Archive for Caros Fodor

Verbal Sparring: Caros Fodor (AMC Pankration)

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by jaytan716

Caros Fodor with Trevor Jackson (left) and Matt Hume (right)

Caros Fodor with Trevor Jackson (left) and Matt Hume (right)

Life rarely turns out how we envision it to be. Whether we achieve our goals sooner or bigger than we anticipate, or if we lose direction, wind up in a different world, and fill our lives with people, places, and priorities that we never thought possible, more often than not, we realize “this is how it was supposed to turn out.

Caros Fodor was not a wayward soul who spent time looking for his direction in life. He identified his vision of it at a young age, committed to a life in the military, and pursued it. When he discovered that it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Caros found himself another path. Ironically enough, he found it in mixed martial arts, a sport known, ironically enough, for giving direction and purpose to wayward, angry, confused young men who never had the discipline or dedication that Caros demonstrated in his adolescence.

Going a few rounds of verbal sparring with me, Caros talked about growing up as part of a “team” of adoptees, the disillusionment about life in the military, and how mixed martial arts has given him direction and a clearer definition of self.

JT: Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and your martial arts background.

CF: I’m from Shoreline, WA, just north of Seattle. I wrestled just my senior year, JV. It was pretty much pointless. I didn’t really even do anything. I just did it for the exercise before I went to boot camp.

JT: Did you know you were going into the army?

CF: Yeah, when I was twelve years old, I signed up with this auxiliary military group and I made up my mind that I was going to do the whole military route. When I turned 17, my mother signed for me to go in underage, and I went into boot camp about six days after high school graduation. I did the reserves to help pay for college and stuff like that. But then, while I was in boot camp, 9/11 happened.

JT: So you knew you were going to be a military man since age 12?

CF: Yeah, I was planning on making a career out of it until I got in and went overseas into the war and stuff. I was in it for six years and it really wasn’t what I wanted to do.

JT: Can you talk us through the formative years? I’m really curious, because making a decision like that at such a young age is somewhat unusual.

CF: Me and all my brothers and my sister were all adopted. It was just my mother. There was no father figure. So I went into a military group and a lot of my peers . . . they were all going straight from high school into the military. Everybody I looked up to was doing it; and ever since I was younger, watching RAMBO and stuff, it was what I was into. So I just made up my mind really young that that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a sniper and wanted to be a drill instructor. I was planning on making a career out of it, until I got in and saw what it was really like. It’s still great. It just wasn’t for me.

JT: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

CF: Adopted, I have two brothers and one sister. And then, biologically, I have two sisters and one brother.

JT: What was that like growing up?

CF: It was pretty cool. . . The home I was adopted into was a foster home for autistic kids. My biological sister is autistic. My real mother [had me with my father, who is Caribbean]. Her parents are extremely racist, from Nebraska. So instead of dealing with that, she put me up for adoption. She knew my adopted mom through my sister, so I kinda went over to that side. But growing up, they kept me around my blood brother too. We were like best friends, and then around age 10, they told us that we were brothers, not just friends from the neighborhood. So that was pretty cool. We’re still pretty close. . . I see them for the holidays and stuff too.

JT: If you can, tell us more about your relationship with [adopted brother and Alderwood MMA fighter Ben Fodor].

CF: Growing up, me and Ben were just totally opposite people. We absolutely hated each other. We could not even be in the same room. We went after each other and got into fights. . . My mom would always cry trying to separate us. I was bigger, but genetically, he was just a specimen of life. He’s really big, so it was a fair fight then.

It wasn’t until I left for the war that we even actually said goodbye to each other. I came back and we were still not close at all, until I started competing in MMA. He came to my first fight and six months after that, he was training at a separate school. Because we couldn’t be together in the same school. So he started training in Charlie’s Combat Club, and he started fighting. . . [now] he’s at Alderwood MMA. And through MMA we’ve developed a relationship now. We’re definitely closer than we ever have been in the past.

JT: When he went to your first match, was he rooting against you?

CF: I don’t know. Secretly, I’m sure he was [laughs].

JT: Was boot camp as hard as you envisioned it to be?

