SALEM, NH—Brent Kinberger made a triumphant comeback from an almost four-year layoff by winning the main event of Combat Zone MMA’s “All or Nothing” card by unanimous decision over Mervin “Marvelous” Rodriguez on Friday night in the packed Sports Club at Rockingham Park.
The 41-year-old Kinberger, formerly the Northeast’s top-ranked fighter in his weight class, also had to overcome an 11-year age disadvantage to his opponent in addition to shaking off some ring rust. Yet the electrical engineer from Manchester, NH won every round on the judges’ scorecard with his superior takedowns and stellar mat work in the lightweight battle to prevail 30-27.
“I got that ring rust off real quick,” said Kinberger, who had Bellator fighter Perry “Filthy” Filkins working his corner as part of the Team Link crew. “He had a weird strategy. He was trying to stay away from me but in all of his other fights he had come forward blasting so I was ready for that. I waited and when he came at me I got the takedowns I wanted and pretty much dominated the fight on the ground. I don’t feel like I made any mistakes. He’s a really tough guy, but I came out unscathed and I feel great.”
Kinberger upped his record to 6-3 while Rodriguez, who hails from Newark NJ, dropped to 5-8.
The co-main event was the most anticipated amateur match of the night featuring unbeatens Jake “The Gorilla” Pilla against Paulo Alves DeSousa and there was even more drama as there was a title belt at stake. But it took just :43 of the first round before Pilla, who hails from Billerica and fights for Wai Kru, was crowned Combat Zone’s first amateur champion to the delight of his raucous backers in the house.
Pilla, who had the advantage of the highly-regarded current UFC fighter John “Doomsday” Howard in his corner, immediately went to the takedown and then executed a monster guillotine choke hold on his opponent, who was rendered out cold by the move. The new champion is now 3-0 while Alves De Sousa stands at 2-1.
Cheyenne Vazquez from Lawrence improved to 2-0 with a first round TKO by strikes over Eddie Brito from Derry, NH in the other professional match on the 11-fight card. Vasquez, representing Sityodong, was able to execute the takedown and from then was executed his ground and pound game until the referee stepped in to call the fight at 2:10 of the initial stanza. Brito dropped to 3-6.
When Brett Trahan, the Northeast’s top-ranked amateur lightweight, faced North Andover’s JT Harold, the No. 3 ranked welterweight, at 170 pounds, something had to give and it was Harold who had the crowd chanting “JT, JT” when he scored the TKO on strikes in 2:15 of the intensely-fought first round.
The night kicked off with an amateur bantamweight match and Carl Langston from Balance Ground MMA dominated independent David Bradbury through 2:42 of Round 2 when he forced his opponent to tap out via an arm triangle. Bradbury evened his record at 1-1and Langston improved to 2-3.
Next up, Wai Kru representative Alec Wilson showed promise in winning his debut venture in the cage by controlling the fight at 135 pounds from the opening bell and needing only 1:33 of the first round to submit Jordan Yantin (0-3) from Methuen by guillotine choke hold.
Then Corey Bowhall from Chainsaw Army in Watertown, NY upped his record to 3-1 when he forced Tom Loughran to tap out via guillotine choke hold in only :50 of round 1 in their amateur middleweight match. Loughran, representing Mass BJJ, is now 1-1.
In the amateur middleweight division, muay thai instructor John Ryan from Lowell and Team Triumph was another first timer who exited the cage with a win. Ryan dropped Kristian Lombari from Methuen and Team Fury to 0-4 when he got him to tap out via rear naked choke hold in 1:15 of the first round. Ryan, who threw a powerful leg kick, had the benefit of professional MMA fighter and pro Major League Lacrosse player John Ortolani working his corner.
In a match of 150-pounders, Chainsaw Army notched its second team win of the night and second first round score when Danny Abad forced Danny Lynch from Spero MMA to tap out via an arm bar in 2:59. Abad is now 2-2 in the amateur featherweight class while Lynch lost his first match.
Two first-timers next matched up in the featherweight class and Michael Fagan from Salem, NH had the support of his hometown crowd and professional fighter and rising MMA star Rodrigo Almeida as he battled Josh Harvey from Youngs MMA for the entire three hard-fought rounds. In the end, all three judges gave Harvey, who scored points with smashing leg kicks and solid strikes throughout, the victory by a unanimous 30-27 decision.
A pair of unbeatens matched up in another featherweight amateur fight and it took the full three rounds before Matt Tullos of Connors MMA kept his streak intact and walked out of the cage with an impressive 6-0 record. Tullos gained the edge over Aaron Lacey (3-1) with superior takedowns and strikes in the first two rounds and maintained his dominance in the final stanza to hand his opponent his first loss by scoring a 30-27 unanimous decision
Combat Zone 49 will be held at Rockingham Park on June 27.
155- Brett Kinberger (Manchester, NH) def. Mervin Rodriguez Newark, NJ)) by unanimous decision
185-Cheyenne Vazquez (Lawrence, MA) def. Eddie Brito (Derry, NH, NH) by TKO on strikes 2:10 round 1
145- Jake Pilla (Billerica, MA) def. Paulo Alves DeSousa (Malden, MA)
By guillotine choke :43 round 1
170- JT Harold (No. Andover, MA) def. Brett Trahan (Burlington, VT) by TKO on strikes 2:15 round 1
135- Carl Langston (Windham, ME) def. David Bradbury (VT) by arm bar 2:42 round 2
135-Alec Wilson (Boston, MA) def. Jordan Yantin (Methuen, MA) by guillotine choke 1:33 round 1
185- Corey Bowhall (Watertown, NY) def. Tim Loughran (Arlington, MA) by guillotine choke :50 round 1
185- John Ryan (Lowell, MA) def. Kristian Lombari (Methuen, MA) by rear naked choke 1:15 round 1
145- Danny Abad (Watertown, NY) def. Dan Lynch (Plaistow, NH) by arm bar 2:59 round 1
145– Josh Harvey (Bangor, ME) def. Michael Fagan (Salem, NH) by unanimous decision
145- Matt Tulos (Dedham, MA) def. Aaron Lacey (Bangor, ME) by unanimous decision