On Saturday, November 30th, 2019 BTC 8 took place at the Scotiabank Arena in Niagara Falls, Ontario. With the main event a Super Lightweight (165lbs) title fight between Welterweight champion, Scott Hudson versus Lightweight champion, Jared Askew.
The card was stacked head to toe with exciting action fights and promising regional prospects. Now, let’s talk about fights.
Cody Kent versus Samuel Giguere
The opening bout between Featherweights, Cody Kent (0-2) and Samuel Giguere (0-2) looked to be a showcase for Kent and a match made to get him his first W. Giguere came out strong in the first round, but Kent was able to make space and circle out his left, denying Giguere of any good work. From watching Kent, I felt that he showed tremendous promise in his striking, he showed a good understanding of the distance between Giguere and by applying feint he was able to slow his man down.
Still, to Giguere’s own fault his initial dynamic start quickly faded as Kent’s lead leg side kicks, low kicks, and constant circling denied him any meaningful work. Kent also showed a good understanding of the takedown threat as he was able to defuse some takedowns and quickly breakaway. A good all-around showcase for Kent who earned the win.
My score: 30-27 Kent
Judges: 30-27 Kent
Teshay Gouthro versus Ariel Arellano Zuniga
In our second bout Bantamweights Teshay Gourtho (2-0) and Ariel Zuniga (1-0) put on an entertaining scrap and Gouthro outperformed Zuniga in a surprising size disparity. However, from the get-go, Gouthro proved to be the better athlete of the matchup. His footwork consisted of constant circling, striking, and circling out again. While simple it stumped the plodding Zuniga and he struggled to keep the smaller Gouthro on the fence. Gouthro did well early in the first round by stabbing at Zuniga’s legs and later timing takedowns off the big swings from Zuniga.
After the first round, it was clear the Evolucao trained Zuniga needed to up the pressure and kick out Gouthro’s legs. To my surprise, Zuniga came out with plenty of low kicks and pressure, but his inability to cut the cage reduced any opportunities to slow the nimble Gouthro, widening the striking disparity. All in all, Gouthro showed tremendous promise even against a bigger opponent. A weight class move would be nice but he needs to learn to strike off the backfoot if he were to stay in this weight class. For Zuniga, going back to the gym and working on applying his low kicks and cage cutting will do great things for his future.
My score: 30-27 Gouthro
Judges: 30-27 Gouthro
David Tharme versus Bobby Poulter
A Welterweight fight between David Tharme (0-0) and Bobby Poulter (0-0) turned out to be a lesson in athleticism as Poulter dominated Tharme on the ground on the way to a second-round RNC. Tharme was marked as the better striker, but we got to see very little of it, apart from an early charge from Tharme, Poulter was able to get the better of the kick exchanges and shot into a double-leg takedown early.
From there, Poulter easily took Tharme down, moved into a crucifix and smashed Tharme with elbows. Tharme seems to lack the confidence in getting up to his feet and furthermore, he lacks wrestling takedown that would otherwise be drilled into a better fighter. In the second, after giving up a takedown instantly, Tharme was smashed and turned onto his stomach giving up the RNC easily.
Result: 2nd round SUB. RNC.
Jasmine Jasudavicius versus Christina Ricker
Up next was a fight between two Women’s Strawweights Jasmine Jasudavicius (2-0) and Christina Ricker (2-2). To my own regret, I turned on my camera to capture some action but within the opening stanza of action, the fight was already over. However, from what I could gather Jasudavicius took the opening opportunity to smash into the clinch with Ricker.
Ricker seemingly had little knowledge of clinch as Jasudavicius quickly broke her posture down and kneed her in the stomach for the quick finish. Not much to glean from this performance as it finished quickly but Ricker needs to improve her posture in the clinch quickly or many more fights will end the same.
Result: 1st round TKO.
Michal Mokry versus Matt Speciale
For this Lightweight fight, I had come to BTC with the knowledge of Matt Speciale’s (3-0) style and talent in mind. His opponent Michal Mokry (6-7), felt like a stepping stone for Speciale to show off his talent. Coming from the Bazooka kickboxing system, Speciale came out looking for low kicks into three to four-punch combinations. Mokry clearly understood that a fight against the touted kickboxer Speciale would be difficult to win so he worked quickly to get the takedown and keep Speciale on the fence.
After some takedown attempts and swapping positions on the clinch, it was clear that Mokry was out of his depth on the feet. Speciale kicked out his legs whenever he put pressure on his lead leg and had a field day drilling combinations on his man. However, I felt that Speciale will need to work on his defensive guard in the future. Mokry had success simply throwing punches at Speciale because Speciale would put up double-forearm guards for every strike. While against the lesser opponent Mokry, this could spell serious defensive issues for Speciale in the future.
