College Cage Series held their inaugural event from the Bren Events Center at UC Irvine on March 19th and cameras were rolling to capture footage for their upcoming reality show set to air in May on Fox Sports Net.
Cris “Cyborg” Santos joined Ron “The Yak Man” Yakavetti in the cage to discuss her current and future endeavors within the promotion that she holds the 145 pound championship with, Strikeforce. Renato “Babalu” Sobral was also invited in the cage prior to intermission and he briefly discussed his impending debut with Japan’s DREAM promotion on May 30th. He confirmed his entry to their light heavyweight tournament alongside Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Gegard Mousasi, among others who have yet to be announced.
Newly signed UFC fighter and current boxing champ James Toney also had his moment to play to the crowd. After being asked who he would like to fight in the UFC, several people began shouting names, the loudest of which called out “Kimbo Slice,” a name he promptly skewed humorously through rhyming nicknames.
Last minute replacements took to the cage first and Cody Goodale (3-2) of Riverside Submission opened the evening with a dominating victory over Ethan Cox (0-4). Though Cox found success sporadically through three rounds of grappling, it was Goodale who dictated most of the positional battles. Before all was said and done, he would land elbows and draw blood, punctuating the lopsided affair with a storm of ground and pound and securing an easy unanimous decision for the judges.
The first finalists were lightweights vying for a scholarship from the young promotion. Mike “KO” Christansen is the subject of significant buzz following the filming of the as yet unaired reality show surrounding the College Cage Series. He’d live up to that buzz, patiently working a clinch where, although he was taken down, he was able to get back to his feet immediately and score one of his own, easily attaining side control before Carlos Aguilar sought to scramble in desperation, giving up his back. Christansen fought briefly for a rear naked choke before sinking it deeply enough to force a tap.
A couple of bouts later, it was John Mowery’s turn to show off his skills, a feat he accomplished beautifully through three rounds of superior technique and grappling prowess. A game Jason Williams sought to wrestle but Mowery, with respected wrestler Mark Munoz in his corner, was able to gain the upper hand in the first and third rounds, sprinkling in composed and powerful striking in between the grappling sessions. He earned the scholarship money, contract, and unanimous decision in his professional debut, exhibiting a promising future in the process.
In the main event of the evening, almost as if prophecized, Antonio McKee (24-3-2) finished his first fight in three years, his most recent a TKO through an injury Gabe Rivas suffered in their IFL scrap. For the first 90 seconds, he didn’t even seek a takedown, instead exchanging with Rodrigo Ruiz (12-13) and doing so so with minor success. When Ruiz landed a hard punch, though, McKee’s wrestling mastery was set to autopilot and he slammed Ruiz with ease.
Once on the ground, though, the “new McKee” he had alluded to in recent months began to shine. Using ground and pound and explosiveness, he passed Ruiz’s guard and lacked in a Kimura from side mount, forcing the tapout at just two minutes into the fight. During the post fight festivities, he was presented the diamond CCS adorned ring and called out Rodrigo Gracie while also hinting at a shot at UFC champ BJ Penn before he retires.
In other action, Waachim Spiritwolf was gunshy but was able to land most of the significant blows and decisively beat Fabricio Werdum product Fernando Bettega. Felipe Foglin kept his unblemished record intact, surviving a highly paced start by Erin Birn, attempting several leg locks and heel hooks before finding and opening for a knee bar finish. Jesse Juarez controlled the entirety of his cage time with Mauro Chimiento, struggling to lock in anything against some skilled defense before finally securing a rear naked choke in the final round.
Full results for the event are listed below:
Antonio McKee def. Rodrigo Ruiz via Submission (Kimura) @2:04 of Round 1
Giva Santana def. Lodune Sincaid via TKO (Punches) @4:27 of Round 3
Jesse Juarez def. Mauro Chimiento via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) @1:42 of Round 3
Felipe Foglin def. Erin Birn via Submission (Knee Bar) @2:20 of Round 1
John Mowery def. Jason Williams via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
($2,000 scholarship and 4 fight contract, up to $34,000)
Waachim Spiritwolf def. Fernando Bettega via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Mike Christansen def. Carlos Aguilar via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) @2:35 of Round 1
($2,000 scholarship and 4 fight contract)
Cody Goodale def. Ethan Cox via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)