Ultimate Cage Fighting Championship: Rumble on the Rivers Preview
The Keystone state welcomes MMA to Pittsburgh in the form of the Ultimate Cage Fighting Championship appropriately named “Rumble on the Rivers.” The Mellon Arena, home of the Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins, will play host to the event. The 47 year-old building, which is scheduled to be demolished for the start of the 2010-2011 hockey season, has a capacity of approximately 18,000 for events.
A ten-fight veteran of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Rich Clementi will headline the event against former WEC fighter Kyle Jensen. Also on the fight card is “The Ultimate Fighter” castoff - Paul Bradley, WEC vet - Micah Miller, and former Pro Elite product - JC Pennington.
As there is with many local events, there will be a local flare to the card. Former Penn State wrestler – Phil Davis, who many believe is destined for the big show in the near future, will be featured as the co-main event against David Baggett. Former Pittsburgh Steeler and University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown wrestler Carlton Haselrig will also be included, as will Pittsburgh native Joe DeMore and Duquesne graduate – James Brasco.
Maybe the most intriguing aspect of the mid-level events is – what type of stars will be in attendance. Rookie promoter and Pittsburgh native – Gregg Holtzman will bring in former UFC star – Tito Ortiz and current WEC lightweight king – Jamie Varner for appearances.
Below is a preview of the some of the announced bouts.
Carlton Haselrig vs. Shawn Jordan
Its age against youth in this heavyweight tilt as local wrestling hero – Carlton Haselrig (3-1) faces off against former LSU fullback – Shawn Jordan (1-0). Haselrig, the only 6-time NCAA wrestling champion in history, last saw action a month ago in his hometown of Johnstown, PA at Iron Will Fighting Championships first event, where he was victorious via 1st round TKO against Chris Larkin. Jordan’s only professional bout was an impressive Rear Naked Choke victory against 260-lb Jayme McKinney at Bellator Fighting Championships 7 less than one month ago.
Haselrig also has competed for Battle Cage Xtreme (2 fights) and was part of Elite XC’s debut on CBS at “Primetime.” The decorated collegiate wrestler is also a five-year NFL veteran, making the Pro Bowl in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has stopped all three opponents that he has beaten with TKO’s.
The 24-year old Jordan is new to MMA but has recently trained with experienced veterans such as – Rich Clementi, Tim Credeur and Kyle Bradley. He used his strength and size (6’0” 254-lbs) to take his opponent to the ground, fight off a submission, then lock in a fight-ending rear naked choke.
Paul Bradley vs. Leonardo Pecanha
Two solid welterweights collide as “The Ultimate Fighter 7” participant - Paul Bradley (10-1) meets Brazilian submission specialist – Leonardo Pecanha (8-4). Bradley, a 2-time All American wrestler at Iowa, suffered his first career loss two months ago as Mike Pierce took a decision away from him at a “Respect Is Earned” event in Philadelphia. Twenty-six year old Pecanha, who was on the same “RIE” card, submitted Eric Henry by arm-bar 1:57 into the 1st round.
The Minnesota Martial Arts pupil won his first ten bouts while competing for small organizations such as WCA, NAAFS and TFC. He was rumored to have signed an Elite XC contract but never had the opportunity to appear with the company before they went belly-up in October 2008. He has four TKO’s, two submissions and four decision wins to his credit.
A five-year veteran of MMA, Pecanha has fought some credible fighters in his career. The Nova Uniao–trained fighter lists UFC fighters Steve Cantwell and Paulo Thiago as two of his four career losses. He is currently on a two fight win streak, defeating both of his opponents via 1st round submissions.
Phil Davis vs. David Baggett
Two up-and-comers will meet in a light-heavyweight match which is being promoted as a co-main event. David “Baggs” Baggett (5-2) came out aggressive in his most recent bout connecting with heavy hands against former WEC contender – Ariel Gandulla and eventually knocking him out early in the 1st round at Mixed Fight Alliance last December. Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (3-0) is fighting on the strength of a three-fight win streak, including a 1st round TKO of Terry Cohens at an April UWC 6 event near Washington DC.
While only fighting seven fights, Baggett has been active in MMA for eight solid years. He has taken part with some long-running promotions such as Shootbox, Real Fighting Championships, and Combat Fighting Championships. In addition to Gandulla, Baggett has defeated veterans Kenny Stevens and Joe Lane while losing to UFC light-heavyweight – Ryan Bader.
One of the quickest rising prospects in all of MMA is Phil Davis. After helping UFC fighter Cain Velasquez prepare for his most recent bout, Davis will return to his home state trying to remain undefeated. The Team Lion Heart fighter has victories over Cohens, Josh Green and Brett Chism, all within the last nine months.
Micah Miller vs. JC Pennington
Two well-rounded lightweights will meet in a featured bout on the main card. Twenty-two year old Micah Miller (11-3) fought only days ago at a “Fight Party” show in Georgia, stopping Josh Pulsifer by TKO late in the 3rd round. His opponent, JC Pennington (19-6-1) was last seen two months ago in Northern Ireland, at a Cage Wars event, submitting Daniel Abrol with a rear naked choke midway through the 3rd round.
Micah Miller is a four-fight veteran of the WEC, where he compiled a 2-2 record, with wins over Jesse Moreng and Chance Farrar and losses over Cub Swanson and Josh Grispi, the latter sending him packing from the organization in August ’08. The American Top Team fighter has also competed in Japan with DREAM, losing to Yoshiro Maeda by unanimous decision earlier this spring.
The well-traveled Pennington has competed in over fifteen different organizations in just a little over six years of professional competition. A teammate of Rich Clementi at Team Voodoo, Pennington is a submission specialist (11 submissions) that has compiled a mediocre 2-2 record in his last four fights. Other than Abrol, Pennington recently knocked out Tonny Canales at LFC in August of last year. Pennington has also participated on King of the Cage, Sho XC and Full Force Combat cards.
Rich Clementi vs. Kyle Jensen
The first ever promotion to visit Western Pennsylvania secured a solid main event showcasing a pair of fifty-fight veterans in Rich “No Love” Clementi (33-14-1) and Kyle Jensen (38-10-2). Jensen, a one-time WEC fighter, hasn’t been active in over eight months when he stopped Travis McCullough with a submission at Cass Lake Cage Fights in Minnesota. Team Voodoo leader Clementi participated less than two weeks ago during the third Adrenaline MMA show and came through with an arm triangle choke with 44 seconds remaining in the 1st round against Sasuke Zaputa.
Seven-year MMA veteran of Extreme Combat, TKO and WEC promotions, Kyle Jensen has put together a nine-fight unbeaten streak. In fact, Jensen hasn’t lost since a January 2007 defeat by Carlos Condit at WEC 25. During the streak Jensen has stopped established fighters such as James Giboo, Chris McDaniel and Marshall Martin. A win over Clementi should get Jensen an invitation among the world’s elite in one of the top promotions.
Thirty-two year old “No Love” has been a professional fighter for nearly a decade as a competitor in some of the worlds’ top organizations. He fought for K-1 and ZST in Japan and Extreme Challenge and Reality Combat Fighting and others in the United States. His most famous stint as a fighter came as part of the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback in the fall of 2006. While fighting once before, he didn’t become relevant in the UFC until after the show. At 5-5 while competing for the UFC, Clementi has big wins over Terry Etim, Melvin Guillard and Anthony Johnson to name a few.