Grand Ronde, OR – On Saturday, November 2, 2013, Spirit Mountain Casino brings live mixed martial arts (MMA) back to the Event Center with an action-packed fight card for the first-ever “Battle at the Mountain” event; produced by Portland’s Full Contact Fighting Federation (FCFF). UFC superstars Chael Sonnen and Urijah Faber will make a special appearance for ticketholders, before the event for pictures and autographs. A pro 170-pound welterweight fight takes top billing as the Main Event and showcases two local crowd-favorites. A 135-pound bantamweight pro fight has been added to the fight card that already features four stellar FCFF amateur Championship fights; including a women’s Title. Tickets start at just $15 and are available at www.spiritmountain.com. A limited amount of seats will be available on fight night at the Event Center box office. Doors open at 7pm, fights begin at 8pm. *attached photos can be sent in a higher resolution.
More about the Main Event:
On November 2nd Tommy Leisman of Wilsonville, Oregon will face off against Nick Gilardi of Portland in a edge-of-your-seat 170-pound pro fight, where both men have something to prove. Leisman will lay his undefeated pro record on the line against a man that lives-and-breathes the sport. Gilardi is deeply invested in MMA; in addition to fighting at the pro level he is Alive MMA’s team coach with a number of current amateur champions training under him. The pressure is on to bring home a win for both men. Leisman’s journey in mma has come full circle with the FCFF. He turned professional in 2011 after seven consecutive wins as an amateur that included the FCFF amateur champion Title and defending it. His undefeated professional record (2-0) comes from a matching pair of round one armbar submission victories. “Building my fight career in the Northwest has been amazing. I’ve had great coaches and training partners to work with, and really tough opponents to compete against. I would consider myself to be very fortunate to have built my career here,” explained Leisman. Gilardi is a seasoned fighter with nine battles at the professional level. He’s coming off a competition hiatus and quickly added a win to his record on September 28th with a win at the “Prime Fighting Pro-Am” event in Washington. There he faced Justin Milani and won via a round one TKO due to referee stoppage due to strikes. Previous to this fight, he beat Chris Ensley at the “United Combat Sports – Caged Combat II” event at Spirit Mountain Casino in November of 2010 via a round one submission. He also has knockout and TKO victories on his resume, both in round one. He’s at the top of his game physically and ready to make a push in his professional career.
“The FCFF is bringing the talent to Spirit Mountain Casino on November 2. This fight card has so much premier talent that people will be traveling from the entire state to attend,” said Kevin Keeney, the FCFF co-owner and matchmaker.
In addition to the pro-fight Main Event, four FCFF amateur Championship fights will take place on November 2; plus a just-added bantamweight pro fight between Benny Vinson of The Sports Lab and Denny Linton of Willamina, Oregon. Denny Linton is another familiar name in the northwest MMA scene. He dominated the local amateur ranks, winning eight of nine total battles that included earning the FCFF’s Championship title (and defending it twice) and the Title belt from United Combat Sports event. He turned pro and holds a 1-1 record. “Denny isn’t use to loosing. He was a dominating FCFF champion. No one wanted to fight him; he ended most fights in round one. He’s a great fighter to watch,” says Keeney. Linton will go toe-to-toe with Vinson who has four wins a pro fighter. Recently, he took down Chris Wheaton at “CageSportXX,” and Jessee Filan at “Knucklehead 4” via round one rear naked chokes. As an amateur Vinson held the United Combat Sports and Resolution Championship belts via submission chokes. This fight has the potential to steal “Fight of the Night” honors!
The FCFF Amateur Titles:
Hood River’s golden boy, Sean Baker will face the FCFF 170-pound Welterweight Champion John Constien in what will be a grudge match battle of wits. The backstory: both fighters are intelligent, talented and hungry. Baker has been chasing the FCFF belt for some time. He’s a seasoned fighter with six amateur wins and only one loss. His sole loss was for the FCFF Title in March of 2013. On November 2 it will be his official “second chance” at the FCFF belt and he must win. Baker holds championship belts from two other regional event productions: The 2012 “Budofights: MMArch MMAdness” event (rear naked choke submission win over Eli Peterson) and the “House of Chaos” belt in 2011 with a win over Tony Buffa via judge’s decision. John Constien, the current undefeated, FCFF Champion has no plans to lose his belt on November 2 to Baker. Most recently, Constien stunned the crowd at Rumble @ The Roseland 72 in July (this year) with a stellar round-one six second head kick knockout win over Mike Stewart. His five total wins are from a variety of organizations all over the state of Oregon. Constien is well-rounded with wins coming from knockout, submission and judge’s decision. “This match-up is fierce; one of the best and most anticipated of the year. Fight fans from around the state know and love both fighters,” said Keeney.
Female MMA has made tremendous strides over the last five years. What used to be a rarity has blossomed into a talented pool of northwest female fighters that rivals any other area in the nation. On November 2 at “Battle at the Mountain” the FCFF female 145-pound Champion, Leanne Foster of the gym Impact Jiu-Jitsu will travel to Grand Ronde to face a relative newcomer, Kirsten Allen, who fights out of Victory Gym in Albany, Oregon. Allen made her MMA debut in July of 2013 with a win over Tanya Lasley at the FCFF’s Rumble @ The Roseland 72. She dominated the fight and won via an impressive TKO in round one. Foster, the FCFF Champion earned her belt at the same event (Rumble @ The Roseland 72) with a technically perfect armbar submission victory over Veronica Wickersham in round one.
The FCFF’s undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion will travel to Spirit Mountain Casino on November 2nd to take on a body builder in his second title defense attempt. He first became Champion at the FCFF’s Rumble @ The Roseland 69 event. There he beat Paul Sims via a TKO in round two. He went onto defend his belt at Rumble 71 against Russell Tunes. Fortune was so dominating that Tunes did not answer the fourth round bell. “Tyree is so eager to fight that after he was champion, he in fought in two non-title fights at Rumble 72 and 73,” explained Keeney. Due to a lack of competition Fortune lost weight and faced Derek Harris at 220-pounds and fought much-talked-about newcomer: Nathan Milsap – winning both and extending his undefeated streak. Fortune, who fights under Nick Gilardi at Alive MMA will take on Sam Sprauer of the gym Animals MMA in Tualatin on November 2nd.
Last, but certainly not least, the FCFF’s vacant 145-pound featherweight Championship is on the line at “Battle of the Mountain!” Gus Bessa of the team 503 West Cost Jiu-jitsu will face Steven Southern of Gladiator MMA. Southern has four amateur wins and trains under Austin Springer. At the last FCFF event on October 12th Steve Southern dominated over an experienced and talented fighter (Gator Johnson) and won via a round one choke. Southern’s only losses were for two Championships belts; on November 2nd this is his chance to finally bring home a belt. He competition, Gus Bessa is undefeated with five wins and plans to add the FCFF Championship belt to the one he’s already earned from the “Fight Night” event. Bessa first earned the “Fight Night” title with a win over Brent Messineo via the judge’s decision and defended it against Cody Young at the “Fight Night: Astoria” event in 2012. This will be Bessa’s first fight in the Full Contact Fighting Federation; where competition is known to be the most fierce.
About Spirit Mountain Casino
Spirit Mountain Casino was created to enhance economic self-sufficiency opportunities for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, its members and surrounding communities. As the Northwest’s premier entertainment destination, it is now Oregon’s largest casino and top regional attraction with a variety of popular table games, nearly 2,000 slot machines, bingo, keno and poker. For more information about Spirit Mountain Casino, go to www.spiritmountain.com.