CF: Physically, it was really hard, but mentally, the hardest thing for me was being away from my family. First time being far away from home. . . I was 17; I was the youngest marine, like, three years in a row in my platoon. . . That was more challenging than the actual physical and mental drain down there.

JT: And you were in Iraq?

CF: I was there for the invasion. They called and I got sent over to Kuwait in February of 2003. We invaded, I believe, March 19th. Then I came home about a month after we took Baghdad.

JT: You didn’t have to go back and do other tours?

CF: No, I was actually very lucky to only have to do one tour over there. . . I came back in the summer of 2003. That’s actually how this whole MMA thing started. Growing up, from one year old to 19, I had never once been in a physical fight ever in my life. And I came home from the war and I was all pissed off. I was drinking a lot and, just, being this shithead for quite awhile. And then, from June of 2003, when I came home, until about September of 2004, I had been in 20 street fights. Just in that one period. We had this kind of crew that we were running with, and we would all just get obliteratingly drunk. And we used to do the stupidest things ever, like going to frat parties and picking fights.

That went on for quite awhile, until January of 2005. I remember there was like eight of us, from the little crew we had. Because we were fighting so much, we were like “well, maybe we should start learning how to fight for real, so we can finish these fights quicker, instead of having them drag out.” And that’s how we ended up at AMC.

I’m sure [Matt Hume] will remember when . . . because we all came in together. We all sat up in the loft and he walked up. In reality, we were just a bunch of punks trying to figure out how to end the street fights quicker, but it just took a couple months of being around them and a lot of it changed. Matt and Trevor [Jackson] were just really good influences in my life. And I saw how responsible men are actually supposed to act. I’d gotten into thinking that I wanted to compete and I started.

Pretty much all eight of my friends whom I started with quit, but I stuck with it. I’ve been there for over four years now. I think I was involved in one fight after since I’ve been there.

JT: Was there a frustration in that the armed forces wasn’t what you wanted it to be, that drove you, when you came back?

CF: I guess I had a pretty bad case of PSD [Post-traumatic Stress Disorder] after the war. I was only 19 and I was drinking more than you ever should. It was just a shitty time over there, for sure, and I was just confused in the head and taking it out. . . I was full of anger, I guess, and just got into a fight. The summer I came home, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The rush of it, and the aftermath – and with drunk people, it just spreads and it turned into bullshit.

The armed forces wasn’t . . . I’m definitely glad I did it. I learned so much about life and people and reality. I took a lot from it. It’s just that the experience over there, and the games that happen, and all the bullshit – it’s definitely not for me.

JT: I think that’s one of the big lessons in general about life: you realize that things are often 180 degrees from what you envision it to be as a kid. Loss of innocence is a son of a bitch for anybody.

CF: Absolutely. That’s totally the truth.

JT: What do you remember about those early years training and the first couple of matches?

CF: [My first opportunity to fight] was nine months into my walking into AMC. I was really nervous, because other than that one year of wrestling, I’d never really competed on a one-on-one level in front of an audience. . . And I was fighting a guy from our school. He was bigger, and I knew who he was. . . I’ve never even seen footage of it. No one recorded it. I ended up losing a split decision. And that was devastating.

But the fight was on Saturday, and I was in the gym Monday training. Matt said I could fight again on his next card. I signed up and fought against a guy who was a wrestler. He beat me in a unanimous decision. The first fight was really close. It was real controversial and I could have won. The second fight, he got me in the nose in the opening round and it just totally freaked me out. I just got my ass whooped my second fight, straight up.

And this phobia kinda started, because I’d lost my first two fights and I was really starting to think. But I was in the gym again on Monday after the fight . . . training and trying to get better. Trevor, the secondary coach, he kinda . . . took me under his wing, and started working with me. And I haven’t lost ever since he started that. . . I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m on a seven-fight win streak.

JT: Four years of training – that’s a long time, and it’s certainly a great establishment. Tell us about the changes you’ve seen in yourselve.

CF: As a martial artist, it’s unbelievable. I’m ten times what I was in my first fight. And now Matt has all these real famous pros coming over; I’m able to test myself with them. I’m just so thankful to be able to be with Matt at AMC. To have him and Trevor as coaches, because they’re just world class. It really shows when I get to go with the pros who come in. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m definitely on the right track, I think.

