BAMMA USA Badbeat 12 at Commerce Casino

Badbeat 12 insetIt was a wintry evening in Los Angeles (you know, in the 60’s) as the ballroom in the Commerce Casino began to fill with MMA fans, drawn by the action in the cage in the center of the hall, filled by pro athletes fighting under the BAMMA USA banner, well matched, and ready to put on a show. This is Badbeat 12: Pro MMA in LA.

Bantamweight Title: 135 lbs: Eric Winston (5-1) vs Terrion Ware (10-2)
Round one: Ware gets the better of the stand up, although Winston displays some solid striking skills, landing kicks and punches. Ware is winning the round until Winston takes him down, takes his back and attempts a rear-naked choke, which Ware fights out of. The round ends with ware on top, but it could’ve gone either way.

Round two: Both guys seem determined to dominate, but it’s Ware who walks Winston back against the cage, as they strike sparingly. Ware comes in punching and gets caught and dropped. Winston pounces and gets top position, but it doesn’t last. Ware gets back up and they exchange. Ware trips Winston against the age, sending Winston to the mat, but Ware decides to let him up. They work around the cage, with Ware largely taking the lead and landing more, while Winston counters and eventually takes Ware down. They scramble and Winston gets Ware’s back but Ware sneaks out the back door, gets top position and decides to disengage, letting Winston up. Winston shoots but Ware is able to turn him around and get his back, looking for the rear-naked choke while time expires.

Round three: They are moving a lot but trading sparingly for the first minutes of the round. Ware is more aggressive and picking his shots. Winston rallies and moves forward, punching while Ware counters. Winston is getting the best of the stand-up as they work their way quickly across the cage. Winston shoots, they grapple and Ware gets full mount. Winston turns and Ware lands vicious elbows to the side of his head. Winston finally is able to get out from under Ware and reverses. They scramble and stand. Ware stalks Winston, landing punches once Winston ends up against the cage.

Round four: Ware walks down Winston, taking the center of the cage. Ware lands a strong right to Winston’s face, but Winston absorbs it and shoots in for a takedown. Ware reverses, hopping into full mount. Winston works into half-guard, trapping Ware’s leg. Ware slips out and stands up, allowing Winston to stand. They trade with Winston against the cage. Ware is winning the striking battle, and stuffs a couple of takedown attempts. Winston is countering but not all that effectively. Ware opens up his striking, adding more kicks to his attacks. Eventually, Winston gets the double-leg and takes Ware down. The round ends with Winston on top, but not threatening submissions or landing strikes.

Round five: Ware begins the round bouncing. Attempts a head kick. Stuffs a takedown. Lands a solid abdomen kick. Winston is not exactly inactive, attempting punches but when he kicks, it is caught and they go to the mat. He is able to get top position in half guard, and attempts to pass the guard to the mount, but Ware stifles the attempt. Winston lands a few punches but is mostly held onto by Ware, who works into full guard. The ref stands them up. Ware goes on the attack, walking Winston down and landing punches along the way. Winston attempts a shot but Ware sprawls and stuffs it. The round ends in a flurry of striking and the crowd voices their approval. Both guys have a bright future in MMA, but there can be only one Champion…
Winner, and BAMMA USA Bantamweight Champion: Terrion Ware, Unanimous Decision (45-46, 50-45, 50-45)

135 lbs: Chris Beal (7-0) vs Keith Carson (2-1)
Round one: You might remember Chris Beal from his stint on the Rousey team on The Ultimate Fighter. You might recall, his striking was pretty developed. That’s still the case. Carson has skills, and landed during many of the exchanges, but Beal seems to land at will, and is a very well developed striker.

Round two: The pace has become a little more deliberate, but the results are the same. Beal landing when he wants and Carson landing less effective strikes less often. Until Beal catches Carson in the beginning of a kick with a flurry of punches and sends Carson flying off balance. Pouncing, Beal lands blows from top position and fends off submission attempts from Carson. Carson attempts to use butterfly guard to reverse, but Beal defends and they go to North-South and stand. Beal lands an elbow and cuts Carson, and the fight is temporarily paused for a doctor to give the OK. He does. Carson lands and this seems to enrage Beal, and Beal chases Carson around the cage, landing punches and moving forward like an old school phenom… Carson falls backward. Beal follows him down, fists flying. Ref jumps in. Crowd goes wild.
Winner: Chris Beal, TKO (strikes), 4:37 of round two

