Pennsauken, NJ. (February 22, 2015)– GPG 18, a co-promotion between Global Proving Ground and Victorium MMA was held Saturday night at the GPG Events Center in Pennsauken, NJ. FightBookMMA.com was on the scene for what turned out to be a great night of fights, filled with great finishes. They kept everyone entertained before the fights with a thunderous performance by the band PalaceBurn. The event was overseen by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board. The fights were held to raise awareness for spousal abuse.
Now, on to the fights. The night started out with a bang. The first fight was Stephfond Ewins, 0-1, taking on Dameron Kirby, 0-3. The narrative for this fight was very intriguing. Who’s going to want it more? They circled each other for a few seconds pawing out feeler jabs. Stephfond was looking to draw Dameron in, by sticking his chin out. I noticed that he had his mouth piece showing. I remember thinking, “Man, he should really bite down on his mouthpiece”. Dameron noticed too. He ducked his head and unleashed a powerful overhand right that landed flush on his opponent’s jaw. Stephfond stiffened right up, just 21 seconds into the fight. He would have to be taken out of the cage on a stretcher. A very concerned and appreciative crowd applauded him as he was exiting.
The second contest saw marine, Alec Hooben, 1-1, take on Evolve MMA’s Charles Gamble, 1-2. They tied up in a clinch right from the start. Along the fence Gamble was able to land a nice knee, and an elbow that cut Hooben on the temple. Eventually Gamble found the single leg and took Hooben to the mat.
As soon as Hooben felt the takedown, he locked on Gamble’s left arm with a Kimura grip. Once on the ground, he brought his right leg over Gamble’s shoulder. I assumed he would finish with the Omaplata, but instead he was able to secure his opponent’s head and just crank the Kimura for the tap.
It was at this point that it was announced that a scheduled fight between Jordan Mitchell, 3-5, and Christopher Daukaus, 1-0 was cancelled due to medical reasons.
The next fight featured one of my favorite moments. Peter Petties, 1-0, would take on Brandon Pennington who was making his professional debut. It was rapidly apparent that there was a speed disadvantage favoring Petties. The first round saw both fighters sit in the pocket and throw in bursts. Most strikes were glancing or avoided. Petties’ head movement was very efficient. He landed the only significant strike of the round. It was a beautiful kick to Pennington’s rib cage. The sound of the kick echoed in the hall and drew gasps and roars from the crowd.
The second round started out with Petties pointing at Pennington’s right leg. When I spoke with him after the fight, he said he was pointing at his leg, egging him on to kick him with it. When Pennington obliged him, Petties countered with a perfectly timed right hand over the top that dropped him. “A lot of guys, when they throw a kick, leave their hand down, and I knew if he threw that kick, I’d catch him” said Petties. The referee had to stop the fight after Petties followed him down and landed a number of unanswered punches.
The main event was Brandon Wheeler, 0-2, taking on Anthony Dill, 0-1. This was my pick for fight of the night. The fight started out with a bang. Dill landed a gorgeous left hook in their first exchange that visibly shook up Wheeler. Dill followed Wheeler to the cage and unleashed ferocious combinations. Some of his punches landed, but Wheeler was doing a good job avoiding. In desperation mode, Wheeler was able to secure a takedown, but Dill got right back up to his feet. He was able to get a takedown of his own. He landed in side control and immediately went for mount. Wheeler defended well and Dill had to settle for knee on belly. Wheeler’s ground defense was very effective and you could see that cobwebs were already gone from his eyes. Wheeler started working a high guard and during one of Dill’s attempt at a ground strike, locked in a very tight triangle choke. Dill fought valiantly to try to escape, but with 40 seconds still left in the round Wheeler forced the tap, and got his first professional win. It was a dynamic and dramatic affair.
GPG 18 delivered some great fights Saturday night, and we cannot wait till their next card on March 28th. Find out more about Global Proving Ground at their website, www.GlobalProvingGround.com.
Article By: Mozz Manzoor
Photographs/Video By: Matthew Nelson