In the second, Speciale landed a lovely cutting elbow on Mokry and cut him down to the bone. The fight was called off in between the second and third rounds.
Result: 2nd round TKO (doctor’s stoppage).
Tyler Wilson versus Matthew DiMarcantonio
In this fight between Featherweight Matthew DiMarcantonio (11-8) and prior Bantamweight, Tyler Wilson (6-2), there was a clear experience and athletic disparity. The talk about Wilson was that of a finisher, he had three submission wins and two wins by knockout. However, he showed a severe inability to make dynamic decisions in the fight. He opted to hang out in a mid-range kickboxing affair, getting his legs kicked out from underneath him and rushing into running combinations. Furthermore, he looked purely out of place after getting rocked by a flying knee from DiMarcantonio.
The fight quickly fell into a pattern of one or two-shot striking exchanges ending with DiMarcantonio simply outmuscling the smaller fighter to the ground. It never felt like DiMarcantonio was in any danger and yet he failed to show an ability to get the finish. A lot of his own striking was smothered by his footwork, where he ran into his right hands and Wilson was able to clinch up with him. This was clearly a showcase fight for DiMarcantonio and it was a shame that he was unable to get the finish.
My score: 30-27 DiMarcantonio
Judges: 30-27 DiMarcantonio
Hamilton Ash versus Adam Assenza
Up next was a Lightweight fight between Hamilton Ash (7-4) and Adam Assenza (10-6). From the start I was impressed with Assenza, he moved in and out, and had a clear understanding of his position within the cage. However, Ash clearly had heavier hands and was willing to move forward, even though he lacked the defense to keep his face and body intact. The fight fell into a game of cat and mouse where Ash would absorb a number of strikes, rush forward winging a right hand and missing. Assenza would then circle underneath the right hand and circle back to the center of the cage.
Assenza was able to hurt Ash on multiple occasions, one in which he circled underneath Ash’s right hand and landed a flush right hook. It was a great showing from Assenza and I’m excited to see him fight again. The only gripe I have with his style is that he tends to melt once his back touches the cage, while it happened rarely against Ash, against better fighters it might not go his way. Therefore, some concerted efforts to move his head in the pocket and circling out later could go a long way for the promising fighter.
My score: 30-27 Assenza
Judges: 30-27 Assenza
Lupita Godinez versus Lindsay Garbatt
In our co-main event of the night, a Strawweight Championship fight took place between Lupita Godinez (3-0) and Lindsay Garbatt (6-5). From the ruckus of the crowd, Garbatt was the favorite to win. However, she quickly became the only fighter from the red corner to lose this night. At the start of the bell, Godinez came looking to move under Garbatt’s jab and land three punches combinations. While Godinez looked stronger and definitely hit harder, Garbatt’s jab bloodied Godinez’s nose up plenty. However, by the second half of the first round, Godinez would find the key to success.
Taking Garbatt down was especially easy for Godinez being the stronger fighter, but Garbatt did little to nothing to get up after recovering guard. For the next two and a half rounds, Godinez would take Garbatt down, sit in her guard and throw punches. Garbatt simply had no idea how to get off the floor and onto all fours or put her back on the fence. Therefore, Godinez was able to ride away with an easy three-round decision.
My score: 30-27 Godinez
Judges: 30-27 Godinez
Scott Hudson versus Jared Askew
The main event of the evening was a five-round fight for the Super Lightweight championship between Scott Hudson (10-5-1) and Jared Askew (11-5). At the start of the fight, it looked rather even with Askew throwing dozens of teeps and round kicks to the body of Hudson. Hudson struggled to get the takedowns early as Askew defended well in the clinch, but could also have been some shorts grabbing from Askew. However, after getting the initial takedown, Hudson became the man of the hour.
In the rest of the fight, it can be described as a wrestling class moving from pillar to pillar as Hudson chased Askew down and quickly bundled him to the ground. In the second round, Hudson was able to cut Askew while in side control and for the rest of the fight he held Askew down against the fence, mostly in side control. While I would gripe that Hudson could have done more damage during his control time, Askew did a great job breaking Hudson’s posture down and tying up his wrists. For the main event it was satisfying seeing a wrestler who could go five hard rounds, where Askew clearly faded after the third. I don’t have much else to say about Hudson apart from some more desired aggression on the ground, but he dominated all five rounds.
My score: 50-45 Hudson
Judges: 50-45 Hudson
Overall, it was a tremendous night of fights at BTC 8. While there was some favorable matchmaking which led to the 8-1 winning record for the red corner, it hardly spoiled the fun. I am excited to see how certain prospects shake out, for Niagara Top Team (a fair majority of red corner fighters trained at ) it was a good night. They showed that they have a fair stable of regional talent and I would like to see them tested at the next BTC.