April began with no pranks but 10 MMA fights for fans as 2300 Arena played host to CFFC 94 in Philadelphia.
Of those 10 fights, six ended in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 60 percent on the evening.
Since last month, CFFC has now seen 30 MMA bouts throughout three cards, 12 of which have ended in stoppages, resulting in a 40 percent stoppage rate for the promotion.
Dating back to Jan. 15, Armchair MMA has now seen 251 bouts, with 137 ending in stoppages, resulting in a 54.8 percent stoppage rate all told.
The Fights Themselves:
Mariah Castro vs. Natalie Schlesinger:
The card began with an amateur catchweight at 110 lbs. as Mariah Castro (3-2) battled Natalie Schlesinger (5-3).
These two fighters wasted little time, as they boxed each other in the opening minute, with each landing crisp punches against one another.
Inside the opening round’s last minute, Schlesinger smartly changed things up offensively, scoring the first takedown of the evening and accumulating some brief ground control time from the top position, giving her the first round.
Schlesinger began the second round landing her second takedown in as many periods on Castro, scoring more ground control time from top position, advancing on it to try to lock in a head-and-arm triangle choke.
Although Castro attempted to reverse the script on Schlesinger in round two, the latter was able to overcome this to take the second round.
Castro started round three with some stand-up boxing, but as in the first two rounds, Schlesinger was able to score a takedown and move to top position to attempt to lock in a head-and-arm triangle choke.
After nine minutes and a late surge from Schlesinger with ground and pound shots, the bout went to the scorecards, with Schlesinger taking it (unanimous decision: 30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Johnny Santos vs. Manny Morales:
Your second fight of 10 Thursday night took place at a contracted amateur catchweight of 190 lbs. as Johnny Santos (5-1), who came in as an undefeated prospect at 5-0, fought Manny Morales (5-3).
Manny Morales was the crisper fighter in the opening round, partly due to Santos entering this fight after a layoff of a year-plus.
Morales repeatedly scored with leg kicks in the second round until Santos stunned him with punches, making him bleed in the process.
From there, Santos accumulated ride time and nearly finished him with a submission but Morales was able to fight it off.
This one went to the scorecards after three rounds, with Manny Morales taking the fight by split decision, despite Johnny Santos’ hand being the one raised in error.
James Lyons vs. Cody Zappone:
From there, the pros took it the rest of the way, beginning with the co-featured prelim at Featherweight between James Lyons (1-0), who was making his pro debut here, and Cody Zappone (0-2), who had already fought in the pro ranks once before.
Zappone came in 6 lbs. over the Featherweight nontitle allowance here (152 lbs.)
James Lyons repeatedly scored with punches to Zappone’s jaw in round one, eventually knocking him down and going to full mount, scoring with vicious ground and pound shots to end the fight with a first-round knockout.
Joe Tizzano vs. Malek Mahmoud:
Featherweights took to the cage again as the undercard closed with this contest between Joe Tizzano (3-1) and Malek Mahmoud (1-2), in his first MMA appearance in three years.
Prior to that three-year hiatus, Mahmoud ended three of his amateur opponents inside the opening round’s opening minute, ranging from seven to 35 seconds in length.
Mahmoud’s ring rust showed in the opening round as Tizzano clipped him with several big shots, forcing him to breathe through his mouth.
Although Tizzano attempted a pair of takedowns in the opening two rounds, Mahmoud fought both of them off, his saving grace.
Both men had their moments in round two, with Tizzano fighting out of a Mahmoud guillotine choke and scoring with a vicious spinning elbow.
Tizzano scored with some serious punches in round three before ending this one with a rear-naked choke in round three from the back mount in a serious contender for fight of the year in MMA.
Tommy Majeski vs. Jonathan Piersma:
The main card began with this Welterweight attraction between Tommy Majeski (2-1) and Jonathan Piersma (2-0).
Right from the command to fight, Majeski landed a takedown but couldn’t advance on it due to Piersma clasping his hands.
