Too Tuff: Bullys Fight Night 1 Recap
The highly anticipated debut of Too Tough Promotions in Lethbridge, Alberta got underway Saturday night before a ‘standing room only’ audience at Bullys. You would never know this was the first event being held under the Too Tough banner, as from start to finish it did not disappoint. To go from being behind the scenes at events to being situated right smack in the middle of the crowd, it always amazes me to see how this sport does not appeal to just any certain age group or demographic. To me, it was like being at an Iron Maiden concert, not to mention that the energy and excitement emanating from the crowd could easily have been bottled.
Bout 1. Amateur Lightweight
Jeff Taylor (Heltown Hybrid, Helena Montana) vs. Travis Halmrast (PFA, Brandon, MB)
As soon as both fighters touched gloves, they both began swinging as if to dislodge the other person’s head from their shoulders. The use of straight punches worked to Travis’ advantage as he connected with some solid shots until they got into the clinch along the ropes where Taylor got a take down and put Halmrast on his back. While working from Halmrast’s guard, Taylor managed to get full mount and began landing hammerfists at will. Desperately bridging and bucking, Halmrast managed to get out of danger and back to his feet where he clearly had an advantage. After tagging Taylor a few more times with a series of combos, Taylor once again was able to take his opponent down although this time landed on his back where Halmrast continued to throw and land punches until Taylor threw a leg up around Halmrasts’ head sinking in a very tight triangle. After fighting his way out the triangle, Taylor transitioned to an arm bar attempt which again Halmrast narrowly escaped. By the time they got to their feet and squared off again, the round ended. Top MMA News scored this round a 10-9 for Jeff Taylor.
Both fighters came out for round 2 visibly exhausted as they both engaged with slow telegraphed punches and ended up tying each other up and taking it to the ground. There, the two battled for position until Halmrast was able to secure a guillotine choke from open guard forcing Taylor to tap.
Travis Halmrast gets the win at the :45 mark in the 2nd round via guillotine choke.
Bout 2. Pro Featherweight
Jesse “Iceberg” Seberg (Bridge City Boxing, Lethbridge, AB) vs. Matt Jackson (Lethbridge Fight Club, Lethbridge, AB)
Both take the center of the ring and circle a couple of times until Jackson lets a flurry of punches go that catch Seberg off guard and gets him backpedaling. Keeping the pressure on Seberg, Jackson continues to back him up against the ropes where Seberg is able to circle out and throw a couple of punches of his own. As Seberg steps in and throws a jab, Jackson ducks under it and takes him down, exposing his neck in the process which Seberg quickly grabs a hold of. As they hit the canvas, Seberg appears to have a deep guillotine choke sunk in on Jackson. Not allowing Seberg to get his other arm in to fully secure the choke, he punches his way out and rolls into mount where he delivers some vicious blows to Seberg’s head until the ref is forced to step in and end the fight.
Matt Jackson defeats Jesse Seberg via TKO (strikes) @ 2:45 of Rd1
Bout 3. Amateur Welterweight
TJ Hoogstein (Team Str8ped, Cutknife, Sask) vs. Jonathon Cummings (PFA,Lethbridge, AB)
The look both these guys had on their faces while they waited for the bell to ring definitely gave me the impression they meant business, not even a blink from either fighter. The bell rang and both ejected from their respective corners to the center of the ring throwing out jabs to gauge each others range. Cummings landed a couple of good cut kicks to the thigh of Hoogstein before the two clinched up, at which point Cummings threw up a flying triangle that had his opponent stunned, not to mention everyone in the crowd. When they hit the ground, Cummings had already tightened it to the point where Hoogstein’s face began to look like a ripe plum and was forced to tap. Definitely submission of the night in my mind; even though this is only the 3rd fight of the 11 scheduled.
Jonathon Cummings taps out Tj Hoogstein with a flying triangle choke at 1:10 of the very first round.
