Larosa Wins 13th Straight at ‘War at the Shore’
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- The next time you complain about your job’s
mind-numbing tedium, take a moment and be grateful you were not
stuck in Monte Cox’s shoes on Friday night.
After assembling a tremendous lineup for his Extreme Challenge
promotion’s latest offering, Cox saw “War at the Shore” come apart
at the seams. Headliners Eddie
Alvarez and Wilson Reis
bowed out of their bouts at the Tropicana Resort and Casino,
leaving former Bodog Fight women’s champion Tara Larosa
to shoulder the burden of providing a worthy main event for
fight-starved fans in the Northeast.
Luckily for Larosa, being a New Jersey native meant she had the
entire crowd firmly in her corner, as the raucous patrons united
behind their hometown girl.
That did not faze her opponent, Alexis
Davis, who quickly seized the initiative on the feet and forced
Larosa to seek the safety of the clinch. An extended stalemate
ensued, as neither fighter could secure the upper hand, forcing a
referee restart the restless crowd instantly approved. That restart
set the stage for the best action of the first round, as Larosa
(16-1) promptly dropped Davis with a short hook that would have
ended the night for the upstart had her strong guard not corralled
Larosa for the remainder of the round.
The second stanza saw another protracted clinch battle won by Davis
(6-2), who scored a surprising trip takedown. Even more shocking
was the ease with which Davis waltzed past Larosa’s guard. The
round’s final stunner came when Larosa managed to reverse the
position, only to be trapped in a triangle choke that she endured
while waiting for the sweet sound of the bell. Several suspenseful
seconds later, Larosa was saved by the timekeeper’s hammer.
Heading into the deciding third round, it became apparent the bout
would come down to a battle of wills. As in the previous two
periods, a clinch fight marked the early going, and this time,
Larosa got the upper hand by securing a rear body lock that she
segued into a takedown.
By then, Larosa had shaken off the cage rust from 14-month layoff,
and she maintained top control while keeping a fist in Davis’ face.
Unfortunately, an earlier cut sustained by Davis in the clinch
proved to be the deciding factor. The referee called for a check
from the doctor, who deemed the damage too severe for Davis to
brave the remainder of the round. The end came 4:23 into period
Despite the event being held in New Jersey, one of the largest
cheering sections at the Tropicana belonged to Philadelphian
Brenneman. He showed off his wrestling pedigree early at the
expense of Edward O’Daniel and delivered a pair of slams within the
first 20 seconds of the bout. The frustration was visible on
O’Daniel’s face, as his attempts to get back to an upright position
were repeatedly answered by Brenneman’s slams.
However, Brenneman lacked the offensive firepower of his trainer,
UFC lightweight prospect Frankie
Edgar, and the constant slams became passé, as Brenneman’s
attempts to pass guard and score with strikes were almost
unfailingly thwarted by O’Daniel (1-3). Finally, O’Daniel’s open
guard tactics caught up to him, as Brenneman (7-1) secured the
dreaded crucifix position and chipped away with strikes that forced
a stoppage late in the second round. Elbows brought an end to the
match 4:22 into the second round.
Although most of the Northeast talent, kept the crowd happy,
Queens, N.Y., native Jonathan Evans wasted his goodwill with
spectators when British wrestler Kamal
Shalorus promptly disposed of the New Yorker with ease. All it
took was a body lock takedown and some howitzer-propelled right
hands to send Evans (0-1) back to the borough with a bruised ego
and a loss to boot. The action lasted a mere 35 seconds, as
Shalorus (3-0) remained unbeaten.
One of the evening’s better offerings was the bantamweight tilt
featuring World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Justin
Robbins and Philadelphia Fight Factory product Zach
Makovsky. Showing the same blitzing offensive style as
stablemate Alvarez, Makovsky (5-1) kept Robbins off balance
throughout the bout. Eventually, he scored a lightning-fast
transition to back control and coaxed a tapout from Robbins (9-6-1)
with a rear-naked choke 1:05 into round two.
On a night that saw undefeated prospects shine at the expense of
veterans, ShoXC veteran Josh Barnes
might have done the most to further his name.
After he rocked UFC veteran Sherman
Pendergarst on the feet, he put an end to matters with a
guillotine choke that elicited a quick three-tap symphony from
Pendergarst (11-12). All told, it took a mere 32 seconds for Barnes
(3-0) to announce himself as a prospect worth watching in the
While the second half of the evening proved worthy, it was the
undercard that really came through.
The clash between John Meyer
and Craig Kaufman hit leadoff. Meyer (6-3) controlled the action
with his wrestling before unexpectedly transitioning from a Kaufman
(6-3) sweep into a heel hook that sounded his opponent’s death
knell 85 seconds into the third round.
Also on the undercard was the professional debut of bantamweight
Tuan Pham, who needed only his left hand to overwhelm and stop
Minnesota Martial Arts Academy product Nat McIntyre
by technical knockout 40 seconds into the first round. The defeat
snapped a seven-fight winning streak for McIntyre (7-2).
Equally impressive was the debut of Dan Stittgen, who turned an
attempted armbar by Kurt
Pellegrino protégé Greg Killian
into a standing rear-naked choke that, despite valiant defense from
Killian (1-1), sealed the deal with just 10 seconds left in the
first round. Stittgen (1-0), who took a vociferous verbal volley
from Killian’s cheering section during introductions, offered some
choice words and gestures to his deriders afterwards.
While none of the undercard bouts disappointed, the showstopper of
the night’s opening half was the bantamweight brawl between Iowa’s
Powell and Brazilian Sidemar
The opening round alone saw the unorthodox Honorio (3-0) drop
Powell twice with high kicks. Powell responded with rugged punching
volleys that had Honorio scrambling for breathing room. With the
crowd hoping for another round of back-and-forth action, Honorio
was clearly thinking otherwise, as he dropped Powell (7-2) with
another high kick that left the referee no choice but to call it a
night for the prone Iowan 24 seconds into the second stanza.
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