RING OF FIRE 41: BRAGGING RIGHTS
by Paige Montgomery
With the promotion’s continued success at Broomfield’s 1st Bank Center, Saturday’s Ring of Fire 41: Bragging Rights set itself up to be a wildly entertaining night of MMA. The fight card was stacked with some of the most buzz-worthy fighters in the circuit and not a single fight disappointed.
The main event of the night was scheduled to be a ROF 170 World Title between Denver’s Brandon “RUKUS” Thatch and Chidi “CHIDI BANG BANG” Njokuan fighting out of Las Vegas but after Chidi failed to make weight the fight was no longer a title bout.
Chidi, who was already on the crowd’s bad side after not making weight, was almost irrelevant—the crowd barely even paid attention when he entered the ring. When Thatch entered, however it was a different story. Thatch has a huge support system in Colorado and they came out in full force for the welterweight phenom.
Both fighters exchanged punches at the top of the fight but Thatch wasted no time getting Chidi on the ground where he proceeded to land punch after lethal punch before the ref put a stop to the beating—53 seconds to be exact. To add insult to injury Chidi walked out of the ring before the announcer could announce his loss—well received boos filled 1st Bank Center in his honor.
Thatch: “I respected him as a fighter—this was by far the most important fight of my career. I represented 303 Colorado. I fight for you guys. Without you fans I wouldn’t have a job—I fight for you.”
(Commentator) Thoughts on stoppage: “You tell me—fetal position? You know, granted he was covered, I expected to fight through it—I would have let him go”.
(Commentator) Thoughts on him not making weight: “ I just beat him, ya know. You guys want to see me fight him? I take this sport very professionally—I hit the 170 mark every time I fight. I’m a professional. “
ROF 170 MAIN EVENT: Brandon “RUKUS” Thatch vs. Chidi Njkuani
WINNER: Thatch by TKO at :53 of Round 1
145 FEATURE FIGHT: Tyler Toner vs. J.R. Sims
WINNER: Toner by TKO on 3:49 of Round 3
Toner’s performance was one of the most memorable of the night. Round 3 finally saw some action and warranted the night’s biggest reaction from the crowd when the referee called the fight at 3:45 after Toner, who appeared to be on his way to another loss by decision, landed numerous punches into the face of an exhausted Sims who couldn’t hold his hands up anymore.
“This performance was the definition of heart” –ROF Commentator
“I couldn’t let another decision slip away from me. I’m glad to be back in the Ring of Fire.” -Toner
185 INTERNATIONAL SUPER FIGHT: Jason “The Dragon” Lee vs. Bojan Velickovic
WINNER: Velickovic by KO at 1:39 Round 1
265 FEATURE FIGHT: Ryan Martinez vs. Brandon Endriss
WINNER: Martinez by Submission at 3:45 of Round 1
145 FEATURE FIGHT: Brian Wood vs. Jarred Mercado
WINNER: Mercado by Split Decision
170 FEATURE FIGHT: Vinnie Lopez vs. Santana Martinez
WINNER: Martinez by Submission at 2:01 of round 1
155 FEATURE FIGHT: Justin Gaethje vs. Kevin Croom
WINNER: Gaethje by KO from slam at 1:01 of Round 1
Shannon Culpepper vs. Lindsay Jones
WINNER: Culpepper by Unanimous Decision
Cody Mumma vs. Adam Gonzalez
WINNER: Gonzalez by Submission at 2:25 of Round 1
David Treanor vs. Tito Solis
WINNER: Solis by via Unanimous Decision
Kirk Piatt vs. Kris Hocum
WINNER: Hocum by Submission at 1:09 of Round 2
A touching moment during the fights was an overwhelming act of support from ROF President Sven Bean and a group of representatives from different MMA camps who all came together to remember the tragedy that struck cage side doctor Alex Constantindes who lost his family in a flash flood in Wyoming last month. “The one thing that binds us all is that we ARE the MMA community in Colorado,” said Bean as he presented a banner to “Dr. Alex” that simply stated: “You Are Not Alone”.
For more information on Ring of Fire visit ROFMMA.com.