JT: Matt [has always been known as] one who always let his actions speak louder than his words. It seems to be a running theme with AMC guys.

CF: Absolutely. He never talks shit ever. He’s just an animal. He runs through absolutely everybody that ever comes to the gym. It’s amazing to watch him. And he’s got answers. I’ve never seen him stumped by a question. He just flicks his finger and he has an answer right away.

We always joke that people have one thing that they’re supposed to do in life and he’s definitely found it. That’s just what he is, a fighting machine.

JT: What’s Trevor like as a coach? What’s he helped you develop in your game?

CF: He’s great too. He’s Matt’s #1 student, so he has the whole AMC style. Tutoring-wise, he’s a little different. You think of Matt like the father and Trevor like the older brother. . . Matt’s the head dog that handles all the pros. Trevor’s teaching the class and the up-and-coming amateur fighters.

JT: Kinda like Yoda and Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi maybe?

CF: Yeah, kinda. You have the master and the second master. That’s pretty much exactly how it is.

JT: What about yourself? Tell us about your own approach and philosophy to training. What’s your belief, whether it’s about visualization or a lot of guys subscribe yourself to the approach of “kill yourself in the gym so it’s easier in the ring?”

CF: Yeah, that’s pretty much the mentality I take with it. I train like how Matt has instructed us to train in the past. That’s pretty intense. In training, to make the fight easier, you sweat . . . and fight it out in the gym. I take everything extremely serious. Especially losing my first two fights, I know what defeat feels like, and I’m definitely not trying to feel that anytime soon. I put a lot of work into getting ready for a fight. . . People don’t need to sit there and tell me to do my cardio. I do it on my own just out of fear of. . . I don’t want to get tired in a fight. I like to go real hard, getting ready for a fight. I don’t want to get in a fight and get shocked, so I’m going to spar pretty hard and try to avoid injury . . . That’s pretty much Matt’s way, that’s pretty much the AMC way of training.

JT: What would you say is harder, boot camp or training for a fight?

CF: I mean, there’s different aspects. Physically, training for a fight, without a doubt. But boot camp is a little different. You have sleep deprivation and food deprivation. And then the stresses of combat and stuff. So it’s a little bit different, but truly, getting ready for a fight, like a professional should . . . training for a fight has to be by far the hardest.

JT: What about mentally?

CF: It’s almost right about the same levels, because I always get really nervous for fights. Because I know anything can happen in a fight. I trained hard and I don’t want to let people down. But compared to boot camp, it’s probably about the same.

JT: Have you gotten used to performing in front of crowds?

CF: Yeah, just about three fights ago is when, finally, for the first time, I remember going in the ring and touching gloves and actually thinking. . . about my opponent; and when a punch comes, I can start doing planned moves, instead of, before that, like my first five, I swear, it was just instinct. When you get hit, you just counter back, just out of instinct. But now, I’m to the point where, when we’re across from each other, my heart rate’s down. I remember seeing people in the crowd. I’m actually focused, and my game plan is right there. I think I’ve reached that point. I hit that about on my fifth fight, and it’s still been there ever since. So hopefully it never goes away.

JT: Would you say it helps you to enjoy the fight a little bit more?

CF: Yeah, definitely, because I’m not so wigged out. And performance-wise, it’s amazing. . . I’m able to focus; that’s just absolutely a necessity. I don’t know how I made it through my other ones without it. I think it just comes from time, being in front of an audience and just stuff like that. I’ve got it now and I don’t want to lose it.

JT: What would you say is the best and the worst memory of your fight career?

CF: The worst would be, probably, losing my second fight. Because that was an utter beating. I was held down, my face was all messed up, and I had all my family and friends there. It was my second loss in a row and everyone was telling me I shouldn’t do this sport, that it wasn’t for me, and what was I doing. That was pretty tough to get over.

If I win [my next match], that’s going to be my biggest moment, because there’s a lot riding on this fight, and I’ve been working hard. This is one of my toughest opponents, so if I win, then on March 21st, it’ll be my happiest moment.

