The Build Up
Webb (8-0) entered their first fight as the champion and with a sense of invincibility. He was coming off the biggest victory of his young career. He dispatched UFC veteran Dan Stittgen with ease to improve his record to a perfect seven victories in seven tries. Seven fights and seven dominant performances. Never in trouble and always leading his opponent where he wanted to take the fight. That all changed when he stepped in the cage against Good.
They were destined to fight each other ever since Good (17-3) signed to be with CFFC. Good, a former Bellator world champion, was looking for a home. He chose CFFC because of the platform the organization could provide and with their resume, a few wins meant you would most likely get call from the UFC. In June 2014, Good sent a message with a viscous knockout victory over Matt Secor at CFFC 36. He couldn’t be denied. He wouldn’t be denied. After Webb agreed without hesitation, the biggest CFFC fight was born.
"Jonavin and Lyman are two of the most elite welterweights outside the UFC,” stated CFFC CEO Robert Haydak, Jr. “We're blessed to have both of them on our CFFC roster. Outside of being top fighters, they both are true gentlemen and great ambassadors for the sport."
The First Fight
Cameras followed each fighter that cold night as they entered the arena and started their warm up. It felt like the biggest fight in CFFC history. As the card went on, the anticipation grew. The crowd, evenly split of Webb and Good fans, were waiting anxiously for the main event to start and to see history take place.
The first round was equivalent to the usual feeling out process that two seasoned fighters usually do. It was a close round but you could see Lyman’s experience starting to take over. The second round was a totally different story. A perfectly placed high kick put Webb on the canvas. Good smelled blood and went in for the finish. For the first time in his career, Webb was in trouble.
“The first fight woke me up,” said Webb. “There were a lot of things I wasn't doing in my camp that I should've been doing. I actually think that I needed something like that to light a new fire under my ass. But the thing I took the most from that (fight) is that I can take his best shot. He hit me with everything and I got my self through it. It's funny that some people think I quit in that fight. If I wanted to quit I easily could've in the second round. But I didn't.”
After he was dropped, Webb survived a relentless onslaught of ground-and-pound from Good. It seemed for sure that a new champion would be crowned. However, Webb somehow survived and finished the round on his feet, bloodied and bruised.
Although it wasn’t as dominate as the second round, Good was picking his spots with Webb and seemed poised for a third round finish. Then the eye poke happened. It’s not rare and certainly not uncommon for one fighter to open up his fist and inadvertently extend their finger causing an eye poke. As Webb grimaced, referee Keith Peterson issued a time out and summoned the doctor in the cage. Then the fight was over. Webb couldn’t continue and CFFC had a new welterweight champion. At least that is what the sold out crowd at the Borgata thought. Everyone knew something was amiss when the announcement came longer than usual. The newly reinstated NJSACB commissioner, Larry Hazzard and the counsel to the NJSACB, Nick Lembo were in a huddle. A few weeks prior to this fight, Hazzard brought back instant replay for combat sports in New Jersey and he was going to use it for this event. They reviewed the replay and felt as though there was an eye poke and because scheduled five-round fight didn’t reach the third round, the fight would be ruled a no contest. Good was just one minute and seventeen seconds away from a title that most felt, should have been his.
“The main thing I took from our first fight is that, when I am prepared, and my mind and body are right, there is no one in the world at 170 that can beat me,” stated Good. “I also know that Webb is a tough guy and is not going to quit. I plan to have the referee stop this fight to protect him.”
Why the Rematch Wasn’t Immediate
As soon as the first fight ended, fans were asking about the rematch. Borgata wanted it, CFFC wanted it, and more importantly, the fighters wanted it. But the timing just wasn’t right for Webb. “I fought a lot last year and my body felt like it wasn't running the way it should have,” continued Webb. “It was like a car with too many miles on it without an oil change. It showed in my November fight with Lyman. Also my head trainer, Daniel Gracie, wasn't going to be here for my camp and I just thought it would be a bad idea to take that fight not 100 percent. He is a very tough opponent and it would be stupid to fight someone like him not at my best.”
