This past Saturday June 11th Explosive Fight Promotions held one of it’s best ever cage fighting events.  And judging from the reaction of the huge crowd, it was also one of the most exciting cage fighting events held in the greater Cleveland area in a long time.  The venue where EFP Cage Madness 43 was held was also great, except for one thing. It was too hot inside.  But you can be sure that if promoter Danan Svab had known that there was going to be a problem with the air-conditioning in Goodyear Hall the event would not have been held there.

It may have been a little uncomfortable in the place, but you can be sure that Cage Madness 43 fight card is one that MMA fans who were there will be talking about for awhile.  Just about everything that has ever happened in the cage to make this sport as popular as it is, happened in the cage Saturday night.

Every now and then a MMA promoter manages to put together a fight card that makes you wonder if what you are seeing is correct. That was the reaction of lots of MMA fans when EFP published Cage Madness 43 fight card a few weeks prior to this event featuring a match between two local fighters that almost no one thought they would be seeing, at least not right now – we are talking about Isaiah Chapman vs Jerrell Hodge.  It was epic.  There were also other big pro and amateur matchups that made this one of the most anticipated MMA events in the region in a long time.

EFP: “Cage Madness 43” Results and Analysis

Professional Bouts

15th BOUT: 135 lbs (MAIN EVENT) – Jerrell Hodge (3-1) representing Evolve MMA, Medina, Oh   -DEFEATS-   Isaiah Chapman (6-3) representing  Unique Fitness, Akron, Oh.  ¢ Once this match got underway it didn’t take long to see exactly why 26 year old Jerrell Hodge is one of the best up-and-coming 135 lbs professional MMA fighters in the region.  Even before stepping into the cage to take on Isaiah Chapman, Jerrell Hodge already had a reputation for taking on opponents who have had sometimes twice as many fights as he has had.  He began his amateur MMA career in May of 2011 and had a win streak of 4 in a row before he was handed his first loss a year later.  Two months after his first loss he stepped back into the cage again and began putting together a streak of wins (7 in a row) that did not end until he ended his amateur career in March of 2014.  In his pro MMA debut in June of 2014 Hodge took on an opponent who had an amateur record of 10-15 and a professional record of 1-2.  And even though he was coming in fresh off of a win streak of 7 in a row Hodge discovered that in this sport, sometimes facing an opponent with twice as many fights, even if the opponent had only won half the time the odds more often than not are against you. He lost his pro debut at .38 of the 1st round via Guillotine.  Losing his first pro fight was devastating, but as MMA fans throughout the regions have seen since then and with this match against Isaiah Chapman, Hodge is back and looking better than ever.  His match against Chapman was exactly the kind of match that fans have come to expect when a MMA rising star and a sitting champion square off against each other in the cage. There were lots of lightning fast jabs, left and right hook punches, kicks, a few takedowns, submission attempts, incredible escapes and just about everything else you would expect to see in the cage.  It was a match where you would have felt pretty safe betting that this one was not going to go the distance.  But going the distance is exactly how it ended, with Jerrell Hodge pulling off his third professional win in a row in less than 12 months. Method of Defeat: Unanimous Decision.

14th Bout: 185 lbs – Tony Parker (13-12) representing Vision MMA Cincinnati, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Tony Sylvester (10-4) representing Victory MMA Canton, Oh.  ¢ Tony Sylvester stepped into the cage with a record of 10-3, but he had not fought since October of 2009. Prior to the match that he lost in 2009 he had already won 10 pro matches which included a streak of 7 wins in a row.  He was making a return to the cage to take on Tony Parker who had been in the cage 24 times since 2009 and had won 12 of those matches, 3 of which were within the past year and a half. But you can be sure that Parker was not taking the fact that Sylvester hadn’t been in the cage for awhile for granted. He knows that in this sport that could be a huge mistake.  When the bell rang to start the 1st round they touched gloves and came out kicking and swinging.  About 2 minutes into the round they went down, Sylvester ended up in the mounted position behind Parker.  But before he could take control of the situation, Parker managed to spin around onto his back, get his legs in position and stop Sylvester. Method of Defeat:  Triangle Choke at 2.30 of the 1st round. 

13th Bout: 170 lbs – Andrew Law (8-4) representing Victory MMA Bolivar, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Brandon Suber (5-5) representing Walker MMA Huber Heights, Oh.  ¢  Andrew Law was coming in with a win streak of 3 in a row which he had put together within the past 6 months.  Brandon Suber lost the only match he fought last year, but came back and won his last fight this past April.  He was looking to win this one and make it two in a row.  But getting past Law proved to be the toughest fight that Suber has ever had.  It was a match that went the distance (3/5 minute rounds) and in each round Suber managed to back Law up against the cage, tie him up, and tag him with hard knee strikes to the thighs and connected with a few hard body punches.  But each time, Law managed to score a huge takedown and almost stopping Suber a couple of times with ground and pound and a couple of times with rear naked choke.  But holding onto Suber’s sweaty body, was like holding on to a fish. He slipped out every time before Law was able to get a strong enough grip to stop him with a submission.  The fight ended with Law scoring enough points to pull off his 4th win in a row.  Method of Defeat: Unanimous Decision


12th Bout: 190 lbs – Frankie Festa (1-0) representing Stout Renzo  Pittsburgh, Pa  – DEFEATS –   Tony DiPiero (0-2) representing Cal Crowell MMA Cleveland, Oh.  ¢ Festa was looking to get his pro MMA career off with a win and DiPiero who lost his pro debut last October was looking to even-up his pro record.  Throughout most of the first round they tagged each other with a few punishing leg kicks and a combination of jabs and left and right hooks.  Near the end of the round the fighters went down, Festa ended up on top, pinned DiPiero down and proceeded to ground and pound, but the bell rang to end the round before he could stop DiPiero.  They picked up the pace in the second and third rounds, but neither fighter was able to pick it up enough to stop the other, but Festa managed to score enough points to get the decision.  Method of Defeat: Unanimous Decision.


