LOWELL, Mass.—Titan FC’s CBS Sports Network’s Friday night card pitted one of MMA’s leading judoka’s against a supreme submission specialist. Naturally their cage fight turned into a three-round boxing match.
That predictably unpredictable outcome seemed par for the course on a night that witnessed the emcee embarrassingly announce the wrong “winner,” a funny fighter earnestly enter the cage to “You’re the Best” from The Karate Kid soundtrack, and a man nicknamed “Cupcakes” pancake his opponent with brutal body slams.
Home-crowd favorite Rick Hawn dominates Carlo Prater in the first round through superior striking and quickness, dumping the Brazilian on his back twice after failed kick attempts in the stanza. Quick Rick continues to control through pressure punching and low leg kicks slowly chopping down his opponent in the second. The final round, even more so than the first two, resembles a boxing match with the occasional kick. The punches leave the lightweights neither hurt nor particularly damaged. Both appear ready to go another three rounds when the horn sounds. The judges see it 30-27 for former Olympian Rick “Genghis” Hawn.
Ryan Quinn scores a takedown, Milan Zerjal counters with a knockdown, and the pair provides a blur of action in the first round of their lightweight tilt. American Top Team’s Quinn scores a violent takedown in the middle round. The undefeated Zerjal reverses roles before the men rise. The pair exhibit high-level grappling both rolling and upright against the cage. The feverish pace of the first becomes a grueling grind in the second. Quinn knocks down Zerjal in the first minute of the final round. After Quinn mounts Zerjal, the pair again reverse positions. After minutes of wrestling against the fence, Zerjal takes Quinn’s back and swiftly forces him to acknowledge checkmate through a rear-naked choke with 26 ticks remaining. Quinn drops to 10-5 and Zerjal keeps his “O” by notching his seventh victory.
Flyweights Nick Honstein and Iliard Santos each enjoy top position but not much else in the first round. Honstein lays and prays for nearly two minutes in the second before Santos reverses into top position to do much of the same. Santos unleashes a barrage of punches on his back-to-the mat opponent before attempting an arm-triangle choke. Santos gains full mount and dishes out punishment in the final round to ensure a 30-26 scorecard sweep. Honstein drops to 16-9 and Santos moves up to 28-9-1.
Andre Harrison lands a takedown ten seconds into his featherweight fight with Aaron Neveu and lays and prays for the remainder of the round before referee Steve Rita takes mercy on the fans and stands up the fighters. Harrison uses those ten seconds to slam Neveu back to the canvas in the only exciting moments of the round. Harrison again slams Neveu in the second and replaces lay-and-play with ground-and-pound. More takedowns from Harrison in the third as he cruises to a unanimous win on the scorecards to move to 8-0. Neveu falls to 8-3.
John Santos and Johnny “Cupcakes” Campbell partake largely in a kickboxing match in the first round, with an aggressive Santos mainly pursuing his opponent. Campbell catches a kick and uses it to slam Santos to the ground less than a minute into the second round. Santos maintains full guard for the remaining four minutes while eating Cupcakes’s shots. The fighters trade takedowns, and shots, in the opening half of the final round. Campbell takes Santos for a ride again and slams him to the mat. Campbell remains on top for the remainder of the round.
A bad omen befalls the fans when a round-card girl enters the cage with a “3” card after the fight’s conclusion. The announcer follows their fuzzy math by announcing Santos the winner to cries of a variant of “cow manure” from the crowd. The judges quickly beg for a do-over, and the cage emcee announces a unanimous decision for Cupcakes. Campbell improves to 10-5 and Santos falls to 2-3.
Wayne Ahlquist entered the cage to “You’re the Best.” He departed it second best.
Nate Oses avoids Ahlquist’s manifold submission attempts and turns an armbar into a powerbomb from the top position in round one. Ahlquist comes out swinging in the second, only to find himself on his back enduring ground-and-pound as he again searches for the elusive armbar. Ahlquist gains top position for the last 40 seconds of the round to rain down fists and forearms. Oses dumps Ahlquist on his back twice in the first minute of the third round. No answer for the takedowns from Ahlquist means answers of 30-27, 30-26, and 30-27 from the judges for Oses.
The card’s main event witnessed rising star Des Green soundly defeat UFC veteran Steven Siler to capture the inaugural Titan FC belt.