A great event hosted by Cage Fury Fighting Championships took place last night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where some of mixed martial arts biggest up and comers put on a show. Let me just start off by saying the prelims very well could have been the main card, and very well should have with the exception of the Co-Main and Main events. Two Serra-Longo studs had beautiful performances with two devastating first round finishes to advance their careers. The first of which was Nazim "The Black Wolf" Sadykhov or better known as just Naz. One of the nicest killers you will ever meet, from the moment he walked into LAW MMA has been nothing but a pleasure for this camp. Always bringing good energy, always willing to learn, and always helping everyone out. He came out composed, cerebral and straight up deadly against a highly touted opponent in Allentown's Trent Stump. Both guys come from tremendous camps and have a lot of talent and skill, but it was apparent that Naz had more experience in the cage. Stump came out as expected, with a wrestling heavy gameplan (Allentown is a PA hotbed for wrestlers) and he had some success early. To Naz's credit he hit an absolutely beautiful throw off the clinch but got reversed and had his back taken. But, you could see it in his face that he wasn't the least bit panicked, as he listened to his corner and escaped. This was the point where The Black Wolf went to work, landing hard knees to the body and then getting top position and landing some bombs. The referee stepped in to stop it and Naz advanced to 2-1 with a bright future ahead of him. The second of which was James "Speedy" Gonzalez who just made the drop to 135 and I cannot tell you how happy I was to see him win this fight. Usually a cut like that will take the energy and life out of you but it almost seemed to be the opposite for James. A week out from his fight, in the middle of the lowest weight cut he's ever had to do the man is training as hard if not harder than when he started and to add to it he even stocked the waters for me at the gym. I hate stocking the fridge when I'm fully well fed AND I'm paid to do it. This guy was A WEEK out from having to weigh in at 135 and did it for me while I was mopping the mats. He came out guns blazing, throwing some funky side kicks at Giorgi Kudukhashvili that definitely seemed to throw him off (They dropped me in training). Once this thing hit the ground it was trouble, Gonzalez being a Serra BJJ black belt. Immediately off the takedown James locked up a triangle-armbar, then transitioned to a leg lock and eventually Giorgi had to bail and stood up in the clinch against the fence. Here it was that James landed a devastating knee that opened up an absolute gusher of a cut on Giorgi's eye. His face was an absolute f**king mess. The ref called in the cageside doctor, who then called the fight. Had this not happened I really think some unnecessary damage would have been inflicted so it was good to see it get stopped sooner rather than later. Fast forward some lack luster fights to the 3rd to last fight. A heavyweight bout between Danny Holmes and Christopher Daukaus. We were sitting in the fan section of Danny Holmes and boy were they rowdy. When a questionable stoppage added a loss to Holmes' record these people were PISSED. I must have heard at least 12 "f**k-you's" and "that's bulls**t's" from each person. This eventually led to someone attacking CM Punk who was commentating and a few people getting thrown out. I was really afraid to say that I agreed with the stoppage, but that is neither here nor there. Once the co-main event came up, the Hard Rock was buzzing with hype energy. A HUGE flyweight matchup between Santo Curatolo and Elgun Khanoghlanli. Both guys 2-0 with 2 knockouts, both coming from terrific camps and both guys with ROWDY fans. Santo must have brought half of Staten Island, while Elgun must have brought half of Azerbaijan the way these guys were hooting and hollering. Elgun is a great guy and has a bright future in this sport but this was Santo's night. 47 seconds was all it took for him to hit a flying knee and subsequent ground and pound to win the fight. I hated to see a teammate lose but I'm glad he's ok and I know he'll be back better than ever. This Santo Curatolo guy is a star in the making though. He sent that crowd into an absolute frenzy and was awesome on the mic afterwards. I look forward to seeing him do great things. Finally came the main event. It was hard to match the buzz from the previous fight but man did this one end in a bang. Motta finished Balmaceda with possibly the biggest punch I have ever seen live. The man did not move and I really was worried for his well-being. The two subsequent ground and pound strikes were completely unnecessary and the ref needed to be quicker there. Thankfully, I believe Balmaceda is okay and what a great performance for Motta. Overall, we had an awesome night at an awesome event. We look forward to another great show!
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