Campbell Rebounds at WCF 8

By Jack Encarnacao and Joe Harrington Sep 26, 2009
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Mike Campbell came home to do penance for an underwhelming campaign in World Extreme Cagefighting.

He was successful.

A former power lifter who built his name on the New England mixed martial arts scene, Campbell -- once featured on the “TapOut” reality show on Versus -- picked up a first-round technical knockout victory in the main event of World Championship Fighting 8 on Saturday at the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium. The welterweight rebounded from two first-round losses in the WEC.

“A lot came to me fast,” said Campbell, 26, who was fighting on national television after only four professional fights. “I realize what I had, and I want it back. I have to get back on a winning streak.”

Campbell worked his feet at the outset but was taken down off a head kick attempt by opponent Mike Medrano, a product of New Jersey’s Team Rhino. Campbell swept but came up with a cut on his left eyebrow. However, a jumping knee rang Medrano’s bell and put him down near the ropes, prompting a flurry of ground-and-pound from Campbell. Referee Kevin McDonald stepped in and waved it off. Medrano was not satisfied and had a long dialogue with the veteran official after the fight. Medrano claimed he was putting Campbell in his guard when the fight was stopped 3:12 into the opening period.

“The second punch actually knocked him out, and the third one woke him up,” Campbell said. “He was still in the game. I would have liked for it to go further.”

It was a lackluster finish to an eventful show before a capacity crowd in the 4,000-seat auditorium. The turnout was boosted by the appearance of Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, a friend of WCF promoter Joseph Cavallaro. Slice was in the area, in part, to do an interview on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” which tapes in New York.

Slice and his entourage, including his younger brother, took in most of the night’s fights and took hundreds of photos as a cross-section of the audience swarmed him in between fights. He deflected questions about how he would do against Roy Nelson on the upcoming episode of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“You’ll have to watch,” he told a camera-toting fan.

Sean Gannon, the local police officer and one-time UFC fighter who beat Slice in an unsanctioned fight that became a viral sensation on the Internet in 2005, was not present. He has become a regular presence at WCF events. Cavallaro said he had to work.

Also in attendance was Boston Celtics forward and NBA champion Glenn “Big Baby” Davis, who confirmed he began training MMA a month ago at Boston’s Wai Kru gym -- the camp that produced current UFC welterweight John Howard. Davis admitted the training was mostly for offseason conditioning but indicated he would like to fight one day.

The night featured several spirited scraps that drew full-throated rises out of the audience.

The night’s co-main event was a battle between lightweights Hitalo Machado, of the American Top Team affiliate in Connecticut, and John Benoit, who trains at Renzo Gracie New Hampshire. Benoit, one of the WCF’s most-promoted names, toughed through back-to-back groin shots early but saw his back taken after the fight hit the floor. Machado cinched the rear-naked choke for the tapout at he 2:04 mark of round one but drew boos for the low blows.

Another of WCF’s more-promoted names, Wilmington native Dan Bonnell, was felled in the first round by featherweight Josh LeBerge. The finish came 1:20 into round one.

Perhaps the best fight of the night was a hard-hitting affair between lightweights Josh Key, out of Team Rhino, and Luis Felix, who trains under UFC veteran Jorge Rivera. The bout featured several hard slams and scrambles, and both fighters tumbled out of the ropes on several occasions. The battle went to the judges and then an overtime round, where Key swarmed his dehydrated foe with strikes for the TKO 0:51 into the third round. Felix required precautionary hospitalization after the fight.

Other Bouts

Dennis Olsen def. Ryan Schielding -- Submission (Armbar) 1:04 R1
Joe McGann def. Jason Dublin -- Unanimous Decision
John Ortolani def. Travis Lerchen -- TKO (Punches) 2:16 R1
Noah Wiseman def. Eddie Felix -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 3:38 R1
Saul Almeida def. Kevin Corrigan -- Unanimous Decision
Aniss Alhajjajy def. Brent Reed -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 3:47 R2
Lev Kamenetsky def. Joel Ly -- TKO (Punches) 2:22 R1
Jim Pitner def. James Boran -- Unanimous Decision
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