Photos by Matt Ferris, Post-fight interviews by Mike Renouard
Jacob Ikaika Martin throws a kick at CageSport 43 in Tacoma
On December 17th, Brian Halquist Productions brought back their flagship CageSport MMA promotion to the EQC I-5 showroom for CageSport 43. Seven MMA bouts took place, including the CageSport Interim Lightweight Championship between Portland's Bryan Nuro and Olympia's Bobby McIntyre. Both fighters had previously challenged Lightweight Champion Justin Harrington, with McIntyre nearly submitting the champ before getting submitted himself in a terrific battle, and Nuro going the distance with Harrington in one of the best fights of 2016 before losing by decision. The winner of the Nuro vs McIntyre fight would take home the interim 155 lb belt and earn another shot at Harrington.
McIntyre started out the fight with some high kicks, but Nuro closed the distance and brought the fight to the mat. Once on the canvas, Nuro went to work, punishing McIntyre with some vicious ground strikes before eventually ending the fight with a rear naked choke at the 3:22 mark of the first round. Nuro moves to 6-1 with the win and is the new CageSport MMA Interim Lightweight Champion.
The CageSport 43 Semi-main Event was a much anticipated matchup between two top NW featherweights in Drew “The Eternal Fire” Brokenshire of Tacoma and Eduardo Torres of Yakima. In the first round, Brokenshire was able to win the frame by controlling much of the action and scoring with hard knees from the clinch as he pushed Torres against the cage. In the 2nd, Torres scored a takedown and was able to keep Brokenshire under him on the canvas while searching for a finish. In the final frame, both men needed to take the round to win the fight. Torres would get a takedown but Brokenshire would immediately reverse and look to capitalize on the position, before Torres scramble to his feet. Brokenshire would have more success with knees from the clinch and though Torres also scored with his offensive output, the round and the fight went to Brokenshire, all three judges seeing it 29-28. Great battle!
Team SNRG’s Jacob Ikaikia Martin (formerly Ikaika Tampos) earned a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Gig Harbor MMA’s Chris Stone in a 155 lb matchup. The first two rounds were all standup, with both fighters firing of kicks and punches, numerous shots finding their mark. In the third frame, Stone got the fight to the canvas and worked in some ground strikes. After 15 minutes of action, all three judges saw it 29-28 for Martin who moves to 4-1 with the win, while Stone falls to 2-1.
A 155 lb contest saw Battleground MMA’s JD Burns pick up his first professional win via 1st round submission of Team SNRG’s Patrick Benson. Burns weathered an explosive start by Benson, who came with a big slam of Burns. On the mat, Burns utilized his full 6’ frame from the bottom to lock on a triangle choke and force a tap from Benson at 2:37 of the first.
In a pro 140 lb catchweight contest, Impact Jiu-jitsu's Journey Newson put an end to Anthony Zender's 7 fight win streak via a 3rd round guillotine choke of the Tenino WA fighter. After a pretty even first round, Newson picked up the pace, nearly finishing with ground strikes in the 2nd with the bell saving Zender. In the third, Zender went for a takedown but Newson was ready and locked on the fight-ending guillotine at 1:27 of the round. Newson moves his record to 4-1 with the win, whlle Zender falls to 7-9.
A 141 lb catchweight battle took place between Team S.N.R.G's Daniel Elliott and Team Quest's Dylan Atkinson in the 2nd bout of the night. After a feeling out period, Atkinson sent Elliot crashing to the canvas with a big shot, and immediately attacked with his ground and pound game. Elliott ate a number of hard elbows that looked like it would end the fight, but somehow trapped Atkinson's arm and nearly ended the fight himself with an armbar attempt, before Atkinson escaped. In the 2nd, Atkinson got an early takedown and again went to work on the ground. The fight stalled and was stood up, but Atkinson got another takedown and then finished with a north-south choke at 4:51 of the 2nd. Strong performance from Atkinson who improves his record to 4-3.
A bantamweight matchup opened the evening and featured two up-and-comers searching for their 2nd pro win with Lacey WA’s Rodney Kealohi taking on Portland’s Sean “The Beast of War” Gee. In the first, Gee came out with bad intentions throwing a big bomb to start and then moving in on the clinch against the cage, breaking free from Kealohi’s grip to unload with knees or a flurry of hard punches. Gee later got a takedown and finished the round in top position. In the 2nd, Kealohi had success with kicks, and the two traded takedowns, but with Gee reversing to end the round in top position. In the final frame, Kealohi went for the takedown but Gee got hold of Kealohi’s neck and finished with guillotine choke at 59 seconds into the third. Gee moves his record to 2-2, whlle Kealohi falls to 1-1.
The next CageSport MMA show is CageSport 44 scheduled for February 25th at the Emerald Queen Casino. More info at www.halquistproductions.com.