On September 10, 2016, while CM Punk debuted as a professional prizefighter—without an ounce of experience in four-ounce, or even six-ounce, gloves—at UFC 203: Miocic vs Overeem in Cleveland, Ohio, amateur mixed martial artists competed to solidify a foundation of their own in Rancho Cordova, California at NorCal Fight Series (NCFS) 3.
Thirteen pairs of competitors crossed the cage’s threshold with emotionless stares occupying championship desires, yet there were only three vacant belts up for grabs: featherweight, lightweight, and bantamweight.
Here we go!!! #NCFS3
— Dave Madden (@DMaddenMMA) September 11, 2016
Main Event: “The” Blake Benson vs Andrew “Bulldog” Coyne for the NCFS Bantamweight Title
The twenty miles separating Benson’s team, MMAGOLD, and Coyne’s camp, Team Alpha Male, was reduced to a matter of inches when they filled opposing corners and awaited the bell in NCFS 3’s main event for the NCFS Bantamweight Title.
Benson, who normally fights at featherweight, enrolled in a diet plan to drop the pounds he’s accustomed to carrying around; therefore, a hunger for victory audibly rumbled. From the first round’s bell until nine minutes later, the roar of Coyne’s crowd deafened any, and all, other noises. Whether the fight occurred on the feet or fell to the canvas, the “Bulldog” buried Benson like a bone under an unrelenting pressure and claimed the bantamweight belt.
Results: Andrew Coyne defeated Blake Benson by way of unanimous decision.
Co-Main Event: “KO” Kaleio Romero vs Philip Hattersley for the NCFS Lightweight Title
Since Romero injected his talents into Northern California’s amateur MMA scene at 155 pounds, he’s been hunting landmarks to trace his journey and a nickname to suit his intent with each and every heaving haymaker; Romero achieved both, simultaneously, when he demolished Philip Hattersley for the NCFS Lightweight Title at NCFS 3.
“KO” Kaleio Romero rolls off the tongues of fight fans like a set of waves slapping a tropical island’s shore. Fully aware of the dynamite in his hands but absent of a knockout on his stat’s sheet, Romero kept the nickname: “KO” from view. Under NCFS’s bright lights, there was no hiding Romero’s development in the striking department. He uncorked a vicious combination of right and left hands that flattened Hattersley, earning a new moniker and adding another championship belt to his collection under MMAGOLD’s banner.
Results: Kaleio Romero defeated Philip Hattersley in round 1 (1:55) by way of KO.
Featured Bout: Charles “Zero” Jelks vs Justin Cornell for the NCFS Featherweight Title
Jelks and Cornell displayed a kaleidoscope of brilliance in their attack for the NCFS Featherweight Title, but the color became a gray cloud of confusion when the dark uniform of the referee created a thunderstorm of backlash because he called an end to NCFS 3’s featured bout, in the opinions of many, far too early.
Fans rode a seesaw of excitement as these flashy featherweights tipped both ends of the fulcrum at different points throughout round one. After a rinse on the stool between rounds, the two met in the middle to repeat where they had left off. About a minute burned off the clock, and Jelks, in a frantic scramble, found himself attached like a leech to Cornell’s back. Hooks in, forearm under the chin, hands clasped, and a squeeze so tight everyone filling a folding chair held their breath.
Once the referee instructed Jelks to release the submission, the crowd assumed Cornell tapped, except Cornell’s reaction orated a differing narrative. Cornell immediately sat up straight and pleaded his case with the ref, to no avail. Apparently, the referee saw signs of Cornell’s consciousness fading, but the vocal wave of disagreement lent credence to the possibility of an unjust stoppage.
NCFS’s executives, Phil Flathers and Dave Hirschbein, acting with urgency and clarity, offered Cornell an immediate rematch on the November 5th card, when NCFS partners with West Coast Fighting Championship (WFC) to co-promote a Fight Night featuring athletes of the amateur and professional variety. Until then, the issue is written in the record books as:
Results: Charles Jelks defeated Justin Cornell in round 2 by way of referee stoppage.
Other Notable Bouts
Arlene Culbreth vs Anita Hoehenleiter In the Lightweight Division
Although an entire quadrant of the Metro City Soccer Complex belonged to the friends, family, and fans of Culbreth, the entrance of Hoehenleiter captured the hearts and souls of everyone seated around the cage.
Prior to cutting NCFS 3’s ribbon, Jim Cooley, NCFS’s ring announcer, reminded the audience of the tragedy that recently rocked the MMA community on September 3, 2016: Marcus Kowal, Lead MMA Instructor and Owner of Systems Training Center in Southern California, lost his 15-month old son, Liam, at the hands of a drunk driver. A ten-bell salute engineered a moment of reflection about the importance of making responsible decisions, especially revolving the public safety sphere.
Hoehenleiter resides out of Systems Training Center and dedicated this fight to honor Liam. Zeroed in on her purpose, in conjunction with a six-inch height advantage, Culbreth, who normally competes at bantamweight, stood at the foot of a mountain and, armed as a Sherpa, readied her mindset for an extreme ascent.
The elements of Hoehenleiter caused Culbreth to turn back before reaching the summit. Culbreth was unable to remain inside the long limbs of Hoehenleiter, and a flurry of pinpoint accuracy propelled Culbreth to drop like an avalanche.
Results: Anita Hoehenleiter defeated Arlene Culbreth in round 1 (:44) by way of TKO.
Final Results Include:
Andrew Coyne defeated Blake Benson by way of unanimous decision.
Kaleio Romero defeated Philip Hattersley in round 1 (1:55) by way of KO.
Charles Jelks defeated Justin Cornell in round 2 by way of referee stoppage.
Anita Hoehenleiter defeated Arlene Culbreth in round 1 (:44) by way of TKO.
Tony Charles defeated Shawn Birkley in round 1 (2:03) by way of TKO.
Dyllan Snavely defeated Eddie Smith by way of unanimous decision.
Noe Flores defeated Jonathan Fields in round 1 (:16) by way of KO.
Camilo Mejia defeated Eddy Egan in round 3 (1:45) by way of rear naked choke.
Dalton Hogle defeated Richard Catanach by way of unanimous decision.
David Solorzano defeated Abner Perez by way of unanimous decision.
Blake Degmetich defeated Pedro Lopez in round 2 (2:00) by way of TKO/doctor’s stoppage.
Dusty Young defeated Brandon Sells by way of split decision.
Rogello Guerrero defeated Jeffrey Shaby in round 1 (1:29) by way of rear naked choke.
As described earlier, NCFS and WFC will collaborate under the roof of Rancho Cordova’s Metro City Soccer Complex on November 5th. This amateur and professional assortment will allow spectators to better focus the line NCFS 3 blurred between ammys and pros.