Zach Freeman and Rob Washington rattled the rafters and sent a packed Family Arena home fulfilled Saturday night.
The two lightweights made a near-perfect blend of tenaciousness and talent, resiliency and knack Freeman remained undefeated and won a three-round 30-27 unanimous decision, earning the first-ever Fight Hard MMA lightweight championship. His thunderous slam of Washington near the end of the third-round bell put an emphatic stamp on his achievement.
While all three rounds went to Freeman (7-0), all were close and loaded with action.
“My head is extremely sore,” Freeman joked afterward. “I need to keep my hands up.”
Washington dropped to 15-7 with the loss.
“I’m really disappointed,” Washington said. “He was stronger and really executed his takedowns.”
For video interviews with Freeman, Washington, and more, check back on Monday.
Early in the fight, Freeman was effective in the clinch, landing some solid knees. It was an attack he would revisit often during the fight.
But Washington came back with some crisp, powerful shots underneath and landed some hooks to the body. Freeman continued to land knees, though not always flush, and even dropped a few knees at one point while in side control.
Washington got things back to the feet before Freeman charged in and landed a flurry of strikes. Washington took a ton of punishment up against the cage but squirted free once again. On the ensuing scramble, Freeman had Washington in his guard and was working a submission as well as landed elbows as the round came to a close.
Freeman started the second round with a takedown and landed in side control where he was able to fire off some effective strikes.
Washington got things back up and took advantage of Freeman’s lax hand defense and split Freeman open just over the left eye.
But the powerful puncher from East St. Louis couldn’t capitalize as he followed with a weak takedown attempt that Freeman transitioned to pounding away while in Washington’s guard. Freeman ended the round with a takedown and some elbows.
Washington answered the third a swollen eye and Freeman had a cut that needed stitches later. Washington started the third round with some crisp boxing as Freeman ate some shots. Washington was able to keep good separation during the early portion of the round before Freeman aggressively closed the distance, put Washington on his back and was raining punches.
Washington was good a creating scramble opportunities all night and once again got to his feet. But Freeman chased him down and finished the night off with a powerful double-leg to secure the win.
In the only other pro bout on the card, Owen Evinger won in the first round via submission over Dustin Hill. The victory snapped a three-fight losing streak for Evinger.
Submissions ruled the night in the eight-fight amateur undercard.
C.J. Hunter pulled off a slick arm bar to defeat Jeradon Brown in the first round. Brian Graves won with a rear naked choke over Jeremiah Curtright. At lightweight, Ian Butler won a unanimous decision over Dan Busch.
After nearly finishing it in the first, Tyler Kennedy earned the TKO over Clinton Kauble in the second round.
Katy Hayler used the toughness gained from many nights at the Roller Derby to eek out a decision win over Britt Wilson.
Daniel Baynton tapped out Brian Farrell in the second round and Zach Lowe and Rich Burts also got early wins.
Fight Hard MMA looks to return to the Family Arena in July.
(Lake St. Louis, MO USA) — December 20, 2012— Officials from Fight Hard MMA announced today that it will return to action Saturday, January 19, 2013 at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. As always the extremely popular organization will be offering thousands of free tickets to fans through several area marketing and retail partners as well its facebook page. Another huge crowd is expected so fans are encouraged to arrive early.
The fight card, which will be announced in the coming days, will feature several of the area’s top stars. In the main event local phenom from St. Charles, Mo. “The Altar Boy” Zach Freeman, widely considered one of the top lightweights in all of MMA, will do battle with the pride of East St. Louis, Ill., Robert “The Beast” Washington for the Fight Hard MMA 155 lb. championship belt. One of Fight Hard MMA’s most popular gladiators, Jessica “Raising Havoc” Halverson, will be featured in the evening’s co-main event. Other local fighters on the ten bout card will include Daniel Baynton, Rich Burts, Ian Butler, Jeremiah Curtright and Katy Hahler.
Doors for the event will open at 5:30 p.m. with the first fight of the evening starting at 7:00 p.m. For more information about the event visit www.FamilyArena.com, www.FightHardMMA.com, www.facebook.com/FightHardMMA or call 636-896-4200. All bouts are subject to change.
First, after taking a straight right hook to the chin from bantamweight opponent Levi Rose, Newman showed the ability to recover.
His heart and technique shown through next, as he squirmed his way out of Rose’s full mount and a rear-naked choke attempt.
Then Newman put into action his ability to finish, reversing position to Rose’s back and unleashing a series of strikes to the head, forcing a referee’s stoppage at 1:09 in the first round.
