Bullshido Fight Report: RFL - Relentless
By: Paul Romer
Revolution Fight League Relentless - Macon, Georgia - May 17, 2008
Before I get into the action itself, I'll talk a bit about the promotion and the event. The RFL (Revolution Fight League) is an up and coming promotion based out of Louisville, Kentucky. This particular event was promoted by the new company Georgia Bout, LLC which is a partnership between the RFL and Mammoth Sports and Entertainment.
I have to say that this is one of the best produced events I've been to. A lot of time and effort was spent on the details, giving this event a very professional feel. The cage was very impressive. The RFL fights take place in a 26' circular cage. The construction seemed every bit as good as what you see in the UFC and WEC, with plenty of bounce-back from the fence. Each fighter stepped out into smoke and lights on his entrance, getting a chance to really show off as he walked down the ramp. A lot of attention was paid to small details, such as quality printed programs and passes. The venue itself was the Macon, Coliseum which works very well for this type of event, though it was a little big for the RFL's first time in Georgia. Considering the quality of this event, I feel pretty confident that should the RFL choose to return the audience will grow each time. The last detail was the quality of the belt for the championship fight at the end. The belt was every bit the quality you see in the large promotions. A champion of this promotion would certainly be proud to show that off. Ok, enough with the details, and on to the action.
The first three bouts of the evening were amateur fights, and for those of you who aren't familiar with Georgia amateur rules here's a little information. In the state of Georgia amateur fights have these major differences from pro fights:
1) No knees to the head, no elbows at all
2) 3, 3 Minute Rounds
3) Fighters wear 7 oz training style gloves and shin/instep guards
4) A knocked down fighter is issued a 10 count for getting up
5) A fighter not fighting back on his feet may be issued a standing 8 count.
6) Ground and Pound to the head is illegal
Fight 1: Chase DeLong (Rockledge, FL) vs. Jason Glow (Macon, GA) - Am. MMA, 135lbs
The fighters step out, and look to touch gloves. DeLong barely touches Glow's glove and then throws an immediate overhand that drops Glow. The crowd screams with anger and cries of "SUCKERPUNCH" can be heard. Glow is issued a count, but quickly gets up. Glow seems dazed as DeLong comes forward fast with repeated combos. The two exchange with DeLong clearly getting the better of them. Glow tries to shoot in a few times, but is stuffed each time. DeLong pulls guard with a Guillotine attempt, but is unable to finish because he has both arms in. DeLong sweeps Glow then the two stand up. DeLong lands some more hard punches and a solid body kick. Delong slips on a front kick and manages to scramble up. Glow finally lands a takedown with a single leg, and passes to cross-side, but DeLong quickly sweeps him and the bell rings.
My Pick for the Round: DeLong 10-9
Glow seems to have regained some composure at the start of the round as he comes out throwing good combinations and landing some punches. DeLong shoots for a double leg and gets it, but stands back up quickly. Glow lands some more combos and the two exchange with the results being pretty even. Glow decides to shoot for a double leg of his own, but is stuffed. Delong lands some good 1-2 combinations, but Glow catches him with a hard left that visibly shakes DeLong. Glow quickly follows that with a double leg and passes to half-guard. DeLong recovers fullguard, but Glow is clearly in control on top. Glow lands a number of hard body shots (head shots are illegal on the ground in Amateur rules). There are quick transitions to cross-side, half-guard and then to mount with the round ending with Glow still on top.
My Pick for the Round: Glow 10-9
The 3rd round begins with DeLong coming out immediately with a vicious superman punch that rocks Glow. Glow immediately drops for a double-leg and gets it passing quickly to mount. Glow holds the position and then starts to pound on DeLong's chest. The fight is stopped and Glow is warned as his punches start to connect with DeLong's head. The fight is resumed with Glow in the mount position. Glow slips to cross-side then back to mount where he tries to punch the body somemore, but this time gets too close to the head again and the fighters are stood up with a point being taken from Glow for striking the head of an opponent on the ground. DeLong comes out with hardshots and scores a takedown of his own landing in mount. Glow recovers half-guard then rolls to his hands and knees. The two have a hard exchange ending with some good 1-2's by DeLong. The fight ends with a takedown to cross-side by Glow.
