LOCAL FIGHTERS HEADLINE TITANS OF THE CAGE #28 AT THE APEX CENTER

Titans of the Cage #28 returns to the Appalachian Apex Center on Saturday, September 21st with a stacked fight card, filled with many local and regional fighters.  The card will feature eight (8) title fights with championship belts on the line.  The event is overseen by the Virginia DPOR and sanctioned by United Combat Arts.

Two undefeated Wytheville based fighters, Tyler “Ace” Cardwell and “Razor” Robbie Ring will headline the card in the Main and Co-Main events.  In the main event it will be champion vs champion as Tyler Cardwell puts his light heavyweight belt on the line against the current TOC Super Cruiserweight kickboxing champion, Antwon Curtis in a MMA championship bout slated for (5) x 3 minute rounds.  Cardwell is a member of Team SWMA and trains out of Ring-Combat Sports located on Main St. in Wytheville.  Curtis fights out of Modern Gladiators in Roanoke.  Both of these fighters bring great skill sets to the cage in this much anticipated match-up.

Local fighting champion, “Razor” Robbie Ring puts his bantamweight belt on the line once again as he will face undefeated fighter, Adrian Guijoza.  Ring. Who is a graduate of George Wythe H.S. and currently enrolled in the criminal justice program at WCC, aslo represents Team SWMA and fights out of Ring-Combat Sports and is coming off of a 1st round rear naked choke victory in his last fight in Johnson City, TN.  Guijoza trains out of Team Rock Bottom located in Martinsville.

TOC lightweight champ, K.C. Cockran of Hybrid martial arts in Roanoke, puts his title on the line against challenger Josh Lilley out of Beaufort, SC.   The women’s flyweight belt will be on the line when two former champions in this division hook up to see who can bring the gold home.  Tasha Hewitt fights out of Marietta, OH and she will face “Machine Gun” Kathy Hatfield out of Advantage martial arts in Princeton, WV.  This one is sure to be exciting and high paced.

Local up and coming fighter Jacob Catron gets his number called to step in on late notice to face current featherweight champion, Dylan Smith who puts his featherweight belt on the line.  Catron comes off of an impressive win in his last outing and now faces his biggest challenge to date in champion, Dylan Smith out of Elite Grappling in Lebanon.  In what could be a fight of the night candidate, Kaine Tomlinson Jr. of Team Legion in Roanoke will challenge TOC welterweight champ, Jacob Lamb of Team Phoenix out of Greensboro, NC.

Two Junior Expo title belts will be on the line, as local youth athletes showcase their skills inside the TOC cage.  Abi Long will face Laci Dixon in a youth kickboxing bout.  Both young ladies train out of Ring-Combat Sports in Wytheville and both are freshmen in high school.  Abi attends George Wythe H.S. while Laci attends Fort Chiswell H.S.   Also, for the Youth modified MMA expo belt, it will be Angel Rigney of Roanoke, VA doing battle with Nathanael Dalton who attends middle school in Carroll County.

In another much anticipated match-up it will be two TOC hall of famers going head to head inside the cage as Micah “the original” Sheffey makes his long awaited return to the cage to face the always entertaining Josh “the great dane” Cook.  Cook has switched up teams and now trains out of Team ROC in Eden, NC and comes off of a unanimous decision win just 4 weeks ago in Norfolk.  Sheffey, a long time Team SWMA member out of Ring-Combat Sports in Wytheville, has previously held the lightweight title belts for Titans of the cage as well as Caged Combat.  This will feature two of the most experienced amateur fighters in the state with each man having over 20 fights in the cage.  Team SWMA fighter, Zach Simons out of Ring-Combat Sports will be making his MMA debut as he fights veteran TOC competitor William Hale out of Roanoke, while Evan Lineberry of Hillsville will face Will Spann III (Myrtle Beach, SC) in a flyweight top contender bout.

The remainder of the card is full of local and regional athletes; Joy Miller of Ring-Combat sports faces Maygan Emmett of Charleston, WV in a kickboxing bout.  Teammate Tiffani Underwood of Ring-Combat Sports will face veteran fighter Hannah Elswick of Tazewell in a kickboxing bout.  Still other local fighters out of Ring-Combat Sports will test their skills inside the cage as Logan Hurley (Wytheville) faces James Bowman (Saltville) and Jasmine Dudding (Bland) takes on Stevana Shouvley (Roanoke) in MMA action.

More local youth expo bouts will also be a part of this blockbuster fight card with the following youth athletes competing; Emily Foore vs Amelia Dalton (modified MMA), Hailey Collins vs Grace Crowder (modified MMA), Aiden Jackson vs Levi Collins (kickboxing) and Abagail Collins vs Irene Jackson (grappling).

Other exciting MMA bouts on the card will be; Jordan Thornhill (Roanoke) vs Zach Bobbit (Chase City), Sean Mitchell (South Hill) vs Clay Bucci (Greensboro, NC) and Zack Humbertson (Fairmont, WV) vs James Anderson (Halifax).

TOC has a brand new and much improved seating layout that will put all spectators up close and personal to all the action inside the cage.  Doors open at the Apex Center, 290 Ready Mix Rd. Wytheville, VA at 5:00 PM and fights start promptly at 6:00 PM.  Tickets are available online at www.titansofthecage.com , at Ring-Combat Sports (213 W. Main St. in Wytheville) or at the door.  Please follow Titans of the Cage on Facebook or visit the website to keep up with all the latest MMA action.

