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Fraser victory caps Sarnia's first MMA event
andrew brethauer December 3rd, 2011

Sarnia, ON - John Fraser applied a rear naked choke at 2:54 of the first round and got Travis Reddinger to tap out in the Main Event of Sarnia's first ever MMA event, Meltdown in the Valley, held Saturday night at the RBC Centre.

It was the perfected ending to a high energized night, as the Sarnia native Fraser won his 10th professional fight in front of his friends, family and hometown crowd. It may have only lasted just over two minutes, but once Fraser got Reddinger against the cage and turned over, the Sarnia crowd knew the end was near.

"I expected it to be a little longer fight," said Fraser after the match. "I got it done quick and that's the best thing."

Fraser felt the crowd coming to the ring, and enjoyed the support and the chance to fight in front of his hometown. Fraser planned to stay on his feet in the fight, but once Reddinger hit the cage, he moved in for the tap out.

"Once it's on the ground I'm just going to finish it there."

Fraser's victory capped off Sarnia's first MMA win, but it took a little longer for the crowd to witness a hometown victory. Earlier in the preliminary fights, local fighter Joel Paquette made his professional MMA debut against Jason Meisel. Paquette spent most of the fight on his back and would tap out to a choke by Meisel at 4:16 in the first round.

It wasn't the debut he was looking for, especially in front of the local crowd where he caught some nerves. 

"It didn't go as planned obviously," Paquette said. "As soon as the fight started I just felt the nerves take over. I have never had that feeling before. I didn't stick to the game plan. I was suppose to stand and box, I ended up shooting. All I know is, that wasn't me."

Paquette would love a mulligan and a chance to do it again, and though it is discouraging, he wants to get back into the cage as soon as possible. But he loved the experience fighting in front of the locals.

"I loved it. The energy from the crowd was amazing," he said. "I've never had that before. The whole stadium erupting. I loved the support from all the Sarnia fans."

The 2175 paid attendees watched nine fights that spanned four hours and were up and ready for every single match.

Craig Hudson started the night with a victory in his fight against Blake Nash. Hudson caught Nash with two knees to the head, sending him to the cage wall where he would follow up with a fury of punches until the referee called a stop to the fight at 2:17 in the first round. It was Hudson's first victory, and Nash's first loss, as this was a rematch from a previous fight.

The knockouts kept coming, as Randy Turner knocked out Clint Kingsbury in the second round, after Turner spent the majority of the first round on his back, but in the second caught Kingsbury with punches to the side of the head, causing the ref to step in and stop the fight.

Ryan Dickson got Josh Taveirne to tap out in the second round of their match, catching Taverine with a rear naked choke to end the fight at the 4:03 mark.

The main card fights started with Jesse Ronson getting Torry Hervey to tap out in the second round. Ronson got Hervey on the ground in the first round, but couldn't finish him off later on. Ronson would put Hervey up against the cage twice in the second round, sending blows to the head, only to pull out a choke to end the match.

Misha Cirkunov won the only fight of the night that went the distance, winning by a judges decision 30-27 unanimously over Ali Mokdad. The first round both fighters kept to their fight, but in the second round, Cirkunov stayed on top, hitting some head shots but not enough to end the fight. Mokdad had the advantage in the third round getting on top of Cirkunov, but it wasn't enough to score the card any differently, as the Toronto native picked up his 5th MMA victory.

The local Sarnia crowd was on the side of Wallaceburg native Jesse Gross, but the fight was stopped just 1:39 in, as Gross fell to the mat and Daron Cruickshank pounced, sending numerous punches to the head, resulting in the referee stopping the fight, and Cruickshank earning the TKO.

In the co-main event of the evening, Dresden's Chris Clements knocked out Rich Clementi from Louisiana at 3:17 in the third round. The first round the fighter were mixed together, as they tried to break their legs free from each others hold. But in the second round, Clements would get the upper hand, opening a cut on Clementi above his eye, and pounding him with punches. Clements would finally finish it in the third round, hammering him all round with punches to the head and fianally the referee stopped the match, as Clements earned his 11 victory by knockout.

"John and Chris obviously stole the show," said Avant-Guard Promotions CEO Woodrow James. "They came out and beat top opponents. It seems impossible that the big show is not going to take them from us and I couldn't be happier."

2175 were in attendance for Sarnia's first MMA event and Avant-Guard plans to host more in the future, as the success and turnout of Saturday's event, plus the reaction from the fans. President Al Duffy says he can't wait to do it all over again.


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