Chip Pollard (right) handed Joey Rivera his first loss. | Photo: Kevin Wuchter/CFFC
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Cage Fury Fighting Championships’ 10th card was originally “Black Eye,” before a breast cancer awareness tie-in made it “Pink Eye.” However, the color of Saturday night was red, as Plymouth, Mass., native Chip Pollard slashed previously unbeaten Joey Rivera wide open en route to claiming the CFFC welterweight title at Resorts Casino Hotel.
“Joey is tough as nails, but I never come into a fight thinking I can’t win, even though I knew I would be going through fire,” Pollard revealed after the bout, which he took on two weeks’ notice.
The first round was dominated by the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance product, who mixed vicious leg kicks with stiff jabs to thoroughly damage Tucson, Ariz.’s Rivera. Though “Boom Boom” secured scattered takedowns throughout second and third rounds, Rivera never accrued any significant offense, forcing referee Kevin MacDonald to stand the two up on several occasions.
In the second, a Pollard jab opened a large cut under the Apex MMA fighter’s eye, which bled profusely. Pollard continued to dominate the standup in the third as Rivera futilely attempted to do damage from top position. Rivera’s cut began to pour blood terminally, leading the cageside physician to wave the fight off after three rounds.
“I didn’t want it to end like that,” Pollard admitted after the bout. “Joey is tough as hell and hard to put away. I couldn’t even get a fight in Massachusetts; I never gave up hope.”
“Training is a constant evolution. Props to Pollard -- next time I come out, I’ll be better,” said a gracious Rivera post-fight.
The victory broke a two-fight skid for Pollard, now 6-2 in his MMA campaign. For the 31-year-old Rivera, it was the first loss of his pro career, as he fell to 7-1.
In the evening’s lightweight co-feature, Jersey City’s Mike Medrano halted a losing skid of his own, getting his first win in four outings by outgrappling local journeyman Al Buck and securing a tap at 2:54 seconds of the second round via arm-triangle choke.
The “Young Samson” Medrano dominated from top control and rained down punches in the first round. In the second, he again achieved full mount before locking up the choke and forcing “Mr. Big” to submit.
“Making 155 wasn’t easy, but my teammates make me so much better,” explained the Rhino Fight Team fighter after his win. “I wanted to take him down. I know he’s a striker, but my jiu-jitsu is getting a lot better. I’m glad I got the finish early."
Despite taking the bout on just seven days’ notice, Ithaca, N.Y.’s Aljamain Sterling made quick work of Pennslyvanian featherweight Evan Chmieleski. After repeated submission attempts, Sterling flattened out Chimelski and rained down punches until referee MacDonald stepped in at 4:58 of the first round.
Harrisonburg, Va.’s Mike Wade survived Ozzy Dugulubgov’s wrestling assault to earn a first-round submission win. Team Bull Shark’s Dugulubgov held top control for most of the opening round, but Wade regained his feet and turned his foe’s next shot attempt into a fight-ending guillotine choke at 3:54 of the first frame.
In a battle of Cumberland County, N.J., Patrick White took out Anthony D’Agostino with a vicious spinning back-fist at 1:44 of the first round. White was able to land knees in the clinch before the two faced off in the center of the cage. The Pitts Grove Township native exploded on his opponent landing his fist squarely on D’Agostino’s chin and forcing referee MacDonald to emphatically stop the bout.
In a lightweight scrap, Team Bittencourt product Artur Rofi outgrappled Casey Milliken to secure a triangle choke at 36 seconds of the second round. After nearly securing a triangle armbar from his back in the first, “The Albanian Nightmare” made no mistake, closing the show quickly in the second.
Long Island, N.Y., lightweight Dan Cion was able to earn a majority decision over late-surging Patterson, N.J., native Epifano Diaz. Cion controlled the clinch game with his heavy knees throughout the fight. In the third round, Diaz landed blows from side control, but Cion fought back to his feet to hear the final bell. Judges Tony Tamburrino and Julius Propenza saw the fight 29-28 for Cion, while judge Henry Krawiec scored the bout a 29-29 draw, as did Sherdog.com.
Bronx-based flyweight Evan Velez dominated Long Island’s Lennox Chance with superior top control and grappling. Velez couldn’t secure the armbar or arm-triangle chokes he sought, so he moved to back control and took the rear-naked choke submission at 3:49 of the second round.
In the evening’s lightweight opener, American Top Team lightweight Ryan Peterson was able to survive an arm-in guillotine to win his pro debut against Maryland’s Lester Gerber. Peterson earned a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three scorecards.