Fighters take to Civic Center cage
A dozen bouts were featured on the card of the latest Butte Brawl, held Friday night at the Butte Civic Center.
Former Montana Grizzly linebacker Andy Petek came away with a decision victory in the heavyweight main event, while Helena’s Stuart Langdon outlasted Joey Murray of the Streets of Butte in the co-main event that gave Langdon the title belt in the formerly vacant Fightforce Lightweight division.
Since medical issues stopped the fight between Bobby Moreno and Brychan DeMoney, both of Butte, the only other fight in the third and final section saw an exhibition kickboxing match, as Anaconda’s Chelsea Norton took on Butte’s Ariel Ann Beck, fighting from the Streets of Butte at 135 pounds.
Beck put her quickness on the line against Norton’s powerful punch, and came away with the technical knockout win. Beck won the first round, floating in and out to land combinations and score a standing eight count, though Norton earned respect after connecting with a jaw-rattling right.
Norton was forced into another eight count seconds into the second round, and less than a minute later she took a third. Beck seemed content to simply punch away, and left the overmatched Norton behind as the referee called the bout. Beck made a case to be called the best technical fighter of the night, and improved her record to 2-0.
Moreno and DeMoney looked poised to offer the crowd a good battle at 150 pounds, but an injury to DeMoney’s eye a minute into the fight left the ringside doctor inclined to call the bout for safety reasons, though the promoter promised the two a rematch.
In the co-main event, Butte’s Joey Murray had his hands full with Helena blackbelt Stuart Langdon, whose quickness and ability to shoot nearly unhindered takedowns made a long night for the Butte fighter. Murray saw some early success with kicks to Langdon’s head, but was taken down twice in the first period.
Murray displayed good defense from the bottom guard, leading the referee to stand the fighters up, but he couldn’t generate enough damage on his feet to sway the judges to his corner. His lack of counters for Langdon’s takedowns also figured into the final unanimous decision in the 155-pound match.
Coming into the ring with an 0-3 record, Oregon’s Damion “The Omen” Martindale didn’t seem to compare favorably with Petek, who appeared trim and fit for the heavyweight division. And while he may have hoped for a quick victory, Petek found himself unable to seriously hurt his opponent. Martindale absorbed dozens and dozens of punches to his ribs – in addition to three cruising knees to the side – and kept coming back for more.
The Oregon fighter quickly realized how hard Petek punches, and his strategy of tying up to avoid the blows worked well, though it wasn’t particularly interesting to the crowd. Petek came away with a unanimous decision and upped his MMA record to 3-0.
The first fight of the night was a 125-pound kickboxing bout between Butte’s Josh Gregory and Dylin Drivdahl of Helena. In the ring debut for both, the fighters were charged up coming out of their corners, but quickly settled into a more sustainable pace. Gregory displayed effective kicks to the body in the first and second rounds, though Drivdahl landed a stinging right to end the second round. Drivdahl unleashed a solid combination midway through the third round that resulted in a standing eight-count for Gregory, and the Helena fighter claimed a split decision.
The second bout was the first mixed martial arts battle, pitting Butte’s Niklas Folke against Nick White of Wyoming in a 170-pound matchup. Folke wasted little time on his feet, taking the shorter Wyoming fighter quickly to his back. White made the mistake of giving Folke an opening from his back, and Folke ended the scuffle 75 seconds in with a rear naked choke submission.
A sizable and vociferous contingent from Anaconda roared as Cliff Kulaski entered the cage to the tune of Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road,” aiming to take on Butte freestyle fighter Pat Macedo in a 150-pound MMA match. Macedo went on the offensive first with a kick, but Kulaski caught his leg and turned it into a hard slam of a takedown. Kulaski earned a second hard slam to the mat, but was again unable to hurt Macedo on the deck.
The third time was a charm, as Kulaski drove a double-leg takedown into the cage, then worked his way behind for the rear naked choke, which ended the bout at the 2:46 mark of the first round, much to the delight of the Copperhead faithful.
The final fight of the first section saw Butte’s Calvin Odom earn a victory by strikes over John Ducemature of Great Falls in a 185-pound MMA bout. Odom’s first attempt at takedown was countered by a front headlock from Ducemature, but the second ended with the Great Falls fighter on his back. Ducemature tried to cover up, but Odom patiently worked the body until the Great Falls fighter turned over. Odom pummeled him until defenses were gone and the referee stopped the fight just short of the two-minute mark.
The big boys brought the card back to action after the first intermission, as Anaconda’s Chris Latray took on Martin Harris of Wyoming in a heavyweight bout. Latray took Harris to the mat with an early single leg takedown but was unable to inflict damage from the top guard. Harris kept his feet a bit longer in the second, where he was able to land a few effective jabs with a marked reach advantage. Latray scored a pair of takedowns and a few punches in the third period to win a unanimous decision, 10-9 on all cards.
A 160-pound bout between Wes Ogan of the Streets of Butte and Bozeman’s Mark Johnson didn’t make it out of the first round, as Johnson applied a rear naked choke to end the contest at the 2:47 mark. Ogan managed an early takedown, but Johnson reversed to the top guard and when Ogan made a move for his feet, the submission came into play.
Bozeman’s Cole Gebhardt left little room for doubt about the outcome of his 170-pound matchup with Blake Green of Great Falls. Gebhardt ran his MMA record to 2-0 just 90 seconds into the match after he took Green to the canvas and left his opponent defenseless against a fierce barrage of punches to the head.
Pitting two experienced, undefeated fighters against each other, the final bout of the second section saw Anaconda’s Jered Lunceford put his 4-0 record on the line against Bozeman’s Joe Boerschig, who entered the cage with a 7-0 ledger. The 185-pounders traded punches effectively in the early going, though Lunceford elected to take the fight to the floor.
Boerschig proved to be a wiry wrestler, reversing the positions on the ground before Lunceford escaped to return to the boxing format that eventually proved to be his downfall. Boerschig landed three sharp blows to Lunceford’s head, leaving him doubled over against the cage, where the referee stopped the fight at 3:25 of the first round.