight champion. Jeremy “backwoods” Caviness of Hillsville took home the vacant TOC middleweight championship belt when he defeated Cody “the outlaw” Prior of Covington, by choke. TOC bantam weight champion, Shane Hazelwood of Advantage MMA in Princeton retained his title by defeating challenger Ray Ray Holston of Team SWMA by arm bar submission in the second round. The men’s lightweight championship bout between Kyle Rodriquez of Greensboro, NC and K.C. Cockran of Roanoke was entertaining, but was stopped in the fourth round when Rodriquez received an accidental eye poke in the fourth round and was unable to continue. Since the fight was more than half over when it was stopped, it went to the scorecards and was declared a majority draw, therefore neither fighter was able to claim the belt.
In the TOC 155 pound “super bout” it was local favorite Micah “the original” Sheffey of Team SWMA in Wytheville scoring the first round victory over Justin Hale of Team Ironlock in Pennington Gap by arm bar submission, pushing Sheffey’s record to an impressive 13-4 inside the cage. More ladies took the center of the cage with Kathy Hatfield of Princeton defeating Tiffany Barr of Abingdon by TKO due to strikes. Tiffani “the odd lil cookie” Underwood of Team SWMA of Wytheville won by split decision over Hannah Elswick of Tazewell in a back and forth crowd pleasing fight.
Other winners on the night included; Chase Long (Team SWMA) winning by first round KO over his teammate Michael Shupe of Rural Retreat. Eric Rodriquez (Team Phoenix) of Greensboro, NC defeated Chris Mayberry of Covington by rear naked choke. Dustin Davis (Team Decimation) of Wytheville defeated Josh Cook (Halifax fight team) by guillotine choke. Donovan Emmert of Bristol defeated Luis Lachos of Greensboro, NC by triangle choke. Jeromy “pretty boy” Mitchell (Team Advantage) defeated Casey Conway by triangle choke earning the “submission of the night” award. Norman Reeves of Halifax defeated Brandon “tango” Rogers (Team Advantage) by rear naked choke. Isaiah Thompson of Galax defeated Augustus Tanner of Draper by TKO in the second round. Troy “the big bad” Wolfe of Marion scored a second round win over Raymond Greene of Bland by an arm triangle submission. Sam Warren (Round 30) of Roanoke defeated Ayron “the hurricane” Davis of Team Decimation in Wytheville by unanimous decision.
Six (6) year old Emma Allen and seven (7) year old Hunter Pennington put on a crowd pleasing performance in front of the sellout crowd, in the youth grappling expo, demonstrating their Jiu-Jitsu skills. Emma is the daughter of Darrell and Deanna Allen of Barren Springs, while Hunter is the son of Jessica Pennington and Craig McGee of Wytheville. Both children are students at Southwest Martial Arts Academy in Wytheville where they are members of the “Tiny Titans” program for 3 to 7 year olds. Ring girls for the event were Morgan Conner and Hailey Goard, both of Wytheville and Keyona Miller of Martinsville.
The event was sanctioned by United Combat Arts (UCA) a sanctioning body approved by the State of Virginia Department of Professional Occupation Regulation (DPOR). All referees, judges and ringside officials must be approved by the state recognized sanctioning body. The event, sponsored by the Bland County athletic department raised over $4000.00 to support student athletes. Visit www.titansofthecage.com to keep up with all the action from the areas premiere mixed martial arts event.