Posted 05/27/2014 by Jesse Scheckner in Fight Time Promotions

Fight Time 19: Battle of the Brave – A Preview of the Top Five Fights

ftp 19 rev 235x   5-30Howard Davis Jr.’s Fight Time Promotions is closing in on its four-year anniversary this August. Since holding its first event back in 2010, the family-owned organization has developed into a veritable South Florida mixed martial arts institution, consistently putting together well-arranged cards intermixing both veterans and up-and-comers with a genuine chance of upward mobility for all involved. Their second pro card of 2014, Fight Time 19: Battle of the Brave, will take place this Friday at Ft. Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium.

Headlined by a bout between UFC veteran Mike “The Wolverine” Rio and Avery “The Irish Hurricane” McPhatter, the event, which boasts 11 matches in total, is sure to be an eye-opener as far as prospects go, as there are nine undefeated fighters putting their unblemished records on the line. The evening’s co-main event pits former Bellator, Strikeforce and Cage Warriors fighter James “J.P. Reese against undefeated finishing machine Jason Soares, who will be making his fifth appearance in the Fight Time cage.

Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Mike “The Wolverine” Rio [9-4]
Avery “The Irish Hurricane” McPhatter [3-4]

Aside from being an exceptionally nice and philanthropic dude, Mike Rio also happens to be a rather good fighter. Born and raised in South Florida, he followed in his the footsteps of his father, uncle and older brother, wrestling at Miami Southridge High and winning two Florida state championships in the process. A few national collegiate championships later and Rio found himself pursuing mixed martial arts in earnest, stringing together numerous wins in the local circuit before getting called up to the big show to compete on the UFC’s long-running reality show competition, The Ultimate Fighter, coached by rival bantamweights Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber in the only live season in the show’s history.

Although he would eventually lose to team Faber’s Andy Ogle, he impressed the boss enough to earn himself a spot on the UFC’s roster, submitting John Cofer via third-round armbar in late 2012. Unfortunately, he lost his next three fights and was released from the promotion early this year. This will be his debut with Fight Time.

Avery “The Irish Hurricane” McPhatter will be entering the cage fresh off of a second-round submission victory against American Top Team product Mike Bruno – a fighter who’d previously won a unanimous decision against him almost exactly three years earlier at Fight Time 3: It’s War. Interestingly, Bruno has also faced Rio, losing a unanimous decision to him back in 2010 at MFA: New Generation 3. The catalyst for McPhatter’s losing record reflects Rio’s recent travails, as he appeared to be doing well until a three-fight losing skid to Bruno, Cosmo Alexandre (at Bellator 58) and former UFC fighter Yoislandy Izquierdo sent him back to the proverbial drawing board.

Whatever reassessment he indulged in appears to have worked. He’ll be looking to make it two in a row against a very game, tough and motivated Mike Rio on fight night.

Featherweight (145 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
James “J.P.” Reese [11-8]
Jason Soares [5-0]

American Top Team Coconut Creek’s J.P. Reese will return to Fight Time Promotions after a little less than a year away – a time period during which he went 2-2 with three different promotions. His last bout with Fight Time – a first-round submission loss to the Julian Lane (yes… the “Let me bang, bro” guy from TUF 16) – sent him on a mini fight tour of sorts that saw him make appearances in Tampa, Albuquerque, Muskegon and Kazakhstan (Jagshemash!). The versatile 33-year-old high school and collegiate wrestling standout has competed all over the world and will be returning to the region where he made his professional debut back in June 2010.

His opponent, 24-year-old Jason Soares, has ripped a 5’7” hole in the Fight Time promotion leading up to his second co-main event fight. The Key Largo resident has finished all but one of his previous five opponents by rear-naked choke, and that sole exception fell to the powerful wrestler from New York by technical knockout in his only fight outside of Howard Davis Jr.’s organization.

It’s important to note that Reese is taking this fight on short notice. Soares’ original opponent, Chris Zuniga, had to drop out due to an injury. It should be interesting to see how Soares adjusts his strategy for a fighter who has been considerably more active than Zuniga was until recently.


Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Mehdi Hassan [3-3]
Moyses “The Savage” Gabin [5-5]

Not to be confused with the British broadcaster, Pakistani journalist or ghazal singer who also share his name, light heavyweight muscleman Mehdi Hassan will fight for the first time since August 23’s Fight Time 16: Rocha vs. Barroso, where he earned a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Zevallos. He was originally scheduled to face Alonzo Roane in the interim at AFC 20, but the fight was cancelled, leaving him both without an opponent and a paycheck. He’ll likely look to work out the resulting frustration in the cage on Friday.

Standing across the cage from him will be Moyses “The Savage” Gabin. A veteran of Elite XC and Bellator (wherein he went .500 between 2009 and 2010), he evidently hit a personal skid of sorts, as his record shows only one fight between when he parted with Bjorn Rebney’s promotion and his scheduled fight this weekend. At 33 years old, the Hollywood, FL resident still probably has some fight left in him – the last time he was finished was back in 2008 – but he’s got to remain more active than his record has shown he’s been the last few years.

This fight was originally supposed to be between Gabin and 2-2 Miami resident Carl Darbouze, but Darbouze got injured and had to pull out. Still, with both fighters in must-win situations concerning the positivity of their records, expect a sense of urgency from both combatants.


Flyweight (125 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Arvin “Ace” Panlasigui [1-0]
Miguel “Magic City Mauler” Restrepo [1-0-1]

This clash of two undefeated Miami-based bantamweights pits former American Battle Championship amateur champion Arvin “Ace” Panlasigui against Miguel Restrepo, whose “Magic City Mauler” moniker is among the most amusing and catchy this reader has read in quite some time. Both fighters have legit amateur backgrounds, and although Restrepo appears to have not titled while competing nonprofessionally, his 3-1 amateur record – recorded between June 2012 and April 2013 – conveys much more concentrated activity than Panlasigui’s 3-4 amateur run that occurred between August 2008 and July of last year.

An interesting contrast of styles (Panlasigui’s Tung Soo Do and BJJ specialism against Restrepo’s wrestling/boxing/BJJ MMA hybrid), this fight might be the sleeper matchup of the evening.

(Come back on Wednesday to read MMA Owl’s interview with Panlasigui.)


Welterweight (170 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Mikerson Lindor [1-0]
Nico Price [1-0]

Then again, the real fight to watch this Friday (aside from the obvious headliner and co-headliner matchups discussed earlier) could very well be this one. The only other fight of the night pitting two undefeated fighters against one another, this bout fits that description even more so; neither Lindor nor Price has lost, even at the amateur level.

Mikerson Lindor is uniformly a Fight Time product, coming up through the promotion’s amateur circuit and successfully debuting professionally at Fight Time 18: Guts & Glory earlier this year, submitting opponent Michael Johnson by rear-naked choke in the first round.

Nico Price has largely been M.I.A. since his 2012 pro debut (at Fight Time 8: It’s Fight Time!). Questions always exist about a fighter’s ability to put things together in the cage after such long absences, and this is no exception. At 24 years old, the South Florida resident still has just as much a future ahead of him as his 21-year-old combative counterpart, but protracted layoffs are always worrisome.

Keep an eye on this one, folks.


Featherweight (145 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Chris Thorne [5-8]
Kester Mark [2-2]


Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Orlando Santana [1-0]
Jason Fitzhugh [2-1]


Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Ricardo Supris [1-2]
Benny Delgado [0-1]


Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Bennet Belcher [4-1]
Myles Gilbert [1-0]


Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Marcos Gomes [1-0]
Mike “The Hammer” Hamman  [0-1]


Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Marcelo Castanedo [1-0]
Mike Wilson [0-2]

Jesse Scheckner

A freelance MMA, entertainment and business journo born, raised and residing in Miami, FL, Jesse Scheckner is a former semi-serious musician, cinephile and recovering ne’er-do-well committed to nonfiction storytelling. He is the 2014 Florida MMA Awards "Best MMA Media Correspondent" winner and a two-time Miami New Times "Best Of" winner. Follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner to talk about the stuff he writes about with him.