Behemoths Usman and Mayes tangled at Victory FC 60 (pic: Victory FC)

Victory FC 60: Competitive Fights, Contentious Decisions Galore

Hammond, Indiana – UFC Fight Pass subscribers had plenty of high-level MMA action to enjoy after the Gaethje/Poirier masterpiece went off the air, as Victory FC 60 featured notable regional competitors looking to audition their talents for the big shows. In the middleweight main event, TUF 16 entrant Kevin Nowaczyk (19-4) reminded fans why his nickname is “Gimmie Your Lunch Money” by bullying Andrew Kapel (13-6) straight to the mat. From there Nowaczyk showed off his Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess, advancing to mount and back control before threatening with an armbar late in round one. Things got slightly better for Kapel in round two, which saw Nowaczyk immediately reclaim top control but spend most of the round shucking off Kapel’s armbar and triangle efforts. The tides really shifted in stanza number 3, as Kapel busted Nowaczyk up with a short elbow that opened a sizeable divot about an inch above his eye. The cageside doctor had no qualms with the massive gash, which allowed Nowaczyk to reclaim top control for the rest of the fight. That isn’t to say that it was an easy round 3 for Nowaczyk, who spent the final minutes of the contest wrapped up in a deep triangle choke that saw him barely hang on to the final moments. The cageside judges were impressed with the underdog’s grit and submission tries, awarding a shocked Andrew Kapel the unanimous decision by 29-28, 29-27, 29-27 scorecards – no editorial judgment here, as Kapel was literally clapping for Nowaczyk as the decision was read.

Victory FC 60 Co-Main Event – Heavyweight: It’s easy to look at the sculpted frame and athletic abilities possessed by Mohammed Usman (3-1), UFC welterweight star Kamaru Usman’s gigantic younger brother, and assume that he’ll also be a world beater inside the cage. The green Nigerian hulk steamrolled his way to wipeout victories over wilting opposition in his first three pro bouts, so this contest with Dana White Contenders Series vet Dontale Mayes (4-2) marked the first time that Usman faced any resistance inside the cage. Usman spent much of round 1 pushing Mayes against the cage in the clinch, though he couldn’t get much done in the striking or grappling departments and ate a handful of strikes from the 6’6″ Mayes. At range in round 2, Mayes offered a weird array of capoeira kicks, switch kicks, and spinning attacks but otherwise seemed focused on keeping the oncoming Usman at bay. Usman’s hands aren’t exactly pretty, though he did manage to touch Mayes a few times with jabs and decent rights. Usman capped the second round with a nicely-timed takedown into side control but found himself flipped over as the bell rang.

“The Motor” reverted to classic Usman tactics in round 3, pushing Mayes into the cage for the first three minutes. With both giants exhausted, Mayes landed a sharp left shovel uppercut that dropped Usman to the mat briefly with 30 seconds to go. That was it for truly significant strikes in this bout, though. It wasn’t the athletic heavyweight slugfest that optimistic fans may have hoped for, but that was a pretty heady performance from Usman for a guy whose first pro contest took place less than a year ago. Solid performance for a rookie, sure, but Usman needs a ton of work and he fell short to 26 year old Dontale Mayes on all three judges’ scorecards via 30-27 marks.

148 lb Catchweight: CFFC champ Pat Sabatini (8-2) ventured west from his home state of Pennsylvania to take on Illinois featherweight Jose “Chepe” Mariscal (7-3) and nearly walked away with the early submission via armbar and heel hook tries. Mariscal escaped to his feet and tried to use his judo game to score another takedown, but Sabatini showed off nice hips of his own and reversed the toss to side control. Back standing, Mariscal was successful with another flashy judo throw that seemed to take some of the wind out of Sabatini’s sails. The grappling battle continued in round two, with Mariscal dominating most of the early exchanges but Sabatini worming his way to top position by the end of the round and landing some solid ground strikes. The script flipped in the third round, as Sabatini seemed the fresher man early but Mariscal ended the round punching away from the top. Very nice all-around technical fight from these talented featherweights that was basically a coin flip headed to the judges. The ringside arbiters ruled in favor of Jose Mariscal by 29-28, 29-28. 28-29 split decision. In the past Chicago’s Mariscal had fallen short against some of the best featherweights that the east coast has to offer, like Gregor Gillespie and Bryce Mitchell, but now he owns an eye-raising win of his own over the rock-solid CFFC vet.

Featherweight: Fresh off a KO loss to LFA champ Thanh Lee at LFA 31 in January, Bobby Moffett (11-3) took on under-the-radar prospect Enrique Gonzalez (6-2) and showed the 19 year old featherweight how far he has to go to take out world class competition. Moffett used persistent, well-timed, technical takedowns to force Gonzalez to the mat throughout the first half of the contest. The veteran landed a handful of strong ground punches, but spent most of his time trying to keep the scrambly Gonzalez down on the mat. Gonzalez’s persistence nearly paid off when he staggered Moffett with strong right hands late in round 2, but Moffett sagely ducked under one of the teenager’s kill shots and secured ground position for the rest of the frame. Moffett understandably wanted no part of the striking game in round 3, and he comfortably controlled Gonzalez on the mat en route to a conclusive unanimous decision victory via 29-28 scorecards. This was one of those bouts where both guys can walk away with their heads held high, as Moffett picked up a nice victory against a talented foe while the youngster Gonzalez hung tough for all three rounds and gave Moffett a fair share of trouble.

 

Welterweight: JP Saint Louis (3-2) and Josh Streacker (5-1) bounced around the cage and traded well-educated Muay Thai offense over the course of this very entertaining contest nine minute contest. The stance-switching Streacker scored first with solid offense from southpaw, though Saint Louis was more than happy to stand in the pocket and swing big power shots at his foe’s chin. Both men found the jaw with big shots in the last 30 seconds of round 1, with Streacker showing off an eye catching left high kick but Saint Louis countering with quick counter rights. The standup standoff continued in the second stanza until Streacker cracked the ice with a bomb just over 3 and a half minutes in. Streacker turned on kill mode and utterly obliterated Saint Louis with a 10-piece left-right combo that left Saint Louis out on his feet! Great round 2 TKO for Josh Streacker, who looked like a solid pro in just his sixth fight and now owns a five fight win streak.

Lightweight: Two-time AXS Fights winner Zach Fears (9-2) did his best to land strikes against the relentless pressure game of Tim Cho (6-3) and succeeded at landing a handful of power elbows and a couple of nasty kicks. Still, it seemed like Cho’s wrestling might be enough to take the decision. The Indiana judges saw otherwise as they favored the striking of Missouri’s Zach Fears by unanimous 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 scores. Fears has now won six straight, including solid wins over Lanny Dardar, Thomas Webb, and Josh Quayhagen. That’s the sort of run that should put Fears firmly on the radar of big show talent scouts.

Heavyweight: After 15 minutes of spirited Regional Heavyweight MMA, Brian Peterson (3-0) was awarded a unanimous decision over Oscar Kush (2-2) by straight 29-28s.

Flyweight:  In an untelevised prelim, noteworthy prospect Oscar Askar (7-0) TKO’d Jesse Parker (1-2).

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