My Pick for the Round: Glow, but the point deduction would make it 9-9
My Overall Pick: Draw 29-29
The winner was: Chase DeLong (scores 29-27, 29-27, 29-26)
Fight 2: Dickey Wilson (Valdosta, GA) vs. Sam Grizzle (Athens, GA) - Am. MMA, 205 lbs
The fight starts with Grizzle immediately dropping Wilson with a head kick. Wilson is issued a count, but gets up. Grizzle comes in with a combination and jumps on Wilson's back. Grizzle tries to finish the fight early with a rear naked choke, but Wilson fights out of it and rolls underneath Grizzle giving up mount. Grizzle lands some solid body shots before Wilson manages to roll and land in Grizzle's guard then half-guard. Wilson lands some solid body shots before being swept by Grizzle. Grizzle quickly takes his back again trying to set up the choke. Wilson holds on again and manages to recover guard. The two fighters are stood up just as the bell rings.
My Pick for the Round: Grizzle 10-9
The second round begins with Wilson coming forward and landing some real hard shots on Grizzle. Grizzle manages to land a blast double leg takedown and quickly mounts Wilson again. He lands some hard bodyshots before Wilson rolls and gives up his back. This time Grizzle is successful in holding on to the rear naked choke eliciting the tap.
Winner: Sam Grizzle by Rear Naked Choke - round 2
Fight 3: Payton Owens (Athens, GA) vs. Aaron Hall (Macon, GA) - Am. MMA, 155 lbs
The fight starts with both fighters circling. Hall quickly comes forward and lands some huge combos ending in a body kick putting Owens back on his heels. Owens returns fire landing a solid combination himself. Hall, however, comes back harder and drops Owens with a hard shot. Owens jumps up almost immediately during the count. The fight resumes with Hall landing some more good combos. Owens pushes foward and clinches against the fence. Owens wraps up Hall's legs and scores a takedown. Hall however manages to get loose and locks in a tight anaconda choke. Owens tries for a while to fight it, but is forced to tap eventually.
Winner: Aaron Hall by Anaconda Choke - round 1
This marked the end of the amateur fights for the evening. The professional bouts are all governed by the unified ruleset that everyone knows.
Fight 4: Shawn Snow (Valdosta, GA) vs. Michael Gordon (Rockledge, FL) - Pro MMA, 155 lbs.
The fight begins with both fighters clinching immediately. Gordon scores the takedown and passes to cross-side. Snow quickly recovers half-guard. Snow secures underhooks and uses them to spin around and take Gordon's back. He then wastes no time in sinking in a tight rear naked choke getting the tap in less than a minute.
Winner: Shawn Snow by rear naked choke - round 1
Fight 5: Joey Marimberga (Birmingham, AL) vs. Bryan Goldsby (Macon, GA) - Pro MMA, 135 lbs
Both fighters come forward in what will prove to be the most exciting fight of the evening. The fighters trade leg kicks and jabs for the first part of the round. Goldsby then comes forward with a flurry of punches ending in a hard body kick. After stepping back he comes forward again in another blast. This time Marimberga shoots, but Goldsby stuffs it and lands in cross-side. Goldsby wants nothing to do with the ground and stands back up. The two fighters exchange a lot of punches evenly. Goldsby then lands a solid combination that drops Marimberga. Goldsby jumps on and starts the ground and pound. Marimberga recovers and starts to work off his back. Showing a lot of respect to Marimberga's ground game Goldsby jumps up again. Marimberga secures a good single leg, but Goldsby escapes and jumps into mount. Marimberga recovers guard and eats a few punches before Goldsby stands up again. Goldsby throws more combinations, but Marimberga is covering up well and throwing back. The round ends with Goldsby scrambling out of another single leg attempt by Marimberga.
My Pick for the Round: Goldsby 10-9
Round 2 begins with Goldsy showing a little flash with a jump spinning heel kick that doesn't come close to landing. The two circle and Goldsby drops him with a headkick. Marimberga recovers quickly though and the two stand. At this point Goldsby starts an assault on his body with a combination of hard punches to the ribs. He lands a hard cross and uppercut that visibly stun Marimberga. Goldsby stuffs another takedown, clinches and scores a takedown of his own before standing back up. Marimberga keeps coming forward and trying for the takedowns, but is unsuccessful. The two fight hard and clinch against the fence trying to gain control before Goldbsy breaks apart and steps back. Goldsby continues the work on Marimberga's body with a hard knee to the ribs. Marimberga tries for a single leg, but Goldsby sprawls and hammers him in the ribs again with a knee. Marimberga tries once more for the shot and eats a knee to the face for his trouble. He quickly recovers though. The round ends with one more combination by Goldsby.