Piersma then reversed to top position, trying a submission of his own before Majeski fought it off.
Majeski then landed ground and pound shots on Piersma in an attempt to soften him up for a possible submission, to no avail, transitioning to back mount and top position, grappling with Piersma as round one ended.
Piersma failed to connect on a high kick to start round two, giving Majeski the opening he needed to take him down.
This would prove to be a critical mistake as Piersma cranked in an omoplata choke to Majeski’s shoulder, forcing him to tap out for the third stoppage in a row.
Frank Wells vs. Tim Cuamba:
Your second main card fight at CFFC 94 took place at Featherweight as Frank Wells (1-1) took on Tim Cuamba (2-0).
The first round was a boxing match with both men switching stances and trading strikes.
Frank Wells proved to be the aggressor in the opening round, repeatedly scoring with leg kicks to Cuamba’s knee.
Although Cuamba managed to catch a Wells kick and scored a takedown, Wells was able to fight it off and get back to the feet, landing a lead leg kick before Cuamba slammed Wells to the ground with a double-leg takedown.
Tim Cuamba remained in top position momentarily in round two before Wells got up, with Cuamba landing another takedown, his second of the second round, again taking top position, attempting to reach Wells’ wrist before going to back mount.
The action was slowed in the third and final round as referee Bill Bookwalter warned Wells and Cuamba that they were in a neutral position, threatening to stand them back up if the action did not push forward.
A late surge by Wells was countered by an attempted takedown by Cuamba as the fight drew to a close.
For the first time on the main card, a fight went to the main card after 15 minutes of action, with a unanimous decision going in favor of Tim Cuamba, whose performance in round two was impressive enough to give him the fight.
Earl Small vs. Adam Wamsley:
The main card reached its midpoint here with this Middleweight fixture between Earl Small (4-0) and Adam Wamsley (2-2).
This turned into a grappling bout early in the first round, with Earl Smalls and Adam Wamsley each attempting unsuccessful submission holds.
Small executed some stand-up grappling as he tried to land a slam on Wamsley before the latter was able to fight it off, scoring with a few punches at the end of the first round.
Round two didn’t last long as Small locked in a submission (rear-naked choke), forcing Wamsley to tap out for the fourth stoppage of the night.
Solomon Renfro vs. Nick Alley:
Your last fight before the co-main event on Thursday saw Welterweight action as Solomon Renfro (7-1) fought Nick Alley (7-4).
The action was slowed in round one as Alley absorbed a groin shot from Renfro.
Renfro later stunned Alley, dropping and nearly finishing him in the process, with Renfro eventually taking top position and scoring with serious ground and pound shots to land the knockout for the fifth stoppage out of eight to begin the night.
Khetag Pliev vs. Devin Goodale:
A contracted catchweight at 180 lbs. took place in your co-main event as Khetag Pliev (5-2) fought Devin Goodale (4-0).
This was a stand-up fight in the first round, with Pliev taking control of the bout with grappling on the feet.
Goodale slipped late in the round, with Pliev being unable to capitalize on it.
In round two, Pliev opened up a cut on Goodale with a punch with the fight moving to the clinch.
From there, the fighters threw knee strikes repeatedly in the clinch and the bout looked to be headed for a third and final round, until the corner of Pliev threw in the towel as their fighter could not continue after his finger fell off—an injury that occurred during the opening round.
It was mentioned on the broadcast that Pliev’s missing finger was inside the glove.
The fight was scored a second-round TKO for Devin Goodale for the sixth stoppage of the card.
CFFC Welterweight Championship:
[C] Bassil Hafez vs. Evan Cutts:
CFFC 94’s final act was the fight for the Welterweight championship between Bassil Hafez (6-3-1) and Evan Cutts (12-4).
Hafez was able to chain submission holds in the first round, leading to Cutts fighting it off and return to the feet.
The champion took the first round due to his submission offense.