Levan Makashvili won the CFFC featherweight title on Saturday night. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
No matter the sport, the game of prognostication with prospects is always a questionable one.
For every Peyton Manning there’s a Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, or Matt Bush. But when that prospect actually hits, the results can be a sight to behold. Cage Fury Fighting Championships 35 saw several rising stars take significant steps in their mixed martial arts careers at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City New Jersey on Saturday night.
Heading into his featherweight title bout with Scott Heckman, Levan Makashvili had only three professional bouts to his name. But his style is such that the Rockville Center, N.Y., native is one of the few on the local circuit where constant pressure actually means constant pressure. Makashvili never stops coming forward in his fights, and it paid dividends against AMA Fight Club’s Heckman.
Heckman, who captured the 145-pound strap by defeating Jeff Lentz at CFFC 31, was had his hands full all night. Makashvili cut his eye open in the third and finally swarmed on Heckman in the round four, forcing referee Gasper Oliver to call off the bout 2:30 into the period. After the fight ,Makashvili said that anger served as his primary motivation in the fight.
“I was actually mad from the beginning for one reason. I really don’t like hearing people talk crap about me,” Makashvili said. “That upset me. I never degraded him. When he chose to degrade me it upset me. When he took me down in the first round that upset me. No matter what the truth always comes out in here.”
It’s been two years since Jonavin Webb made his pro debut inside a CFFC cage. After earning his six straight win – a unanimous verdict (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Mike Winters -- the man known as “Spyder” now has an opportunity to fight for the vacant CFFC welterweight belt in his next bout.
“It’s awesome,” Webb said. “It’s one of the best regional promotions in the country. To be the champion here, it’ll be a big honor for me to hold that belt. I’m happy they’re giving me that chance.”
Despite his current hot streak, Webb understands that he’s far from a finished product. “I learned I can’t finish every fight. There’s tough guys out there,” he said. “I need to get better and better every fight. I have some things I need to work on with my coaches, but I felt great out there tonight. Everyone saw that my standup game wasn’t that great. I’ve been working a lot of hours in the boxing gym. I felt it today. It’s going to take time to keep working on it.”
Former “TUF” contestant Jimmie Rivera made his CFFC debut a successful one, as he outpointed Cody Stevens for his eighth consecutive win. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 in favor of the Bellator and WSOF veteran.
“The next step right now is to work on getting the finishes -- whether it’s a knockout or a submission,” Rivera said. “The UFC wants to see finishes. They want to see knockouts. They want to see exciting fights. I hope to make every fight an exciting fight even if it’s a decision. When I start finishing people then I could start opening up that [UFC] door again.”
Although he was unable to get a finish on Saturday, Rivera did take solace in the improvement in his striking.
“I still need more work on my hands. My biggest thing is to believe in them. My coach tells me all the time. I just listened today,” he said. “I have to perfect it a bit more to go and get that finish. I finally feel like I did something right because I was throwing my hands. He sees and believes that I have good hands. It was a big change working my hands the whole time.”
Elsewhere, Bellator veteran Darrell Horcher captured a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Demian Maia MMA product Gabriel Miglioli. Horcher racked up the points on the feet and held his own on the ground to get the nod from the cageside judges.
Jamelle Jones, a high school wrestling teammate of Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs, held off Charles Gamble down the stretch to capture a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). A couple of big scoop slams by Jones highlighted the first round, but he seemed to lose steam over the bout’s final 10 minutes. However, Gamble couldn’t take advantage.
In earlier action: Tiger Schulmann representative Shane Burgos blew through Donald Ooton, submitting his foe with a guillotine choke 3:10 into the opening round; Pat Sabatini tapped Jacob Bohn with a rear-naked choke at the 2:22 mark of round one; Sergio da Silva submitted Alejandro Zea with a rear-naked choke 2:18 into the initial stanza; Ricky Bandejas finished Dwayne Holman Jr. with a guillotine 4:02 into round one; and Paul Almquist armbarred Brian Collins 1:48 into the second round.