By Sean Eamon
The fight card for the Smelter City Scrap promised to be one filled with hard-hitting finishes and the fighters delivered Saturday.
The night ended with five straight fights where Anaconda competitors ended their bout in the first round with either a knockout or a submission choke. Anaconda fighters ended up going 8-3 on the night. Butte fighters were in three of the matchups and went 1-2 with mostly strong showings.
The card was produced by Fightforce MMA and saw the Legion Stadium in Anaconda filled about three-quarters with another large crowd on the baseball infield at reserved tables.
The main event saw Eric “The Hammer” Hempstead take out Great Falls’ Travis Martin after a little over a minute of action. The win helped put Hempstead at 9-0 in his semiprofessional career, but the fight wasn’t without its challenges.
Martin took the ring and at the opening bell posed in a left-handed fighting stance. Hempstead went in not knowing much about Martin, included that the fighter was a lefty, which tends to make everything a little backwards for a right-hander.
Great fighters have that ability to think on their feet and that’s what Hempstead did. He put Martin up against the cage and ended the fight with a big left hook that saw the Great Falls fighter stumble, then fall on his rear end clearly knocked out.
The Anaconda giant waited nine years to fight in front of a hometown crowd and wasn’t going to let anything get in his way Saturday.
“When I was outside of his jab, I noticed he had his hand further out,” Hempstead said. “I saw there was an opening for a left hook. That left hook was working like a dream.”
Hempstead has ended most of his fights with right hands, but the left hook was an undeniable force in this matchup. In nine fights Hempstead now has nine knockouts. Next on tap is a pro bout against Teddy Lopez in Kalispell on Sept. 26.
The fight before that, Anaconda’s Jered Lunceford improved to 2-0 after submitting Great Falls’ Zack Liscumb with a guillotine choke. Lunceford took control of the fight right away by landing a square jab after the opening bell.
“I landed a jab and I saw him loading up on his right hand,” Lunceford said. “I threw a knee to his solar plexus and we went down. We’re here to beat them into the mat so that’s what I did.”
Anaconda’s Monty Klistoff claimed a win at 175 pounds against Jeremy Estey of Canada. Klistoff took to the ring with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” blasting as a friend waved a big American flag.
The entrance to the ring didn’t disappoint as Klistoff earned a knockout in the final seconds of the first round. The two jostled some standing up and Klistoff made a point of showing his stand-up fighting ability.
“I just wanna work on my standup,” Klistoff said after the fight. “I wanted to see how powerful my strikes were.”
Another anticipated fight on the card featured Anaconda heavyweight Chris LaTray against Poplar’s R.J. Loggering. LaTray proved his worth by scoring a takedown as Loggering attempted a kick, then from there ground-and-pounded him from a side position. The fight was called 43 seconds in.
“He’s the Warrior Force champ,” LaTray said of Loggering. “I was really nervous. I visualized this from the beginning. It happened for me.”
The knockout of the night belonged to Marcus Lussy in a 185-pound fight previous to LaTray’s win. Joshua Cole of Bozeman attempted to take Lussy down, as Lussy was kicking, they went to the ground and it ended 14 seconds after the opening bell after a series of powerful shots to the head by the Anaconda wrestler with Cole flat on his back.
“I lost my balance and it turned into a scramble,” Lussy said. “It felt great.”
After the fight, Lussy said he would be happy to finish his MMA career with a 1-1 record. He thanked his family and fans after the match.
Before Lussy’s victory, Canada’s Cody Jerome claimed a second round referee stoppage against Anaconda kickboxer David Stropes. Jerome was consistent with his attack and was one of three Canadians that gave tough battles.
Thomas Allison of Anaconda scored a first round win against Ryan Ware of Great Falls by landing a rear naked choke. Allison showed great composure and used his wrestling ability to take the fight.
“Cool as a cucumber,” Allison said. “That’s what I said I was going to do before the fight, was not panic. That’s what I did.”
