RECAP: House of Fame MMA–Nations Collide: USA vs. Cuba — MMAOwl.com Fight Night Awards
Something special happened last night in the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida.
Something special happened last night, and approximately 1,500 people were in attendance to bear witness to it. Last night, South Florida mixed martial arts fans were treated to not only one of the most expertly put together fight cards in recent memory—comprised primarily of homegrown talent eager to put their skills on display—they got to see it through the lens of some of the finest production value, overseen by Jared Ganem’s Fightsports HD, that any combat sports organization whose name isn’t UFC is capable of generating.
Last night, president Paris Tsitos’ House of Fame MMA 2—Nations Collide: USA vs. Cuba took place and it was an absolutely gangbusters event–the kind of event that MMA fans hope for every time they buy a ticket, order a PPV or go out to a bar. From the moment ring announcer Christopher James greeted the crowd until the final fight ended, there was nary a wasted moment. The live presentation was tight (and from what I could tell by what was playing on the big screens, the broadcast was of top-notch quality), the fights were awesome (in the “evocative of amazement” sense of the word and not the “totally rad” sense, although both are appropriate in this case, I suppose) and the live celebrity music from rap icon Fat Joe and American Idol contestant Kelly Kime provided a refreshing reprieve halfway through the show.
Ten fights in total were held. Of those ten fights, only two went to the judges’ scorecards. And the eight fights that ended in finishes?—Only one of them went past the first round.
Yes, it appeared last night that the only ones more hungry for action than the fans in the arena were the fighters themselves, who came from a multitude of camps including American Top Team, MMA Masters, Freestyle Fighting Academy, Twin Dragons MMA, Palm Beach Boxing, Ludus Martial Arts, Renegade Fight Squad, Lotus Club, Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu, Team Assassin MMA and Pete White Boxing.
At the bottom, you’ll find the complete results for the event. That’s the “what happened” portion of this article. However, “what happened” isn’t anywhere near as interesting as “how it happened”—and that’s what I aim to cover with these, my House of Fame MMA 2—Nations Collide: USA vs. Cuba FIGHT NIGHT AWARDS.
Fight of the Night – Jenny “The Phoenix” Silverio vs. Rachel “The Black Widow” Sazoff
These two diminutive damsels took this contest all over the HOF’s circular cage. At times a slug fest and at others a showcase of grappling acumen, both women displayed terrific skills, sturdy chins and indomitable wills. The unanimous decision in favor of Silverio does little to truly convey how close this contest was and, in fact, many—including yours truly—gave the fight to Sazoff. And if you don’t want to take my word for this being fight of the night, UFC #1 light heavyweight contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson agrees with me.
Submission of the Night – Preston Parsons vs. Jose “The Colombian Necktie” Cortes
Parsons, fresh off winning “Submission of the Year” honors at the 2014 Florida MMA Awards, proved that his first win was far from a fluke by soundly trouncing an extremely game, incredibly tough Jose Cortes en route to a first-round rear-naked choke. Parsons looked tremendous in transition, artful in the scramble and, when the opportunity presented itself, as opportunistic a competitor as they come. At just 19 years old, he’s one to keep your eye on.
Knockout of the Night – Haender “Cubita” Rodriguez vs. Gleidson DeJesus
Maybe I’m being presumptuous when I say this, but at 38 years old and with a record of 6-6, it’s hard to not believe that Haender Rodriguez was brought in to lose to 4-1 American Top Team prospect Gleidson DeJesus. Obviously “Cubita” didn’t get the memo, because at precisely two minutes into their contest, Rodriguez connected with a perfectly-timed cross counter that stiffened the 22-year-old DeJesus and put him out of the game. Few at 125 lbs. possess “lights out” knockout power, but Rodriguez—who drove by himself to the arena and was all smiles before going backstage to change—appears to have not lost a step.
Upset of the Night – Haender “Cubita” Rodriguez vs. Gleidson DeJesus
Both fighters enjoyed audible support from the audience, however the arena positively erupted when Rodriguez won. Fighting, in its essence, is about persevering during arduous circumstances of indeterminate duration. It’s about pushing past pain, against opposition and, often, against self-preserving instinct, all for the hopes of enjoying momentary glory. No one was more elated with Rodriguez’s victory than the fighter himself. At 22, DeJesus will most certainly return stronger and better prepared for future battles, but last night belonged to Rodriguez, who had gone 2-5 in his last seven fights leading into the bout.
Adorable Moment of the Night – Tie: a) HOF president Paris Tsitos coming up on stage to embrace his girlfriend, Kelly Kime, following her outstanding musical performance, and b) Kelly Kime running into the audience to hug her utterly elated little daughter
Because what’s a mixed martial arts event without a little cuteness thrown in for contrast?!
FULL FIGHT RESULTS
House of Fame MMA 2—Nations Collide: USA vs. Cuba
Danny Chavez def Anderson Hutchinson– split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rashaun Spencer def Patrick Dixon – KO (punches) – R1, 4:59
Haender Rodriguez def Gleidson Dejesus – KO (punches) – R1, 2:04
Preston Parsons def Jose Cortes – submission (rear naked choke) – R1, 4:26
Joseph Billingsley def Harrison Melendez – submission (rear naked choke) – R1, 4:52
Edwin Sarria def. Philip Keller – verbal submission – R2, :22
Abdiel Velazquez def. Jaime Alvarez – KO (punches) – 1:07
Jenny Silverio def Rachel Sazoff – unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Robert Reed def Devin Genchi – submission (rear naked choke) – R1, 1:57
Angel Corchado def Dennis Alzugarey – submission (arm triangle) – R1, 2:06