2013 STL MMA Awards - Story of the Year
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The year in St. Louis MMA was chalked full of notable headlines. Just click on the News tab above this article and watch all of the madness unfurl.
There were headlines and then there were HEADLINES. The KJ staff sifted through the bundles and picked these as the top stories of the year.
You, the reader, will decide which one deserves the top slot. Click here to vote now! -- You can vote once per day until December 31st.
Here are the nominees:
Sampo wins the CFA title
Everyone in the St. Louis region knew Josh Sampo and what he was able to do inside the steel cage. On Jan. 19 Sampo faced Olympic wrestler Alexis Vila for the CFA flyweight title in Vilas backyard of Coral Gables, FL. The fight was close through the early rounds with Vila doing the bulk of the damage with his takedowns. When the fight entered championship rounds it became Gremlin time. As Vila tired, Sampo thrived and in the fifth round Sampo sank in a guillotine choke and got the tap and the victory. The win jettisoned Sampo into the top tier of the flyweight division.
T-Wood KO's Koscheck
St. Louis Tyron Woodley was placed on the main card of one of the biggest UFC events of the year, UFC 167, and he didnt disappoint. Facing veteran Josh Koscheck the question loomed which T-Wood would arrive in Vegas. Woodley answered that question with ferocity. Displaying a rare - even for the UFC - combination of blinding speed and jackhammer power, Woodley unleashed fury upon Koscheck and scored a knockout with less than 30 seconds left in the first round. The win earned him a Knockout of the Night bonus and the victory and the performance turned heads all-around the MMA stratosphere and landed The Chosen One into the top tier welterweights in the world.
St. Charles MMA flyweights get signed, in the same week
The grin on Mike Rogers face was a mile wide. Within a matter of days, two of Rogers prize pupils each signed multi-fight contracts with the UFC. Josh Sampo and Alp Ozkilic have been buddies and training partners since their days at Lindenwood University. So it was fitting that pair would reach their goals at nearly the exact same time. Sampo had built a reputation as the CFA flyweight champ and was considered No. 3 in the world by fightmatrix.com. Ozkilic threw his hat into the top ten flyweight ring in May when he leveled Antonio Banuelos in 30 seconds at Legacy Fighting Championship 20. Sampo went on to a victorious UFC debut with a submission of Ryan Benoit that also earned him Fight of the Night honors at TUF 18 Finale. Ozkilic gets his first taste of the UFC on Dec. 14 when he faces Darren Uyenoyama.
Alex White wins at Titan FC
Alex White was ready for primetime. The bruising featherweight out of Destruction MMA got the call to fight on Titan FC 26 against Roy Babcock on a card that aired on AXS-TV. White took over the fight in second round and was able to land some of his trademark ground-and-pound from inside of his opponents guard, throwiong his cement hands to knock Babcock unconscious. After realizing Babcock was in la-la land, White pulled back and let referee Rusty Sullivan know that Babcock was out cold. In one of the bizarre outcomes of the year, Sullivan did not signal the end of the fight despite White arguing with him, so The Spartan had to deliver one more shot to end the fight when Sullivan finally realized Babcock was motionless. The fight earned White plenty of attention and he was praised far and wide for his awareness even when the third man inside the cage wasnt.
Cella submits his way into the TUF house
Adam Cella is known as a decorated, talented kickboxer. When the Finneys MMA product got the call to fight for his chance to be on The Ultimate Fighter 17, Cella did the unexpected. He defeated Jake Heun with an arm bar to secure his place in the house and on Team Jones. Cella made it on the show and would go on to fight Uriah Hall and well, we know what happened there. But Cella garnered plenty of camera time throughout the season and though he had a rough outing in Sweden against Tor Troeng at UFC on Fuel TV 9 then redeemed himself with a vicious knockout of Justin DeMoney in June.
Click here to vote now! -- You can vote once per day until December 31st.
Special thanks to STL Trophies Plus for help making this happen.
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Ameristar Casino, Kansas City, MO
Fight Hard MMA | Sat, March 9th
Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO
Shamrock FC: 316 | Fri, March 15th
River City Casino, St. Louis, MO
Shamrock FC: 317 | Sat, April 6th
Ameristar Casino, Kasnas City, MO