Besides that, probably, when I beat Taurean Washington for the second time and I got my third belt. Matt and Trevor were in the ring with me and we got a picture of all three of us together with the three belts. That was probably one of my happiest moments.

JT: Tell us what you know about Blaine, and your thoughts about this match.

CF: Normally, I never try to look into it, but I broke down about a week ago and I tried finding out a lot about him. But there’s nothing really out there about him. I taped his last fight on our card out of Bellevue, so I have that footage. I think he’s 5-0; he has to be close to that. He’s a submission guy; he’s from Team Quest. Just based on his last fight, I think he thinks he has descent hands, because he wasn’t afraid to throw ‘em, but I don’t think that’s his specialty. He has a pretty good guard. He does a lot of rubber guard. . . He had at least five catches of submissions on the ground . . . So he’s definitely very flexible. Likes to use his hips and is always flinging them around, trying to catch whatever he can.

JT: What about downtime? What do you like to do when you’re away from the gym and you’re trying to decompress?

CF: I work, so my schedule is that I wake up around 7:00 in the morning. I take a lunch at 11:00. I go lift weights or I run. Do my sprints. Come back to work at 2:00. Get off at about 4:30, and I got straight to AMC. We start training at 5:00 and we get out of there about 9:00. So my only downtime is on the weekends and off-season. I’m still kinda stuck in that rut of going out, clubs and drinking. But it’s nothing like it was; my mentality is completely, just totally different than how it ever was. But I still like to go out and have a good time. Fight time, I kinda cut back on that and just hang out.

Now the [AMC team], we’ve got a pretty tight group and we see each other almost every weekend and hang out, watch fights, or talk about our up and coming fights. Stuff like that.

JT: It strikes me that AMC seems to keep tight together away from the gym, as well as inside the gym.

CF: It wasn’t like that in the beginning, but it’s turned into a real tight group. Especially since Matt’s got these cards coming. We’ve got a pretty good circle of about eight guys that really try to pull everybody in, and its turning into a really great thing.

JT: Besides Matt and Trevor, who would you say pushes you the hardest at AMC?

CF: Probably myself. There’s another trainer, Brad Kurtson, who’s absolutely amazing. He and Trevor are pretty much on the same level. When Matt’s there, even when he looks across the room and I can feel his eyes on me, I start going as hard as I can. I don’t know what it is about him but I always try to go 110% for him. But other than that, I push myself pretty hard mentally. I think I’m more judgmental on myself than most people are.

JT: Educate us on the Pacific Northwest fight scene. MMA has been up there for a long time, obviously.

CF: There are a lot of famous fighters around. There’s Josh {Barnett}, Jeff Monson, Maurice Smith, Matt . . . There’s a bunch of sister schools who came up from Matt, who went out and started their own schools, like Charlie’s Combat Club and Aldenwood, and stuff like that.

I think the amateur circuit is really big. . . . I’ve heard of other places that don’t have that good of one and fighters are short. There’s cards going on all the time, from Spokane to Olympia. . . I can’t really say. . . because I’ve never been somewhere else to look at the fight circuit, but from what I’ve heard from other people, Seattle’s got a [comparatively] pretty big circuit.

JT: Do you think that we’re going to see an influx of that on the national and international scene pretty soon? Guys getting signed to Zuffa or over in Japan

CF: Oh God, I hope so!

JT: [Laughs] Of course. You plan on being one of them.

CF: I’m just kinda rolling with Matt. I have total faith in him. We’ve never even had a real conversation about what the plan is, but I know that whenever he decides I’m ready, hopefully it’s going to be something big. And he’s got really good connections. I know he’s got good plans.

JT: If you had to make a living where you would never throw another punch or another kick, or you couldn’t do submissions, what do you think you would do?

CF: Actually, I wanted to be a homicide detective. I applied to a couple different agencies, and I was real close, but all the stuff I did when I came back from the war, being stupid, actually disqualified me for quite awhile. I was disqualified a week before I fought Taurean the second time. Neither department was going to hire me, and they both told me to go back and straighten myself up and come back in a couple of years. And that’s when I kinda made a decision to – I was with Matt, I’m training at a great school. I’m young, have no real big injuries, and can recover, so I’ve decided to try and make a run at this and see how far I can take this. But if something happened, whatever, bodily injuries, I couldn’t fight anymore, I’d definitely want to be a homicide detective.

