by Jack Encarnacao (email@example.com) (Original here)
WILMINGTON, Mass. — The fledgling World Championship Fighting promotion tried something different for its seventh event. It showcased nothing but local talent on a 14-fight bill, and got as loud a reaction from fans on hand as it ever has.
WCF cards have typically featured fighters whoâ€™ve had some degree of national television exposure, though a new WCF program on local cable has highlighted some of the fighters to a broader audience. While the crowd was slow to arrive, some 3,300 spectators — in the typical range for a WCF event — turned out to the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium on Saturday night. The promotion, run by fight agent Joe Cavallaro, a longtime friend of Dana White, has rapidly become the premier proving ground for New England MMA talent.
The most popular fighter of the night was EliteXC veteran Calvin Kattar, whoâ€™s garnered a significant local following for his Hulk Hogan-inspired ring entrance. Kattar received the loudest reaction from the fans on hand, many of whom sported yellow â€œKattarmaniaâ€ T-shirts and screamed in excitement as he entered to the â€œReal Americanâ€ track that the pro wrestling star had used throughout the 1980s.
Kattar, a lightweight who fights out of the Premier Fight Team in Derry, N.H., electrified the crowd with a guillotine choke victory over Rodrigo Almeida two minutes into the first round.
He shared a co-main event billing with the memorably named Woody Weatherby, of Team Renzo Gracie New Hampshire, and Dan Keefe of the gym Brickhouse. The two middleweights stood and traded to dramatic effect in the first, with Weatherby coming on strongest in the closing moments. Keefe came out in the second with forceful takedowns, but Weatherby came close to locking up a triangle.
A draw was declared after two rounds, which in Massachusetts means the fight goes to a two-minute deciding overtime round. Keefe got another takedown and worked small shots from inside Weatherbyâ€™s guard, but was nearly caught in an armbar in the closing seconds. Keefe did enough, however, to take a dramatic unanimous decision.
Also on the card, John Benoit, a Renzo Gracie New Hampshire product and WCF staple, bounced back from the first loss of his career at the last WCF by bloodying Damien Trites of the Wai-Kru gym with crisp hands in a hard-hitting first round. Benoit cranked several armlock attempts toward the end of the second frame to seal the fight, which threatened to spill outside the ropes on several occasions.
Greg Rebello, a charismatic Mark DellaGrotte pupil, continued his winning streak with a competent performance against Jerry Spiegel, who fights out of Troy, N.Y. Rebello, a 185-pound fighter, worked mostly takedowns and neutralized Spiegel for two rounds to take the decision.
While the star power in the ring may have been limited, it wasnâ€™t at ringside. In addition to UFC fighters John Howard and Jorge Rivera, actor Kevin James, who is filming a movie locally, also took in the eveningâ€™s action.
World Championship Fighting is set to return to Wilmington on Sept. 26.
Tom Moreau def. Don Carlo-Clauss — Majority Decision
Elias Rivera def. Scott Rehm — Submission (Heel Hook) 2:43 R1
Travis Bartlett def. Guillermo Echuaca — TKO (Punches) 2:18 R1
Saul Almeida def. Dan Oâ€™Keefe — Submission (Peruvian Necktie) 1:16 R1
Nick Evangelous def. Matt McKusker — TKO (Punches) 2:41 R1
Aniss Anlhajjajy def. Aaron Petrucelli — Majority Decision
Marcos Escalante def. John Walsh — Submission (Rear Naked Choke) 1:24
Zack Burhans def. Jeff Silva — Unanimous Decision
Nelson Gaipo def. Ryan White — TKO (Punches) 1:07 R1
Noah Wiseman def. Steve Beck — Submission (Rear Naked Choke) 1:50 R1