Four championship bouts headlined a jam-packed and sweltering Plymouth Memorial Hall for Cage Titans 23 Saturday night. Featherweight champion Frank Sforza successfully defended his title, and the amateur featherweight, lightweight, and middleweight champions were crowned over the course of twenty entertaining bouts. During the blur of skillful carnage, the most exciting fight of the night was Pat McCrohan’s split decision victory over Plymouth native Shane Mulligan.
The first two rounds somewhat resembled a kickboxing match, as both men were content to stand and trade to the delight of the crowd. At the bell McCrohan came charging out of his corner only to be scooped and slammed by Mulligan. Seconds later, both men were on their feet exchanging wild punches. McCrohan answered a Mulligan jab with his own one-two, and Mulligan responded with a body kick and thudding leg kick. Mulligan pressed McCrohan against the fence and dragged him down near the end of the round for another brief ground interlude before they exchanged solid shots til the bell.
The second round was more of the same, with Mulligan landing a series of thunderous leg kicks. The last twenty seconds of the round proved telling however, as McCrohan took Mulligan down and Mulligan responded by attempting a triangle choke. In the third, McCrohan took Mulligan down early and often, scoring with punches on the mat. The next two rounds mainly saw Mulligan defending with an unsuccesful triangle choke as McCrohan kept up the pressure and ground and pound. The final frame was McCrohan’s best as he finally passed the triangle into side mount and was unleashing vicious left hands as the bout ended. In a show of respect, the fighters embraced before staggering like zombies to their respective corners. Two judges had it for McCrohan, and one for Mulligan, but every person in attendance won.
In the next bout, Frank Sforza stopped Taylor Trahan at 4:49 of the fourth round in a dominating performance. Sforza’s wrestling and ground supremecy proved a lethal combination, as he repeatedly took Trahan down throughtout the bout and wore him down with relentless ground punishment. In the second Trahan landed a booming kick to the body, and had a brief triangle attempt that Sforza quickly melted out of and continued his onslaught. After a sudden feeling out process to begin the fourth round, Sforza took the fight back to the ground and landed a series of hard right elbows. After a left to the body and head combination followed by a right the referee stepped in to halt the action.
Jeff Perez won the amateur featherweight title with a fourth round stoppage of Mark Cardarelli. The versatility and variety of Cardarelli’s striking easily won him the opening round, while Perez just as emphatically won the second after taking the fight to the ground. Perez gradually took over as the bout wore on, and after sustaining a ground barrage to end the fourth, Cardarelli’s corner did not let him come out for the final round.
Don Shainis won the lightweight amateur title with a fourth round stoppage of Alex Ortiz. After unleashing punishment from the clinch early, Ortiz was unable to defend the takedown or overcome Shainis’ ground game. In the third, Ortiz attempted a standing kimura, but was dragged to the mat. Shainis got Ortiz’ back and had both hooks in as he attemopted a rear naked choke until the round ended. Shainis dominated position-wise on the ground, and took Ortiz’ back again in the next round and flattened him out, then dished out heavy ground and pound until earning the stoppage at the :52 mark.
In the remaining professional bouts, Andy Aiello scored a brutal first-round knockout over Remo Carderelli, Scott Gorgone submitted Manny Torres via kimura in just fifty-two seconds, and Sean Lally scored a fourth round TKO over Addison O’Neil.
In the remaining amateur bouts, Danielle Hindley submitted Randi Beth Knowles in the first round with an armbar, Steve Young submitted Myles Reid in the first round with a guillotine, Miguel Trinidad submitted Jesse Pires in the first round with a rear naked choke, Jacob Weeks submitted Devin Carrier in the first round with a rear naked choke, and John Douma submitted Timothy Cenabre in the first round with a rear naked choke.
Jeff Soillivan earned a first round TKO over Gavin Guillen, Chris Mehu earned a first round TKO over Jim McSweeney, and Nick Amandola earned a third round TKO over Nirav Modi.
Sean Evans earned a unanimous decision over Yorgan DeCastro, Jimmy Bruce earned a unanimous decision over Jimmy MacDonald, Derek Peterson earned a unanimous decision over Rob Moser, and Ashlon Otcier and Mark Barrett fought to a majority draw.