Taking on Sidemar Honorio, Sterling was more reluctant to engage in the opening moments than in previous bouts. By avoiding the big firefight, Sterling also dropped the opening round on Sherdog.com’s scorecard.
“I know he throws a lot of haymakers,” Sterling told Sherdog.com. “I watched a couple of his videos, and he definitely goes for the kill, so I wanted to be smart about entering in. I wanted to make sure I picked my shots the right way, and I wanted to make sure I gauged his speed to see how I could attack him.”
Attack he did in the second round after a takedown attempt from Honorio. Sterling countered the attempt by turning the corner and taking Honorio’s back. With a triangle latched onto the body, Sterling secured the rear-naked choke, earning the submission at 4:05 of the second round.
“That’s my style man. Funk Master. That’s what I do,” Sterling said. “Watch all my wrestling highlights in college and if anyone shoots on me -- high crotch, single leg -- I sprawl and take that corner and take people’s backs all the time. I guess I have B.J. Penn legs, kind of like Renan Barao did against Brad Pickett.”
Since moving down to flyweight “Shorty Rock” Sean Santella has won three straight bouts. His latest win came with another title defense over Team Bombsquad’s Evan Velez. It was far from easy though, as Santella walked away with a split decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48).
“I know that I finish strong,” Santella told Sherdog.com in the locker room following the bout. “I was trying to push the pace. I had his back. I definitely left a good impression. I know it was a tough fight. Some of the rounds were close. But I landed more shots. He did land some power shots but a lot of it was the crowd going, ‘Ohh.’ I controlled the position and pushed the pace. I feel like I was trying to finish the fight.”
After an injury forced David Branch out of his middleweight title bout against champion Tim Williams, Dustin Jacoby stepped in on short notice. In front of a hostile crowd, Jacoby took advantage of the opportunity against “The South Jersey Strangler.” After stacking Williams up against the cage early in the first frame, Jacoby came down with a vicious left elbow from the top, opening up a cut. The cut was right above the eye of Williams, forcing the ringside physician to stop the bout. It gave Jacoby the win at 4:04 in the first, making him the new CFFC middleweight champion.
“No disrespect to Tim Williams,” Jacoby said. “I know that would suck to lose that way and for that to happen. At the same time I caused that cut. I did what I had to do to win and I got out of there.”
Originally set to face Frank Lester, CFFC welterweight champion George Sullivan had prepared for a UFC veteran who stands less than 6 feet tall. After an injury forced Lester off the card, Sullivan was matched with the 6-foot-4 Tenyeh Dixon. It turned the bout into a scrap that Sullivan pulled out via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) to retain his title. After the fight he wasn’t that happy about it.
“Fighting Tenyeh at the last minute, how do you go from a 5-9 guy to a 6-4 guy?” Sullivan asked. “It f----d all my training camp up, all my ranges and everything. I think that had a lot to do with why I couldn’t find my range today. Hitting a guy that’s that long just kind of threw me off. I just couldn’t find it within my body to do what I wanted it to do.”
With Kasheem Peterson forced off the card for undisclosed reasons, Brandon Becker took on late replacement Dave Spadell Jr. Becker made short work of his new opponent, running him over in a catch-weight bout that ended at 4:17 of the opening round via TKO.
After scoring an impressive submission victory in his debut back in April, Jonavin Webb was back in the CFFC cage taking on Jason Lee. Thanks in large part to his jiu-jitsu game, Webb outworked and overwhelmed Lee over three rounds to earn the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
A stalwart on the local MMA scene, Chris Liguori garnered some of the loudest cheers of the night as he took on Gert Kocani. Liguori was never threatened over the course of three rounds, earning a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Following a tough loss to “Chocolate Thunder” Shedrick Goodridge, Michael Wilcox returned to the cage to take on Zed Mitchell. Wilcox took Mitchell down immediately and parlayed his positioning into a quick TKO victory at 1:48 of the opening round.
In flyweight action, Travis Wynn overwhelmed Dwayne Holman Jr. to earn a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Bryan Lashomb rebounded nicely following his first professional loss to the CFFC flyweight champ Sean Santella. Lashomb exploited his significant striking advantage against Evan Chmielski, eventually forcing a doctor stoppage at 1:51 in the third round.
In the first women’s bout in CFFC history, Andria Caplan and Gabrielle Holloway also provided one of the more entertaining bouts on the card. A back-and-forth bout through three rounds saw Holloway get the better of Caplan with her striking. An inadvertent eye poke in the third by Holloway forced the doctor to call an early end to the bout, which Holloway won via technical decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27].
Heavyweight prospect Chris Birchler took a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over local vet J.A. Dudley, while Team Bombsquad’s Desmond Green earned the split nod over Ryan Peterson (29-28, 27-30, 30-27) at lightweight. Jonathan Helwig started off the night with a triangle-choke submission victory over Jeremy Shifflett in the second round.