Ring of Fire has been producing and developing top tier talent in the Rocky Mountain Region longer than any other promotion. Ring of Fire went back to its roots on Saturday night at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo., with ROF 42: Who’s Next? featuring several of the top fighters in the region, trying to find the next talent to launch into the big leagues.
Tyler Toner is one of those fighters that Ring of Fire helped launch, but after going 1-2 fighting for the Zuffa-owned WEC and UFC, he’s back and trying to re-launch.
He’s now fought twice for Ring of Fire since exiting the UFC, and both times he’s received more than he bargained for. Toner has also come out successful both times, as well.
“I promised my wife and my family that I wouldn’t get beat up for two round before turning it on,” said Toner after Saturday night’s unanimous decision victory over top local fighter Nick Macias. He came out much faster than the Tyler Toner of the past, but couldn’t find a way to put Macias out.
“I can see why that kid’s never been knocked out, I punched myself out throwing everything I had at him.”
Macias threw down briefly with Toner in the opening round, but it quickly became apparent that he would play to his strengths and try to take Toner to the mat. And he did, several times throughout the fight, but despite his success in taking Toner down, Macias was unable to mount much by the way of damaging offense.
Toner ruled the stand-up game, throwing everything he had at his iron-chinned challenger, but even when they hit the mat, Toner was the more offensive minded fighter either searching for submissions or landing damaging strikes.
After a TKO stoppage of Gilbert Sims at ROF 41, Toner’s win over Macias keeps him walking down the road that he hopes will lead him back to the UFC.
Lacey Schuckman, in the first round with women’s flyweight champion Michelle Blalock, proved that she at least belonged in the cage with the champ. In the second, she put a stamp on it.
Schuckman and Blalock went toe-to-toe for the better part of the first round, Schuckman landing crisper shots and looking much cleaner in her stand-up. Blalock went back to her roots in the second, trying to power Schuckman with a takedown. She scored the takedown, but got caught in a tight guillotine choke on the way to the floor, Schuckman capturing the title by submission.
“It just really means a lot to me that my experience paid off in this fight,” said Schuckman, who has more than twice the fights and twice the years in the cage than Blalock.
It’s been a while since Ryan “The Lion” Schultz has hit the cage. He was the lightweight champion in the now-defunct IFL, but has had a difficult time finding a fight over the past couple of years. Now, running his Trials MMA gym with Ed Herman in Ft. Collins, Colo., Schultz finally found a fight at Ring of Fire.
Schultz looked as good as ever; quickly putting Angelo Duarte on the mat and working him over until he found the rear naked choke less than three minutes into the fight.
“I’ve been looking for a fight for a long time and nobody really wants to fight me. So, my hat’s off to him,” he said, giving respect to Duarte for the fight. But he may be scaring off any future opposition the way he dominated the fight.
“I like to hurt guys so they never want to fight me again,” declared Schultz before he exited the cage.
Justin Gaethje has been lighting up the Colorado scene for the past three years, going undefeated in seven starts as an amateur, and now making it three-for-three as a pro with his win over Donnie Bell on Saturday night.
Gaethje tossed Bell all over the cage in the opening round, but Bell passed the test when Gaethje clocked him with a driving knee to the face. Bell rebounded in round two, tossing Gaethje to the mat. When the action slowed, however, they were stood up and Gaethje showed his resilience, dropping bell with an uppercut, then working his ground and pound mixed with some knees to the body to get the referee stoppage.
Keep an eye out for Gaethje; he might just be who is next.
Ring of Fire 42 Official Results:
Tyler Toner def. Nick Macias by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), R3
Lacey Schuckman def. Michelle Blalock by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:02, R2
Ryan Schultz def. Angelo Duarte by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:47, R1
Justin Gaethje def. Donnie Bell by TKO (Strikes) at 2:57, R2
Czar Sklavos def. Mike Baldwin by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:53, R1
Scott Cleve def. Johnny Torres by TKO (Head Kick) at 1:04, R2
Aaron Romero def. Santana-Sol Martinez by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:28, R2
John Zahn def. James DeHerrera by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:26, R3
Randy Caruso def. Andrew Kauppila by KO (Punch) at 0:24, R1
Tyson Grippen def. Jeffrey Malaterre by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:40, R3
Bernardo Fanti def. Noland McLaughlin by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3