JT: That’s both an adamant answer and a serious job too. You don’t rest too much during life. It doesn’t sound like that’s your style.

CF: Yeah, well, we’re only here once. Again, I watched a bunch of movies when I was younger and it got me hooked. I’ve seen THE WIRE too many times.

JT: Give me some of your top movies. You’re clearly an action / Jim Belushi / Schwarzenegger kind of guy.

CF: When I was younger, MISSING IN ACTION, RAMBO, a lot of horror movies, like FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, Freddy Krueger. Growing up as a real young kid, there was no rules as to what we could watch. So I was on those since six years old. HEAT is a big one. THE WIRE is awesome. GENERATION KILL, about the Iraq war, is great. All the great action movies.

JT: Who would win in a fight, Chuck Norris or Matt Hume?

CF: Matt Hume. No question

JT: [Laughs] For the record: “which he said with no hesitation whatsoever”. . . How would he beat him?

CF: Probably knockout with a knee to the head.

Caros Fodor squares off against Blaine MacIntosh of Team Quest on March 21st, at Genesis FIGHTS: Hostile Takeover, at the Shoreline Community College. The winner of that match will go on to fight in the lightweight Unified World Grand Prix, facing challengers from Shooto (Japan), Golden Glory (Holland), and Adrenaline MMA (Midwest U.S.).

Tickets are on sale at http://www.GenesisFights.com.

Posted in Genesis FIGHTS, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by jaytan716
Genesis FIGHTS: Cold War took place on December 6th, 2008, at the Bellevue Community College just outside Seattle, WA.

Genesis FIGHTS: Cold War took place on December 6th, 2008, at the Bellevue Community College just outside Seattle, WA.

The Emerald City celebrated their “season’s beatings” early, as Genesis FIGHTS held their final MMA / kickboxing event of 2008.  Entitled ‘Cold War,” the event took place at the Bellevue Community College.

Nine different fight teams participated in the night’s fight card of 15 bouts.  AMC Pankration had eight representatives on the bill, including Drew Brokenshire, Taurean Washington, and Demetrius Johnson all defending their respective featherweight, welterweight, and bantamweight titles.  In addition, the first two regional elimination matches for entry into the 155-pound Unified World Grand Prix of MMA (UWGP) took place.  The winners of those matches will square off in 2009 to determine who will be one of four participants in the UWGP.

The UWGP is a global tournament in the 155-pound weight class organized and promoted by a collective of promoters (including Genesis FIGHTS promoter Matt Hume) from North America, Asia (SHOOTO), Hawaii, and Europe (GOLDEN GLORY).  Each region is holding a four-man tournament to determine their regional representative, which will be a one-night four-man tournament to take place in 2009.  The winner of the UWGP will receive a multi-fight contract to a major MMA organization.

1. Greg “The Rage” Sage (AMC Pankration) vs. Julian Martin (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 155 lb. Novice Kickboxing

Sage was the first of eight AMC Pankration fighters on the bill tonight.  The first round saw Sage and Martin exchange kicks.  Martin, with the height advantage, largely kept Sage at bay with side and low kicks and jab combinations.  Sage was wearing a vicious red welt on his right flank.  Sage charged in at the beginning of the second round, but Martin caught him with a right cross.  Martin dropped sage by catching a right kick and tripping him over.  Sage largely tried to push the fight with charges.  In the third round, Sage picked his shots, using kicks and mid-range punches, while Martin kept his distance.  Sage did land a spinning back kick and dropped Martin with a left low kick.  Towards the end of the round, Sage charged Martin with body shots and clinched him against the ropes.  It looked like Sage had more gas in the tank.  Both fighters raise their hands in victory and share some mutual audience applause at the end of the match.

Greg Sage is awarded the match by split decision, giving AMC its first win for the night.

