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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The North American Fighting Championship (NAFC) brought an action packed night of fights to fans in Milwaukee, Wis. on Friday night with "Colosseum" from the Potawatomi Casino. Headlined by Duke Roufus featherweight Rick Glenn, and featuring 18-year-old Sergio Pettis - younger brother of UFC lightweight star Anthony Pettis - the mixed amateur and pro-MMA card featured a number of entertaining fights and several recognizable faces making appearances.
The main event of the evening was a bit of a showcase for Glenn, who defeated a talented featherweight in Charon Spain in the second round. Glenn showcased his grappling-centric game in the first round, taking cues from Ben Askren, Bellator Welterweight Champion and his cornerman from Roufusport.
Glenn followed instructions almost immediately as they were being shouted out by Askren, working well both in the clinch and on the ground in the first frame. Some laughs were had cageside at the end of the first frame as Spain escaped under Glenn, only to see Glenn grab his chin before the round ended. That visual prompted Askren to exclaim "Camel Clutch!" to the amusement of several.
In the second Glenn's striking game took over, and he dropped Spain early with a short elbow strike and a follow up punch. As Spain turtled up to avoid the onslaught, Glenn unleashed a torrent of strikes, prompting the ref to quickly step in, bringing a halt to the fight 29 seconds into the frame.
The co-main event was supposed to be a showcase for Roufusport flyweight Dustin Ortiz, but late replacement Josh Robinson had other plans. Robinson out-struck Ortiz in the first frame, using his quickness to keep Ortiz on edge and showing little respect for Ortiz's striking game. The mocking stopped in the second as Ortiz brought the fight to the ground, but he abandoned that gameplan in the third, much to the chagrin of his trainers at cageside. Ultimately, his failure to utilize what was a clear edge over Robinson in the grappling game cost him, and he lost a split decision.
Sergio Pettis notched a solid, workman-like victory in the third bout from the top, defeating Christopher Haney by decision. Pettis was the better fighter through the 15-minute frame, but it certainly wasn't a highlight-reel style performance.
Pettis' speed, striking, and grappling were all too much for Haney to overcome, but Pettis never truly pulled away in the fight. After the second frame, which saw Haney nearly catch Pettis in a heel hook, Duke Roufus was clearly agitated as he delivered a stern speech to Pettis in the cage. To his credit, Pettis kept his poise throughout the fight, and left no question that he deserved the decision win, but it was by no means a standout for him.
That said, Pettis is still only 18 years old, and he'll have these types of fights throughout his career. Though Haney was seen as a fighter he should have handled perhaps a bit easier, his performance was still more than adequate, and he gained some experience going to a decision for the first time in his career.
The card also featured several other standout fights. Welterweights Matt Gauthier and Israel Lozano engaged in a nasty and bloody battle that was a very good back and forth fight. Gauthier broke Lozano's nose late in the first round with a face plant slam while defending an armbar, and from there things took a turn for the brutal.
Lozano was shaken by the clearly broken nose and had trouble breathing the rest of the way. He had a good first round prior to the late slam, but he slowed considerably in the second, and Gauthier battered him for the entire frame. He then came out strong in the third, but Gauthier again turned the tide, and beat him up on the ground whilst blood continued to flow like a faucet from Lozano's nose. At the end of a bloody war, Gauthier earned a split decision victory.
The round of the night came in the bout just prior to that, as Robert Couillard and Aaron Carter put forth a fantastic effort in their welterweight bout. The first round was very uneventful, but things picked up quickly in the second.
Carter opened Couillard up with a nice straight right as he backed him up to the cage, and Couillard needed several seconds before recovering. That time frame was enough of an opening for Carter to score a takedown, and an immensely entertaining ground battle ensued.
Couillard opened up Carter with an elbow from his back, then nearly wrenched his shoulder out of the socket with an omoplata. Carter was crafty, however, and he rolled through three times before finally getting free of the shoulder-lock. Couillard continued to attack for submissions, however, even though both were bleeding profusely.
After an armbar attempt failed, he locked on a triangle choke. When the triangle choke wasn't there, Couillard then again went for the armbar. Finally, after that armbar failed, Couillard caught Carter in a tight triangle choke, and forced him to tap with 27 seconds left in the round.
On top of the fights themselves, several of Duke Roufus' top fighters were in attendance, with UFC fighters Anthony Pettis, Erik Koch, and Chico Camus, along with Bellator Champ Ben Askren. All in all, it was a lengthy but enjoyable night of fights, giving fans a fun show overall. Full results for the event are below:
* Rick Glenn over Charon Spain via TKO at :29 of the second round
* Josh Robinson def. Dustin Ortiz via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
* Sergio Pettis def. Christopher Haney via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
* Matt Gauthier def. Israel Lozano via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
* Robert Couillard def. Aaron Carter via submission (triangle choke) at 4:33 of the second round
* Agostino DeNatale def. Cody Osborne via verbal submission (injury) at 4:25 of the second round
* Mike Rhodes def. Zak Ottow via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
* James Barber def. Jamie Bowar via submission (mounted arm triangle) at 1:12 of the first round
* Elias Garcia def. Dillon Woods via TKO at 1:57 of the third round
* Nate Jennerman def.. Douglas Deback via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:20 of the second round
* Ben Wilson def. Bobby Bernicky via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
* Ryan Pang def. Prince Kuumba via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:43 of the first round
* Kevin Morris def. Sean Wallace via submission (strikes) at 1:46 of the second round
* Aaron Drouse def. Matthew Zoch via TKO at 2:01 of the first round
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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