Bout 4. Amateur featherweight (catch-weight)
Steve Hiltner (Heltown Hybrid, Helena, Montana) vs. Zach Snyder (Canuckles, Calgary, AB)
The round starts with a flurry of punches thrown by both guys. During this wild barrage of punches being thrown, the two lock up against the ropes where Hiltner decided to try for the takedown as he obviously did not want to stand and trade with Snyder. Once the fight was taken to the ground, Hiltner was able to land some blows to the face of Snyder before being swept onto his back. From there, Snyder proceeded to land heavy blows; many to the back of the head of Hiltner, which is why I thought the ref had jumped in and stopped the fight. But this was not the case; apparently the fight was stopped because of intentional thumbs to the eyes of Hiltner. At this point, it was ruled a no-contest because of intentional eye pokes. Was kind of a disappointing that this fight had to end the way it did as it was an all out war between these two.
Fight was stopped at 2:46 of round 1 and ruled a no-contest due to Zach Snyder being disqualified for intentional eye pokes.
Bout 5. Amateur Middleweight (catch-weight)
Stuart Fontaine (Team Str8ped, Loon Lake, Sask) vs. Jesse “the blood warrior” Dayrider (PFA, Lethbridge, AB)
There was no feeling out process to start this one, there were fireworks from the get-go. Both fighters connected with some great shots early, Dayrider threw some heavy leg kicks that could be heard in Taber. Shooting in and securing a single leg take down, Dayrider gains side control and lands some hard straight punches and hammer fists while sneaking a leg over the stomach of Fontaine to gain mount. From there, Fontaine shells up from the punches being dropped on him and turns over a little too far where Dayrider is able to slide an arm in and get the rear naked choke for the win, and continues to go undefeated as an amateur.
Jesse ” the blood warrior” Dayrider wins by rear naked choke at 2:40 in the first round.
Bout 6. Welterweight Amateur Title
Ryan McCracken (Team Irish, Great Falls, Montana) vs. Benny ” the bull” Calfrobe (PFA, Lethbridge, AB)
This is the first title fight of the night and the crowd was more than aware of this as the sold out crowd chanted “Canada” from the time the fight was announced to the opening bell of round 1. There was a lot of respect between these two as they circled each other throwing out a few straight punches, and exchanging some cut kicks not wanting to overly commit to anything. Once the feeling out process was gone, McCracken landed a couple of great combinations but did not seem to rattle Calfrobe. Instead, Calfrobe lands a couple of thunderous overhand rights which stumbled the Team Irish fighter. Seeing that he had him stunned, “The Bull” follows up with a crisp right that lands on the jaw of McCracken and drops him, before much more damage could be done the ref intervenes and stops the fight.
Benny “the bull” Calfrobe defeats Ryan McCracken at 3:49 of round 1 by TKO due to strikes, and is now the first title holder for Too Tuff.
Bout 7. Pro Welterweight
Garrett “G-Rainz” Raines (Team Ambush, Lethbridge, AB) vs. Joe “Slick” Keesick
Both start out strong landing two and three punch combos before they end up in the clinch. Both try to get the takedown but neither was having any part in that so they both separated and squared off once again. Keesick throws a jab and stiff cross that lands right on the button of Raines. Keesick then follows up with a takedown and ends up taking Raines’ back. This was the beginning of the end as a tight rear naked choke was secured by Keesick ending the fight at 1:56 of round 1.
Winning his pro debut by rear naked choke is Joe “Slick” Keesick
Bout 8. Pro Bantamweight
Adam Imhoff (Heltown Hybrid, Helena, Montana) vs. Nick Urso (Jackson’s MMA, New Mexico)
Making his pro debut tonight in Lethbridge is Greg Jackson trained fighter Nick Urso. This fight had serious potential for the simple fact that both of these guys have serious striking skills. It did not take long for the proof of this to be shown as Urso opened the fight with some lightening fast punches and cut kicks. Imhoff returns the favor with a few quick hooks and straight punches of his own. The speed and accuracy of Urso’s fists were the difference in this fight as Imhoff decided to take the fight to the ground but ends up on his back in the process with Urso in side control. Elbows and body shots came at will from Urso who then quickly gets an arm in and around the neck of Imhoff forcing him to turn over which allows Urso to sink in a rear naked choke and thus winning his pro debut.