My Pick for the Round: Goldsby 10-9
As the third begins Goldsby is looking a little tired from all the punches and kicks he's been throwing. Marimberga shows tremendous heart still coming forward knowing he needs a knockout or submission to win. Goldsby keeps his distance with jabs and leg kicks. Marimberga manages to block and evade a lot though. Goldsby goes back to the body with some hard knees and a front kick. Marimberga hangs tough and throws some combinations of his own trying to wear down Goldsby. Marimberga clinches and lands a solid knee to Goldsby's face before the two break apart and trade. They clinch again, and Goldsby manages a hiptoss and lands in Marimberga's guard. Not wanting to risk submission he jumps up and throws more knees and body kicks. Marimberga is still coming forward even after all the punishment landing some solid leg kicks that visibly hurt Goldsby. Goldsby catches a body kick and throws Marimberga down, but stays up himself. Marimberga comes forward hard trying to end the fight. He lands some more hard leg kicks that almost buckle Goldsby's leg. The bell sounds, and the crowd is going nuts. Both fighters looked great and put on a spectacular fight for the fans.
My Pick for the Round: Goldsby 10-9
My Overall Pick Goldsby 30-27
Winner: Bryan Goldsby (scores: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Fight 6: Lawson McClure (Hilton Head, SC) vs. John Cofer (Atlanta, GA) - Pro MMA, 155 lbs
Both fighters come out swinging for the fences. McClure jumps on Cofer's back. He swings a leg over and tries to lock up an armbar while in midair. He's still holding it as he lands on his back. Cofer manages to pull out of the submission though. The two stand up, and Cofer lands a hard body kick. A clinch follows with both fighters trading knees and punches. Cofer scores a big takedown, slamming McClure to the mat hard. He works some solid ground and pound against the fence before McClure manages to escape and the two stand. The two clinch immediately again and McClure lands a good knee to Cofer's face. Cofer steps back and throws some leg kicks that are mostly checked. Cofer then shoots a beautiful double leg and takes McClure's back where he works some good ground and pound. Once again, McClure manages to escape and stand up. Cofer follows him and scoops him up slamming him hard to the mat again. Cofer gets on McClures back and is comfortable just working the ground and pound until the bell ends the round.
My Pick for the Round: Cofer 10-9
Cofer comes right out and lands hard straight left that rocks McClure. He follows that up with another double leg and slams McClure to the mat hard. The two stand and McClure tries for a single leg but fails. Cofer lands some solid combinations and shoots under McClure's combination to land another takedown. From here he quickly transitions to half-guard then takes his back. He flattens McClure out with a grapevine and tries to sink in a choke. McClure fights it for a while, but after loosening him up with punches Cofer is successful in finishing the choke.
Winner: John Cofer by rear naked choke - round 2
Fight 7: Heath Davis (Albany, GA) vs. Tony Hunter (Macon, GA) - Pro MMA, 185 lbs
Both fighters immediately come forward with Davis landing a hard left hook. Hunter looks unfazed though and puts Davis against the fence where he quickly scores a double leg takedown. In the process, though, he lands in a tight guillotine. He fights for a bit, but Davis gets the tap in under 30 seconds.
Winner: Heath Davis by guillotine choke - round 1
Fight 8: Robert "CT" Turner (Louisville, KY) vs. Neal Hayes (Atlanta, GA) - Pro MMA, 205 lbs
Hayes comes out throwing kicks but missing. Turner responds with a flurry of wild punches. He catches Hayes in a clinch and picks him up slamming him down hard and landing in cross-side. Hayes locks up what seems to be a good armbar. Turner fights it, but Hayes is holding on the whole way going from his back, to belly down to top, to belly down again. Hayes is never quite able to finish though and Turner pulls out and lands in cross-side again. Hayes manages to scramble loose and stand. Turner scores another takedown, and Hayes tries to lock up a triangle then another armbar. Turner manages to avoid submission again and passes to cross-side where he lands some good ground and pound. Hayes rolls to his knees and Turner takes his back where he pounds him some more. Hayes flattens out to his side and eats more punches. The ref is forced to step in and save Hayes from any further damage.
Winner: Robert "CT" Turner by TKO - round 1
Fight 9: Kamrin Naville (Valdosta, GA) vs. Ben Pierce (Macon, GA) - Pro MMA, 155 lbs
It should be noted that Kamrin Naville did not make weight for this fight. He weighed in at 159 lbs.