Titans of the Cage 13 held in Hillsville, VA

PIC 1 stanley vs burlesonPIC 2 stanley vs burleson

Titans of the cage #13 held in Hillsville

The VFW post in Hillsville was sold out with a house full of excited MMA fans this past Saturday night. The action began as scheduled with the preliminary bouts. In the first match it was the battle of two Marion fighters with Bryan Watson stopping Jarrett Prince by guillotine choke in the first round. Next up was a women’s 120 lb. bout with Carrie “KO” Rogers of Team SWMA in Wytheville defeating Kelly Stout of Nettie, WV in the second round by TKO due to strikes.   David Brewer of Team SWMA of Wytheville defeated Jr. Smith of Wytheville in round one by referee stoppage due to ground and pound. The final preliminary bout saw Marquis Grimes of Indian Trail, NC stop Dustin Davis of Team Decimation in Wytheville by tap out due to strikes.

The opening ceremony included the introduction of all of the fighters into the cage. The national anthem was performed by Kaitlin Ariel Sturgil of Wise. A moment of silence was held to honor the passing of Mr. Don Smith, who was a long time fan and supporter of TOC, a veteran of the Korean War and the father of Absolute Jiu-Jitsu’s head coach, Dee Smith.

The main fight card got underway with Ryan Adams of Dublin defeating Chase Utt of Mount Airy, NC in round one by arm bar. The vacant TOC cruiserweight title was on the line in the next fight of the evening when Keith Goines of Team SWMA in Wytheville squared off to do battle with 6’6” Matthew “stretch” Stirckland of Oak Ridge, TN. The two men traded punches, then about half way through the first round Goines pressed Strickland against the cage and scored a takedown and had established side mount. As soon as Strickland hit the ground it was obvious something was wrong with him as Goines passed up on the opportunity to punch him and looked at the referee.   This brought an unexpected end to the fight as Strickland’s ankle had given way on the take down and his knee was dislocated. Goines was crowned champion due to referee stoppage.

In the quickest fight of the evening it was Tony Warnke of Sparta, NC defeating Joseph Wright of Hillsville by guillotine choke in 0:42 seconds. Isaiah Thompson of Galax defeated a very game Stacy Dalton of Austinville by second round guillotine choke after Dalton had won the first round.   Next up was Danny Huff of Hillsville stopping Austin Chandler of Mount Airy, NC by referee stoppage due to strikes in the second round. John Crews of Nettie, WV and Jeremy Caviness of Hillsville went the distance with Crews winning the unanimous three round decision.   The next fight was also a three round decision with Brandon Eldridge of Princeton, WV defeating Jaywin Wilson of Charlotte, NC.

Next up was a full contact kickboxing bout with 14 year old “Razor” Robbie Ring of Team SWMA of Wytheville defeating 16 year old Doug “Short Order” Cook of Team Backyard Brawlers out of Hillsville.   Ring took control of the bout right from the start landing a barrage of punches and kicks. The 14 year old continued that pace throughout the fight in a dominating performance that earned him the three round unanimous decision. In a featured welterweight bout it was Dillan Goad of Mount Airy, NC stopping Shawn Rivera of Team Advantage out of Princeton, WV in the second round due to triangle choke.

In the co-main event of the evening the men’s bantamweight belt was on the line with challenger Ray Ray Holston of Team SWMA of Wytheville taking on current TOC champ, Brandon “conflicted affair” Creed.   In the end it was Creed retaining his belt by first round triangle choke.

In the Main Event of the evening, the fans were ready for the much anticipated re-match between current TOC light heavyweight champion Gage Stanley of Absolute Jiu-Jitsu in Bristol, TN and C.J. Burleson of the Snake Pit MMA out of Mount Airy, NC. Stanley came into the fight with a 12-0 record with Burleson being the only man that had ever gone the distance with him. The fans had no idea what kind of fight was in store and this one definitely did not disappoint. Burleson, the challenger, came out and established himself quickly, clearly winning the first two rounds and doing some obvious damage to face of the champion.   However, as the third round began, Stanley came roaring back and got himself back into the fight, as his roundhouse kick begin to find its mark on Burleson’s body, repeatedly. Stanley also rocked Burleson in the third round sending him reeling back into the cage fence. The fourth round was another solid round for Stanley and the fight looked to be even heading into the fifth and final round.

The final round began with both men once again standing toe to toe like two modern gladiators, their faces battered and showing the damage from the previous four hard fought rounds. The final round was a barn burner, as Stanley rocked Burleson once again with an overhand right, but Burleson showed his determination and courage by continue to fight and press forward. The final round also appeared to be a very close round. Now all that awaited was the judge’s decision. In the end, Gage Stanley retained his belt by split decision. Two judges had the fight scored 49-48 for Stanley and one judge had it scored 49-48 for Burleson. At the end of the fight it was obvious to everyone in attendance that there were no losers in this fight, only winners and the biggest winners were the fans who just had witnessed one of the best amateur MMA fights ever seen in this entire region.   It would be safe to say that this fight will likely end up being the 2015 amateur MMA fight of the year in the state of VA.

This wrapped up the event on a very strong note, with all the fighters and the fans in attendance leaving emotionally drained.   Ring girls for the event were Jasmine Miller and Keyona Miller, both of Wytheville, along with Maggie Borchrevink of Independence. The next Titans of the Cage event is set for September 19th at the Bland Elementary school in Bland.

Pic #1   :  Pictured left to right:    Gage Stanley (LHW champ) , Marcelo Rodriguez (UCAS referee) and C.J. Burleson

Pic # 2 :  C.J. Burleson (left) and Gage Stanley (right) exchanges punches in the main event