The penultimate bout of the Butte Brawl turned out to be the true main event Friday at the Butte Civic Center, as a good, vocal crowd voiced its approval of the night’s fight card.
Though Streets of Butte star Kahl Clark won his main event 125-pound bout in 39 seconds thanks to a guillotine choke hold submission over Spokane’s Soloman Jones, the crowd favorite was 125-pound Ariel Beck, who won her bout in convincing fashion.
The semi-main event saw Chrystina Vinson of Caldwell, Idaho, challenge Beck of the Streets of Butte in a mixed martial arts battle. Much to the delight of the crowd, Beck came out swinging – and connecting. Vinson’s efforts to tie up and take the bout to the canvas only delayed the inevitable. Beck pulled her opponent back to her feet and resumed the punishment via fists.
When the fight finally reached the canvas, Beck unleashed a painful barrage of punches to the head that resulted in a first-round stoppage due to strikes and a call to the ringside doctor for Vinson.
Clark finished up with the speedy dispatch of Jones, putting a quick end to the 12-fight card.
One of the more entertaining bouts of the evening came just before Beck’s, as Butte Lion’s Pit fighter Zach Anderson came up against Spokane’s Cleo Anderson in a 170-pound battle. With good action in an excellent first round, Zach Anderson connected on a couple of combinations, though his opponent only smiled. The Butte fighter delivered plenty more shots to the face of his opponent in the second round, but the Spokane mixed martial artist preceded the round-ending bell with a solid knee to the nose. The third round saw Cleo Anderson ask for more, and Zach Anderson delivered. In the end, Cleo’s personality couldn’t rescue him from a unanimous judges’ decision in the Butte fighter’s favor.
The first bout of the evening pitted Butte’s Andrew Huckabee against James Casey of Sheridan in a 155-pound battle. Casey landed a few jabs before Huckabee took him to the canvas. Casey worked his way to the top guard, but Huckabee won the first round after another big slam to the mat. Casey was unable to answer the bell for the second round, losing his lunch on the canvas.
The second MMA matchup of the card saw the shortest fight of the evening, as Gage Saunders of Great Falls secured an arm bar submission of Helena Hel-Town’s Kyle Nay in 32 seconds. Nay, a former state champion wrestler for Helena Capital, scored a single-leg takedown, but was careless with his arm and the match was over shortly after it began.
A late addition saved the third bout, as Matt Englewood stepped in on a day’s notice against Jake Fournier of Butte at 140 pounds. Englewood absorbed a dozen solid blows, mostly to the head early in the first round, but survived the barrage. The Bozeman fighter regrouped to end the bout 18 seconds into the second round with a guillotine submission.
Andres Castro of Great Falls met Anthony Curtiss of the Butte Lions Pit Butte in the fourth bout at 135 pounds. Solid kicks from both fighters preceded a defensive struggle on the floor, which ended the first round. Curtiss spent much of the second round in the top guard position where he scored some points, then gained the same advantage in the third. With less than a minute remaining in the fight Curtiss picked his opponent off the mat and slammed him down. He then stood and challenged Castro to join him on his feet. The Great Falls fighter chose to remain on the canvas, where Curtiss again pounced on him and walked away with a unanimous decision.
Ryan Hollingsworth of Missoula opened his 145-pound matchup with Butte’s Steven Ellis with a solid kick to the face. Ellis gained the advantage a couple times, but Hollingsworth emerged unscathed. Fighting from the bottom guard, Hollingsworth finally worked the action to his advantage, as he applied a figure-4 leg lock to end the bout at 3:25 of the first round via triangle choke submission.
The last bout before intermission was a 170-pound kickboxing matchup between Monty Klistoff of Anaconda and Butte’s Niklas Folke. The Mining City fighter enjoyed a significant reach advantage, which he successfully exploited all through the first round. The second saw Folke score several solid boots to the head, as Klistoff was unable to get close enough to do any damage. Klistoff gave a good effort at the start of the third, but Folke was too far ahead on points and won by unanimous decision.
Action resumed when Butte’s Wes Ogan rallied his home crowd with a solid victory over Josh Williams of Polson. The bout began with a flurry of action followed by a burst of Ogan punches that landed squarely on Williams’ face. Williams managed a takedown, but Ogan soon took charge and ended the match with a sharp guillotine choke hold.
Behind the most crowd noise of the night to that point, an all-Butte 140-pound battle between freestyle fighter Bryce Baltezar and Lion’s Pit’s Bobby Moreno had all the trappings of a big fight. Baltezar opened with some flashy kicks, but failed to connect as Moreno kept his distance. When the fighters went to the canvas in the first period, Moreno was able to score some body blows. The second round saw more of the same, though when they went to the floor, Moreno finished the contest with a submission due to strikes when Baltezar tapped out.
The biggest boys of the night took the cage as 205-pounders Lincoln Dziekonski of Hel-Town and Gary Brackett of Butte battled for the Fightforce light heavyweight title. The two came out strong, but slowed considerably in the waning minutes of the first round. After a restart due to inactivity, Brackett caught Dziekonski with a right roundhouse to the jaw that might have ended the bout had the bell not tolled. Dziekonsky rallied in the second to force a stoppage due to strikes and took the belt.