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GPG 20 Fighting for Wounded Soldiers
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015– This was my third time covering a Global Proving Ground Mixed Martial Arts event. With every event, they raise the bar. This Saturday night was no exception. They put on a fantastic fight card that featured 4 finishes in 5 bouts. The fights weren’t the only thing that impressed. The production value is also constantly improving.
It’s a privilege to watch a promotion grow; especially if their success is borne of hard work, dedication, and a genuine love of the sport. Led by owner James JJ Jefferson, and the amazing people at GPG are the driving force behind the success of this organization. GPG 20 was broadcast on Comcast Monday evening at 9 pm, and there are rumors circling that they will be the first live MMA event ever to be broadcast on Comcast.
GPG 20 Fighting for Wounded Soldiers, was overseen by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board and featured 5 total bouts. It was held, as always, at the home of GPG, The Events Center in Pennsauken, NJ.
The price of admission also got you the opportunity to see a boxing match, after the actual fights had ended. But I’m getting off point. On to the fights!
Featherweight Division (145 lbs)
Brandon Kaiser, 0-1 defeats Jon Vinyard, 1-2
During the pre-fight interview both guys professed their intentions of keeping the fight standing. Brandon mentioned how he is a fan of using his wrestling defensively, to keep the fight on the feet. About a minute into the fight, however, it was easy to see that Vinyard was faster on the draw. He landed a few solid shots to Brandon’s chin. Once that survival instinct kicks in, and decides to make your decisions for you, you revert to what you know best. Brandon quickly locked on a double and dumped Vinyard on his back. Vinyard’s guard was active; scoring a few sweeps, and throwing up a few decent submission attempts. Kaiser fought through them and found his way to Vinyard’s back, and while flattening him out, sunk in the RNC, and pulled out the submission victory.
Check out the video below:
Bantamweight Division (135 lbs)
Phillip Ferarro, 1-1 defeats Brandon Wheeler, 1-2
I had the pleasure to be ringside during Brandon’s last fight. I saw him fight through a beating, and find a triangle victory. I know he is a mentally tough competitor. His opponent was a textbook example of the power of strong wrestling. Ferarro wasted no time in getting Brandon to the floor moments into each round. Ferarro’s top control was impressive. He gave Brandon hardly any room to work. Brandon kept his head and kept applying his technique from guard. He was playing a high guard all night. The first round ended, leaving the crowd cheering. With about 3 seconds left in the round, and after eating many shots from the guy on top, Brandon found the arm-bar, and torqued. Phillip felt it, but the bell rung and sent the fight into the next two rounds.
Wheeler ended the final round on top by finally getting a hard fought sweep. He looked for a few submission attempts, but recognizing the short time he had to work, spent the remainder of the round landing from top position.
It was a tough fight. Ferarro spent a lot of it landing strong punches and elbows from top. To his credit, Wheeler was very busy from his guard too. He landed some nice elbows from the bottom position, one of which cut Ferarro.
It was a great decision win for Ferarro against a tough opponent.
Bantamweight Division (135 lbs)
Lloyd Reyes, 2-2 defeats Ahsan Abdullah, (Team Bombsquad), 5-6
This was another exciting fight. In the opening minutes both guys went tit for tat, exchanging hooks and leg kicks. Ahsan caught Reyes with head kick. Even though Ahsan only caught him with the end of this foot, Reyes was visibly affected. He did a good job of trying to shake it off. What he couldn’t shake off were the next two hard punches that Ahsan sent his way. Ahsan landed cleanly to Reyes chin. Reyes was running out of options; taking more of Ahsan’s punches was definitely not one of them. He quickly changed levels and caught Ahsan with a beautiful double. From here Reyes was able to slow the fight down, and apply his strategy. Once he secured the mount he immediately started looking for the arm triangle. With a gable grip in place, he stepped off the mount and squeezed, forcing the tap.
Co Main Event
Straw Weight Division (115 lbs)
Desmond Moore (American Top Team), 3-0 defeats Robert Madrid 3-1
For this fight I was fortunate to be sitting next to one of Desmond’s youngest and most boisterous fans, a girl named Shyanne. She told me we needed to cheer as loud as we could for her favorite fighter. This was my pick for Fight of the Night.
This was my first time seeing 115 pounders fight live. There was a decided height and reach advantage for Robert Madrid. The first round was spent feeling each other out. Early on, Desmond was having trouble finding his range. Madrid landed the cleaner shots in the first round. Desmond did take Madrid down twice in that round, but it was a hard round to judge, seeing as how each time Desmond got him down, Madrid would lock on a guillotine. You can hear Shyanne screaming for Dez during one of these chokes. The second round ended with a choke that left Dez sitting on the canvas for an extra few seconds, taking big, big deep breaths through his nose. It clearly was very tight.
As the fight wore on, Madrid was landing more clean shots. Desmond was able to counter a few and land some nice shots of his own. The round would have been an easy one to call were it not for a huge slam and subsequent top control by Desmond to end the second round. The third round started with Madrid slowing down a bit, but Desmond looked as fresh as ever. Early on in the round, Dez grabbed a body kick, and shot a straight right that connected heavy on Madrid’s face. Madrid fell to the ground, and Dez followed. He put some very hard punches on him and forced the referee to stop the action. It was a very entertaining 3 rounds of back and forth action. Our own Jimmy Hansen filmed the fights.
Check out the highlights of this great fight below:
Middle Weight Division (185 lbs)
Tony parker (Vision mma), 10-11 defeats Lamont Lister (Gracie 360), 6-12
The main event featured two fighters with a good bit more experience than the rest of the card, with almost 40 professional fights between the two competitors. It was a one-sided affair however. In the post-fight interview, Parker mentioned how in watching tape on his opponent he recognized how heavy his lead leg is. He was able to capitalize on this to start both rounds by easily grabbing a single and taking Lister down. The first round was spent jockeying for position. Lister spent the entirety of it on his back. In the second round however, Parker needed only 43 seconds to catch Lister with a north south choke and force the tap. The crowd applauded and cheered. They got what they came for; a great night at the fights.
Check out the video of the finish below:
GPG will be hosting its next event GPG 21, Fighters Against Autism on July 25th. I would strongly recommend checking out this great promotion. Kudos to owner James ‘JJ’ Jefferson, Assistant GM Bob Meloni, and the entire crew for constantly putting on another great card. To learn more about Global Proving Ground, check out their website, www.GlobalProvingGround.com.
Article by: Moazzam Manzoor
Photo/Video Credit: Jimmy Hansen
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