Flood City Fight Night 2 ruled.
Let’s get that one out of the way first.
The seven-fight, all-amateur card delivered from top to bottom, and the crowd inside the 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial clearly agreed.
There’s something special about the buzz of a local MMA event, and the Johnstown faithful did their part to keep the excitement flowing Saturday night.
But, I mean… how could an MMA fan *not* go nuts with these fights?
Flood City Fight Night 2 featured arguably the best knockout in 247 Fighting Championships history. It brought another wild finish that might mark the beginning of a true superstar in the making, too.
As if those two moments weren’t enough, #FCFN2 also provided an insane comeback and wild back-and-forth scraps aplenty.
Let’s get to the goods –– fight by fight –– and I’ll share some unfiltered, behind-the-scenes thoughts on this Flood City Fight Night 2 card.
FIGHT 1: IAN SMITH VS. MARIO TEXIDOR
This was the rare “blue corner vs. blue corner” fight, and you simply never know what you’re going to get with that.
For the uninitiated, the “blue corner” is (usually) reserved for the out-of-town fighter. The red corner, then, is the local fighter’s corner. With Ian Smith vs. Mario Texidor, however, we had two out-of-towners throwing down against each other.
…and they completely delivered to set the tone for the rest of the fight card.
I was super impressed with some of the grappling exchanges from both guys in this one. Better than the fight itself was this, though: Mario and Ian were hanging out at the fighter hotel well after things wrapped up Saturday night, sharing some laughs and beverages in celebration of their efforts.
That’s what it’s all about.
FIGHT 2: ELIJAH DAVIS VS. JOE LAROCCA
This one cranked the intensity to 11.
Elijah Davis and Joe LaRocca –– each making his MMA debut –– showed absolutely no fear or nervousness in this one. These two came out swinging, and each guy had his moments.
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In the end, Davis’ wrestling was too much (there was a slam that legitimately shook the cage in front of me at one point) but both of these fighters raised their stock with this performance.
If we handed out a Fight of the Night award, these two would get it. And making matters even better, both of these fighters are just insanely likable. I guarantee the more you see of them, the more you’ll grow to like them inside and outside the cage.
FIGHT 3: AARON HARPER VS. SHAQUEAL TERRY
Aaron Harper knows how to make things interesting. That’s for sure.
He entered his #FCFN2 showdown against ShaQueal Terry at 0-3 –– but anybody who ever saw him fight knew he fought well above that mark. Harper –– finally fighting out of the red corner closer to his hometown –– faced adversity aplenty against Terry, and the fight went to the judges’ scorecards.
…for a split decision.
……that went Harper’s way.
You know Harper badly wanted that one, and it came down to the wire in the most dramatic fashion possible. Congrats to him on getting that first dub, but I also want to shout out Terry and his team for their work at the event.
There’s no shame in the performance he put on, and I saw plenty of potential that makes me think he’ll be just fine as his career progresses.
Harper, meanwhile, was actually disappointed leaving the cage and apologized to me for “not putting on a show.”
No apologies necessary, but it’s always interesting to see a fighter’s reaction to wins and losses. He’ll be back, and he’ll be better than ever. I can guarantee it.
FIGHT 4: DAN ALBRIGHT VS. JUSTIN PIPPENS
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached our first advanced amateur fight and our first “OH S*&!” moment of the fight card.
After a relatively tame first round between Gorilla House’s Dan Albright and the Mat Factory’s Justin Pippens, things took a dramatic shift in Round 2.
I don’t know what Isaac Greeley and company told Pippens in the corner between rounds, but I can only assume it was “Dan Albright said he prefers Hunt’s ketchup over Heinz” because Pippens was ANGRY.
Seek and destroy. Eliminate the target. No survivors.
Want me to prove it? Fine.
See what I mean?
Now, the craziest part: Albright weathered the storm –– and WON.
