Posted 09/03/2014 by Jesse Scheckner in HOF MMA

House of Fame MMA: “A New Dawn” – Preview/Breakdown of the Top Three Fights

House of Fame MMA - A New Dawn

Full-sized poster and block party map at the bottom of the article.

House of Fame MMA: “A New Dawn”
September 6, 2014—7:30 p.m. EDT (Doors at 6:30 p.m.)
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena—Jacksonville, FL

This Saturday, at the 15,000-seat Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (which, in 2003, replaced the outdated Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum and hosts a multitude of sporting events, from arena football and professional wrestling to ice hockey and basketball), new ground will be broken when new upstart House of Fame MMA (HOFMMA) puts on its inaugural event, appropriately entitled “A New Dawn.”

Founded by international business mogul and lifelong martial arts enthusiast Paris Tsitos, HOFMMA holds the distinction of not only having at its foundation a figurehead with considerable marketing acumen and promotional wherewithal, but for its forward-thinking sponsorship of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), donating a portion of all ticket proceeds to the nonprofit veterans organization.

The fight card itself heavily showcases Florida-based mixed martial artists from camps such as South Florida’s American Top Team, Port Richey’s Team Assassin and Jacksonville’s Riot MMA, although camps from other states, such as Northern Colorado’s Team Catalyst, Brighton MMA’s Team Relson Gracie and Tacoma’s Arlington Kickboxing Academy are represented as well.

Some MMA celebrities will be in attendance as well, as Jorge Masvidal, Hector Lombard and Thiago Alves will all be making appearances. And yes, there will be ring girls.

Below is the full fight card. I’ve zeroed in on three bouts in particular to examine more closely, however every matchup should more than sufficiently entertain any fight fans keen enough to be in attendance. There’s a lot more than fighting going on at the event, however, so take note of the full-sized block party map below as well.


Heavyweight (207-265 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Kenneth “Deuce” Garner [12-6]
Matt “The Attack” Kovacs [11-10]

Former M-1 Global Americas heavyweight champion Kenny “Deuce” Garner has fallen on some hard times as of late. Until last year, the 39-year-old American Top Team fighter from Port St. Lucie had put an absolute walloping on nearly all comers, his only loss since 2010 avenged in back-to-back title fight victories. (The two wins still stand as the only two losses on opponent Guram Gugenishvili’s otherwise pristine record.)

And then an almost innocuous split decision loss in April 2013 sent him on a downward spiral where he would lose four times in a row—by far the worst skid in his professional career, which will be celebrating its sixth anniversary this month.

Does the heavy-hitting wrestler/boxer have what it takes to recover?

His opponent, Matt “The Attack” Kovacs, will likely want to answer that question himself. The former UMMA super heavyweight and heavyweight champion, PFA heavyweight champion, and onetime Strikeforce competitor has run hot and cold throughout his seven-year career. Currently on a two-fight win streak, the 6’0”, 244 lb. power puncher will have zero qualms about standing and trading with Garner, as is evident by his eight knockout victories and five knockout losses.

This is a very suitable main event.


Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Andrew “The Beast” Whitney [9-3]
Chino Duran [8-7]

Andrew “The Beast” Whitney returned after more than a year-and-a-half layoff this last June, losing to Isaiah Chapman, a man who ironically also goes by the same nom de guerre. A veteran of Jeff Aronson’s Titan FC promotion, Whitney’s well-rounded offense has seen him secure four knockouts and four submissions over the course of a professional career which, as of this month, has just ticked past the four-year mark.

I first learned of Chino Duran when interviewing a former opponent of his, Pablo Alfonso (view the interview HERE). Upon hearing Alfonso’s remarks that he was “supposed to beat” him, Duran responded, wishing his opponent good luck and hoping that he won so that he could “give him that rematch.” (Alfonso would lose by submission to Cody Bollinger at WSOF 11: Gaethje vs. Newell.) All in all, a pretty good-humored retort if I’ve ever seen one.

A veteran of South Florida promotions Mixed Fighting Alliance (MFA) and Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA), the Homestead-based Gladiator Wrestling stable member has been something of a journeyman over the course of his eight and a half-year career. A victory on Saturday will put him on the first three-fight win streak of his career.


Welterweight (170 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Ailton Barbosa [11-4]
Jared Torgeson [15-12]

Ailton Barbosa hasn’t stepped inside a cage in front of a paying audience for almost a year and a half. In fact, he’s only fought three times since November 19, 2011. This is an odd circumstance, considering the level of fighter Barbosa seems to be. He’s won more grappling championships than you can rattle off in a minute’s time and, judging from his eight career submission wins and zero submission losses, he knows how to translate that specialized skill set inside the cage.

Facing him is Jared Torgeson, a King of the Cage and Conquest of the Cage veteran whose fighting style seems to stand in stark contrast against Barbosa’s submission-heavy offense, with seven knockout victories and only two wins by submission. It’s been more than three years and ten fights since he’s been submitted, however, indicating he’s perhaps shored up on his deficiencies in that area. That fight total I just listed also indicates something else that could be quite important: he’s been far more active than Barbosa.


Welterweight (170 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
John “The Mulatto Mauler” Mahlo [13-13]
Aaron “The Trendsetter” Bland [4-6]



Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Tristan Payne [3-4]
Issac Figueroa [2-1]



3-Round Fight
Robert Washington [0-0]
Zach Elkins [0-0]


Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Marc Carl Graham [7-1]
Preston Parsons [5-0]



Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Cleveland Mclean [1-1]
Abdiel Velasquez [1-1]



Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
George Reagan [2-2]
Dietter Navarro [2-2]



Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Luay Ashkar [3-0]
Jovan White [1-5]



Featherweight (145 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Anderson Hutchinson [2-0]
Jayson Jones [4-8]


Click HERE for more information.

House of Fame MMA - A New Dawn


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.