2. Craig Beatty (AMC Pankration) vs.  X Bowers (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 205 lb. Novice MMA

Round one was worth the price of admission alone, as Beatty & Bowers battled it out like an amateur level Griffin-Bonner.  Beatty fired the opening salvo with a right jab and Muay Thai knees.  Bowers fended the attack off with straight punches, slapping on a front headlock after Beatty slipped and fell.  They broke apart and continued to exchange hard shots, including Beatty almost taking Bower’s head off with a right hook.  The fans were into this match, including foot-stomping. Neither man was much for head defense, but both were giving it their all. In round two, Beatty took command with Muay Thai knees and body shots.  Bowers was exhausted and fell to the ground.  Beatty took the back, but Bowers rolled over and ended up on top, almost in Beatty’s guard.  Beatty is worked for an armbar from below.  Bowers threw Beatty to the side and took his back, but Beatty reversed back and got full mount.  Bowers eventually rolled over, allowing Betty to sink in the choke at 2:43 of the second round.  The crowd was ecstatic.

3. Jesse Winkler (Eastside MMA) vs. Sean Lindsey (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), Heavyweight Novice MMA

Lindsey is solid and looks game, almost like a smaller version off Kryzsztof Soszynski.  The first round saw Lindsey take the clinch several times.  The first time, he took Winkler to several corners, throwing knees in between.  Winkler landed a hard right cross.  If this was Vegas, the fans would have been rabidly booing, but Seattleites know their MMA.  Lindsey slapped on a front headlock to wear Winkler down, but Winkler held on, possibly baiting Lindsay into wasting energy.  It apparently worked, as Lindsey looked tired after breaking, but he bought some time by keeping Winkler at bay with kicks.  Lindsey swung hard to finish the fight, but Winkler’s got in some lefts and rights of his own.  Early in the second round, the ref halted the action, asking a doctor to check a cut over Winkler’s left eye.  But the bleeding was too much, and as such, the doctor called off the fight.

Sean Lindsey was awarded the match at 0:20 of the second round via TKO / doctor’s stoppage.

4. Eric Kennedy (AMC Pankration) vs. Dex Montenegro (Eastside MMA), 145 lb. Novice MMA

Montenegro wore shorts with the colors of the Filipino national flag.  As this fight happened on the same night as the De la Hoya-Pacquiao fight, this didn’t seem like a coincidence.

Kennedy stunned Montenegro early and slapped on a front headlock.  Montenegro escaped and got a guillotine after Kennedy shot in.  They took it to the ground and Kennedy eventually got a rear naked choke, with accompanying body triangle, but Montenegro fought it to the end of the round.  In round two, Kennedy scored another takedown and claimed top control early.  But the referee stood them up, at which point it Montenegro fought back with explosive leg kicks and punch combinations all the way to the end of the round.

Eric Kennedy was awarded the match via unanimous decision.

5. Brian Belisle (Bonney Lake, WA) vs. Leo Hoover (Gator MMA), Heavyweight Novice MMA

From the get-go, these two behemoths wanted to throw heavy artillery.  Hoover declined the opening round knuckle bump. Twelve seconds later, Hoover’s backed up his arrogance with a striking flurry that left Belisle on the ground.  This writer barely had time to blink.

6. Jordan Mclaughlin (Eastside MMA) vs. Jory Erickson (Great Northern Fight Club), 205 lb. Novice MMA

Erickson immediately scored a takedown.  Mclaughlin briefly had Erickson’s right arm, but before you knew it, Erickson had the back with hooks in.  Mclaughlin tried to roll out of it, but ends up tapping out at the one-minute mark of the first round.

7. James Kim (Eastside MMA) vs. Tim Williams (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 165 lb. Novice Kickboxing

Lots of engaging in the middle of the ring, with Williams throwing body shots, and Kim attacking with hard kicks and headshots.  Williams covered up, but Kim’s shots still got through.  James commanded ring generalship in this round, although Williams turned the steam up in the last 10 seconds.  In round two, Williams tried to make up for it, drilling Kim with headshots and a clear head kick.  By the end of it, Kim had a wicked red welt on the right side of his stomach.  Williams continued the assault in round three, but Kim volleyed back with leg kicks, and a superman punch.  Both men gave it their all to the end, but Tim Williams was awarded the match by decision.