Ware nearly landed a guillotine early in the fight, but Allison stuck to his guns and eventually claimed position to deliver the choke hold.
Canadian Lucas Neufeld earned a third round win against Butte’s Brandon Brisbo in what was one of the best fights of the night. Brisbo held position for most of the first round, then Neufeld came out and scored a takedown to win the second round.
The third round saw Neufeld corner Brisbo against the cage and eventually earn a knockout with a ground-and-pound. Brisbo gave a tough fight and will be a Streets of Butte competitor to watch in the future.
Another Anaconda fighter announced his retirement after winning Saturday. Mason Mavrinac took out James Hyder of Sandpoint due to retirement in the corner after the first round.
Mavrinac clearly dominated the first round, scoring a takedown and hitting Hyder with ground-and-pound for the majority of the round. He was a standout wrestler for Anaconda High School during his prep days and learned a lot about MMA working with Lunceford at Goosetown Training Center.
“I realized it’s a whole different sport,” Mavrinac said. “You try to take a shot and you’re going to get punched in the face.”
Mavrinac had one of the first moments to bring the Legion Stadium crowd to their feet when he lifted Hyder and slammed him into the mat. After the fight, Mavrinac said he is 1-0 in MMA. He said it will be his first and last fight, even though fans clearly want more from him.
Another Anaconda heavyweight scored a first round knockout win before that. Daniel Holdaway was able to take out Butte’s Jason Van Tatenhove in the first round with a series of jabs and rights to the head.
In a 130-pound kickboxing match, Johnny Heisdorf outpointed Anaconda’s Sage Spehar with kicks and smart punches.
The night opened up with a nice matchup between Butte’s Andrew Huckabee and Anaconda’s Keelan Rivers. The Butte fighter earned a unanimous decision in what was a very close fight to the end.
After the fights were completed, Hempstead talked about how important the event was to the Goosetown MMA fighters.
“We worked hard for this,” he said. “We wanted to put a good show on for hometown. I think we did.”
Fightforce MMA plans to return to Butte with a Butte Brawl on Dec. 5.
Saturday’s event in Anaconda saw a lot of help from the Streets of Butte. Fighters from that club were judging, timing, refereeing and doing just about everything possible to help the event run without a hitch.
Smelter City Scrap
at Legion Stadium in Anaconda
170 Boxing — Andrew Huckabee, Butte (SOB), def. Keelan Rivers, Anaconda (Goosetown), by unanimous decision.
130 Kickboxing — Johnny Heisdorf, Missoula (North Star), def. Sage Spehar, Anaconda (Goosetown), by unanimous decision.
HVY Boxing — Daniel Holdaway, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. Jason Van Tatenhove, Butte (Lion Pit), by knockout at 1:20 in the first round.
155 MMA — Mason Mavrinac, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. James Hyder, Sandpoint (SMMA), by retirement in corner after the first round.
155 MMA — Lucas Neufeld, Canada (PFA), def. Brandon Brisbo, Butte (SOB), by knockout at 2:56 in the third round.
145 MMA — Thomas Allison, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. Ryan Ware, Great Falls (Freestyle), by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:00 in the first round.
155 Kickboxing — Cody Jerome, Canada (PFA), def. David Stropes, Anaconda (Goosetown), by referee stoppage in the second round.
185 MMA — Marcus Lussy, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. Joshua Cole, Bozeman (Freestyle), by knockout at :14 in the first round.
HVY MMA — Chris LaTray, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. R.J. Loggering, Poplar (Scrap Pack), by knockout at :43 in the first round.
175 MMA — Monty Klistoff, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. Jeremy Estey, Canada (PFA), by knockout at 3:53 in the first round.
185 MMA — Jered Lunceford, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. Zack Liscumb, Great Falls (Freestyle), by submission (guillotine) at 1:16 in the first round.
HVY Boxing — Eric Hempstead, Anaconda (Goosetown), def. Travis Martin, Great Falls (Freestyle), by knockout at 1:22 in the first round. 1 comment