Orion MMA 5 Recap

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A day after a rival promotion’s amateur event only three kilometers away was cancelled due to police intervention, Orion MMA 5 went down without a hitch Saturday at the Orion Fight Club in Longueuil, south of Montreal.

The card, rich not only in decisions (all six amateur bouts), but also fighters named Matthew (five of twelve competitors), appeared to please the partisan crowd of approximately 350, none of whom were overtly law enforcement officials.

The card was the first to feature a slightly altered set of rules for the long running Federation Quebecoise de Boxe Mixte Amateur (FQBM), which were adopted as a response to similar proposals by the new FQAMMA/AMMAQ federation.

Previously, normal bouts were three, two minute rounds, and championship fights three rounds of three minutes. Under the new system, fights featuring amateurs with over five fights are now three, three minute rounds, and title fights five rounds of three minutes. Additionally, the previously banned side, back, and push kicks to the face are now kosher.

Improved medical testing, fighter passports featuring bout records, a fighter database, and more MMA-like gloves are also in the works for implementation later this year, according to FQBM members present at the event.

While the fight conditions were new Saturday, the continued propagation of promotion-specific amateur titles was not. Two new Orion belts were up for grabs, with the home team fighters welcoming challengers from Drummondville and Ottawa.

Jean-Francois Caron served as referee for the evening’s six bouts. Sanctioned by the FQBM, Saturday’s fights took place under amateur rules. On top of being in a ring, fighters wear 12 ounce gloves and shin pads. Elbow and knee strikes, and submissions involving twisting (e.g. heel hooks), are all prohibited.

Full Results (weight divisions in bold)

170 – Karim Ranni (Orion) def. Matthew Richardson (N1 Thai Boxing) via split judges’ decision. Ranni earns the new Orion Welterweight amateur title.

Karim Ranni captured a second amateur belt at Orion MMA 5.

– Most of the fight’s five rounds saw the striking-based Richardson open by landing on Ranni via leg and body kicks, only to be neutralized via clinching and ground control.

While Richardson was able to defend more than a few of Ranni’s takedowns, he ended up on his back in all but the second round. Ranni mostly targeted Richardson’s head with punches from side control and guard.

The bout’s most dramatic moment came early in the fifth and final round. Likely sensing the judge’s cards were against him, Richardson opened with a clean head kick which he followed up with a huge uppercut. Shortly after he had Ranni reeling back after a front kick to the face. Keeping his wits, Ranni got back to his feet, caught a kick, and got the takedown, holding side control until the end.

Ranni, already the Lightweight champion for the Gladiator MMA promotion, moved up in weight to add the Orion Welterweight belt to his collection. His split decision win improved him to 11-2 as an amateur, after which he was joined in-ring by the entire Orion team to celebrate.

190 – Vincent Houle (Orion) def. Remy Bussieres (Team Bergeron) via unanimous judges’ decision. Houle earns the new Orion Middleweight amateur title.

An exhausted Vincent Houle hoists up his new amateur belt.

– Enjoying a height advantage of about half a foot, along with the concurrent reach advantage, Houle attacked Bussieres for most of the fight from the outside. Controlling the action by circling and landing jabs, leg kicks, straights, and the occasional uppercut, Houle’s lanky frame forced the stockier Bussieres to punch up all fight long. Mostly favouring hooks, Bussieres visibly tired first.

Bussieres came closest to finishing the fight in the third round, when after being taken down he maneuvered his way into guard, passed into full mount, then took Houle’s back. Nearly locking in a rear-naked choke, Bussieres was only able to get his forearm around Houle’s chin, who eventually escaped.

Overall, the fight was about even when the action hit the ground, with Houle taking Bussiere’s back in the first round, and landing body and head shots from guard in the fifth. As time ran down, Houle made his way to full mount and landed a few more punches. For his part, Bussieres landed a pair of solid slam takedowns over the fifteen minutes.

With the win, Houle improved to 5-1 as an amateur over the more experienced Bussieres (8-2), capturing his first amateur title in the process.

190 – Mathieu Langlais (Gladiateur FC) def. Jonathan Vallée (Orion) via unanimous judges’ decision.
– Langlais got the better of Vallée throughout most of the fight, outlanding on the feet with straights, hooks, and leg kicks. Sprawling all of Vallée’s takedowns, Langlais also controlled the pace on the ground, tiring his opponent by holding him down, and attacking with body and head shots. In the third round, Langlais cemented his decision win by landing a takedown and later attempting a rear-naked choke from Vallée’s back. Vallée escaped, but Langlais moved to full mount and pounded down as time ran out.

165 – Jeremy Capony (Orion) def. Benjamin Dionne-Houle (Nordik Fight Club) via unanimous judges’ decision.
– In a fight that was mostly stand-up based, the Iceman-mulleted Capony got the best of Dionne-Houle, outlanding in every round, and eventually bloodying up his nose. Connecting on straights with both his hands, Capony also did damage with a few uppercuts, frustrating Dionne-Houle whenever he tried to attack. Dionne-Houle managed to get Capony down in the second round, but the Orion fighter soon after escaped. Looking tired as the third round opened, Capony took the action to the ground with a pair of takedowns, but was unable to mount much offense from guard.

185 – Joe Meunier (Nordik Fight Club) def. Matthew Rusniak (Orion) via unanimous judges’ decision.
– Rusniak came up short in this one after being outgrappled, despite having more success than Meunier on the feet. After having his mouth piece sent flying by an uppercut, and buckling to a knee after eating a ferocious Rusniak right hook, Meunier recovered early by landing a takedown and landing occasionally from side-control and guard. In the second, Meunier landed a takedown, then later held Rusniak down after sprawling a single-leg. The final round saw more of the same, with Meunier landing a takedown, moving to side control, then later pinning one of Rusniak’s arms down and attacking with head shots.

180 – Mathieu Daviault (Orion) def. Mathieu Desrosiers (Gladiateur FC) via majority judges’ decision.
– In an all stand-up bout (per pre-fight agreement), Daviault got the slight edge by landing more hooks than his opponent, and splitting the number of no follow-up takedowns.

On top of the six MMA bouts, the event opened with six amateur boxing bouts, governed by the Federation Quebecoise de Boxe Olympique, which enjoys official government approval.

*Photos by Julian Cymbalista-Clapp, follow him on Twitter @ JulianCClapp

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