At this point, ring announcer Dar Johnson announced a 10-minute intermission, which the crowd actually booed.  Clearly, Seattleites like their MMA.

8. Josh Baker (AMC Pankration) vs.  Brian McGrath (Great Northern Fight Club), 185 lb. Novice MMA

The cornrowed Baker is a fan favorite from Hume’s AMC Pankration team.  He walks over to the other corner and gives double knuckle bumps, demonstrating his fan favorite style.

Baker & McGrath went through an intense feeling out period in the first round, striking hard and backing away.  McGrath tried to take advantage of Baker overextending himself, but Baker catches a kick and tripped McGrath over, falling into his guard.  McGrath muted Baker by overhooking his arms, but the hometown favorite was able to pull out of guard.  Back on their feet, Baker dropped McGrath with a left jab as McGrath kicked a body shot.  The crowd was very Japanese for this match (read “intensely quiet and respectful of the fighters’ skills).

The Even-Steven battle continued in the second round.  Baker scored a takedown and got side position briefly before, they both came to their feet and traded knees before separating.   McGrath proved to be a tough challenge for Baker, who kept distance with low kicks.  McGrath saw his low kicks and raised them with head kicks.  Another clinch saw more knee exchanges and a head kick by McGrath as they separated.  McGrath once more stunned Baker, who shot for a takedown just before the bell ended the match.

Judges gave the match to Josh Baker by split decision.  Despite some audience boos, both showed great sportsmanship.  McGrath is no sore loser.

9. Ben Fodor (Alderwood MMA) vs. Justin Nelson (Team Quest), 170 lb. A-class MMA

Seemingly taking his cues from The Rock and Big Daddy Kane, Ben Fodor is a star in the making, and he clearly knows it.

However, in round one, Fodor found himself on the defensive for much of the match.  Nelson took Fodor down twice, but the two ended back up on their feet.  Nelson had the height and reach advantage, taking Fodor down in the corner, but Fodor was able to get to his feet and push the pressure on Nelson with overhand rights.  Nelson eventually got Fodor on the ground again and trapped him in a rear naked choke, then maintaining control with full mount and ground and pound tactics.  Ending up on the feet again, Fodor was able to mar a judo takedown, but Nelson forced it and continued to rain down punches.  Fodor gave it his all to get out of it and finally got to his feet, hurling overhand rights past Nelson’s guard as the bell rang.

In the second round, Fodor used his wrestling to prevent several takedown attempts.  Nelson worked hard for the takedown, but Fodor threw him off and dropped bombs, even with Nelson halfway out of the ring.  Nelson eventually got Fodor to the ground, where Fodor went for a leglock / ankle twist.  Back on their feet, Nelson continued the takedown assault with a judo toss attempt and another single-leg.  Fodor threw a high kick, followed by a spinning backfist that missed, but which popped the crowd.  By the end of the round, Fodor was blown up, but not so much that he didn’t have energy to play to the crowd.

But that wasn’t enough for the judges, who gave the decision to Justin Nelson.  Fodor looked out of his element in defeat.  Probably because at 8-0 up to that point, he was.

10. Brian Roberge (AMC Pankration) vs. Tim Sternod (Brian Johnson Kickboxing Academy), 170 lb. A-class MMA ranking fight

Roberge and Sternod were fast and furious in this barnburner.  Despite an early time-out for an eye poke on Sternod, the match continued.  Roberge had some nice combinations, connecting often.  The crowd once again “turned Japanese” for this match.  Roberge dropped Sternod, but couldn’t pass guard, so he stacked Sternod and dropped lefts.  As Sternod tried to escape from bottom by climbing up a single, then double-leg takedown position, Roberge peppered him with rights.  Roberge was working bodyshots from side control when the bell ended.

After taking another look at Sternod’s eye, the doctor stopped the match, awarding the match to Brian Roberge.

Brian McGrath & Josh Baker are brought into the ring.  Scorecard recalculations turn Baker’s win into a draw (and AMC’s record to 4-0-1.  There was minimal rejection from the crowd, even though their hometown hero was denied his victory.

