Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shogun Fights XII: The Inauguration

Although we’re still a year-and-a-half away from the next presidential election, Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore will hold an inauguration of its own this Saturday, April 18.

The 12th edition of Shogun Fights will feature the biannual fight card’s first-ever title fight. Shogun’s first welterweight champion will be crowned when Micah Terrill takes on Cole Presley. That fight will main event this Saturday’s card, and who do I think takes home that belt and the victory in the 11 other fights? Let’s find out.

Jesse Stirn vs. Adken Torchia (Bantamweight – 135 lbs.)

Stirn is 4-1 and hasn’t fought since 2013 thanks to his last scheduled bout in 2014 being cancelled. Torchia’s last fight suffered similar unusual circumstances when it was ruled a no-contest. Both guys are unknowns on the Shogun Fights, and I like the Ground Control Baltimore fighter to capitalize on his homefield advantage.

Prediction: Jesse Stirn via first-round TKO

Josh Trainor vs. Kevin Chung (Bantamweight – 135 lbs.)

Chung enjoyed a unanimous decision victory in his lone MMA fight, while Trainor is a former champion fighting out of Pennsylvania. I think the experience of Trainor will prevail over the eager newcomer.

Prediction: John Trainor via second-round submission

Ratioender Melo vs. Alvin Mercer (Featherweight – 145 lbs.)

Besides sporting one of the coolest first names ever, Melo also sports a 2-fight win streak in Shogun Fights, most recently at Shogun Fights XI last year when he scored a TKO victory. This will be Mercer’s Shogun Fights debut, but he boasts a 3-fight win streak of his own. This should be a fast-paced, exciting featherweight matchup and I think Mercer will score his fourth consecutive knockout.

Prediction: Alvin Mercer via second-round TKO

Mike Otwell vs. Trevor Thompson (Catchweight – 150 lbs.)

This will be both fighters’ second professional bout, with Otwell coming off a victory and Thompson a loss. Thompson lost his first fight by a first-round submission, and I think he will unfortunately suffer a similar fate here.

Prediction: Mike Otwell via first-round submission

Rob Watley vs. Daniel Chacon (Featherweight – 145 lbs.)

Watley is enjoying two consecutive wins, including a TKO victory at Shogun Fights XI last year. I like him to make it three in a row in an environment he is all too familiar with.

Prediction: Rob Watley via second-round TKO

Dan Root vs. Elder Ramos (Welterweight – 170 lbs.)

Root is a cult favorite at Shogun Fights, due to his multiple submission victories for Team Ground Control in Baltimore. Ramos is as tough as they come, having fought six times in 2014. Unfortunately, I think that mileage catches up with him and Root notches another submission victory on his belt.

Prediction: Dan Root via first-round submission

James “Binky” Jones vs. Chris Cain (Catchweight – 150 lbs.)

Jones is a local legend in the Maryland mixed martial arts scene; a Baltimore native and a mentor to local youth. Jones hemmed and hawed about coming back to Shogun Fights following his victory there last year, but after soliciting the opinion of those in attendance, he decided to give it one more shot. If this is Jones’ last fight, I like him to go out on top.

Prediction: James “Binky” Jones via first-round TKO

Gregory Fischer vs. Alejandro Zea (Flyweight – 125 lbs.)

Fischer won his MMA debut at Shogun Fights last year by unanimous decision, while Zea is reeling from back-to-back losses after also winning his MMA debut at Shogun Fights 9. Zea has won or lost all of his fight by submission, so it tells me his grappling game might be suspect. I think Fischer will capitalize on that to deal Zea another submission loss.

Prediction: Gregory Fischer via second-round submission

Francisco Isata vs. Mahmoud Rashid (Catchweight – 150 lbs.)

Isata won his last fight at Shogun Fights XI, and even boasts an appearance on World Series of Fighting. The armbar is his preferred method of submission, and I think he will use it here to pick up his fifth victory.

Prediction: Francisco Isata via first-round submission

Robert Sullivan vs. Jon Vinyard (Bantamweight – 135 lbs.)

Sullivan is riding a two-fight win streak and previously secured a victory in Bellator in 2013. Vinyard suffered a TKO loss in his second MMA fight at Shogun Fights XI last year, and I like the rough and tumble Sullivan to make that two in a row for Vinyard.

Prediction: Robert Sullivan via second-round TKO

Vaja Iormaghvili vs. Jon Delbrugge (Lightweight – 155 lbs.)

Iormaghvili is a Shogun Fights veteran, having fought on the card three times. Unfortunately, he’s lost twice. Delbrugge is a regional MMA veteran, having fought six times in the last two years. He is tough and savvy, with all of his victories coming via finish. I think the same will happen here.

Prediction: Jon Delbrugge by third-round TKO

Micah Terrill vs. Cole Presley (Welterweight Title – 170 lbs.)

A pair of Shogun Fights veterans square off for the promotion’s first title belt. Terrill and Presley have a combined 10 appearances at Shogun Fights and are well-known by local MMA fans. Both guys love to scrap, rarely letting their fights go to a decision. Fans should expect a fast-paced, entertaining bout that will go into the championship rounds. Presley rides a 2-fight win streak into this title bout, but I think Terrill’s striking will be the difference. An entertaining brawl will commence, with both guys leaving nothing to chance. But Terrill will come out on top.

Prediction: Micah Terrill by unanimous decision

I realize the main event is the only one I'm picking to go to a decision. Shogun Fights has been on a good roll lately with its cards where hardly any of the fights go the distance. But I feel that given the stakes, it's possible Terrill and Presley will implement safe game plans and not expose themselves to unnecessary risks. Of course, it's just as likely they'll come out swinging at each other and this fight will end in two minutes.

I'll be in Baltimore Saturday night, so you guys can look forward to a recap here then. And hey, if you're in the area, come on out and enjoy some fights!

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