By Geordie McCredie
Battlefield Fight League put on their first ever show in Vernon, BC, this past Saturday, BFL:10 WAR. Featuring an undercard with one pro and two amateur bouts followed by a 7 pro fight main card, it was action packed from start to finish. The production value and professionalism were, as always with Battlefield, excellent.
Fight #1, Mark Delgado vs Chris Rock (Pro, 135 lbs)
To start off the night, Mark Delgado put on an impressive display of wrestling, slamming his opponent five times before securing a north-south kimura at 3:58 of 1st round. This win is a long time coming for Mark who has been a “gym star” for quite some time and was an accomplished wrestler in high school. He seems to finally be hitting his stride in MMA, and in impressive fashion.
Fight #2, Kyle Francotti vs Kolten Higginbottom (Amateur, Heavyweight)
Francotti came into this contest in excellent shape, in stark contrast to his opponent who barely made the minimum limit for heavyweight. It showed as he immediately overpowered Higginbottom in the clinch, leading to a quick takedown and TKO victory via Ground and Pound at 1:22 of the 1st round. Higginbottom looked outclassed in both fitness and technique and should probably consider dropping to 185 or less if he wants to continue competing at this level.
Fight #3, Ryan Allen vs Bret Deacon (Amateur, 205 lbs)
Allen was able to impose his will in this grappling battle with Deacon (Who was a last minute replacement), however both fighters seemed to throw caution to the wind resulting in a seesaw of reversals on the ground. Both of them had dominant position at times during the first round but failed to exert adequate control or capitalize on their advantage. After winning the first round, Allen came out determined to land strikes standing before securing a rear bodylock on Deacon and nearly suplexed him to get him to the mat where he finished the fight via TKO at 51 seconds of the 2nd round.
Fight #4, Marcus Aurelio vs Jose Cornejo (175 lbs Catchweight)
As always with with Axe Capoeiristas, Aurelio displayed an amazing level of athleticism, effortlessly executing a backflip when he was introduced to the crowd. Once the fight began Cornejo was obviously confused by Aurelio’s unorthodox spinning attacks and backed himself into the cage. He ate a knee the first time this happened but the second time, in by far the most spectacular moment of the night, Aurelio landed a jumping switch kick (ala Shogun) for the KO at 43 seconds of the first round.
Fight #5, Bill Fraser vs Darwin Douglas (180 lbs Catchweight)
After going back and forth with clinch wrestling, Fraser landed a big single leg slam and landed in side mount. Douglas would escape after taking some shots and go for a double leg as the round ended with Fraser attempting a guillotine as the bell sounded. In the 2nd round Fraser would land an initial takedown but Douglas wanted no part of the bottom of side mount and stood back up. Fraser then took his back standing but failed to use the position to his advantage. Fraser’s superior grappling would be too much for Douglas, however, as he would land another single leg, follow it up with ground and pound from mount, and secure the RNC with 4 seconds left in the 2nd round.
Fight 6, Nathan Swayze vs Cory Tossof ( lbs)
In the only fight that went to decision it was a battle of striking vs grappling as Tossof endlessly tried to shoot the double leg and Swayze attempted to strike. Most of the first round was spent with Swayze pressed into the cage attempting to land knees although near the end of the round, Tossof would get the takedown. Swayze tried a guillotine as the bell sounded.
In round 2 Tossof again was relentless in his attempts to secure a double leg, but Swayze was more successful in defending, standing Tossof up and landing punches. The second attempt resulted in Swayze sprawling him flat and Tossof giving up his back. Swayze would secure a body triangle and land dozens of punches before Tossof was able to turn into his guard. From there Tossof landed a couple of punches and passed the guard before the round ended.
The third round started with yet another double leg attempt from Tossof with Swayze sprawling into Tossof’s guard then standing up after some ground and pound. As Tossof was standing up Swayze landed a huge knee and Tossof spent the rest of the round wall and stalling. Swayze finished the round with a flurry of knees.
Tossof won via Split Decision, although many of those present thought Swayze had won the second and third rounds and his management filed an official complaint with the Vernon Athletic Commission, the decision is under review. Swayze and his team expressed dissatisfaction with what they saw as hometown judging.
Fight #7, Chad Bellwood vs Dave Logan (165 lbs Catchweight)
Logan entered this contest with a record of 0-9 and the result was no surprise. After a quick takedown and guillotine attempt, Bellwood landed an RNC at 1:44 of the first round.
Fight #8, Mike Hill vs Nolan Clark (170 lbs)
Hill started the fight very aggressively, landing a flurry of strikes and ending up in Clark’s guard. Clark attempted a gogoplata and seemed to have Hill in trouble at times but was unable to finish. Hill then passed the guard and when Clark attempted to stand, kneed him in the face (there was some question as to the legality of the knee but subsequent review of replays confirmed that it was in fact legal as Clark raised his hand off the mat as it was being thrown, so he did not have three points down). Hill then proceeded to punch Clark in the back of the head repeatedly. When the ref stopped the contest, there was some confusion, as it seemed to some observers, including Darcy McBride sitting ringside, that he was going to warn Hill about the illegal strikes. In fact, he had ended the fight in favor of Hill via TKO at 4:51 of the first round.
In the opinion of this reporter, the repeated illegal strikes showed a blatant disregard for the rules and terrible sportsmanship. Further, the referee showed a surprising lack of concern for the rules or fighter safety surrounding the end of this fight.
Fight #9, Matt Dwyer vs Levi Alford (175 lbs Catchweight)
Dwyer showed that he belonged in the co-main event throwing a huge knee followed by punches for the TKO at 41 seconds of the 1st round. Alford was severely outclassed.
Fight #10, Matt Baker vs Marcus Vinicios (185 lbs)
A fight nearly broke out while the referee was giving the fighters his directions as the fighters shoved each other and the ref. Vinicios looked undersized for this matchup and reported being sick the day of the fight. The crowd was roaring and clearly on Baker’s side as the fight started and there was barely a quiet moment from start to finish. As the fight started, Baker tried to shoot immediately but was stymied by Vinicios and had to abandon the takedown in favor of punching Vinicios in the clinch. Vinicios failed an attempt at a guillotine but quickly stood up and executed a switch on Baker resulting in a takedown. From Baker’s guard Vinicios landed a couple of flurries of big punches before the round ended. It seemed that Vinicios had won the round based on strikes landed.
In the second round Vinicios landed a double leg and tried to stand up out of the guard to punch, as he had done in the previous round. This resulted in a leglock battle that ended with Baker taking Vinicios’ back. After struggling to secure an RNC Baker appeared frustrated and began throwing 12-6 spiking elbows to Vinicios spine followed by a big forearm strike directly to the back of the head. There was no call from the ref for these shots and Vinicios would later report concussion-like symptoms due to this strike. Baker then secured the RNC for the win at 3:46 of the 2nd round. After the fight, Vinicios expressed his desire for a rematch. Again, a combination of poor sportsmanship and reffing resulted in the potential for injury.
In conclusion, the event was a great success, very exciting and fun to watch. The promoter and fighters did an excellent job of putting on a wonderful event, however some officials with the Vernon Athletic Commission showed an unfortunate lack of professionalism and concern for fighter safety. This reflects the overall amateurish nature of commissions in the province of British Columbia, a problem that will hopefully soon be remedied.