11. Blaine Macintosh (Team Quest) vs. Rico Rough (United Fight Team), 155 lb. Unified World Grand Prix match

This was the first of two UWGP qualifier matches for the night.  Rough and Macintosh traded shots early in the match, with Macintosh connecting on punches and Rough throwing low kicks.  Rough caught a midsection kick from Macintosh and tripped him for the takedown, slamming Macintosh with a powerbomb after almost getting caught in an armbar.  Macintosh continued the jiu-jitsu assault with a rubberguard and gogoplata.  Rough escaped, but was gassed enough for Macintosh to capitalize with ground-and-pound, followed by a body triangle / rear naked choke.  Rough finally tapped at 3:34 of the first round.

12. Caros Fodor (AMC Pankration) vs. Kyle Gotzman (Silverdale, WA), 155 lb. Unified World Grand prix match

Caros Fodor, adopted brother of Ben, is another AMC hometown favorite and a regional triple champion, holding two belts in Genesis FIGHTS and another title in a different promotion.  Both Fodor and Gotzman are U.S. Marines.

Fodor and Gotzman didn’t waste time in engaging right off the bat.  Fodor got the clinch and threw Muay Thai knees until scoring a takedown.  Gotzman held a tight clinch from the bottom, but Fodor eventually got side mount, then full mount, working a kimura / Americana.  Finally, Fodor spun around to catch an armbar on Gotzman, who tapped out at 2:04 of the first round.

Caros Fodor will now face Blaine Macintosh in early 2009 to determine the Genesis FIGHTS representative in the UWGP, which takes place later next year.

13. Drew Brokenshire (AMC Pankration) vs. 9-1 Butch McGavern (Victory Athletics), 145 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

Brokenshire’s was the first of three Genesis FIGHTS title defenses for AMC for the night.

Brokenshire and McGavern traded blows from the start.  With no delay, Brokenshire tagged McGavern with a right cross to his left temple, instantly dropping his challenger.  He followed up with ground-and-pound shots until the referee pulled him off at 0:17 in the first round.

14. Taurean Washington (AMC Pankration) vs. Justin Larsson (Twin Dragons), 170 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

With the title vacant, Washington and Larsson were both hungry to claim championship gold.    

After briefly feeling each other out, Washington and Larsson clashed with simultaneous hard rights.  Larsson clinched up and went for a takedown that almost propelled them both out of the ring.  Restarting in the middle, Washington tagged Larsson with another right that dropped Larsson like a sack of potatoes at 1:35 of the first round.  This was almost a replay of the previous match.  Larsson was out cold for several minutes, but he was eventually able to get up of his own accord.  The crowd was respectably quiet and concerned for Larson, giving him an honorable round of applause as he exits the ring.

15. Demetrious Johnson (AMC Pankration) vs. 7-3  Forest Seabourne (Victory Athletics), 135 lb. Genesis MMA Title fight

This was Johnson’s first title defense of 2008, as his previous Genesis FIGHTS matches this year were in Muay Thai (May) and boxing (February), notching up wins in both outings.    

This was fast scrap between wrestlers.  Seabourne scored a takedown early in the first round, but didn’t hold Johnson down for long.  Johnson came back with a hard right.  The two vied for control standing, ending up in whizzer position against the ropes.  Seabourne was able to throw Johnson to the ground, but couldn’t capitalize on it before Johnson got to his feet.  Johnson continues his striking with Muay Thai knees.  They finally ended up on the ground from whizzer position, with Johnson in Seabourne’s half-guard.  Johnson was able to employ some ground-and-pound rights while using his wrestling to keep Seabourne on the ground.  Seabourne eventually escaped and Johnson chased him with a high kick.  Johnson got another takedown and sunk his hooks in, tying up a rear naked choke and getting the tap at the 4:09 mark of the first round.

Although not a team tournament, AMC Pankration claimed the “Cold War” definitively, with a powerful 8-0-1 record for the night, including first-round finishes in the last four matches of the night.  Brian Roberge also had an early night, taking his match by doctor’s stoppage, while Eric Kennedy and Greg Sage went all the way to decision victories.  Craig Beatty finished his opponent midway through the second round with one of the most exciting submissions of the night.

Genesis FIGHTS next event will take place on March 21st, 2009, at the Shoreline Community College.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.