Trigg Outpoints Babcock at ‘Racetown’

Frank Trigg left the cage with his hand raised but not before Real Fighting Championships middleweight titleholder Danny Babcock announced himself as a future player on the national stage.

Trigg (19-6) needed every bit of his big-fight experience, as he pulled out a unanimous decision against Babcock in the featured attraction at Xtreme Cagefighting Federation “Rumble in Racetown” on Saturday at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Scores were 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28 in Trigg’s favor.

Afterward, the UFC and Pride Fighting Championships veteran bid farewell to the middleweight division.

“This is my last fight at 185,” he said. “I can’t support the weight. I’ve got to go back to welterweight. That’s the best weight for me and my size.”

Trigg -- who suffered three of his six career losses to UFC welterweight stalwarts Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre -- took the best Babcock had to offer and kept coming forward. After some shaky moments in the first round, he commanded the center of the cage and controlled the bout with cleaner, more accurate strikes.

The bout ended in a hail of blows, as both men went out swinging. Trigg dropped Babcock (5-2), a man more than a decade his junior, with a short right hook in the closing moments and followed up with a stout left hand on the ground as the bell sounded. Had the sand not run out of the hourglass, Babcock might not have survived.

Trigg -- who has won four straight fights since his devastating knockout loss to Robbie Lawler two years ago -- credited his cornermen for making valuable in-fight adjustments.

“I have a great corner,” he said. “They see what I can’t see. You’ve got to really trust your corner. That’s something I never did until my last two or three fights.”

In the co-main event, little-known Zak Cummings stunned UFC veteran Terry Martin by split decision. All three judges scored the match 29-28, two of them in the unbeaten Cummings’ favor.

After a competitive first round, Cummings gained a foothold in the match. His relentless pursuit of takedowns finally paid off when he grounded Martin in the second, mounted the hard-hitting Chicagoan twice and nearly finished him with a rear-naked choke. The round ended with Cummings in full mount, the tide having clearly turned in his favor.

File Photo

UFC vet Terry Martin
has lost five of his
last seven bouts.
Martin (18-7) scored with takedowns of his own in the third but did little else. His fearsome hands, which have given him knockouts in almost half of his professional fights, were never a factor. The 28-year-old former light heavyweight has lost two straight and five of his past eight bouts.

The victory put an elated Cummings (9-0) on the map.

“He’s a tough guy, strong, quick,” he said. “I just tried to give the fans their money’s worth, win or lose. Just keep bringing on the bigger and better guys. I don’t want an easy fight.”

Blood flowed freely in a welterweight matchup between UFC exile Jesse Taylor and Gert Kocani.

Taylor manhandled the overmatched American Top Team prospect, ultimately submitting Kocani (1-1) with a second-round rear-naked choke. A winner in three straight since his submission loss to C.B. Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 14, Taylor appears to have turned a corner.

Based out of Team Quest, Taylor (9-3) took down Kocani at will and unleashed a consistent stream of ground-and-pound punishment that took considerable steam out of his less experienced counterpart. Kocani threatened with armbars and triangles from his back in the first round, but by the time the fight spilled into the second, he was no longer dangerous.

Taylor eventually mounted Kocani, who surrendered his back in futile defense. From there, the finish was a formality. The 26-year-old Taylor cinched the rear-naked choke for the tapout with 15 seconds left in the second period.

“I’m ready for anybody at 170,” Taylor said. “Wherever they can show me the money, that’s where I want to go.”

Former NFL lineman Marcus Jones put his Samsonesque strength to optimum use in his brief confrontation with John Juarez.

Jones (4-2) moved immediately to the clinch and cut Juarez near the left eye early in their heavyweight encounter. After Juarez staggered Jones -- a 6-foot-6 defensive lineman on the Tampa Bay team that won the Super Bowl in 2003 -- the former professional football player lodged an immediate retort. A devastating right-left combination flattened Juarez and brought an abrupt but decisive end to their match just 99 seconds into the first round.

“He kept coming,” said Jones, now half a dozen professional fights into his mixed martial arts endeavor. “He hits like a brick house. He got me a couple of times.”

The 35-year-old Jones has rattled off consecutive victories since his knockout loss to Daniel Perez at a World Fighting Championships show in March. A former first-round draft choice out of the University of North Carolina, Jones spent his entire six-year career with the Buccaneers. The Rob Kahn protégé seems to have transitioned well to MMA.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’m working hard and improving. I know I’m just starting out.”

Meanwhile, Todd Cutler dispatched Jeremy May -- the trash talker from season seven of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series -- and barely broke a sweat in doing so.

Cutler (3-0) kept his perfect record intact, as he swarmed May from the outset. He mounted the Ocala, Fla., native twice before finishing him with punches from the top. Cutler pounded away at his prey, as May (5-6) shuttered amid an endless barrage of strikes and left the referee no choice but to step in on his behalf. The end came 4:07 into round one.

In a one-sided featherweight affair, Gilbert Burgos smashed through Chris Thorne quickly, as he scored with a trip takedown, moved immediately to side mount and landed a crippling elbow that sliced open Thorne’s face. The cage-side doctor entered soon after and, with blood pouring from the wound, judged Thorne to be unfit to continue. Spawned by the Florida-based Real Fighting Championships promotion, Burgos (4-0) remains unbeaten as a professional.

Finally, Ryan Keenan stopped “The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus and American Top Team product Blake Bowman on a volley of first-round ground strikes.

In the final minute of round one, Keenan (3-0) grounded Bowman, secured back control and flattened out the Georgian, leaving him with precious little room to defend. Unanswered strikes against the cage brought an end to the battle 4:29 after it began.
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