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King of the Cage: No Fear - February 6th, 2016

Chinook Winds Casino - Lincoln City, Oregon

Photos and interviews by Mike Renouard

Ian Loveland beats Enoch Wilson via 1st Rd Armbar in the main event

On February 6th, King of the Cage returned to the Chinook Winds Casino for their first of four scheduled events at the casino in 2016. A large crowd of fight fans were on hand for a great Saturday night of fights on an unseasonably warm weekend on the Oregon coast. The anticipation was palpable for the main event - a 145 lb rematch 10 years in the making - between two super-respected Oregon vets of the sport in Enoch “The Animal” Wilson (19-10-2) and Ian “The Barn Owl” Loveland (17-10).

The pair had met early in their pro careers back in 2006 in the main event of Sportfight 15 at the Rose Garden in Portland and the ensuing back-and-forth fight saw Wilson beat Loveland via 2nd round rear naked choke. A lot of fight miles put in by both fighters in the interim. Loveland made it to the UFC in 2011 going 2-1 only to be inexplicably cut after a split decision loss to Yves Jabouin. Since he has gone 3-1, with his last fight taking place in July 2014. Wilson, a professional prizefighter since 2003, has battle experience with most of top 145rs up and down the West Coast, coming into the King of the Cage main event on a 3-fight win streak.

Soon after the opening bell, it was Loveland moving in with a flying knee that was caught by Wilson for a quick takedown. Loveland defended and stood up against the cage, but Wilson was relentless, scoring another single leg takedown. As Wilson tried to posture up to strike, Loveland isolated Wilson’s left arm in an inverted armbar sub attempt. Wilson broke free but Loveland transitioned over to Wilson’s right arm and locked on the armbar, getting a tap from Wilson at 1:59 of the first round. WOW!

The evening’s Co-feature was a 160 lb catchweight affair between undefeated Bryan Nuro of Impact Jiu-jitsu, and late replacement Tyrone Henderson who came in on a 3 fight win streak, all for the Road FC promotion in Korea. In the first, Henderson was the more active of the fighters, keeping Nuro off balance with a array of punches and kicks, Nuro absorbing a few solid blows before the round’s end. In the 2nd, Nuro came out aggressive, landing a big kick to Henderson’s midsection before getting the fight to the ground within the first 30 seconds. There, Nuro controlled Henderson with a smothering ground attack until the bell, making it one round to one going into the third. In the final round, it was Henderson who initiated an attempt to take down Nuro, but it was Nuro who came out in the dominant top position. There, Nuro began a measured barrage of striking that Henderson withstood for much of the round until the referee saw enough and stopped it at the 3:54 mark. With the win, Nuro moves to 4-0 as a pro, while Henderson falls to 3-1-1.

The Slobberknocker Fight of the Night was definitely the pro heavyweight bout between Art of War's Jimmy “Jungle Jim” Jennett and independent fighter Juan Figuerva out of Mount Vernon WA. The 6’6” Jennett had the height and size advantage and used it to push Figuerva against the cage throughout the first round to fire off hard knees and punches. Figuerva covered up and absorbed the terrific punishment, and then returned fired as Jennett moved in close, connecting with nasty uppercuts and counterpuches that began to take their toll on Jennett. In the 2nd round, the fight went to the ground early where Figuerva was able to maintain top position in Jennett’s guard to drop in some hard punches and elbows for half of the round. Jennett though would reverse the position and then went to work punishing Figuerva with some huge punches to the round’s end. In the final frame, both men threw everything they had at each other, with Figuerva scoring with his combos and Jennett landing knees from a muay thai clinch. The bout ended with the big men scrambling for position on the ground and a big ovation from the crowd. It was a close fight and somehow fittingly was a split decision which was awarded to Juan Figuerva 30-27, 29-28, 28-29.

A pro 162 lb catchweight matchup featured two veteran NW-based combatants, both with 20+ pro bouts to their name. Rex Payne Jr. has been fighting professionally for over 10 years on both the NW and the greater Western US circuit, and is currently imparting his wealth of experience as the MMA/BJJ head coach at Machado Jiu Jitsu Academy in Hillsboro OR. Dominique Gutreece garnered most of his professional experience since 2009 in the greater LA area, before making a move to Portland and Gracie Technics in 2014. The first round saw solid action from both fighters. An early takedown from Payne led to a side choke attempt that Gutreece did well to escape from. Much of the round was spent on the feet, with both Gutreece and Payne showing good movement around the ring and both connecting in their exchanges. In the 2nd round, Gutreece dropped under a punch and took Payne to the mat where he connected with some hard punches from mount. Gutreece fired off a knee, that was likely aimed at Payne's chest but which grazed his head instead as Payne sat against the cage. The fight was restarted standing, with Payne soon going for another takedown. Gutreece was ready though and gained top position, connecting with ground strikes until the fight was called at 3:34 of the 2nd round.

