World Championship Fighting action drew another packed house at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts Friday night (February 26th). Promoter Joe Cavallaro once again proved why his event is consider among the best on the east coast, putting on a show free from controversy in front of a well-behaved and excited crowd. There were a lot of twists and turns on the night, but little that affected the quality of the event.
Longtime KISS 108 Morning guy Billy Costa subbed-in, taking on the ring announcing duties. Seeming like a veteran of the MMA scene, Costa pulled it off in stellar fashion keeping the fights moving and the crowd energized. Several Boston Celtics were also in-attendance including Glenn Davis and Rajon Rondo. UFC Veteran’s Marcus Davis and Dany Lauzon were also on hand.
With the State of Massachusetts preparing to begin overseeing mixed martial arts as of Monday under the new Massachusetts Athletic Commission, longtime WCF independent official Joe Esposito was also in attendance working his final fight for the organization. Esposito was named as a Commissioner (starting on the 1st), and is expected to fight to carry on the high integrity of the sport. Esposito is a very-well respected martial artist and the announcement of his appointment is being scene as a big win for Mixed Martial Arts.
One change on the night was the last minute canceling of the co-main event involving WEC Veteran Mike Campbell taking on Marc Stevens. Campbell was forced to withdraw with a knee.
The Main Event lived up to the hype, as former Olympian Rick Hawn took on Team Bombsquad’s Tom Gallicchio in a battle that went the distance. Hawn, who trains with Olympic Judo Gold Medallist Jimmy Pedro and famed UFC coach Mark Dellagrotte of Sityodtong, came ready for a war and that what he got. Gallicchio and Hawn had some heavy first round exchanges of punches and kicks before Hawn got it to the ground with a classic one-arm judo throw. He followed it up with a little ground-and-pound that opened a cut on the top of Gallicchio’s forehead. In round two, a heel trip by Hawn put the action back on the mat, where position transitions along with strikes and a couple attempted submissions highlighted the round. The third round saw an early period of a return of the stand-up battle, before a missed head-kick attempt by Gallicchio allowed Hawn to bring the action back to the ground, where it stayed for the remainder of the fight. Hawn took a unanimous the decision.
The scheduled fight between Renzo Gracie’s John Benoit and Noah Weisman of BJJ Revolution stepped up to the Co-Main Event chair, and delivered the next best action of the night. Benoit, a veteran of the WCF, avoided a near-triangle choke in the first round and maintained top position to control the round. Benoit used a standing kimura in the 2nd to drag the fight back to the ground, cranking hard enough to come close to either a submission or a dislocation of Weisman’s arm. A scramble by Weisman freed the lock, but Benoit maintain top control, on route to a 2nd round unanimous decision win.
WCF ‘forever-fan-favorite’ Dan Bonnell took on Dragon Lair’s Cesario de Souza. An opening accidental headbutt seemed to cause a small cut on Souza and held up the two fighters from engaging for a few seconds. When the action restarted a hard overhand by Bonnell dropped Souza flat on his back. A couple follow-up shots by Benoit was all the ref needed to see to call an end to the fight at just 32 seconds in to round one.
In the rest of the fast moving action;
Nelson Gaipou is victorious over Matt Johnson at 35sec in Round 1 via triangle choke
With both fighters looking for their first win, Joel Ly defeated Steve at 3:19 in Round 1 via triangle choke
Carlos Lovato overpowered Jerry Spiegel to take TKO win at 3:15 in Round 1
Stephen Stengel took the win over Mike Zichelle at 1:09 in Round 1 via triangle choke
Matt Martin defeated. Peter Colge at 1:40 in Round 1 via triangle choke
Robby Roberts topped Buster Crandell at 2:08 in Round 1 via armbar submission
Another crowd favorite, Jamie Campbell took a fast-moving TKO win over Andrew Nelson at 1:21 Round 1