From left: Jason Jensen, Justin Thompson, Rob Mitchell, Derek Thompson and Mark Hooper.
From left: Jaquis Williams, Jozette Cotton, Brian Houston, Anthony Cox and Chad Reiner.
Big Rob Mitchell successfully defended his Heavyweight mixed martial arts title Saturday during seventh installment of Midwest Championship Fights at the Wild West Arena. The big night of fights helped kick off the two weeks of Nebraskaland Days celebrations. The fighters exemplified the ruggedness of the Old West, promoters said, and the fights lived up to the billing.
"From top to bottom, the fights were amazing," co-promoter Kelly Wiseman said. "We had three vicious knockouts, some submissions and a fight that went the distance. No matter what type of fight you like, you got to see what ever you liked, and every fighter fought hard."
Mitchell, the 6-foot, 7-inch heavyweight operating out of North Platte, defended his title against No. 1 contender Jose Beltran of Torrington, Wyo. Beltran entered the battle with a 16-2 record. One of his losses was to Mitchell.
This time, Mitchell won by a technical knockout in the first round. The referee stopped the fight due to the number of strikes.
Both fighters lost their footing on a canvas that became slippery as the sun disappeared in the western sky. In the melee, Mitchell got the upper hand and the referee stepped in.
In an amateur 4-man featherweight title tournament, Scott Newman of Omaha won his fight in the second round after putting a rear naked choke hold on Brandon Homer of Tucson, Ariz., forcing Homer to submit.
In the other half of the tournament, in the longest battle of the night, two North Platte fighters slugged it out. Ryan MacDonald eventually narrowly defeated Mark Hooper, earning a split decision in a fight that went the distance.
"It was really close; MacDonald was crisp and clean but Hooper was aggressive," Wiseman said. "MacDonald got a takedown in with about a minute left in round 3, which was probably the difference. Up until then, both fighters stayed on their feet."
In the featherweight final, MacDonald won by default. Newman was injured.
In the amateur 4-man middleweight title tournament, Jaquis Williams of Omaha defeated Trent Scheele of Greeley, Colo. with a knockout punch in round 1.
On the other side of the bracket, Spencer Risch of Columbus defeated Jason Jensen of North Platte with a choke submission in round 3.
"It was a great fight," Wiseman said. "For the most part, the fighters stood and traded punches, and used heavy hands and elbows when they went to the ground."
In the title fight, Williams won by default due to an injury to Risch.
As darkness fell, dew coated the canvas, making it slippery and forcing the fighters to completely change their fight plan.
In the professional middleweight feature fight, Brian Houston of Omaha defeated Todd Meredith of Denver with a knockout punch just 33 seconds into round 1.
"Meredith didn’t really get a chance to show what he could do," Wiseman said. "Houston did a better job of adapting. He landed a left hook from a stance as Meredith started to slip. Then, Houston landed another punch when Meredith was on the ground, and it was over."
In a fight for the professional middleweight title, Nebraskan Chad Reiner of Omaha defeated Chilo Gonzalez of Aurora, Colo. with a toe-hold submission in round 1.
Other fight results:
Derek Thompson of North Platte won in the third round when he put John Mafnas of Hastings in an arm bar hold, forcing Mafnas to submit.
Anthony Cox of North Platte defeated Bryan Williamson of York with a triangle choke in the first round.
Professional women’s lightweight
Jozette Cotton of Omaha won by a knockout, when she put away Elshaddi Cleffman of Greeley, Colo. with an elbow in the first round.