Chris Horodecki triumphed in Ontario's first sanctioned MMA event. | Al Quintero/Sherdog.com
RAMA, Ontario -- After years of advocacy and campaigning in the province, MMA: The Reckoning, at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, marked the first ever sanctioned mixed martial arts event in Canada's most populous province. It was a homecoming of sorts for former WEC lightweight Chris Horodecki, as the “Polish Hammer” submitted Utah's David Castillo in the first round.
The product of London, Ontario, surprised many in the sold-out venue, as he wasted little time in taking Castillo to the mat.
“I was expecting to keep the whole fight standing, but he gave me a kick and I caught it,” Horodecki told Sherdog.com after the bout.
Horodecki, 23, gave his opponent little room for escape as he frustrated the Jeremy Horn-trained Castillo with strikes to the head and body from a tight half guard. As the punches began to fall faster and harder, Castillo rolled, giving up his back. Once Horodecki found the opening -- like a dog on a bone -- he latched on to the rear-naked choke and simply refused to let go. Castillo was left with little choice but to tap. Horodecki's step back onto the winning path came at 4:24 of the first round.
“Fighting in Ontario, man, it was huge. It was a long time coming, so it's real satisfying,” said Horodecki. “I drove here, I've got my car in the parking lot. I haven't fought in Ontario since my amateur kickboxing days.”
Horodecki, now 17-3 in his career, was released from his Zuffa contract after falling to Donald Cerrone by submission at the last-ever WEC last December, having gone 2-2 in the promotion. Following the loss, many speculated that Horodecki's future would be at 145 pounds. “The Polish Hammer” isn't looking to cut, but he's not ruling it out, either.
“It's gotta be for the right reasons,” Horodecki explained. “I walked into the ring at 177. I don't know what it is, but I don't look it. It's a bit of a cut, but for the right reasons, I could do it. I want to be back in the big show, but there's no rush.”
Another youthful Canadian, 21-year-old Jordan Mein, took a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over tough-wrestling UFC veteran Josh Burkman, to move
his mark to 21-7.
After a slow first round, the Lethbridge, Alberta, native started to pull ahead. Despite being bloodied, Mein began to find his range with combinations that had the former UFC lightweight on his heels. While Burkman often looked to shoot, Mein would have none of it, and kept the fight on the feet and punished Burkman for all of his efforts.
The win was Mein’s eighth in his last nine fights, and his second win over a UFC veteran, having punched out Joe Riggs in January.
Britain's Jason Young and Toronto-based Brazilian Jorge Britto engaged in what could only be described as an all-out war.
The frenetic pace was set in the first round, as both lightweights tasted the canvas. Young quickly landed a blistering right hand that folded Britto, however, the Brazilian got to his feet and returned the favor in the form of a picture-perfect spinning-back fist that dropped the Brit to the mat. The first period's madness didn't end there, as Young dropped Britto again with just seconds remaining in the opening frame.
Britto began to show signs of fatigue in the second, as Young continued to find his range, bloodying Britto with heavy leather.
His control only tightened as the bout went on, dominating the third stanza. After 15 minutes, Young earned the unanimous nod (29-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Light heavyweight prospect Misha Cirkunov notched the fourth win of his career with a lopsided unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) over Ion Cherdivara.
Despite the battles in the clinch, neither man was able to gain the advantage and the two were forced into a kickboxing match for the better part of three rounds, with Cirkunov clearly getting the better of his wrestling counterpart. Late in the third, with Cherdivara fading, the 24-year-old judo and BJJ black belt would find his opening for the takedown behind a flurry of hooks. From there, Cirkunov promptly moved to mount and maintained back control until the final bell.
Australia's Rob Hill outlasted Lethbridge, Alberta, upstart Spencer Rohovie to take a third-round submission. The lightweights exchanged strikes and takedowns throughout the opening two rounds. However, in the third, the Aussie rocked Hill with an overhand right, and smelling blood, jumped all over his fallen foe. Hill eventually switched up his attack, sinking the arm-triangle choke for the tap at 1:42 of the third.
Nova Scotian welterweight Matt MacGrath utilized positional dominance behind a plethora of takedowns to lock up the unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 alum Dean Amasinger. The Brit simply had no answer for the unyielding pressure of MacGrath, as the Canadian shook off all strikes, taking his foreign foe to the mat at will.
Takedowns were the name of the game for Bolton, Ontario, fighter Jason Saggo as he coaxed a tap from Taylor Solomon via armbar 3:25 into the second round.
Welterweights Joel Powell and Brandt Dewsberry made history in the first-ever sanctioned mixed martial arts contest in the province of Ontario: Powell put his name in the record books, locking up a rear-naked choke at 4:54 of the second for the win.
Knockout Entertainment announced at the event that it would return to Casino Rama for a second card July 16. No other details were announced for the bill.
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