Jeremy Tavares, originally from San Jose California & now repping Animals MMA, returned to the cage after a nearly seven year hiatus and picked up his first professional win, getting a first round stoppage of Shane Sargent in the 135 lb weight class. Tavares was aggressive from the bell, moving in on Sargent for a takedown against the cage. Tavares laid down some ground strikes but Sargent limited the damage in working it back to the feet. Again Tavares took him down and again Sargent got it back to standing. The third time was the charm though, with Tavares taking Sargent to the canvas once again and this time maintaining top position while dialing in the strikes that elicited a verbal tap from Sargent at 3:34 of the first round.

The King of the Cage Amateur World Junior Flyweight Title was on the line as local favorite David “Kid Kryptonite” Converse looked to make his first title defense of the belt he won at the Chinook Winds Casino via 16 second KO last September. Converse’s original opponent fell off the card late and NW Elite’s Jacob Romero - under the tutelage of Anthony Hamlett - stepped in on a week’s notice to take the fight and a shot at the title. Romero came out at the bell with a big head kick. Converse timed a nice takedown off a 2nd Romero kick. On the mat though, Romero deftly got out from under Converse in a scramble, and got hold of Converse’s right ankle and leg. From there, Romero worked patiently for a submission, eventually forcing Converse to tap to a nasty calf slicer at 2:43 of the first round. Jacob Romero is the new KOTC Amateur 125 lb Champion!

In the amateur 135 lb division, Alive MMA's Lisa Spangler and Burbank CA fighter Yumi Matsumoto had a slugfest that played out entirely on the feet, save for a single late takedown in round two by Spangler. Throughout the fight, Matsumoto continuously waded into the pocket throwing combos and forcing Spangler to engage. Spangler on her part, found her target often in these exchanges, as well as landing solid kicks to Matsumoto's body in each round. After three rounds of non-stop fighting, two of the three judges saw it 30-27 for Spangler while the third had it even at 29-29, giving Spangler the majority decision win. An impromptu happy dance by Matsumoto after the fight was joined by Spangler, the enjoyment of both athletes of having just engaged in battle clearly evident to all. Terrific fighting spirit!

Opening the fights, Team Crawford's Daniel McElhaney and Team Rigan Machado's Sean Kalinoski engaged in an high-paced 137 lb catchweight battle that went all three rounds. The first two rounds were close. Round one likely went to McElhaney on the strength of a big early takedown and some punishing ground and pound. Kalinoski likely took the second, catching McElhaney against the cage with some big bombs and then finishing the round working for a triangle submission. McElhaney came out determined in round three, getting an early takedown, landing solid strikes from full mount, and closing the round out going for the RNC finish. In the end, McElhaney was awarded the victory by unanimous judges decision 30-27, 29-28 x2.

King of the Cage's next stop in the Pacific Northwest is Thursday February 18th at the Coeur D'Alene Casino in Worley Idaho. The promotion will be back at the Chinook Winds in Lincoln City Oregon on June 4th. For more information on all upcoming King of the Cage events, visit www.kingofthecage.com.


Bout 1 - Amateur 137 lbs
Daniel McElhaney (Team Crawford - Portland) def Sean Kalinoski (Team Rigan Machado - Beaverton OR) by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Bout 2 - Amateur 135 lbs
Lisa Spangler (Alive MMA - Portland) def Yumi Matsumoto (Defiant Muay Thai / Bas Rutten’s MMA) by Majority Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-29)

Bout 3 - KOTC Amateur World Junior Flyweight Championship
Jacob Romero (NW Elite - Pasco WA) def David Converse (Team Headgear / Team Knucklehead - Lincoln City OR) by Calf Slicer @ 2:43 Rd 1

Bout 4 - Pro 135 lbs
Jeremy Tavares (Animals MMA - San Jose CA) def Shane Sargent (Independent - Salem) by Verbal Tap to Strikes @ 3:24 Rd 1

Bout 5 - Pro 162 lbs
Dominique Gutreece (Gracie Technics - Downey CA) def Rex Payne (Team Rigan Machado - Hillsboro OR) by TKO (Ref Stop - Strikes) @ 3:34 Rd 2

Bout 6 - Pro Heavyweights
Juan Figuerva (Independent - Mt Vernon WA) def Jimmy Jennett (Art of War - Eugene OR) by Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Co-main Event - Pro 160 lbs
Bryan Nuro (Impact JJ - Beaverton OR) def Tyrone Henderson (Tacoma WA) by TKO (Ref Stop - Strikes) @ 3:54 Rd 3

Main Event - Pro 145 lbs
Ian Loveland (Rose City FC - Portland) def Enoch Wilson (Animals MMA - Hubbard OR) by Armbar @ 1:59 Rd 1

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