FLORENCE, Ky. – Cincinnati’s Shaun Asher (5-0) won the Midwest Alliance Championships middleweight title on Saturday, August 18, when he defeated Doug Sparks (4-1) via unanimous decision at Turf Wars 8.
Asher set the tone when he picked Sparks up and slammed him to the mat just seconds after the first round started. He quickly transitioned into mount and started raining down shots on his opponent. Sparks did a solid job protecting himself and nearly won the fight when he caught Asher in a heel hook late in the round. Asher grimaced in pain as Sparks locked it in, but he managed to escape the hold.
The second and third rounds were much like the first, with Asher working his takedowns and Sparks looking for submissions. Sparks was able to grab onto Asher’s leg multiple times, but the Vision MMA product was ready for him each time. In the end, it came down to Asher’s dominant top game against Sparks’ jiu-jitsu, and the wrestler won. Asher took all three rounds in the unanimous decision victory.
Turf Wars 8 also featured four-man lightweight and bantamweight tournaments. The winner of each tourney was given the opportunity to fight for the Turf Wars amateur title or they could turn pro and compete on the next Turf Wars event.
In the lightweight division, Benjamin Cox (6-3) started his evening by submitting Colt McGinnis (2-1) via arm bar at 1:08 of the first round. McGinnis was never really in it after slipping and falling to the mat moments after the bell rang. Cox saw an opening and jumped into McGinnis’s guard. He quickly transitioned into mount and locked in a triangle choke. McGinnis did his best to work his way out of the choke, but Cox grabbed an arm and finally forced the tap out.
Brandon Jackson (2-1) beat Lester Cole (4-4) via technical knockout after his opponent was unable to answer the bell to start the second round. The two men fought a competitive first round, during which both fighters nearly locked in submissions that could have finished the match.
However, the fight turned late in the round when Jackson landed a hard shot to Cole’s face, followed by some more ground and pound as the bell rang. When referee Gary Copeland separated the two fighters at the end of the round, Jackson went to his corner, but Cole stayed where he was in the middle of the cage. Cole informed the doctor that he felt sick and could no longer continue.
Jackson and Cox met in the tournament final, putting on a show for the fans under the lights at Turfway Park. Jackson started the fight with a takedown followed by some powerful ground and pound. Cox kept his composure and rolled for an arm bar. Jackson slammed Cox to get free from the submission, but his opponent grabbed his leg on the way down and cinched a knee bar. Jackson worked his way out of the hold but appeared to gas out as he defended against Cox’s continued submission attempts. The first round ended with a tired Jackson defending against a rear-naked choke.
Cox attempted a takedown to start the second round, but Jackson landed on top of him. Jackson immediately took advantage of the situation by landing some powerful ground and pound from inside Cox’s guard. Cox took the punches and grabbed Jackson’s leg. He grabbed a leg lock briefly before taking Jackson’s back and submitting him with a rear-naked choke. It was a great fight worthy of a tournament final.
The bantamweight tournament ended after the semifinal fights because Donnie Ballou (6-4) broke his hand during his submission victory over Raymond Gillies (1-3). That left Jerrick Boykin as the tournament winner after he dominated Nick Pegg (4-1) during their semifinal matchup. Boykin submitted Pegg at 1:07 of the first round via guillotine choke to earn his victory.
In the superheavyweight division, Kyle Gulley (1-0) won his first career amateur fight by submitting Jeremie Elkins (5-6) via forearm choke. Elkins announced prior to the fight that this would be his final appearance in the cage.
Jesse Lawson (1-0) also logged a victory in his first career fight when he forced Sean Figley (0-1) to tap out from an arm triangle at 1:32 of the first round.
|Brandon Jackson (2-0)||Lester Cole (4-4)||TKO||1|
|Benjamin Cox (5-3)||Colt McGinnis (2-1)||Sub (arm bar)||1||1:08|
|Donnie Ballou (6-4)||Raymond Gillies (1-3)||Sub (strikes)||1||2:52|
|Jerrick Boykin (4-2)||Nick Pegg (4-1)||Sub (guillotine)||1||1:07|
|Jesse Lawson (1-0)||Sean Figley (1-1)||Sub (arm triangle)||1||1:32|
|Kyle Gulley (1-0)||Jeremie Elkins (5-6)||Sub (forearm choke)||1||1:27|
|Benjamin Cox (6-3)||Brandon Jackson (2-1)||Sub (RNC)||2||2:44|
|Shaun Asher (5-0)*||Doug Sparks (4-1)||Unan Dec||3|
Submission of the Night: Benjamin Cox
Fight of the Night: Benjamin Cox vs. Brandon Jackson
Derek Ciapala is a freelance contributor to GatewayMMA.com. Follow him on Twitter @dciapala.