11th Bout: 145 lbs (BELT TITLE) – Ahmad Douglas (6-2) representing GriffonRawl  MMA  Mentor, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Mike Walters (6-2) representing Wrecking Crew MMA New Castle, Pa.  ¢ When the referee stepped back from the center of the cage signaling for Ahmad Douglas and Mike Walters to start fighting almost everyone in the arena were already on their feet and it wasn’t because these two fighters were fighting for the EFP Featherweight Title.  One of the reasons is because Mike Walters is an 18 year old who made his amateur MMA debut this past January, fought 6 times, lost only once.  He is known for taking his opponents out within seconds.  He took his first opponent out with a triangle choke at 0.49 of the 1st rd, second opponent via TKO at 0.37 of the 1st rd, third opponent via submission strike at 1.38 of the 1st rd, fourth opponent via arm triangle at 1.44 of the 1st rd, and fifth opponent via arm triangle at 2.31 of the 2nd rd.  The other reason the crowd was on their feet is because this time Mike Walters was facing Ahmad Douglas, another young up-and-coming sensational who is also known for taking out his opponents in dramatic style.  And this time it was the Ahmad Douglas show.  In just 0.51 after the ref stepped back, the huge crowd roared as the referee jumped back in and pushed Douglas off of Walters who was already down on his back trying desperately to keep from taking any more of the mortar-like punches that was raining down on his head.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 0.51 of the 1st round.


10th Bout: 170 lbs – Dornes Butler (4-1) representing Unique MMA   Canton, Oh  – DEFEATS –   Ben Meese (2-2) representing Victory MMA Uhrichsville, Oh. ¢ Butler picks up his 4th in a row.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 1.07 of the 2nd round.

9th Bout: 125 lbs – Brian Hauser (4-0) representing Evolve MMA   Mentor, Oh– DEFEATS –   Jack Young (1-1) representing Triple Threat MMA Mentor, Oh. ¢ Hauser walked away with 4th win and remains undefeated.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 0.21 of the 1st round.

8th Bout: HVY – Jon Pipkins (7-11) representing Team CMA   Salem, Oh  – DEFEATS –   Justin Richwine (4-4) representing Vision MMA Springfield, Oh. ¢  Pipkins picks up his second win in a row this year.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 2.59 of the 1st round.

7th Bout: HVY – James Braden (1-0)  representing Victory Martial Arts Instigator Fight Team Cambridge, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Ted Reidy (1-2) representing The Wrestling Factory of Cleveland, Oh  ¢ Braden wins his amateur MMA debut.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 0.58 of the 2nd round.

6th Bout: 190 lbs – Joe Wheeler (3-1) Independent fighter Cambridge, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Dom Johns (1-1) representing Team Loyalty Coshocton Boxing Club Coshocton, Oh. ¢ Wheeler extends his win streak to 3.  Method of Defeat:  RNC at 0.22 of the 2nd round.

5th Bout: 185 lbs – Mitchell Dotto (3-3) representing Victory Martial Arts Uhrichsville, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Robert Johnston (2-4) Independent fighter Conneaut, Oh. ¢ Dotto gets his first back to back wins.   Method of Defeat:  Scorpion Lock Submission at 0.33 of the 1st round.

4th Bout: 205 lbs – Sean Dinan (2-1) representing Team CMA  Youngstown, Oh– DEFEATS –   Joshua Bailey (2-1) representing Reed Academy of MA Cincinnati, Oh. ¢ Dinan wins 2 out of 2 so far this year.   Method of Defeat: Unanimous Decision.

3rd Bout: 215 lbs – Tim Hayes (1-1) representing Wrestling Factory of Cleveland Lakewood, Oh  – DEFEATS –   Josh Ackley (0-1) representing Team Loyalty Coshocton Boxing Club Coshocton, Oh.  ¢ Hayes evens up his record with a win this time.  Method of Defeat:  TKO at 0.23 of the 2nd round.

2nd Bout: 190 lbs – Jamaal McClain (2-1) representing Victory Fight Team Canton, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Trent Lingo (0-1) representing Team Loyalty Coshocton Boxing Club Coshocton, Oh. ¢ McClain maintains his perfect record as he wins second in a row.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 1.51 of the 2nd round.

1st Bout: 170 lbs – Damien Perry (1-0) representing Triple Threat MMA Mentor, Oh   – DEFEATS –   Darin Dunlap (0-1) representing Affinity MAI Mehoopany, Pa. ¢ Perry wins his amateur MMA debut.  Method of Defeat: TKO at 1.28 of the 1st round.