Just weeks after winter storm Nemo dropped over two feet of snow in the northeast, Linda Shields held Cage Fighting Xtreme 22 at the JunglePlex in Plymouth, Mass.

The event was titled “Winter Blast”, and it was a fitting name as another snowstorm was headed its way on the night of the fights. Fortunately for fans in attendance, the storm was light; however, the action inside the cage was far from light as 11 of the 17 fights on the docket were finished, rather than going to the judges’ scorecards.

Additionally, there were two professional championship title fights as the heavyweight and banamweight titles were on the line, while the amateur middleweight and bantamweight titles were also up for the taking.

“The Banana” makes quick work of Smith in heavyweight title fight

The vacant heavyweight championship was on the line and was scheduled for five rounds, but Juliano Coutinho made it clear that he wanted to end the fight early. The fight started out with the two fighters sizing one another up and feeling each other out.  “The Wolf” landed a nice combination in the early going, but ultimately was unable to do anything with it because Coutinho quickly scored a takedown against the cage in the aftermath.

The takedown was the beginning of the end for Smith as “The Banana” successfully threw the kitchen sink at his opponent, which caused him to try and scramble out from the bottom. The scramble allowed the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance fighter to gain control of Smith’s back where a variety of strikes caused referee Kevin MacDonald to step in and end it just before the two minute mark.

With the victory, Coutinho exited the cage as the CFX heavyweight champion.

Slade chokes out Giovanella for bantamweight title

Robbie Slade (r) and his cornerman show off their new hardware (Brian McKenna/The MMA Corner)

It was a matchup between two undefeated fighters for the promotion’s vacant 135-pound title as Robby Slade took on Billy Giovanella. The first round went to “The Wolverine” as he spent most of the round on top of Slade. Giovanella worked ground and pound from various top positions, but the Lauzon’s MMA product stayed busy on the bottom on defense, including attempting a guillotine choke. The round ended with Giovanella landing nice punches while in back mount on Slade.

While the first round went to the Connor’s MMA fighter, the momentum swung in the second round. Right off of the bell, Slade popped out and landed a jab which snapped his opponents head back. A scramble came from the aftermath of the jab which resulted in the two fighters on the mat, only this time the Lauzon’s MMA fighter had control. Slade ended up on the back of his opponent and locked in a body triangle to ensure that he hung onto the position. With it, he eventually transitioned it into a failed armbar attempt, but kept working hard to achieve the fight winning triangle choke.

Robby Slade improved his perfect record to 4-0 and left with the bantamweight championship title around his waist.

Skrzat beats up “The Punching Bag”

With a nickname like “The Punching Bag”, one would think that Gerry Spiegel is able to take a lot of punishment. It didn’t take Steve Skrzat very long to find out just how much punishment he could actually take. Early in their fight, the Tri Force MMA fighter landed big strikes which resulted in Spiegel backing up and pressing his back against the cage to cover up. Punches, kicks and knees were all thrown with conviction by Skrzat, but he was unable to drop “The Punching Bag”. Realizing that he would tire himself out, Skrzat started intelligently picking his shots and paced himself with his strikes. With Spiegel’s back still against the cage, his opponent took him down where he continued to throw paced shots to end the round.

The second round was over just as soon as it started, as Skrzat appeared fresh off of the minute long intermission and slower paced end of the first round. He pressed forward and again had his opponent against the cage in complete defense mode, leaving the referee no choice but to step in to stop the fight and protect his opponent just 18 seconds into round two.

Mahmood TKO’ed by “Kong”

The first round of the fight between Hassun Mahmood and Kin Moy was one of the more even rounds of the night. The two fighters had several even exchanges where both fighters would land solid strikes, but neither fighter truly getting the better of the other. “Kong” sprawled two takedown attempts by the Team Bombsquad fighter, but was unable to defend the third takedown attempt as Mahmood put his opponents back against the cage and dragged Moy down to the mat. The fighters didn’t stay in the position very long as Moy was able to wall walk back up and return the fight to the feet before the bell that ended the round.

Moy was able to sprawl off of another takedown attempt early in the second round, but this time used it to his advantage as he spun around and gained the back of his opponent. While mounted on his back, the Redline Fight Sports product landed big punches and a very strong knee to the body.  The knee may have broke his opponents will, as it was smooth sailing from there for Moy as he flatted out his opponent from back mount to earn the TKO stoppage and improve his record to 2-0.

