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With summer rapidly approaching that means Independence Day is not too far behind.  We had some early fireworks Friday night at Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.  The fireworks came in the form of some explosive mixed martial arts bouts.  Cage Fury Fighting Championships brought their eighth show, titled “Seek and Destroy”, to fruition last night and once again, they did not disappoint. 

It was another solid night of action with some closely contested fights.  There was even a bit of judging history last night as legendary MMA judge and martial artist, Michael DePasquale was on hand to score the fights.  DePasquale has judged MMA contests from way back in the early days of the UFC.  It was certainly good to have a legend on hand last night. 

The main event saw Joey “Boom Boom” Rivera celebrate his Welterweight Championship victory with his friend, teammates, coaches, his shiny new belt, and a delicious bottle of Chocolate Milk courtesy of one of Rivera’s sponsors; NesQuick.  What led up to this celebration was a back and forth contest between Rivera and Doug Gordon that saw some excellent striking, great scrambles, and a very fast pace.  That was only round one!  These two athletes were vying for a championship and they came to fight.  The first round was a close one with a lot of action.

The second round, Gordon appeared to be taking over the fight as he dropped Rivera early on in the round.  Rivera was taking quite a beating at the hands of Gordon, but maintained his composure the whole time.  In the midst of a scramble, Rivera was able to pull Gordon in his guard and secure a tight Triangle Choke to earn the tapout victory and the CFFC Welterweight Crown.   Rivera was very animated after his win and had some fun with the crowd, posing for pictures while drinking his Chocolate Milk.  I suppose he did earn that celebratory drink, after all.

The evening’s festivities opened up with a bout between Siyam “Samurai” Yousefi taking on Team Bombsquad’s, Brian Kelleher.  “Samurai” came out of the gate with some slicing leg kicks that seemed to sting right off the bat.  Kelleher knew he did not want to stand up and eat any more of those vicious kicks so Brian took the fight to the mat where he was able to do some work from the top, inside Yousefi’s guard.  Kelleher dropped some good strikes, including some nasty elbows that found their mark on Yousefi’s face and head.  From there, Kelleher was able to lock in a Guillotine Choke for the first round submission victory.  The tone was now set for a great night of fights.

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of this US Military themed show was the long awaited return of Jay Coleman.  Coleman’s storied comeback, which was four years in the making, is an intriguing one and all eyes were on this co-main event Friday night.  Coleman came out and wanted to send a message.  Many feel he did just that.  Jay’s opponent, who took this fight on three days notice, should be commended for his willingness to step up and fight.  That is the stuff that champions are made of.  Sam Jackson came to fight and took the action right to Coleman.  Jay landed some crisp, clean punches to Jackson’s face, but Jackson answered right back with some bull’s-eye shots of his own.

Round one was a rocky one for Coleman as he was stunned several times by the heavy hands of Sam Jackson.  However, Coleman was determined to succeed in this comeback fight and each time he got rocked with a counter punch, he used his instinct to shoot for the takedown to get himself out of trouble.  Smart move by Coleman and he had some great coaching behind him with Frankie Edgar, Tom DeBlass, and Frank Savannah cornering him on this night.   When the action did spill to the mat, Jackson was ready for the challenge and did a great job of working from his and getting himself out of trouble.

The second round was where Coleman’s hard work and perseverance finally culminated.  Both Coleman and Jackson swung for the fences to start off the second round.  Each punch being thrown with very bad intentions.  After a brief slugfest, Coleman went to his bread and butter and shot for his takedown.  He succeeded yet again.  This time Coleman was a little too much for Jackson and Jay was able to pass Sam’s guard and get the full mount.  From the mount, Coleman delivered a fresh batch of ground and pound and after landed several solid strikes to the head and face of Sam Jackson, the referee called a stop to the action.  A refocused and rededicated Jay Coleman had returned after four long years away.  Welcome back, young man.   Judging by the crowd reaction, you were missed. 

The majority of the fights Friday night were competitive ones.  Even the fights that did not go the distance were competitive right up until the finish.  This is a testament to the matchmaking skills of CFFC’s Arias Garcia.  The talent pool for this organization continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  From the debut of Ozzy Dugulubgov, who’s heavy handed and fast striking earned him a second round TKO victory after a brutal knee strike to one of the best fights of the night between Nah-Shon Burrell and Daryl Harris.  The Burrell and Harris contest went two solid rounds with both fighters leaving it all in the cage.  Harris, making his debut as well, pushed the pace and never backed down from Burrell.  In the end, though, it was Burrell’s solid stand-up game and experience that shined through and he took the KO victory home. 

CFFC’s next show will be June 10th from the Resorts Hotel and Casino and I assure you, you will not want to miss this one.  Each CFFC card seems to get better than the last and this one was pretty good.  Mark your calendars down and make sure you get your tickets early.

*The pictures posted here from our own Kevin Wuchter.  To see the rest of this album, head over to Kevin's website at Final Round Photography.  Any fighters, coaches, fans, etc... that would like copies of their respective fight, check out Kevin's website to purchase them directly. 

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