While the fight didn’t last long, Newman’s reversal of fortune was stunning.
“I knew he (Rose) was looking for a war,” Newman said. “He’s strong, he’s fit, he’s got a six-pack, which I don’t really have. But I have heart and willpower.
“He landed a solid punch. Honestly, I don’t know if it dazed me or if my adrenaline just took over. Then I fought off the choke, and it was deep. Once I was able to settle into my body we switched over, I started landing punches to where he couldn’t defend himself and the ref called it.”
Newman, a St. Louis native and 2008 Seckman High graduate, improved his amateur record to 10-2-1 and expects to be booked at Fight Hard MMA’s next show at the Family Arena on Nov. 10.
Sanchez grapples Cobb into submission
There was much chatter between Darryl Cobb and Andrew Sanchez leading up to their middleweight bout as the co-main event of the evening.
Originally slated to settle the score at the Cage Championships 39 card in Sullivan, Mo., the Cobb/Sanchez fight was moved to St. Charles at Cobb’s request. Reluctantly, because of his prior commitment to fight at Cage Championships, Sanchez agreed to the change of venue.
Sanchez capitalized on the chance to back up what he’s said all along: that Cobb can’t match up with his superior wrestling skills. By grappling his opponent at every turn, Sanchez neutralized Cobb’s stand-up game before locking in a rear-naked choke and winning by submission at the 4:33 mark of the first round.
“I can stand and bang, but I took the safe route,” said Sanchez, a two-time NAIA national wrestling champion who improved his professional record to 2-0. “I feel like I could stand up with him but the grappling difference was so big that I just wanted to take him to the ground. I was a little surprised – his ground game was better than I remembered. But I kept working him, tiring him out and came in with the game plan to take him down. It’s second nature to me. It’s my world when we’re on the ground.”
And while there was no love lost between the two fighters, they shook hands and exchanged a humble gesture as the official outcome was announced.
“I respect the guy a lot,” Sanchez said of Cobb. “Yeah, we talk shit and try to get in each other’s heads. But I’ve always respected the guy and at the end of the day that’s still there. I saw his interview with (Knuckle Junkies) and I thought it was disrespectful some of what he was saying. But he’s a good guy.”
Lobosco cruises, improves pro record to 6-0
In the evening’s main event, Hazelwood native Nicky Lobosco made quick work of fellow middleweight Dustin Hill. The 2003 CBC graduate countered Hill’s takedown attempt with a guillotine choke, forcing Hill to tap out just 39 seconds into the match.
“When you shoot doubles, you usually want to get out to the side and stay away from that choke and he didn’t do that,” Lobosco said of Hill. “It was a mistake that cost him.”
More results from Fight Hard MMA:
Tony Souders def. Travis Courter; TKO by way of strikes at 2:55 of first round
Molly Welsh def. Katy Hahler; win by submission (front choke) in 2nd round
Daniel Baynton def. Andrew Zangaro; win by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:09 of first round.
Jeff Escobar def. Thomas Haney; TKO by way of strikes in first round
Robert Washington def. Bailey Trent; TKO by way of strikes in first round
Chris Parris def. Wayne Cole; first round KO
Story and Results by Greg Neunuebel | for Knuckle Junkies
Photo by Bob Barton | for Fight Hard MMA
(Lake St. Louis, MO USA) — July 31, 2012— Officials from Fight Hard MMA announced today that it will return action Saturday, August 18 at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. As always the extremely popular organization will be offering thousands of free tickets to fans through its marketing and retail partners as well as its website and facebook page. Doors are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. with the show scheduled to begin at 7:00. Another huge crowd is expected, so fans are encouraged to arrive early.
The fight card, which will be announced in the coming days, will feature several of the area’s top stars. The main event of the evening will feature Nick Lobosco, who fights out of the Fight Hard MMA Academy of Courage in nearby Lake St. Louis. Lobosco will do battle with Iowa’s Laramie Shaffer in what should be one of the most anticipated fights in Fight Hard MMA history. Two of Fight Hard MMA’s most popular gladiators, Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger and Mike “Unbreakable” King, will be featured in the evening’s two co-main events. Other fighters on the ten bout card will include local stars Damian Newman, Daniel Baynton, Thomas Haney and Tony Souders.
Free tickets for the event are currently available at several participating area marketing and retail partners. For more information about the event, including a complete list of participating area marketing and retail partners call 636-614-8329. All bouts are subject to change.