UMASS-Lowell junior Connor Barry  made his MMA debut as a professional a success by defeating Pete San Antonio with a razor-thin 29-28 unanimous decision in the thrilling main event of Combat Zone MMA "Pride and Glory" at Rockingham Park on Friday night.

Through the full three rounds the gutsy warriors bloodied and battered one another and San Antonio took the third and final round on points. But Barry had outscored him in the first two rounds and that was enough to secure the victory.
"It was a war," said an elated but exhausted Barry. "He scored a takedown in the first round but I got a sweep and stayed out top and landed some punched to win that round. In the second, he landed some punches and took me down again, but I got the sweep and then when standing up, threw some punches that rocked him a few times. I don't think he wanted to stand up with me. In the third round, he came at me like a bat out of Hell because he knew he lost the first two rounds. I was gassed and trying to stay on top but couldn't do much. It was a battle and I'm glad I came out on top. He's a tough guy and a good fighter and I have a lot of respect for him."
Barry is now 1-0 while San Antonio, who hails from North Andover, MA but trains in upstate New York and came back to fight in front of his home crowd, evened his pro record at 1-1.
University of New Hampshire alumna Kerri Kennesen graduated from the maiden mixed martial arts ranks with a statement victory by unanimous decision over previously undefeated Hannah Murello in the co-main event.
In a highly spirited and intense back and forth battle between the women bantamweights that was the amateur fight of the night and had the crowd on its feet and screaming through the three rounds,  Kenneson out-punched, out-kicked, and outlasted Murello while also winning points on her takedowns.
"It was intense, very much so.She kept bringing it but I gave it right back to her," said Kenneson, who took home the Chang's Tae Kwan Do trophy after being judged the top amateur fighter of the night. "I've been training very intensely for the last few months. I just came out and did what I do."
  Her improvement was remarkable as she was knocked out in under a minute of her first and only other fight in Combat Zone 53.
"I've been training intensely. This was my come-back win. My first fight didn't go as I had planned. I got clipped. But I couldn't go out like that so I came back and I will be back again," said Kennesen, who trains at Team Link North in Hooksett, NH and is an educator at the Crotched Mountain School.
Kennesen evened her record at 1-1 while Murello, a law enforcement officer from Nashua, NH, dropped to 2-1.
It might have been the MMA debut for amateur light heavyweight Shawn Bettincourt from Stoughton, MA but he looked like a much more seasoned fighter by needing just :13 seconds of the first round to score a decisive knockout of Jon McNeil (1-1) from NashuaFrom the opening bell, Bettincourt rocked his opponent with a powerful right to the jaw that knocked him to the mat, and when McNeil tried to recover and stood up, the winner fired back with a follow-up right that rendered him unconscious.
Jordan Faulkner from Plaistow, NH scored some vicious takedowns of George Demers of Derry, NH in a fight of middleweights that had to be interrupted when the impact damaged the cage, but after the action resumed Faulkner was awarded the win via TKO when his rival could not answer the bell for the third and final round of their amateur tilt. Faulkner is now undefeated in two fights while Demers lost his initial foray .
C.J. Kevlin from Laconia, NH tasted victory for the first time in three efforts by scoring a unanimous 30-27 decision over L.J. Scarciella (1-2) from Boston by virtue of better takedowns and then some serious grounding and pounding. The win in the lightweight ranks was sweet for Kelvin, who lost his first fight in only: 32 seconds at the same venue in Combat Zone 49.
For the initial amateur MMA fight, featherweight Dan Lynch from Plaistow, NH and Spero's MMA improved to 2-4 by submitting Kurt Daniels from Townsend in just 1:10 of Round 1 with a guillotine choke that  put Daniels (0-3)  out cold.
First timer Dwight Barahona from Methuen, MA got a rude introduction to the cage when fellow welterweight John McAndrews knocked him out with a combination of punches followed by a strike in :47 of Round 1. McAndrews, from Nashua, now stands at 2-1.
In the first of two amateur kickboxing events to start the night, Boston-based warriors Zach Calmus and Steve Walker went at each other aggressively for the full three rounds before Walker, who connected more with his punches, was declared the winner by unanimous decision. Walker improved to 2-0 while Calmus lost his debut in the cage.
Next up it was the ladies who got the crowd cheering with another intense fight for three hard fought rounds, where each gave as good as she got with effective punches to the head and powerfully landed leg kicks. In the end it was Tori DiBenedetto who was declared the winner by spilt decision as she evened her record at 1-0 while Danielle Bartlett (1-1) lost her first fight.
Combat Zone MMA 56 returns on Friday, November 20 with another exciting and action-packed card.
Pro MMA:
155 lbs: Connor Barry (Lowell, MA) def. Pete San Antonio (No. Andover, MA) by unanimous 
Amateur MMA:
125 lbs: Kerri Kennesen (Concord, NH) def. Hannah Murello (Nashua, NH) by unanimous decision
145 lbs: Dan Lynch (Plaistow, NH) def. Kurt Daniels (Townsend, MA) by guilltoine choke 1:10 Round 1
170 lbs: John McAndrews (Nashua, NH) def. Dwight Barahona (Methuen, MA) by KO in :47 Round 1
155 lbs: CJ Kevlin (Laconia, NH) def. LJ Scarciella (Somerville, MA) by unanimous decision
200 lbs: Shawn Bettincourt (Stoughton, MA) def. Jon McNeil (Nashua, NH) by KO in :13 Round 1
185 lbs: Jordan Faulkner (Plaistow, NH) def. George Demers (Derry, NH) by TKO Round 2
Amateur Kickboxing:
218 lbs: Steve Walker (Boston, MA) def. Zach Calmus (Cambridge, MA) by unanimous decision
150 lbs: Tori DiBenedetto (Taunton, MA) def. Danielle Bartlett (Holbrook, MA) by split decision


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