Nick Pace Takes Bantamweight Belt at CFFC 52; Darrell Horcher Breaks Arm in Title Defense

By: Lutfi Sariahmed
Oct 31, 2015
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- The five years since Nick Pace’s UFC debut have been a tumultuous journey which led the “Pretty Boy” back to the top of a local MMA card. On Saturday night, Pace took on Ricky Bandejas for the vacant Cage Fury Fighting Championships bantamweight title at CFFC 52.

A longtime member of Team Tiger Schulmann, Pace visited other gyms in the tri-state area to expand his jiu-jitsu knowledge ahead of the bout at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Pace put those skills to good use midway through the first round, when he was able to catch the shooting Bandejas’ exposed neck and transition to a rear-naked choke to force a tap at the 2:51 mark.

“I was so emotional at the end of that fight,” Pace told after the win. “I’m an emotional kid. It’s been so long. I’ve been on such a journey from where I started when I was 10. When you get to the UFC and you start taking stuff for granted, it bites you in the ass, and that’s what happened to me. So, I took time off and I had to give back. The win tonight was huge just for me personally. This was tremendous.”

Pace was quick to credit his MMA family at Tiger Schulmann’s not only for his most recent victory, but also for his climb back up the proverbial mountain.

“Tiger Schulmann has played a very big part in my life. I don’t know where I’d be right now [without them],” said Pace. “They play a huge part in my life. 19 years of my life, I owe it to them. Now, it’s time for me to give back. I’ve been saying it all week. This fight isn’t for me. If I can get back into the UFC, I’d love to be in the UFC. That’s a huge deal. This fight was for my family.”

Darrell Horcher got a trick and a treat for Halloween in a bout considered to be “UFC or bust” for the CFFC lightweight champion.

After two cautious rounds against challenger Stephen Regman, “The Saint” connected with a left hook to the body which send Regman to the ground. Horcher followed up with a barrage of punches, forcing referee Vitor Ribeiro to stop the bout at 3:23 of round three. However, the champion did not emerge unscathed as Horcher was taken to the hospital after the bout, having broken an arm during the bout.

In women’s straweight action, Katlyn Chookagian returned to CFFC in a bout against Sijara Eubanks. It was a battle pitting Chookagian’s speed and range against Eubanks’ power that went in favor of the Team Renzo Gracie fighter. Chookagian took a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

Lightweight Justin Bonitatis came out guns blazing against Dave Marfone but made some mistakes in the opening round. Those mistakes would cost him, as Marlone put Bonitatis on his back and eventually secured a rear-naked choke at 4:23 of the first round.

Sam Oropeza and LeVon Maynard went the distance in their catchweight bout, with Maynard earning a unanimous nod by scores of 29-28 across the board.

Following his loss in a middleweight title bout against Anthony Smith, Tim Williams was back in the cage for a catchweight bout against Walter Howard. After two rounds of dealing with the size of the bigger Howard, Williams eventually found a home for a rear-naked choke and got the submission win at 4:19 of the third.

Emmanuel Walo kept chipping away in his catchweight bout against Jason Norwood. By the time the third round came, Walo found his breakthrough and scored a stoppage win at the 2:36 mark.

In other action, Scott Heckman made an emphatic return to the CFFC cage by submitting Jay Haas with a north-south choke at 1:17 of the second round, Pat Sabatini won via rear-naked choke over Tony Gravely after 2:47 of round one, and Dwayne Holman opened the evening with a straight-right knockout of Andrew Aguilar after only 13 seconds.

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