“The Irish Hitman” comes up short against King

In the lone super heavyweight fight of the night, Bobby Favors couldn’t finish off his opponent. Early in the first round, Tyler King ate a huge right hand by “The Irish Hitman”.  It looked as if the fight was going to be over right there as the Connor’s MMA fighter was in very rough shape, however he was somehow able to weather the storm after being rocked and continue to press on in the fight. King spent most of the remainder of the first round regaining his composure, and popping in and out quickly while throwing his strikes. It was clear that King had his senses back when he was able to get in tight to his well over 300-pound opponent and landed several big knees to his stomach.

It didn’t take long for the giant to fall in the second round as Favors conditioning caught up with him. King saw an opening and pounced on Favors voulnerability, which caused the big man to have to cover up and protect himself with his back against the cage. It didn’t take long for the referee to stop the fight, finishing off the comeback for King.

Giove makes short work of Beauparlant

It was thought that ring rust may have been an issue for Mark Giove in his fight against Josh Beauparlant as Giove had not had a fight since late 2010. As it turned out, you wouldn’t have even known that he had an extended time away from competing as he completely dominated his opponent. Early in the fight, the South Shore Sport Fighting product took down Beauparlant which spelled the beginning of the end of the fight. From the top position, Giove landed strikes to open up his opponent and transition into mount, where he then quickly slapped on the fight winning arm triangle choke just before the two-minute mark of the first round.

Aiello wins first professional fight on short notice

A bloodied Andy Aiello walks backstage after his first professional victory (Brian McKenna/The MMA Corner)

Just seven days earlier, Andy Aiello was choked out in the first round by Kody Nordby in his professional debut. It didn’t take long for the Lauzon’s MMA product to get back on the horse as he entered the cage on less than a weeks notice to take on Tom Balzano. The first round was fairly even, as both fighters boxed one another with each fighter getting the better of the striking at various points. Aiello put a stamp on the first round as he landed a strong flying knee right at the bell.

The start of the second round was similar to that of the one prior, as the two fighters stood across from one another and continued to throw strikes. Not long into the round, however, it appeared as though Balzano was tiring quickly. The Team Irish fighter tried a couple of takedowns as a result, but “The Raging Korean” was able to sprawl and stuff all of them, which he parlayed into continued punishment on the feet.

It was clear that Aiello was in better shape than his opponent during the third frame as he continued to press forward and do damage while his opponent appeared defensive and exhausted. After 15 minutes, the bell rang and it was the “Raging Korean” who was given the unanimous decision victory for his first professional victory.

Green defeats Ortolani by decision

The first round of the fight between Desmond Green and John Ortolani was fairly uneventful, as each fighter came out at a metered pace as if they knew right away that the fight was going three rounds. Green landed a takedown, but it was apparent that the Triumph BJJ fighter was prepared for it as he used the position to go for an armbar. That caused the fight to return to the feet, where the two circled one another, but were unable to land anything significant. The fight returned to the ground after “The Predator” caught a kick thrown by Ortolani, but it was Ortolani that ended up on top this time.

“The Predator” shot for a successful takedown early in the second round, and stayed on top for most of the round. The Team Bombsquad fighter wasn’t doing a lot from the top, but he was doing enough to keep the referee from standing the two fighters. With limited time left in the round, the fight returned to the feet.

The third round had a very similar feel to it as the round prior, only this time Ortolani was able to slap on several armbar attempts. Green did a great job defending the submission, preventing his opponent from extending the arm while picking him up and slamming him to the mat to break the hold. “The Predator” was able to stay on top and stay just busy enough to again keep the referee from standing them up.

When it was all said and done, the judges awarded Green the unanimous decision victory, with all three judges scoring the fight 29-28. With the victory, “The Predator” improved his record to 8-1.

Moore awarded victory by disqualification

At the start of the fight, Jeff Moore shot for a quick takedown of his opponent, Dominic Warr. The takedown was successful, but despite being on his back, “Hawk” was busy and worked well off of his back. Warr continued to try to improve his position, however Moore stayed equally as busy on the top to ensure that he stayed where he was and didn’t fall victim to any submission attempts. Warr nearly had two separate armbars during the first round, but it was the South Shore Sport Fighting product ground and pounding out the round.