Winner by rear naked choke at 3:41 of round 1 is Nick Urso
Bout 9. Amateur Middleweight Interim Title
Chris Carriere (Team Savage Combat, Cumberland, Sask) vs. Tanner “The Tank” Tolman (PFA, Lethbridge, AB)
There was a lot of animosity leading up to this bout because of Carriere’s inability to make weight for this title fight. Tolman had made it clear he was not happy about this and took it as a personal insult. The ice cold look in both of their eyes while standing across the ring from one another was visible to everyone present. This fight started out not at all the way myself and many others had thought it would. Almost immediately Tolman went in for an ankle pick which was quickly shaken off by Carriere. Exchanging very little on their feet, Tolman once again shot in and took Carriere down landing in full mount and blasted away on him in this one sided beatdown, earning the win and the interim belt to boot.
Tolman wins at :34 of the first round by TKO due to strikes and is now the Amateur Too Tuff Interim Middleweight Champ
Bout 10. Pro Welterweight Title
Brandon MacArthur (Cranbrook, BC) vs. Jarod “The Milkman” Milko (PFA, Lethbridge, AB)
The crowd was deafening loud and on its feet for this tilt. MacArthur looked like a tormented caged animal waiting to be released as he stared menacingly across the ring and stomped on the canvas floor. Milko on the other hand, looked focused and calm like he was about to go in for a job interview.
To start things off Milko stepped in and threw two punch combos to setup a beautiful foot sweep to put MacArthur on his back. While it looked like ” The Milkman” was in full control, MacArthur caught and trapped an arm and locked onto an extremely tight kimura which looked like it almost took Milko’s shoulder right off. After a few tense moments and trying to roll over and out of danger, Milko finally got a leg free and was able to step over the head of MacArthur and land in mount. Once his hooks were in deep, Milko landed heavy strikes to the body and face which in turn caused MacArthur to roll giving up his back. Without hesitation, Milko took advantage of this and took his back, flattened him out and rained down punches on his head like a monsoon. The ref had no choice but to step in and end the bout at 2:36 of round 1. Big props to Brandon for taking this fight on such short notice.
Jarod “The Milkman” Milko delivers once again and wins by TKO due to strikes at 2:36 of the first round. He is now holds the Pro Welterweight Title.
Bout 11. Main Event Pro Lightweight
Casey Kelly (Heltown Hybrid, Helena, Montana vs. Derek “The Gargoyle” Boyle (PFA,Lethbridge, Jacksons MMA, New Mexico)
Once again the loud and vociferous crowd began chanting “Canada” and continued to do so throughout the introduction of the fighters. This fight to me definitely has potential to be fight of the night as both guys always show up to fight, no excuses. The expressionless look on Boyle’s face while the two touched gloves lifted the anticipation and excitement of the crowd to fever pitch. It reminded of the look Ivan Drago has on his face in Rocky IV when the big Russian and Rocky touch gloves.
The fighters take the center of the ring and throw a few jabs at each other. Changing his angles a bit, Kelly steps to the side and throws a leg kick which Boyle ends up catching and then quickly kicks the other leg out from underneath Kelly putting him on his back. From that point on it was all Boyle as he changed positions at will; from mount to side control and then back to mount again landing elbows, punches, and everything else he could throw at him. Having obvious problems off his back, Kelly bridged, moved his hips as much as he could to try and create any room he could to get out of that position. But in doing so he turned away from Boyle giving him his back to which Boyle happily took. Sinking in the fight ending rear naked choke.
Winner at 1:51 of round 1 by rear naked choke is Derek “The Gargoyle” Boyle