The fight begins with Naville immediately coming forward in a blast throwing a lot of punches. Pierce weathers the storm and secures a takedown and takes Naville's back. Naville manages to roll into Pierce's half-guard where he works some solid ground and pound before Pierce recovers full guard. Pierce seems comfortable fighting off his back as he lands some solid elbows from the bottom. Naville returns the favor with some elbows of his own. The action slows and the ref stands the fighters up. Both fighters rush forward slugging it out in a violent flurry of punches. Pierce fails a double leg and winds up on his back. He quickly manages to sweep Naville and winds up in his half-guard. Naville rolls up to his hands and knees and stands up. He wastes no time in securing a body lock and a trip putting Pierce on his back again. He transitions to half-guard then mount right at the end of the round.
My Pick for the Round: Naville 10-9
Round 2 begins with Pierce coming out fast landing a flying knee. Naville responds with a superman punch that connects. He quickly follows that with a body lock and trip. Naville lands in Pierce's full guard. Pierce goes to work trying to secure a triangle, but Naville manages to pass to cross-side. From there he works some hard knees to the body. He transitions to mount, but Pierce recovers half guard quickly. Naville locks up an arm triangle, but is unable to finish while in half-guard. Pierce fights hard to get out, but Naville has it in too tight. Eventually Naville passes to cross-side with the choke still locked in forcing Pierce to tap.
Winner: Kamrin Naville by arm triangle - round 2
Main Event and Title Fight: Stephen Ledbetter (Athens, GA) vs. Johnny Bedford (Fort Worth, TX) - Pro MMA 145 lbs
The fight begins with the fighters feeling each other out and trading some good punches. Bedford lands some hard shots on Ledbetter before the two clinch against the fence. Both fighters trade some good knees and body shots before breaking apart. They quickly clinch again and Bedford secures a body lock and takedown landing in Ledbetter's Guard. Ledbetter climbs to high guard trying to set up a triangle. He manages to push one of Bedford's arms out getting closer. With the triangle almost locked in Bedford stands up hoisting Ledbetter high into the air. Bedford slams hims back to the mat hard, but Ledbetter holds on and sinks the triangle in completely. From here it's only a matter of time, and Bedford taps. Stephen Ledbetter walks away the RFL Featherweight Champion.
Winner: Stephen Ledbetter by triangle choke
Post Fight Press Conference
Stephen Ledbetter - He thanked Johnny Bedford for taking the fight on short notice (Bedford only had 2 weeks as the previous opponent was injured). He explained that it was tough because he was training to fight a tall unorthodox striker and he didn't have a lot of information on Bedford other than that he was a good wrestler. His gameplan was simply to work hard for a submission, probably off his back. He said even though he's under contract with the WEC he'd definitely be interested in a rematch sometime because he feels Bedford deserves a chance to train properly for the fight.
Johnny Bedford - It turns out that Bedford's real record is 14-4-1 (not the 5-4-1 we thought). There were some small shows that haven't been listed in the major databases yet. He felt he came out and did well on his feet, but the wrestler came out in him and he forced the take down where he got caught. He was gracious in defeat and said he had to take this fight because of Stephen's notoriety. It was a good chance to help his career. He is also very interested in a rematch.
Kamrin Naville - When asked about not making weight he said that he was advised by his "elders" to keep drinking lots of water up to the day of weigh-ins. Consequently he was unable to cut all the water weight he was carrying. He said he weighed himself before driving to Macon and he was 158. He thought he'd be able to lose the 2 more required when he got to Macon, but stepped on the scale at 159. He also said he was concerned about Ben Pierce's guard because Pierce is very good off his back, and he had troubles in the past in people's guard. He spent the last 10 days working with a trainer specifically on dealing with the guard.
Ben Pierce - He said Naville was a game opponent who had a solid gameplan that he executed well. Pierce offered no excuses in saying "He did what I thought he was going to do better than I thought he was going to do it."
All the fighters interviewed (Joey Marimberga and Bryan Goldsby were present as well) were very impressed with the event. They all thought it was well organized and classy. When asked, the RFL said they planned on continuing to tour the southeast and Georgia especially.
Post Fight Thoughts
This was a tremendous event. All of the fights were exciting and well-matched. The only possible negative I can say is that the crowd was a bit small for the size of the venue. The crowd that was there was fantastic though. They were energetic and knowledgeable. I feel confident that as the RFL continues to grow their reputation will lead to bigger crowds. Everyone I spoke to, fighter and fan alike were very happy with the event.
I would also like to thank the RFL, Georgia Bout, LLC and Mammoth Sports and Entertainment for providing me with the press passes that allowed me to cover the action of this fight so well. I look forward to future RFL events and wish them all the best of luck in the future.