“No, sir! I do not give a (crap)! Hit me as hard as you want, I’m coming,” Albright told TribDem.com’s Eric Knopsnyder after the fight. “I was like, ‘Oh, I need to scramble.’ That’s what went through my mind. As soon as I got hit, I was like, ‘That was heavy. My eye’s going to swell up. I need to start doing work now, scramble out of positions, get down to body position and finish the fight.'”
Finish he did, with just 12 seconds left in Round 2.
Did I love the stoppage? No. I didn’t.
Referees have tough jobs, though, and this was still an amateur fight, so they always use extra caution in these situations. Pippens certainly wasn’t in a good position, but I did think he could’ve survived to see Round 3.
As it is, Albright’s comeback win stole the show and launched him into title contention.
What a freaking performance. Dan Albright is tough and he’s looking better and better every time he steps into the cage. We may be seeing him coming into his own as a fighter.
FIGHT 5: JOSH VISOKEY VS. DEZ FORD
I’m just gonna leave this here:
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It doesn’t get much cleaner than that.
Stout PGH’s Josh Visokey landed the perfect counter left on Dez Ford, shutting out the lights in Round 3 of a highly entertaining scrap.
Earlier I said this was “one of” the best knockouts in 247 Fighting Championships history, but I changed my mind.
It’s the best. Period.
Dez was in good spirits later that evening when we saw him at the fighter hotel, which is always great to see. He’s a veteran (both in MMA and a literal military veteran), and he understands the game. As he told me “the highs are high and the lows are low in this sport,” but he handled the loss physically and emotionally about as well as anyone could have.
Massive respect to him and his team as well. That’s not a fun or enviable situation, but he took it completely in stride.
FIGHT 6: EDWIN VERA VS. CAMERON SANDOVAL
Edwin Vera flat out never had a chance to get going in this one. Cam Sandoval came out with a purpose, and he pushed the action, snatching Vera’s neck and forcing him to tap early in Round 1.
It was one of those fights that was so quick and definitive we really didn’t get a chance to learn much about either guy. We knew Cam was slick and talented, and he flashed those finishing instincts in full Saturday night at Flood City Fight Night 2.
Unfortunately, we also know Edwin’s been putting in serious work at the Mat Factory and Sanctuary Boxing Club, but Cam never gave him the chance to showcase those improvements.
There’s zero doubt in my mind Edwin will be back –– and we’ll certainly look to get Cam back in there too if he and his team at Battleborn BJJ and MMA want to make the trip again. They were awesome to work with, and they’re clearly doing something right down in High Point, North Carolina.
FIGHT 7: SHELDON NEIGHOFF VS. JULIAN FLENORY
I mean, Julian Flenory can’t just keep doing this, can he?
His last three fights lasted:
• 34 seconds (Cupid’s Knockout vs. Nate Hash)
• 16 seconds (BitB10 vs. Matt Vanderhoff)
• 9 seconds (FCFN 2 vs. Sheldon Neighoff)
It doesn’t even make sense at this point.
FULL CREDIT to Neighoff and his team at Gorilla House for stepping up and taking a fight not many other guys wanted. He gave up ~50 pounds in this contest, and to even consider the matchup shows some serious stones.
Unfortunately for him, Flenory had no intentions of letting the lighter man breathe Saturday night. He charged out of the gates, backed Neighoff to the fence, and lobbed bomb after bomb until the referee stopped the fight.
And here is the part where I criticize Julian.
When the job is done, you gotta know when to stop. Flenory face-planted Neighoff and finished with some ground-and-pound, which is fine.
…but then he kept going as the referee was actively pulling him off Neighoff.
I won’t pretend to know what Flenory was feeling in that moment. As a competitor when you’re in that zone, I’m sure emotions get a little blurry. There is a line, however, and Flenory definitely crossed it.
The great news is Julian is one of the most receptive and respectful guys we have outside the cage, and he immediately apologized and owned up to his actions. I truly believe, after speaking with him, that will never happen again.
That’s a small smudge on an otherwise flawless victory to cap off the night in Johnstown.
Nine seconds, dudes and dudettes.
What’s next for him?
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