by Ken Pishna (Photos by April Pishna) – MMAWeekly.com
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Ultimate Fighter alum Noah Thomas continued his road back to respectability on Saturday night at the Broomfield Events Center, where he captured the Ring of Fire 135-pound Championship, finishing Justin Robbins in the opening moments of the first round with a guillotine choke.
Robbins shot on Thomas early, but ate a kneed on the way in. As he scored the double-leg takedown, Robbins felt Thomas clamp down the guillotine choke. He tried to defend, but moments later was tapping out, leaving Thomas as the new bantamweight champion.
“That’s how it goes guys, you don’t get away from it,” said Thomas of the finishing maneuver after the bout before setting his sights on his next target… World Extreme Cagefighting. “WEC, come on, give me a shot! Come on WEC!” he roared to the crowd.
Thomas has now won seven straight bouts – including capturing the TKO and Ring of Fire bantamweight titles – something he hopes will help erase the memories of his getting booted off the The Ultimate Fighter after a backyard brawl with Marlon Sims during season five of the reality series.
Easily the fight of the night, local crowd favorite Cat Albert captured the Ring of Fire 135-pound Women’s Young Gun’s championship in a battle with Californian Angela Samaro… and battle is not an overused cliché in this instance, this was a true battle between to highly skilled athletes.
Albert and Samaro fought a technical, but exciting ground war throughout, quickly trading submission attempts and mixing in some strong striking technique along the way. In the end, it was Albert’s superior wrestling that put her in position to secure an anaconda choke and the title belt.
In what can only be described as a highlight reel knockout, Brandon Thatch returned from the first loss of his professional career – a split decision at Strikeforce at the Mansion 2 – to knockout Utah’s Mike Arrant with a stunning kick to the head. The kick left Arrant crumpled on the mat, back up against the cage, and scored Thatch the Ring of Fire 170-pound Young Gun’s championship.
“I don’t know what you can expect from me in every fight,” said Thatch after the fight, “but I guarantee one thing, I’m bringing the weapons.”
After a back and forth ground battle in the opening round, Tyler Toner and Jamie Schmidt’s battle for the 145-pound Ring of Fire Young Gun’s title ended in a frustrating no contest.
Schmidt appeared to edge slightly ahead following the opening round, but as the second round started he half-slipped, was half-knocked to the mat. While Schmidt was face down on all fours, Toner threw a punch that ended up hitting him in the back of the head at the base of the skull, causing the referee to stop the bout.
Following several minutes of examination by ringside doctors, Schmidt was deemed unfit to continue. Since the bout didn’t make it to the end of round two and the strike was ruled inadvertent, the fight was declared a no contest with a rematch pending for April.
Ranger Up fighter Andrew Chappelle lived up to his billing as “Infantryman, Ranger, Ass-kicker.” He utilized his 10 years of jiu-jitsu experience and athleticism to make quick work of Wyoming fighter Justin Salas, countering a judo throw by scrambling, taking Salas’ back, and locking on the fight-ending triangle choke. The win marks his third straight victory following a two-and-a-half year hiatus.
Before his bout, Brendan Schaub said, “This isn’t bodybuilding, this is a fight,” referring to another pursuit of his opponent, Alex Rozman. He wasn’t kidding, as he dropped Rozman with a right and left hook combination early. He then followed with several more punches to a downed Rozman before the referee called a halt to the bout.
“I’m going to be a world champion,” said Schaub after the bout. Improving his professional record to 3-0 and training with partners like Shane Carwin, Eliot Marshall, Nate Marquardt, and others, he’s definitely giving himself a shot at it.
Joe Kelso won the opening professional bout of the night in a rather rare finish. He caught Brian Wood in a triangle choke and, although he couldn’t finish the choke, he did finish Wood with a relentless onslaught of strikes from the bottom for the TKO stoppage while fighting from his back.
Zingano BJJ fighter Matt Simms turned a failed suplex attempt into a quick submission. He locked on a head and arm triangle choke that caused Dan Craft to tap out less than a minute into the opening round.
In one of the night’s opening bouts, Infinite MMA’s JJ Mondragon showed an amazing display of hands as he knocked F.I.T. NHB’s Hector Salliant to the ground with a straight right and finished via TKO stoppage in 15 seconds. Salliant lay on the mat for several nervous minutes afterwards, but was able to eventually leave the cage under his own power.
RING OF FIRE 33 PROFESSIONAL BOUTS:
-Noah Thomas def. Justin Robbins by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:29, R1
-Cat Albert def. Angela Samaro by Submission (Anaconda Choke) at 3:40, R2
-Brandon Thatch def. Mike Arrant by KO (Head Kick) at 0:18, R1
-Jamie Schmidt vs. Tyler Toner was ruled a No Contest
-Andrew Chappelle def. Justin Salas by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 2:06, R1
-Brendan Schaub def. Alex Rozman by TKO (Strikes) at 1:23, R1
-Joe Kelso def. Brian Wood by TKO (Strikes) at 3:07, R2
RING OF FIRE 33 AMATEUR BOUTS:
-Cody Frederickson def. Ramico Blackmon by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:35, R2
-Chris Holland def. Chris Williamson by TKO (Strikes) at 2:59, R2
-Matt Simms def. Dan Craft by Submission (Head & Arm Triangle Choke) 0:47, R1
-JJ Mondragon def. Hector Salliant by TKO (Strikes) at 0:15, R1
-Ken Kreuscher def. Brian Marneck by TKO (Strikes) at 2:28, R2