By Andy Cotterill
Moncton, New Brunswick — The main event of Elite 1 MMA’s ‘Judgment Day’ featured a champion vs. champion match, with heavyweight champ Scott Fraser dropping a weight-class for the chance to combat light heavyweight title holder Chris Johnson.
Once the bell rang and the two athletes advanced to the middle of the cage, it was obvious to everyone that this was going to be a pure stand-up battle.
The two went at if for almost the entire first round; back and forth trading punches and kicks. Fraser connected and dislodged Johnson’s mouthpiece, but the champion readjusted it, smiled, and the pair continued their battle. Just as the round was about to end, Johnson clipped Fraser on the chin with a stinger of a right cross that sent him toppling forward to the floor.
Johnson immediately pounced on top, and blasted away on a covering Fraser until referee Roger Doiron had no choice but to step in and stop the damage with only one second remaining in the first round.
Matt MacGrath came into tonight’s event with one goal on his mind – to take champion Richard Arsenault‘s welterweight title away from him. Arsenault had other plans however, and when MacGrath rushed him at the opening bell Arsenault lifted a nice lead leg kick right into his face. But MacGrath wasn’t fazed and continued his rush, putting Arsenault straight into the cage before the pair wrestled to the ground. Unfortunately for Arsenault that’s where the rest of the opening round stayed, with MacGrath on top and moving in and out to create distance and throw punches and elbows. Arsenault remained active the whole time, but now matter how he moved or which side he tried to shrimp, MacGrath muscled him back into place and continued his attack.
The second round was much like the first. Arsenault, on the bottom once again but now bleeding from a laceration over his right eye, continued to try to evade the blows that continued to come at him from on top. But as the round progressed his movement slowed and Macgrath started to land more often. Arsenault survived the round, but after referee Brian Beauchamp and cageside Physician Dr. Pierre Beaulieu consulted, it was decided that the combination of the laceration and concussive trauma meant that they could not allow Arsenault to continue leaving Matt MacGrath as the new Elite 1 welterweight champion.
There was bad blood aplenty between Ricky Goodall and Steven Rogers going into this rematch of a 2011 bout that was ultimately declared a no contest.
Rogers looked ferocious at the start — a stinging kick to Goodall’s thigh sounding as loud as a cannon. But Goodall retaliated with one of his own, before Rogers dropped levels under a flurry of punches, grabbed a leg, and swung out from the cage to put Goodall onto his back.
The two men regained their feet and tried different tactics — Goodall trying to lock in a muay Thai plum, with Rogers launching some vicious looking uppercuts at his face. It was Goodall whose tactic proved to be sound — locking his hands between Rogers’ neck and catapulting a knee straight into Rogers’ solar plexus. Rogers appeared paralyzed, as his body stiffened and he fell forward with Goodall falling on top of him. Sensing his apparent inability to move Goodall looked up to referee Francois Cormier for guidance, but when he didn’t indicate for Goodall to stop, resumed his attack with several hard punches, until this time the ref had no choice but to pull him off.
The 3-round bout between Shawn Wallace and Eric St-Pierre was a mostly one-sided affair, with Wallace using superior wrestling to control the flow of the fight. St-Pierre had his moments, but most of them came in the form of defense as Wallace continued his relentless attack. The closest this fight came top ending was in the third round when they hit the floor with St-Pierre on top in full guard. Wallace set up for an Armbar and got his knee over St-Pierre’s face, but St-Pierre kept the pressure overhead and Wallace was unable to extend. Ultimately this fight was decided by the judges, who awarded Wallace scores of 10-9 for two rounds, and one judge scoring it 10-10 for one round. 30-27, 30-27, and 30-28 in favour of Wallace.
Tyler Reid and Ryan Potter put on a short, but nicely technical bout. The duo quickly hit the mat after Potter caught a Reid kick. Both guys looked good on the ground. Potter went for the first move, trying to snag Reid’s ankle, but Reid kept it pressured to the floor. Potter then swept then stood to drop a few hard blows, but Reid threw him off balance by grabbing his ankles and extending his body. Potter then dropped to his knees to get in Reid’s guard, and Reid quickly threw up his legs to set up for a triangle choke. Potter defended by stacking, then picked Reid up and slamming him to the ground. But as these things often happen, the slam only served to sink the choke in even deeper. Potter’s face slowly turned red, Reid said “He’s out” – and referee Brian Beauchamp went in for a closer look. Potter was unresponsive, and Beauchamp called the fight.
6’8” Jeff Acorn and opponent Issa Seck each easily towered over all the other competitors tonight, and although their light-heavyweight match was brief, Seck clearly showed his dominance from the start. At the bell Seck rushed in connecting with a body kick before clinching and dropping Acorn to the floor. Seck stayed in tight, dropping a few elbows when he could make the distance. Coach Paul Abel was yelling for Acorn to bridge out, and Seck used the opportunity to set up for an arm-triangle choke. He eventually gave up on the submission attempt, but not before getting mount and started dropping punches and elbows to Acorn’s face, one of which landed with a loud snap as Acorn’s nose broke. Referee Francois Cormier gave Acorn plenty of chance to escape, but in the end was forced to intervene to prevent any more damage.
Dustin Leighton must have eaten his Wheaties before entering the cage against Nenad Cvejić, as he came barreling out of the gate right at the bell. He rushed in head down and arms cart wheeling, which caught the taller Cvejić by surprise – but he maintained composure and threw a nice knee before being pushed back into the cage. This was a fun fight to watch, as each fighter had their moments, up and down, strike for strike, but it was obvious that Leighton could not keep up the frenetic pace that he had set. It appeared that Leighton had actually been unconscious for a moment in the first round, as a Cvejić elbow caught him flush in the face, but the next strike woke him up. The end came just under two minutes into the second round, when Cvejić cornered an exhausted Leighton against the cage, and nailed him with numerous knees from inside a Muay Thai plum, with a few elbows thrown in for good measure. Referee Roger Doiron shouted for an exhausted Leighton to defend himself, but when that didn’t happen he was forced to jump in to save him.
Eric Nevitt vs. Ryan Cameron was a quick affair. Cameron showed a few nice kicks before Nevitt shot in for a clinch and takedown, but Cameron kept calm and set up for a triangle choke, that ultimately worked itself into a vice. Nevitt withstood it as long as possible, but was eventually forced to tap 54 seconds into the fight.
Jesse Bull wasted no time in rushing into the clinch with Scott Clark, who rebounded his back off the cage to take Bull down, where he briefly got control before Bull took his back and cinched in a quick rear-naked-choke just 42 seconds into the fight for the win.
Chad MacWilliams accepted his first ever fight tonight on short notice against the 3-0 Dee Logue. The experience level showed, as Logue controlled the majority of the fight with his crisp boxing and smooth ground technique, which earned him the split decision victory.
Elite 1 is currently having a contest to see who the fans think should be awarded the Fight of the Night, and you can see that by CLICKING HERE.
Fight of the Night – Tyler Reid and Ryan Potter only fought for 2 minutes, but the technical skills shown by each man left us wanting for more.
Submission of the Night – Tyler Reid putting Ryan Potter unconscious via triangle choke
KO of the Night – Ricky Goodall‘s incapacitating knee to the solar plexus of Steven Rogers