There was a silent 10 count for Tapout’s Mask on the fifth anniversary of his passing. RIP

185 lbs: Joseph Henle (9-1-1) vs Ronald Lebreton Jr. (8-8)
Lebetron Jr. pulled out of the bout. Not sure why, but I can’t say I blame him—I wouldn’t want to fight Joseph Henle either. Seriously, though, they announced that Lebreton had a medical issue and was in the hospital. It happens, usually involving a bad weight cut. I’ve reached out to Labreton via facebook, and if he gives me a statement, I’ll post it here.

135 lbs: Brooksie Bayard (0-0) vs Melanie Lacroix (2-1)
Round one: These ladies really get after it! I knew to expect this out of Bayard—she was a beast* as an amateur! Lacroix brought it just as furiously. Seriously, the work rate of these two just put the entire previous fight card to shame! Overall, Lacroix seemed to be getting the best of the exchanges, using her reach when apart and some nice clench work when they were against the cage. But the first round was close.

Round two: Some real-life Rocky moments here, as each had their moments of landing massive punches in the stand-up. The opening exchange was like the end of Rocky 3, when Rocky and Apollo struck each other at the same time. You heard a “boom” in the room! Back and forth they went, Bayard doing a good job of keeping Lacroix against the cage for a time, then Lacroix separating and landing on Bayard. They round ended with a flurry from each lady, and the bell brought a deafening (not really, but, you know, loud) cheer from the crowd.

Round three: Oh, they’re not done yet! This round began with a total “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em” exchange, with Lacroix eventually getting ahold of Bayard and landing some solid knees to the midsection. Bayard defended by pushing Lacroix against the cage and worked her dirty boxing but Lacriox eventually got some separation and they traded again. Lacroix landed some vicious blows, but Bayard hung in and returned fire. The action got more intense as the round came to a close. The crowd was so loud at the end of the fight that it drowned out the bell!
Winner: The crowd in attendance. Really incredible fight from both of these amazing athletes.
Official Winner: Melanie Lacroix, Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*In the nicest possible way

205 lbs: Lateef Williams (2-1) vs Paul Karsky (11-22)
Karsky kicked, Williams caught it, took Karsky down, got his back, sunk in the RNC.
Winner: Lateef Williams, Rear-Naked Choke submission, 1:06 into the first round.

170 lbs: Greg Parker (3-0) vs. Paul Song (2-1)
Song started strong, striking solidly. Parker pushed, pummeled, pounded. Sought Song’s submission. Succeeded.
Winner: Greg Parker, Rear-naked choke submission, 4:00 of round one.

Intermission. Oh, yeah, also: Earthquake. A pretty good one, too. The place was shakin’!

155 lbs: Chris Pena (2-1) vs Kevin Bostick (3-3)
Round one: Pena gets Bostick down after a brief clench. Landing in side control, Bostick does a good job of stifling Pena, grabbing his head tightly to him and then works to reverse. Recognizing this, Pena stands and in the scramble gets Bostick down again, this time in half guard. Pena lands very few strikes while Bostick is on his back , and Bostick works back to his feet, grabbing Pens’a head. Pena separated and they traded on their feet. Pena landed a strike that stumbled Bostick. Recognizing this, Pena moved in, grabbing Bostick’s head in a Thai Clinch and throwing a knee to Bostick’s side. Bostick countered with a massive uppercut. Pena faceplanted and the bout was over.
Winner: Kevin Bostick, KO (uppercut), 2:45 into round one

125 lbs: David Duran (2-1) vs Benji Gomez (1-1)
You know this is a fan-based site, right? I mean, as much as we strive to ceeate an air of professionalism, at the end of the day, we’re fans. We love this stuff. I’m telling you this because I’m pretty sure David Duran has the best nickname in MMA, and because of that, I can’t be an unbiased observer to his bouts. Unless he turns out to be a terrible human being, and from my albeit limited experience that isn’t the case, I will always root for “The Farmer of Destruction.” Just getting that out of the way, in the interest of full disclosure.

Round one: Duran attempts a nice flying knee attack, which glances Gomez’ face. His striking is good, and he drops Gomez briefly in the center of the cage. Towards the end of the round, Gomez took over, taking Duran down, letting him up and taking him down easily a second time as the bell sounded. Dammit.