With Webb out of the picture for CFFC 47, CFFC decided to have Good fight for an interim title against Elijah Harshbarger, a veteran and champion from another organization. However, a toe injury sidelined Harshbarger and Micah Terrill got the opportunity of a lifetime. With three straight first round stoppages, Terrill didn’t hesitate to see if he could make it four in a row.
The Interim Title Fights
Nothing really can phase a Cyborg. The disappointment of not fighting Webb, the last minute change of an opponent, and Webb looking on from front row meant nothing. Good was dominate and forced Terrill to tap via a rear naked choke in the first round, thus becoming the CFFC interim welterweight champion.
“I think Lyman looked good in that fight,” stated Webb. “Just way more experienced. But Micah is a tough dude and I think he hurt Lyman a little”.
A few days after the fight, CFFC started to plan the Webb-Good rematch. However, Harshbarger reached out to CFFC management and stated that he was ready to go. Due to contractual reasons, CFFC had to provide Harshbarger a title fight. A phone call was placed to Webb’s management and the rematch was put on hold.
Webb held his end of the bargain and submitted Harshbarger in a little over a minute by guillotine choke in the first round. The rematch was back on.
“I appreciate the circumstances leading to two interim titles, but there should be only one champion and, on May 9, it will be me,” exclaimed Good. “I did not watch the Webb-Harshbarger fight. I already knew that Jonavin is a great fighter and excellent jiu-jitsu practitioner. I expect him to aggressively pursue a submission as I am told he did that with Elijah”.
"I made several mistakes in the handling of this rematch,” added Haydak. “In hindsight, I should have personally reached out to Lyman and explained why Jonavin was stepping in to face Elijah. Fortunately, for Lyman, Jonavin and the fans, things worked out for the best and the true champion will be crowned on May 9."
On May 9th, 2015 at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, the rematch will finally happen. Contracts are signed and camp is in session. There are currently two CFFC welterweight champions and after CFFC 48, there can only be one. “The belt for me isn't the main focus,” said Webb. “Beating Lyman and putting on a good show on this time for my fans is what really matters to me. This fight means the world to me. A win would show me that I do belong at the top of the sport and would definitely be a confidence booster”.
"I truly believe Lyman at his best is easily one of the top welterweights in the world,” said Haydak. “He controlled the first fight and imposed his will. However, Jonavin showed the heart of a champion. This fight has a Vision Quest feel to it. One guy who appears invincible versus a guy that has a tremendous heart."
“I am confident I will win on May 9,” said Good. “The manner of finish is difficult to predict and will depend on Jonavin's game plan and attack. Whether I win by knockout or submission, it doesn't matter to me. I will work hard to make this a memorable and enjoyable fight for everyone”.
“I predict this fight being a scrap,” said Webb. “His game is to try to scare people and intimidate them from the first bell. He is like the monster in your closet as a kid. The only way to get over that fear is to step in there and realize there is nothing there. The good thing is that I have stepped in there before, and I took his best shots. Let's just say I’m not scared of the monster in my closet anymore”.
For updates and further announcements on the card, log on to www.CFFC.tv and find us on Facebook.
About Cage Fury Fighting Championships
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (www.cffc.tv) is a pioneer in bringing prominent and elite MMA talent to the East Coast. Since CFFC’s debut, past, and current champions have competed at the highest level. Before they were in the UFC, Jim and Dan Miller were both CFFC champions. That legacy remains the same today. Three current CFFC champions, George Sullivan, Aljamain Sterling, and Paul Felder are currently on the UFC roster. Current UFC fighters Zach Makovsky, Nick Catone, Nah-Shon Burrell, and John Howard have also competed in CFFC prior to their entry to the UFC. Also, CFFC helped jumpstart the career of Internet fighting sensation Kimbo Slice, whose first foray into MMA came in the CFFC cage when he fought former boxing champion Ray “Merciless” Mercer. CFFC continues to thrive as one of the best regional promotions in the world while focusing on treating fighters with respect and giving the fans the ultimate MMA experience.