By Joe Pawlus
Hammond, Ind.- The legendary Chicagoland Total Fight Challenge hosted a night of amateur MMA action Friday night, but it was hard to tell. TFC loaded the card with skilled warriors and not a can among them.
Torres Martial Arts’ up-and-coming light heavyweight Bill Johnson had to wait until the last minute to find out who he would be fighting as Joe Gotiya had to find a third last minute replacement. As it turned out, Modern Martial Arts’ Brando, a huge light heavyweight, showed up to fill the bill and battle for the amateur belt.
During the first minute, the two opponents engaged in exploratory circling until Johnson threw a head kick and slipped to the mat. Brando moved in to strike, but Johnson was already back on his feet. For the remainder of the round, Johnson played a game of cat and mouse with Brando, never really gaining his rhythm until the end of the first round. With about a minute left to go in round one, Johnson engaged with an upper body clinch and tossed Brando to the ground. With the remaining seconds, Johnson controlled from the top side position and laid down some leather.
At the beginning of round two, Johnson wasted no time engaging with strikes, managed to secure a clinch position, and as he brought Brandon to the mat he was able to secure an armbar. This is the second armbar victory for Johnson in his last two fights, and the technique was almost identical.
Fight of the night came right out of the box as John Degan and Alex Markovic let it all hang out. Degan and Markovic spent most of the fight exchanging brutal strikes and fighting for position in the clinch. Markovic managed to absorb an incredible amount of punishment, but Degan eventually mauled his way to a unanimous victory after three rounds.
Malik Elliot earned submission of the night after brutalizing Efrain Vasquez for a full round. To his credit, Vasquez did everything he could to avoid being pounded into paste as Elliot put eight years of wrestling experience to work. Elliot dominated the entire first round, but Vasquez displayed giant stones as he survived to see round two.
Elliot once again pressed the action from the bell and slammed Vasquez to the mat. He caught his opponent in a vicious side controlled kimura at fifty-nine seconds of round two.
Honorable mentions go to the entire card, but standout performances were handed in by Jeremy Turner, Byron Traylor, Alex Alvarez, Leo Husarik, and Jeremy Sikorski.
Although it was an entire amateur event, all of the mixed martial artists demonstrated just how far the sport has evolved.
Bill Johnson def. Brando R2, 49 seconds, armbar
Guillermo Serement def. Bobby Reardanz R3, split decision
Jeremy Turner def. Byron Traylor R3, unanimous decision
Malik Elliot def. Efrain Vasquez R2, 59 seconds, kimura
Mike Cieo def. Ray Bohm R1, 1:27, TKO
Curtis Bailey def. Pete Barrera R1, 2:38, KO (knee)
Vaughn Camacho def. Josh Johnson R1, 1:08, triangle choke
Jake Narcy def. KC Irvin R1, 39 seconds, armbar
Rich Molina def. Tom Klest R2, 1:50, TKO
Alex Alvarez def. Chyle Vance R2, 2:32, TKO
Leo Husarik def. Jeremy Sikorski R2, 1:30, TKO (ref stop)
Dan Aguirre def. Donald Paskiewicz R1, 1:06, TKO
John Degan def. Alex Markovic R3, unanimous decision