by Ken Pishna
With an audience nearing 2,000, it’s easy to say that the Ring of Fire’s first show in North Platte, Nebraska was a resounding success. Despite the searing heat, it was standing room only at the D&N Event Center this past Saturday night.
Sven Bean pioneered mixed martial arts in Colorado with his Ring of Fire promotion and worked with Boxing Commissioner Joseph Mason to get the sport fully sanctioned in the Centennial State. It is not yet a sanctioned sport in Nebraska, but thanks to Sven Bean and co-promoter Kelly Wiseman, it was well received in North Platte. Many area government officials were in attendance and North Platte mayor Keith Richardson even got on the mic to thank the crowd and Bean and Wiseman for bringing the sport to town.
The main event of Ring of Fire 18 featured a rematch between North Platte native Luke Caudillo, Ring of Fire Young Guns Champion, and New Mexico’s James Martinez. The fight started at a blistering pace with Caudillo getting the takedowns and both fighters exchanging blows. Caudillo seemed to have the upper hand as the first round ended. Unfortunately, there would be no second round, as Martinez could not continue due to a broken wrist. Still, the crowd was excited as their hometown hero kept his belt.
In another feature bout, hometown fighter Joe Doherty was also successful as he made quick work of South Dakota’s Fields Fry. Doherty took him down, attained solid position and proceeded to pound him out with strikes little more than a minute into the round much to the delight of the crowd.
In the fighter to watch out for department, take note of the name Zane Baker. Training out the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts under the guidance of fellow fighters Jay Jack and Amanda Buckner, Baker is an impressive import from Portland, Maine. He looks impressive in all areas of the game and had no trouble as he submitted Jake Davis with a rear naked choke. He is only 2-0, but has looked very impressive in both bouts as he finished both opponents in less than two minutes each. Keep an eye on this kid, especially when the scene picks up back east.
Though most of the other hometown boys weren’t as fortunate as Caudillo and Doherty, it was a great crowd that got into all of the fights. And nearing the 2,000 mark in attendance for the first show of its kind in North Platte is definitely a positive sign for both the Ring of Fire and the sport in general.
Mixed Martial Arts:
Luke Caudillo def. James Martinez by TKO at 5:00, Round 1
Joe Doherty def. Fields Fry by Submission to Strikes at 1:08, Round 1
Toby Johnson def. Brad Garrick by Arm Bar at 0:47, Round 1
Finnie McMahon def. Brian Shelburn by TKO at 2:32, Round 1
Aaron Romero def. John Church by Arm Bar at 2:03, Round 2
Zane Baker def. Jake Davis by Rear Naked Choke at 1:44, Round 1
Matt Priest def. Gary Prince by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds
Tyler Toner def. Josh Alloway by Submission to Strikes at 2:17, Round 1
Brandon Thatch def. Ricardo Ponce by Split Decision, 3 Rounds