Not wanting to get trapped on the ground the way he did in the first round, “Hawk” charged right at his opponent off of the bell to start round two, only for it to backfire as Moore landed a double leg takedown and planted the Wai Kru fighter firmly on his back. The fighters were up against one of the corners of the cage as a result of the takedown making it difficult to see exactly what happened, but out of nowhere, the referee pounced in and stopped the busy fighters from continuing as Moore was out cold. At first, it appeared as though Warr had choked his opponent out using a guillotine choke, however it turned out that Warr had landed several strikes to the back of the head of Moore, knocking him out illegally.

While doctors checked in on the downed fighter, the referee huddled with members of the commission, who determined that “Hawk” would be disqualified due to the illegal strikes, declaring Moore the winner.

Scott drops professional debut to Manley

After holding the promotions amateur featherweight championship, Evan Scott took on Shane Manley in his professional debut. In the first round of their fight, it was clear that Manley had better striking. The Team Bombsquad fighter chipped away at Scott using leg kicks and strong punches. With the fight not going his way, the Lauzon’s MMA fighter dragged the fight to the ground where he sat on the bottom for the rest of the round, working for anything he could get.

The rest of the fight looked very similar, as Scott looked for submissions and sweeps off of his back. Unfortunately for the former amateur champion, he was unable to trap his opponent and ultimately lost the fight on the judges scorecard by a score of 30-27 across the board.

Amateur Action

Buck Pineau celebrates his championship victory (Brian McKenna/The MMA Corner)

After what appeared to be losing the first two rounds, Buck Pineau used Mike Rodriguez’s aggressiveness against him to secure the standing guillotine choke just 27 seconds into the third round. Rodriguez had done a good job getting the fight to the ground in the first two rounds, but “Knuckles” capitalized and exited the cage with the amateur middleweight strap.

George Nassar secured an armbar in the first round of his amateur bantamweight title fight against Chris Suarez. Nassar was the aggressor in the fight and was on top position for most of the first round.

Gene Ellis made short work of Tyreese Locket in their amateur featherweight fight, as he rushed right in to pick up his opponent and slam him to the mat. “The Dancing Machine” quickly transitioned into mount where he postured up and rained down strong ground and pound for the TKO victory.

It isn’t often you see a victory by omoplata, but that is exactly what we saw out of Jesus Gutierrez in his fight against Jordan Smith. After a fairly even first round, “La Leche” pressed forward aggressively and got the fight to the ground where he was able to apply the fight winning submission.

Jay Helger, James Manning and Billy Leischner all displayed great wrestling in their unanimous decision victories. Their opponents struggled while on the bottom, while they all displayed great balance and awareness to keep the fight on the mat with themselves in the dominant position.

Juliano Coutinho def. Randy Smith by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:53 – heavyweight championship
Robby Slade def. Billy Giovanella by submission (triangle choke). Round 2, 3:21 – bantamweight championship
Steve Skrzat def. Gerry Spiegel by TKO (punches). Round 2, 0:18
Kin Moy def. Hassan Mahmood by TKO (punches). Round 2, 1:27
Tyler King def. Bobby Favors by TKO (punches). Round 2, 1:02
Mark Giove def. Josh Beauparlant by submission (arm triangle). Round 1, 1:52
Andy Aiello def. Tommy Balzano by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Desmond Green def. John Ortoliani by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jeff Moore def. Dominic Warr by disqualification (strikes to back of head). Round 2
Shane Manley def. Evan Scott by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Buck Pineau def. Mike Rodriguez by submission (standing guillotine). Round 3, 0:27 – middleweight championship (a)
George Nassar def. Chris Suarez by submission (armbar). Round 1, 2:27 – bantamweight championship (a)
Gene Ellis def. Tyreese Lockett by TKO (punches). Round, 1:34 (a)
Jesus Gutierrez def. Jordan Smith by submission (omoplata). Round 2 (a)
Jay Helger def. Mike O’Connell by unanimous decision. (a)
James Manning def. Mike Brown by unanimous decision. (a)
Billy Leischner def. Will McCall by unanimous decision. (a)

(a) denotes amateur contest

Top Photo: Juliano Coutinho celebrates his victory with his cornermen and his new championship belt (Brian McKenna/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.