Round two: It’s getting harder to root for the farmer, as his enthusiasm seems to cause him to attack wildly, and that is allowing Gomez to get the best of him. Both guys are showing fatigue, but they are still managing to keep a pretty good pace going. Duran lands a good right, which causes Gomez to step back. But it’s Gomez with the takedown under Duran’s right hook that probably gives him the round. Double Damn.

Round three: Duran is doing better than he has, and is being aggressive, but Gomez is picking him apart and running. Gomez is fighting like a guy who knows he’s ahead and is protecting that lead.
Winner: Benji Gomez, Unanimous Decision

110 lbs: Kyra Batara (0-0) vs Misha Nassiri (1-0)
Faat action from the start, they engaged and clenched, working their way around the cage. Batara took Nassiri down, landing short punches from top position and working toward mount. Full mount achieved, Batara moved her hips up and grabbed Nassiri’s right arm. That’s all she wrote. Literally. Because they’re both women. Get it?
Winner: Kyra Batara, Submisison (arm bar), 2:05 of round one.

170 lbs: Christian Aguilera (1-0) vs. Kory Kelley (0-3)
Round one: high pace from the beginning. Kelley lands the first big strike, getting Aguilara against the cage and pressing the clench. Aguilara quickly escaped and they rounded the cage. Kelley landed the second big punch on the opposite side of the cage, but Aguilara got ahold of him. Kelley escaped, received a loud, slapping kick to the belly from Aguilara, and they started trading wildly. For a moment, it looked like Kelley was getting the best of the standup until Aguilara landed a solid hook, sending Kelley into the center of the cage. Aguilara pounced, landing a few more punches, sending Kelley to the mat. One more punch, on the way down, and the ref jumped in to save Kelley.
Winner: Christian Aguilara, TKO (strikes), 2:05 of round one

185 lbs: Justin Jones (1-0) vs Paul Gemmati (0-3)
Was really looking forward to seeing John Adama fight. This is not that guy. This guy is ripped. I mean, most MMA athletes at the pro level are cut, they can’t all be Roy Nelson, but Gemmati… the dude is on hydroxycut or something…

Round one: I’m immediately concerned for the safety of Gemmati, as he seems to be coming in low, allowing Jones to counter easily while avoiding damage. In fact, I would say round one was almost all Jones. He seemed to land at will, dominating the cage and taking little damage. But this is MMA, and one punch can change the entire fight. Gemmati landed such a punch, with seconds left in the round, and it looked like he might’ve finished the fight if they had been fighting five-minute rounds. But the rounds were only three minutes, and round one ended.

Round two: Jones came out confidently, looking to continue his domination of the cage. This time, Gemmati wasn’t such a willing subject, and, no doubt buoyed by his success at the end of the first round, came after Jones aggressively. It was this aggression that allowed Jones to catch Gemmati on a takedown, grabbing his neck and squeezing until Gemmati tapped. <insert Sideways reference here>
Winner: Justin Jones, Submission (standing guillotine choke), at 2:05 of the first round

163 lbs: Tommy Gavin (1-2) vs Steve Kozola (1-0)
First round: They came at each other ferociously, opening the show with pure aggressive energy. Gavin got the Thai clench early, and Kozola countered, landing brutal body punches while being held. Gavin’s knees mostly glanced off of the side of Kozola’s torso. Although he held the clench for most of the round, Gavin eventually succumbed to Kozola’s body strikes and collapsed to the mat. Round ended.
Second round: They came out at each other as before, but this time there would be no grappling for Gavin. They seemed to devolve into backyard brawling, with each man swinging with full force. Here, amidst the chaos, Kozola had a distinct advantage, for he did two things that allowed him to be effective in the brawl. Indeed, they were the only two things he could do: throw straight punches and get his head off of the center line. It worked, in devastating fashion.
Winner: Steve Konzola, TKO (Strikes), 44 seconds into round two

Another great night of action-packed MMA from BAMMA USA. Their Badbeat series never disappoints! Keep an eye on BAMMA USA’s site for information on their next event, and make plans to go. You’ll have a great time and support local MMA! If you’re not in the LA area, seek out local MMA near you and GO!