Last Friday we went to see CutthroatMMA.com's Invasion Chicago and what an explosive night it was. If you read my play by play on Friday you'll recall that the Congress Theater was one of the most unique venues we have been to in a while. The crowd packed in to theater that had a concrete floor, a beautifully vaulted ceiling complete with art and an occasional rogue pigeon. The venues almost “goth” feel gave me flashbacks to Rocky one when he fought in a church against Spider Rico. I was literally transported and couldn't wait for the fights to get started.
The match-up was between Darrel Edmonson (Team No Comment) vs Chris Bergeron (Emerald Smoke). I have been watching Edmonson throw down over the last few months so I was expecting "Little Rampage" to get this show started off right and he and Chris did not disappoint. At one point during the first round Bergeron gets up and bangs his chest showing Edmonson that he was ready for war. For three rounds these two guys threw leather, scored takedowns, worked escapes and just straight out showed the heart we want to see from every fight. There was plenty of action, but in my book Edmonson and Bergeron had fight of the night.
Our shot out for newbie of the night goes to Breea Gilbert who put on a show for her fans. The fight lasted only one round and in that round she was able to show great footwork and solid striking. She was even able to land a takedown in the short period of time before her opponent decided she just didn't want anymore.
Zach Sesko (MMA Underground) vs Aaron Brooks (Carlson Gracie) put on a spectacular grappling show. What was absent in this fight was the lay and pray action that happens in most grappling matches. Both fighters clearly had exceptional jiu jitsu work and although Brooks seemed to get the better in the first part of the rounds it was Sesko that was able to turn the tables at the end of the rounds. By the third round both fighters came out looking to finish the fight. Sesko scored a right hand that had Brooks looking for a takedown and Sesko tries to sink a guillotine. Brooks scores a perfect double leg that Sesko sweeps and then Brooks finally scores one of three armbar attempts right at the end of the round. This armbar earns Aaron Brooks our Submission of the night.
There were two bantamweight tournament fights planned for this event and both fights turned out to be worth price of admission. The first of the two fights was between Sean Gee (Glen Hudson Academy) vs Jerald Williams (Team No Ego). If you haven't been out to see either one of these fighters yet you are missing out. Williams has been working the amateur scene for some time now and he is getting better at every turn. I am even hearing that he is about ready to go pro. Sean Gee is about ready to explode. In comparison to Williams he a relatively new comer to Chicago’s MMA community. What he lacks in experience He makes up for in shear athleticism. Looking like a 155er, Gee is overwhelmingly powerful in the 135lb ranks. Both fighters came out to bang and the crowd was really in to this fight from the first round. Williams was a takedown machine throughout the fight. The pressure to Williams put on Gee to grapple was answered by Gee throwing a straight left hand when he found his fighting measure. The three round battle ended up with Williams walking away the victor and advancing in the tournament.
The other tournament fight presented that night was Manny Camacho (Full Mount MMA) vs Anthony Guerrero (Team Tomchek). These two fighters are definitely two of the top amateur bantamweights out here now and this was another great match-up. Guerrero came out strong and came out showing some strong Muay Thai. His stand-up was on fire and Camacho tried to fire back with some dirty boxing and I could see Camacho winning in the clinch. For the last two rounds both of these fighters came back at each other standing or on the ground and quite frankly there is no way I wanted to be a judge in this fight. The action was so fast paced, it was like watching three first round fights in a row. At the end of the third round the judges scored the fight for Manny Camacho over Anthony Guerrero by Majority decision and he moves on in the bantamweight tournament.
The main event was just as exciting as it had promised to be. CutthroatMMA.com took a chance to put a Muay Thai fight up as the main event and it was a spectacular decision. The opponents for this fight were Mike Reid (Carlson Gracie) vs Andrew Ballenger (Contemporary Martial Arts from Georgia), Some history and bad blood here. Reid and Ballenger had met in July of 2011 for a kickboxing tournament where Ballenger took home a win by split decision. Reid was not going to let that happen again tonight in front of a home crowd and came out with some explosive striking. Ballenger tried to hold on with some steady leg kicks and technical striking, but Reid was determined to make this a smash fest. Spinning backfists from Reid had the crowd shouting. Though the fight was somewhat back and forth by the end of the second round it was clear that Reid was going top to bottom striking and Ballenger wasn't able handle the fire. Somehow Ballenger comes back in the third only to be KO'd by a head kick followed by punches to the ground and the crowd went wild. This was clearly KO of the night for us at Chi-townMMAniacs.com.
Overall, it was a great event and we look forward to the next CutthroatMMA.com event at the Brawl @Bourbon street. If you interested in seeing any of the fights above, you can still catch these fights on GFL.TV where you can see other stand out fighters like Matt Giancarlo, Audrey Pang, Andrew Potapenko and Patrick Murphy. Don't forget you can get play by plays, recaps, photos, event listings and MMA school locations at our site here at Chi-townMMAniacs.com