Live Coverage of Pure MMA Event in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Saturday, May 12th, 2012 by Tony Reid

We made the trip to Wilkes Barre, PA for Pure MMA’s event “The Next Episode” which is the second event in the company’s short history. As we pulled up to the Wyoming Valley Sports Complex we couldn’t miss the big bubble dome where the event was going to be held. He were about an hour and a half early because that’s how I roll and as we were waiting I wandered around and eventually found world renowned trainer and coach Greg Jackson, who I spoke to for about 20 minutes. He also commented on the dome, saying it was pretty cool. It reminded me of the old Metro Dome that the Minnesota Twins used to play in…or do they still play there? Anyhow, I then bumped into Bryan Slater, the man behind Pure MMA. He is a great guy and was working hard to get the final pieces in place before the show started. He was the man in charge, the man in control he handled everything about as well as could be expected, especially for it only being their second show. I also met Bryan’s dad who was there helping his son any way he could. I spoke to him as he was working the ticket counter. He is a former serviceman and in talking to him I could tell how excited and proud he was of his son. These guys are passionate about the sport and promoting it in any way they can. We also spotted Matt Riddle putting in work, helping to get the cage set up. Jokingly, Slater said he was going to put these guys to work however he saw fit.

Many things were in place to make this local show a successful one. There were bigger names in attendance (Greg Jackson, Kevin Randleman, Anthony Johnson, Marcus Davis, etc.) that would draw interest from even most of the casual MMA fans. There was a solid job done in promoting the event. The tickets were reasonably priced, in a good arena and the card was full of not just local guys but up and coming fighters from all around the country. There was television coverage by the local FOX station, Sherdog had someone covering the event and of course I was there Tony Reid aka TapouT Magazine reporter guy. I was ready to see some fights!

The night started off like they always do, with a few Ammy fights.

Neil Darrow took on self proclaimed “Hood Fighter” Brandon Williams in the first fight of the night. Right from the beginning of the fight it looked like Williams should have stayed in the hood. Darrow reached up to touch gloves and Williams hit him with a combo that rocked Darrow, who never recovered and eventually got subbed at 52 seconds of the 1st round via guillotine choke. Williams made sure to walk around like he was the toughest guy on the face of the earth. Ah, that’s an amateur fight for ya.

Lazaro Gonzalez faced Craig Moyer in the second fight of the night. Gonzalez landed a nice combo and an overhand right that rocked Moyer, sending him back against the cage and on the ground. As he tried to recover Gonzalez sunk in a guillotine and put Moyer out cold at 19 seconds of the first round.

Apparently everyone has DMX as their walkout music. Sorry random observation. About this time Michelle helped out the ring card girls who were lacking ring cards. She grabbed some paper and a sharpie and made makeshift ring cards for the ladies to carry around. I also heard that a few of the fighters had cornermen that backed out on them. Guess who filled in? Marcus Davis himself. How fucking cool would that be? Thinking your jerkoff of a friend just ditched you only to find out that Marcus Davis was now willing to work your corner! Next up was the first pro fight of the evening.

Elder Ramos took on James Watts in the first pro fight of the show. I told Michelle before the fight started that there was something about this Ramos kid. He just looked the part, like a true fighter. In the fight, there were a few good exchanges and transitions but eventually as hands were slowly dropping Ramos landed one of, if not the, nastiest headkicks I have seen. It was as flush as it gets. Watts was out cold right in front of us for an extended period of time. So much so that pretty much everyone in attendance stood up wanting to do something to help, looking helplessly at him lying there in the cage. Eventually after some time they revived him and he walked out of the cage under his own power, sort of. Ramos has a very interesting story that I will touch on in the near future.

In the next fight Jason Gladey beat Tyrelle Olding by submission at 1:03 of the 1st round via standing guillotine.

Brett Martinez took on Kenneth Nagle and stopped him by submission at 1:54 of the 1stround.

UFC vet Waylon Lowe beat Mike Diggs by TKO at 3:13 of the second round.

Mike Byrnes then took on Pistol Pete Martin for the Pure MMA Lightweight Title, in what was the fight of the night. In round 1 Martin who fights out of Wanderlei Silva’s gym, looked like a student of Wand, throwing various strikes, including headkicks, also getting the Thai Clinch and throwing knees and punches in bunches. The fight goes to the ground where Martin mounts and lands some ground and pound. There were a few great transitions and as the first round draws to a close the fight is on the feet with some major shots being exchanged, including a crazy spinning backfist by Byrnes.\Round 2 saw more standing and banging. Pistol was in love with the Thai knees and headkicks. Round 3 saw even more standing and trading, these guys were giving it everything they had and performing on a high level and showing a ton of heart and skill. This was a pro fight! In a somewhat desperate spot Byrnes goes for a guillotine which Martin immediately gets to side control to nullify the sub attempt. The fight ends as Martin grinds out the round. Martin wins by decision and picks up the Pure MMA Lightweight Championship.

Jason Dent faced Rustam Khabilov in the next scrap. Khabilov who trains under Greg Jackson looked like a guy that belongs on the next level. I said as much to my wife as this fight progressed. The first round saw Den spending a lot of time taunting and mean mugging. There was some light exchanging on the feet, the fight went to the ground and Khabilov controlled the fight there. Round 2 Khabilov scores a takedown gets to side control lands knees to the body from the top, which leads to heavy elbows and more ground and pound much to his girlfriend or wife’s approval. Round 3 had Khabilov scoring takedowns at will, showing even more ground and pound. The fight gets back to the feet and The Rooster lands a big uppercut that hurts Dent, the fight goes to the ground. Rooster showed a very solid all around game. In the post fight interview he stopped just short of announcing a move to a larger organization (UFC anyone?)

In the main event of the night Din Thomas took on up and comer Cody Bollinger for the Pure MMA Featherweight Title. Round 1 started with some light trading on the feet. Bollinger scores a takedown and ends up on top, hammerfisting Thomas. Din being the consummate pro is attempting sub after sub in transition on the ground. Eventually the young buck Bollinger’s aggressiveness is used against him as Din sinks in the fight ending armbar at 2:09 of the first round, picking up a nice piece of hardware in his return after a two year layoff.

The crowd was active, rooting for their guys in the cage but at the same time it was reminiscent of PRIDE, with long gaps of silence as the crowd was fully entranced on the action in the cage. That, to me, was a very cool thing to see, especially at a small show. Usually people are drunken idiots but the crowd here was cool.

All in all I was very impressed by Pure MMA’s second show. The card featured a number of up and coming fighters from all around the country, a great venue, great local coverage, MMA celebs galore, and hell even a Playboy Playmate. The pro fights were great and I’m sure you will be hearing many of these guy’s names on bigger stages in the near future. I look forward to seeing what Pure MMA has in store next. I know I will be there to see it.