As one of Arizona’s premier mixed martial arts organizations, the World Fighting Federation has a reputation of setting the bar very high. Over more than five years and seventeen events, they have evolved in leaps and bounds from an upstart show to becoming the show of shows in Arizona combat arts.

That was on display yet again in their final event of 2014 at the Wild Horse Pass and Casino in Chandler, Arizona. Topping off a successful year which spanned six shows, Brandy Pierce and Thom Ortiz closed out 2014 with a  bang, leaving Arizona fight fans looking towards 2015.

It isn’t every regional MMA show that garners the support of elite camps, coaches, and the fighters they train. Looking around the venue this past Saturday evening it was amazing to see MMA royalty in the corners of the rising fighters competing inside the WFF cage.

That elite connection played well as the athletes went to war from the opening bell all the way through the close of the main event. The evening was ignited with a bang when Michael Gillmore of Murcielago MMA squared off with Mike Derlatka of Fight Ready.

The fight opened with some electrifying striking exchanges and really was evenly matched. On the few occasions where the fight hit the mats, Derlatka showed slick submission prowess as he rolled for multiple leg locks. Gillmore was able to defend, though, and Derlatka switched gears in the second round. He was able to secure a fight-ending armbar that came out of nowhere.

It was a crafty end to a back and forth battle that showed once again the evolution of a WFF vet like Mike Derlatka.

Another well-matched competition unfolded between Danny Hammamoto of Rise Combat Sports when he went to war with Derrick Brown of Sicarius MMA. It was a three round tilt, but the judges were let off the hook. While the momentum was in Hammamoto’s corner early in the bout, the later rounds saw Brown tip the scales in his favor. While his opponent was relentless early, Brown secured a TKO stoppage in the third, advancing to 8-5.

The next stoppage took less time to secure than it did for the fighters to walk out to the cage. Andres Ponce of The Black Hole Pugilist Academy must have had somewhere else to be. His first round guillotine choke over Nicholas Outumuro of Arizona Combat Sports was aggressive and decisive. He wasted little time in controlling the fight and dictating the action. It was over before it started and Ponce notched another impressive win in his belt.

Later, two female warriors marched into battle. The heavy-handed Arianne Christiansen of Sicarius MMA took on the undefeated Tracy Cortez of Fight Ready. It was a fight that opened with intense striking exchanges, but it was the superior grappling of Cortez that became the story in the first. Using very technical grappling prowess, Cortez seized the momentum forcing Christiansen to the mat and quickly taking her back. It was just a matter of time before Cortez sunk her hooks in and attacked the neck of her opponent, ending the fight by rear naked choke in the first. It will be interesting to see what is next for this rising fighter.

Another dominant performance was on display when Drakkar Klose of The MMA Lab met Jeff Fletcher of The UFC Gym at lightweight. It was a fast paced and violent affair that favored Klose from open to close. Fletcher showed tremendous heart, enduring repeated barrages from Klose. In the second round though, Klose slammed the door shut overwhelming his opponent and forcing the third man in the cage to call a stop to the action.

As the evening went on, Arizona fight fans were treated to a true fingerprint of a battle. In a fight of the night performance, Andres Alcantar of The MMA Lab marched into all out open war with Edward Hyman of Team Quest. This was a battle of legendary camps and two incredible athletes at middleweight.

This was a striking affair from open to close. It was the kind of bout fans can only hope to witness live. For Hyman, there was a distinct reach advantage and he showcased slightly more technical striking. For Alcantar, his heart and aggression were clearly advantages he was able to count on when the waters got deep.

What really stood out in this back and forth bout was the call and response between Alcantar and his coaches. While the more precise striking of Hyman was the story early, even seeing him rock his opponent more than once, it was the leg kicks of Alcantar that tipped the scales.

Seeing his fighter taking too much damage early in the bout, Coach John Crouch told his fighter to attack the legs. Alcantar responded viciously and did not stop until the final bell rung. While Hyman was able to find moments of opportunity, the ruthless attack of Alcantar was just enough to earn the favor of the judges.

It was a grueling and exhausting split decision victory between two warriors representing world class camps. It was a fight which fans will not soon forget.

In the main event of the evening, the vacant bantamweight WFF strap was on the line as Jose Carbajal of Yuma United MMA met Randy Steinke of The MMA Lab. This was a one-sided title fight which saw Steinke destroy his opponent in quick and decisive fashion.

The new champion wasted no time dragging his opponent to the ground, dominating him with vicious strikes that cut him early, and then he sealed the deal with a lethal triangle choke. It was a performance that earned him the submission of the night award, but more importantly it earned him the WFF bantamweight title.

This is a title in a division which has sent more than one fighter straight to the top of the sport. Anyone who has seen Steinke compete has to imagine nothing will be different for him once the top promotions catch wind of his talent and progression.

It was a solid finish to a solid year for both the athletes and the organization. The hard work of the WFF and their staff continues to improve upon what was already a solid product. As they continue to elevate their promotion, the athletes and camps behind them continue to rise as well.

This is a year which saw titles repeatedly vacated in the WFF as their top warriors graduated to the pinnacle of the sport. Now, as a new year is upon us, it is fascinating to imagine what 2015 will bring for both the WFF and their fighters looking to follow in the footsteps of former champions who now make their homes under the banners of Bellator and the UFC.

 

To learn more about the WFF visit their website wffmma.com

 

About The Author

Todd Jackson
Staff Writer

Todd Jackson is a lifelong combat arts fan. MMA in particular has become a passion over the years. As an analyst his write ups have been featured by such websites as ESPN, FOX Sports, and Sports Illustrated over the years. Todd has interviewed world champions and hall of fame fighters. Yet his true inspiration comes in studying the fighter of tomorrow, the rising regional athlete. Todd is also a cageside commentator for an Arizona based promotion which allows him very unique insight into the sport he loves.