SALEM, NH— Rising MMA star Lucas “The Golden Boy” Cruz needed only 1:51 of the first round to submit Jeff Anderson with a rear naked choke hold to capture the main event of Combat Zone’s “Summer Beatdown” in the packed Sports Club at Rockingham Park on Friday night.
The impressive victory secured a step up onto the bigger stage and brighter lights for Cruz, a 21-year-old Brazilian native fighting out of Somerville, MA for Carlos Neto BJJ. He said after the win that he has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA, a leading national fight promotion outfit.
Photo Credit- Lucas Cruz Faecbook
“Tonight went just the way I wanted,” said Cruz, who improved his professional record to 9-2 while hardly breaking a sweat. “My game plan was to go in and get to the ground, ground and pound and finish the fight. Unfortunately, I fell on the bottom but I was able to reverse and it came out pretty good. It’s a good night when you go in there and don’t get a scratch on you and can finish the fight.”
Anderson, 35, had concentrated on his boxing in advance of the battle of lightweights and was able to land a flurry of strikes early on, but Cruz responded with some swift and hard kicks to the body. After Cruz slipped on the mat and Anderson took advantage, Cruz masterfully changed up and forced his opponent to tap out.
Anderson, fighting out of Lincoln, RI for B&F Boxing, dropped to 8-9.
In the highly anticipated co-main event between two talented fighters making their pro debut, Nashua’s Jay Perrin came in to the cage as the undisputed top ranked amateur bantamweight in the Northeast and triumphantly departed three rounds later with a hard-fought 30-27 unanimous decision over Quincy Humpfry from Wai Kru in Allston, MA.
“It feels great to win my first fight as a pro. I loved it out there,” said Perrin, who celebrated his 21st birthday earlier in the week and represents Team Triumph BJJ in Nashua. “But it was one of my toughest fights because I completely underestimated Quincy and everything he can do. I shouldn’t have done that. I think my ground and pound was the best part of my game tonight. I felt the finish when I slammed him in the second round because I could feel that he was rocked, but unfortunately I couldn’t do it.”
Also on the under card, John Santos (2-1) of Derry, NH and Team Fury scored the second consecutive TKO of his pro career in4:26 of round 1 over Austin Pilotte (2-3) from Team Link North. Santos was able to pin his opponent on the mat and then rain down a barrage of powerful strikes until the referee had to stop the action.
In the first of the four pro fights on the card, Walter Smith Cotito from Milford, NH and Team Triumph BJJ scored the biggest win of his career when he KO’d BJJ specialist Rodrigo Ranieri Faria in 1:49 of round 2 of their featherweight battle. Cotito, whose kick boxing and muay thai were on point from the opening bell, used his core strength, speed and quickness as he upped his record to 3-2 while Brazilian native Faria, representing Balanced Ground in Windham, ME, evened his at 1-1.
For his efforts Cotito earned honors as the fighter of the night and took home the trophy donated by Chang’s Tae Kwan Do Studio.
In the first of the seven amateurs fights of the night, it was the rematch of Haverhill High School graduates and welterweights Justin Boraczek and Scott Coburn but the result was the same with Boraczek being the more aggressive fighter, having the superior ground game, and pulling out the victory to remain undefeated at 3-0. Coburn, who slipped to 0-2, tapped out in 1:51 of the first round when submitted by an arm bar.
Next up Methuen’s Kristian Lombari could not stem the tide of leg kicks and then a relentless ground and pound game from first time combatant Thomas Cheviot, who represents Wai Kru. Lombari, fighting for Team Fury based in his hometown, dropped to 0-5 when the referee declared a TKO in 1:20 of the initial stanza of the middleweight tilt.
Although Lawrence’s Jimmy Munoz was able to battle Carl Langston for the distance in a match at 150 pounds, it was the fighter from Balanced Ground in Windham, ME who displayed far better striking ability and the more effective ground game that resulted in a unanimous decision. Langston evened his record at 3-3, as did Munoz at 1-1.
Then next fight was settled by the judges again as they declared James Squires from Sommerville, MA and BMAC the victor over Brain Cosco from Revere MA by unanimous decision in a match at 155 pounds. While each of the rounds seemed to be closely scored, Squires ultimately had the better takedowns and was able to land more effective strikes as he remained undefeated at 2-0 while Cosco evened his record at 1-2
Then it was time for a pair of women to get into the cage, and Rebecca Moore of Connors MMA won her MMA debut by unanimous decision over Kim Russell from Balanced Ground. With both of their camps screaming encouragement, Moore dominated the 138 pound match throughout by straddling her opponent, controlling the ground game and keeping her opponent on the mat almost the entire way while she rained down strikes. Russell, who dropped to 1-2, did manage to execute the guillotine choke in the late stages, but Moore had enough strength to fight her way through it and resume the upper hand.
It took all of :32 of the first round for first timer Mike Scappachio from Plaistow, NH to force LJ Scarcella from BMAC in Sommerville, MA to tap out from a guillotine choke hold in their featherweight fight. Scarcella now stands 1-1 while Scappachio gave Spero’s MMA its second winner in two fights on the night as Boraczek also represents them.
Hooksett, NH’s Nick Alley survived a slow start and low kick below the belt from first timer Duncan Zachariah Smith, who also opened a cut opened over his left eye, in the first round of their welterweight bout. Then Ally, representing Team Link, came back strong in the next stanza, fighting with more confidence and skill that led to him submitting Smith via rear naked choke hold in 2:08. Alley is now 2-1 after Smith lost his fist fight for Balanced Ground.
155- Lucas Cruz (Sommerville, MA) def. Jeff Anderson (Lincoln, RI) by rear naked choke 1:51 round 1
135- Jay Perrin (Nashua, NH) def. Quincy Humpfry (Allson, MA) by unanimous decision
145-John Santos (Derry, NH) def. Austin Pilotte (VT) by TKO 4:26 round 2
145- Walter Smith Cotito (Milford, NH) def. Rodrigo Ranieri Faria (Windham, ME) by KO 1:49 round 2
170- Nick Alley (Hooksett, NH) def. Duncan Zachariah Smith (Windhma, ME) by rear naked choke 2:08 round 2
145- Mike Scappachio (Plaistow, NH) def. LJ Scarcella (Sommerville, MA) by guillotine choke :32 round 1
138- Rebecca Moore (Marlborough, MA) def. Kim Russell (Windham, ME) by unanimous decision
155- James Squires (Sommerville, MA) def. Brain Cosco (Revere, MA) by unanimous decision
150- Carl Langston (Windham, ME) def. Jimmy Munoz (Lawrence, MA) by unanimous decision
185– Thomas Cheviot (Allston, MA) def. Kristian Lombari (Methuen, MA) by TKO 1:20 round 1
170- Justin Boraczek (Haverhill, MA) def. Scott Coburn (Haverhill, MA) by arm bar 1:51 round 1