Proving Grounds: Blood & Ice - recap
This was the last show of the calendar year for Proving Grounds Fight League, returning to familiar ground at the South Broadway Athletic Club after a stop at the Afton Sports Center back in July.
While it did not have the glitz and glamour of their counterparts down the street at Lumiere Place, the quality of the in-cage product was second to none.
The event titled "Blood & Ice" featured "Mean" Mike Green and several of his teammates from the Southside Fight Club fighting on their home turf. The Southsiders have been on a bit of a roll as of late, but tonight was not their night going 1-4 in the evening's contests.
Granite City native Ronny Harper successfully defended his featherweight belt against Green. Returning to his signature form, Harper sprinted out of the gate at the first bell and kept up his intensity for the entirety of the short match. Harper quickly secured the takedown, worked from the top before eventually getting reversed. After a brief scramble, Harper was able to secure an armbar and forced Green to tap.
Green's teammate Bo Kunz also ended up on the losing end dropping a second round TKO to Scott Futrell. This was a rematch from a fight back in August, and started off eerily similar Kunz was looking for an early KO and came out of the gate with wild overhand punches. The plan seemed to be working as he was able to catch Futrell at one point late in the first, but the bell forced a stop in the action. In the second round it was all Futrell. His height and range were simply too much for Kunz. Futrell caught Kunz with a hard straight punch, putting "Bad News" on the defensive. Sensing his opponent was in danger, Futrell pounced and forced referee Tim Francis to stop the fight.
Anthony Kuhn spoiled Ronnie Farmer's final trip to the cage catching the Proving Grounds welterweight champs with a an armbar midway through the first. After the fight Farmer took to the mic and thanks all of his supporters and said goodbye to the promotion where he fought all of his fights. Farmer ends his career 4-2, losing only to Jose Murillo and to Kuhn.
Promoter Eric Clarkson also splits time as the trainer for the Farmer brothers, and talked briefly about the end of one career and the prospects of another.
"He's on to other things, and he's kind of leaving the sport of MMA to his little brother Jesse who is up and coming," said Clarkson. "Sad to see him go, but I'm sure we'll still him in the gym."
Farmer's younger brother Jesse Farmer looked impressive in a 8-second KO of Dan Schaab from Destruction MMA. The elder Farmer has passed the torch to his younger brother who seeming has a very bright future in the sport.
"He looked good. That combo we drilled over and over again," Clarkson said. "He pulled it off beautifully. Pretty proud of him."
The Charles Johnson era of dominance continues as the young bantamweight and sometime track star improved to 13-0-1. Johnson's opponent Mark Chapelle brought the fight to Johnson early and controlled most of the action in the first round with his ground game. Johnson picked up speed in the second and begin chipping away at Chapelle. In the third Johnson caught Chappelle with a vicious knee to the body that seemingly took the remaining wind out of Chappelle's sails. It wasn't long after that before Johnson was able to put Chappelle away.
Jen Reed and Royal Schirmer scrapped to a split decision. The scrappy Schirmer tried to keep the fight in the clinch fearing the technical striking of Reed. The key round was the third where Reed was able to create space and landed enough strikes to steal the round and secure the decision.
Tim Mantle scored the lone victory for Southside Fight Club in a quick stoppage of Rodney Bellew. Mantle has been spending some time at St. Charles MMA and looked to be more comfortable while in the cage than in his previous fights. Mantle had a large, loud group of fans cheering him on.
Montuell Prater, who has been on a bit of a roll as of late ran into a very tough Joe Roye. The two battled tooth and nail for three rounds. Roye got the better of stand-up battle early denying most of Prater's takedown attempts. Prater looked to be in danger in the third when Roye locked on an armbar, but punched his way out of it leaving Roye bloody. Roye was able to hang on and survive the round, winning the decision. These two put on a show for the fans and really got the crowd fired up with their fight of the night performance.
Earlier in the night Waylon Miller finished Houstin Reiger with a rear naked choke in the first. Southside's Chris Eveland and Mike Offor battled in a K1 match with Offor getting the decision victory. Chris Seip from Watson Martial Arts won when his opponent was DQ'd for illegal strikes to the back of his head.
Clarkson seemed to be pleased with the event, and has already started looking ahead to the next event.
"Lots of action, two knockouts in a row, what more can you ask for," Clarkson said. "We'll be setting up our next fight in late February or early March. We're just going to keep doing what we do, putting on good shows,
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