Photos by Sam Fagan, Interviews/recap by Mike Renouard
Bobby McIntyre throws a kick in the main event
CageSport MMA once again delivered the drama and excitement worthy of the NW’s only all-pro MMA fight series, presenting an epic night of 8 fights July 15th at the Emerald Queen Casino that started with an 18 second knockout in the first bout, and culminated with the CageSport Lightweight belt changing hands in a huge upset.
In this main event, UFC veteran Julian “Juicy J” Erosa of Yakima MMA - defending his CageSport 155 lb belt for the 2nd time since winning it in February - took on challenger Bobby McIntyre of Olympia’s United Training Center. The 27 year old Erosa entered with 19-4 record, going 4-1 since his release from the UFC in 2016. McIntyre, also age 27, came in with just a record of 5-4 and was certainly the underdog in the contest. The first few minutes of the opening round saw the pair engage in a feeling out process, circling and engaging, with Erosa utilizing his length with front kicks and jabs to keep McIntyre off balance. McIntyre though stayed patient, not overcommitting and looking for his moment, which came when McIntyre unloaded a heavy right hand that floored Erosa, followed by a couple strikes on the ground and the referee stopping the contest at 3:28 of the first. Bobby McIntyre is your NEW CageSport Lightweight Champion!
In the Semi-main Event, Portland’s Journey Newson and Tenino WA’s Anthony "The Psychic Assassin" Zender met for the 2nd time in six months, this time for the vacant CageSport 135 lb belt. Both fighters entered the contest on good runs, Newson going 5-1 since turning pro in 2015, including 4 wins on the CageSport stage, while Zender had won 8 of his last 9, the one loss from the hands of Newson last December. The first round of their rematch was spent mostly on the feet, the fighters circling and feeling each other out, both scoring with their offensive forays while not committing too much with the prospect of a full five rounds ahead of them. However, starting out the 2nd, in a blink of an eye, Newson connected with a big left that floored Zender, followed by quick strikes on the ground for the ref stoppage at 24 seconds in. Journey Newson becomes your new CageSport MMA Bantamweight Champion!
The War of the Night came in a middleweight contest between Tacoma’s Nick Coughran and Clarkston WA’s Jorge Cordoba. Cordoba feinted at the opening touch of the gloves, and instead tagged Coughran in the face, followed by a furious flurry of punches and knees as Coughran covered against the cage. Coughran absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment, with the contest nearly stopped at one point, but he kept standing and kept throwing, with hard punches turning the tide in his favor. Coughran then forced a takedown, took Cordoba’s back, and sunk a fight-ending rear naked choke at 2:15 of the round. The crowd absolutely erupted with the finish. Incredible!
Submission of the Night came from Olympia’s Justin “Eagle Drop” Hugo with his 1st round armbar of Sikjitsu's Jordan Mackin in a pro featherweight feature. The pair traded leg kicks before Mackin scored a well-timed takedown and put Hugo against the cage. Mackin started to drop down strikes, but Hugo trapped his arm and went to work on the submission. Mackin tried his best to escape, but Hugo made the adjustments he needed and eventually got the tap from Mackin at 2:05 of the first.
The only bout to go the distance saw bantamweights Eric “Hurricane” Higaonna of Spokane and Kent WA’s Jose Hernandez throw down for 15 solid minutes, with Higaonna winning via split decision in a closely-fought contest. In the first round, both fighters displayed crisp standup, while HIgaonna turned up the offense on the ground and in the scrambles. Early in the 2nd, Higaonna nailed a beautifully-timed takedown and swarmed Hernandez with punches on the ground, and then took his back and sunk a tight rear naked choke. Hernandez managed to escape, got it to standing and closed the round strong on the feet. The final frame was all standup, both fighters stuffing the other’s solitary takedown attempts, and both throwing hard leather to the final bell. Two judges saw it 29-28 for Higaonna, the third 29-28 for Hernandez. Excellent fight!
Yakima MMA’s Wyatt Gonzalez earned his first professional win by submitting Battleground MMA’s Tyrone Henderson via 3rd round rear naked choke in a lightweight contest. Henderson - who started his pro career in going 3-0-1 for Road FC in South Korea - won the first round with his control on the ground, spending a lot of time looking for an armlock finish. In the second, Henderson shot early for a takedown but Gonzales was ready, ending on top and eventually maneuvering to Henderson’s back which he rode to round’s end, peppering Henderson with shots. In the final frame, Henderson pushed Gonzales against the cage and looked for a takedown, but Gonzales defended, eventually taking it to the ground himself, getting Henderson’s back, and sinking the choke at 2:10 of the 3rd.
Tacoma’s Armando "The Dark Assassin" Best of Battleground MMA picked up a solid 3rd Rd TKO win over debuting Bryce Walden of Spokane’s Warrior Camp in a 145 lb contest. The first round saw both fighters get takedowns and both defending well from the bottom, with Walden closing the round going for finishes with a triangle and kneebar attempt. In the 2nd, Walden got the early takedown, but a good reversal from Best put him on top where he found success breaking through Walden’s defenses with some hard ground and pound. In the final frame, Best stunned Walden with a huge uppercut, landed numerous knees from clinch, and then took it to the mat where he finished with brutal elbow strikes for the TKO ref stoppage at the 1:07 mark.
Pendleton OR’s Justin Milani opened the night with a bang, knocking out debuting Steve Vasquez of Moses Lake early into their middleweight bout. Vasquez came out swinging, landing big bombs that had Milani backed up against the cage. Milani though - a veteran of both the pro Boxing and MMA circuit in the NW - countered and connected with a nice combo, the last big left hand putting Vasquez out on the canvas at just 18 seconds in.
Halquist Productions will be back in action with their next all-pro boxing show Battle at the Boat 112 on September 9th, followed by CageSport 46 on July 15th, both events at the Emerald Queen Casino. Learn more at at www.halquistproductions.com.
CageSport 46 Results
Bout 1 - Pro 185 lbs
Justin Milani (1-7 - Pendleton OR) def Steve Vasquez (Debut - Moses Lake WA)
by KO @ 0:18 Rd 1
Bout 2 - Pro 145 lbs
Armando Best (1-5 - Tacoma WA) def Bryce Walden (Debut - Spokane)
by TKO (Ref Stop - Strikes) @ 1:07 Rd 3
Bout 3 - Pro 185 lbs
Nick Coughran (1-5 - Tacoma WA) def Jorge Cordoba (5-4 - Lewiston ID)
by Rear Naked Choke @ 2:15 Rd 1