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CageSport MMA "Freedom Fighters" - June 7th, 2008

Emerald Queen Casino - Tacoma, Washington

Review and photos by Mike Renouard

Mixed martial arts made a successful debut inside the I-5 Showroom at the Emerald Queen Casino this past Saturday as promoter Brian Halquist and matchmaker Dennis Hallman put on the first show of the new CageSport MMA fighting series. A capacity crowd filled the showroom for the 3 pro &  7 amateur bouts (including 2 title fights) w/ athletes representing such illustrious fight teams as Victory Athletics, White Buffalo Warriors, West Coast Fight Team/Salaverry MMA, Sikjitsu, United Fight Team, Ninjitsu, Roughhouse Gym, Twin Dragons, Warrior's Den, & NW Muay Thai.


The main event featured Ex-IFL Tigershark Bristol Marunde going up against Will Courchaine training with Sikjitsu out of Spokane. Marunde, coming off a hard fought win over Noah Inhofer in April at the Little Creek Casino, ate a punch or two from Courchaine but never looked in serious trouble as the pair tied up in clinch much of the first round before Marunde got the takedown and eventually the victory by working a kimura just seconds before the first round was to end. Courchaine put in a good effort and looks to have fully recovered from a devastating back injury he suffered in the cage in 2006 in Oregon that required major surgery.


Kyle Keeney returned to the cage after a 2 year hiatus and showed little signs of ring rust as he gave Mike "300" Hayes a fair amount of trouble in a Heavyweight fight that went the distance. Hayes was the better on the feet and was consistent in landing solid leg kicks throughout but a number of times he did this, Keeney was able to neutralize further punishment by grabbing the leg and either getting the takedown or getting Hayes up against the cage in clinch. Once the fight went to the ground, Hayes was able to use his size to reverse and gain mount much of the time but wasn't able to do much with the position. At bouts end, the judges gave it unanimously to Hayes.


In the only other pro bout of the evening, Victory Athletic's Matt Lininger came out hard and quickly caught Rick Wright with a shot that put Wright on the canvas. Lininger then made no mistake in quickly finishing off Wright with punches that caused Ref Anthony Hamlett to stop the fight. Lininger, in a show of good sportsmanship, grabbed the microphone and asked the crowd to applaud Wright for his efforts in training and coming from Montana to take the fight.


Of the seven amateur bouts, 2 were title fights with the first being for the FightNorthwest.com Super Lightweight Title. White Buffalo Warrior's Dustin Blankenship took it to the ground consistently throughout his five round war with Jake Beattie where he was able to control position until eventually getting a submission via a North-South choke a minute into the 5th and final round.

The other title fight was for the Featherweight belt and saw Victory Athletic's John "Prince" Albert take down Zach Olsen and quickly work into a fight-ending Rear Naked Choke that gave him the title in under 30 seconds. In other noteworthy bouts, 46 year old Jamie Webber made his MMA debut and scored the quickest victory of the night by coming out slugging & catching Tyler Smith on the button for a 9 sec KO. 


  The next CageSport MMA show will be at the Emerald Queen on August 30th and will feature 10 fights including: Bremerton's Cedric Marks (26-17) vs Anchorage Alaska's Julio Paulino (21-3) in the main event; Tacoma's Miesha Tate (4-1) vs Canada's Theresa Doerksen (1-0) in a woman's bout; and Anchorage's Gary D'Hue (4-4) vs Seattle's Danny "Boy" Bennet (3-5). Visit fightnorthwest.com for more info.


On June 25th, promoter Brian Halquist, in conjunction with Sycuan Ringside Promotions, is putting together a pro boxing card at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills. The main event will feature undefeated NW Lightweight prospect, David "El Torrito" Torres (20-0, 13 KO's, Othello, WA) vs. former IBF Lightweight Champ, Julio Diaz (34-4, 25 KO's) in a 10 round bout to be aired on live on ESPN2.


On Sat, June 28th, Halquist will be back at the casino presenting a number of pro boxing fights for Battle at the Boat 66. Ticket info and more for the Emerald Queen shows can be found at www.emeraldqueen.com.

Bout 1: Lightweight

Dustin Praxedes (0-1, Team Roughhouse / Poulsbo, WA) def Jared Nelson (Debut, Victory Athletics / Ft Lewis, WA) by Guillotine Choke @ 2:45 Rd 1


Bout 2 - Middleweight

"Baby J" James Albert (5-0, Victory Athletics / Puyallup, WA)

def Kelly Lapp by Rear Naked Choke @ 1:03 Rd 1


Bout 3 - Super Heavyweight

Jamie Webber (Debut, Victory Athletics / Elma, WA)

def Tyler Smith (0-1, NW Muay Thai / Tacoma, WA) by KO @ 0:09 Rd 1


Bout 4 - Middleweight

Gary Ullerich (Debut, Victory Athletics / Olympia, WA) def Dan Whitford (1-1, Warrior's Den / Tacoma, WA) by Unanimous Decision (30-28, 30-27, 29-28)


Bout 5 - Super Lightweight Fightnorthwest.com Title

Dustin Blankenship (3-3, White Buffalo Warriors / Seattle, WA) def Jake Beattie (2-0, Victory Athletics / Puyallup, WA) by North-South Choke @ 1:21 Rd 5


Bout 6 - Bantamweight

Jeff Hatton (1-0, Twin Dragons / Aberdeen, WA) def Forrest "Wolverine Seabourn (3-1, Victory Athletics / Yelm, WA) by Rear Naked Choke @ 2:45 Rd 1


Bout 7 - Super Lightweight (PRO BOUT)

"Cousin" Matt Lininger (6-7, Victory Athletics / Yelm, WA) def Rick Wright (1-0, Ninjitsu / Coeur D'Alene, ID) by TKO (Ref Stoppage - Strikes) @ 0:22 Rd 1



Bout 8 - Featherweight USA MMA Title

John "Prince" Albert (6-1, Victory Athletics / Puyallup, WA)

def Zach Olsen (4-1, Wrestling / Tacoma, WA) by Rear naked Choke @ 0:28 Rd 1


Bout 9 - Heavyweight (PRO BOUT)

Mike "300" Hayes (2-0, White Buffalo Warriors / Seattle, WA)

def "Kodiak" Kyle Keeney (5-4, United Fight Team / Lacey, WA

by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-28)


Main Event - Cruiserweight (PRO BOUT)

Bristol Marunde (4-5, West Coast Fight Team/Salaverry MMA / Sequim, WA)

def Will Courchaine (1-1, Sikjitsu / Spokane, WA) by Kimura @ 4:51 Rd 1

The KISW Rock Girls

Cory Devela, Len Bentley, & Dennis Hallman

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