Written by: Mike Strazzere
Finally, MMA has returned to the Lowell Auditorium! The Auditorium has hosted the golden gloves for decades and hosted the XCFL in the early years of local MMA. It is an excellent layout for fight sports, very similar to the gladiator style of the Plymouth Memorial Hall (Cage Titan's home). The excitement of having it in Lowell has been buzzing for a while now because there are not many big shows in the area.
To add to the excitement it is the new promotion, East Coast Fighting Championships (ECFC) ran by the extremely knowledgeable Brian Gillespie. Brian has been around the New England MMA scene for quite a while and knows how to not only treat fighters, but also put on shows that fans would want to see.
This show will feature the first pro tournament in quite a while with a very solid four bantamweight weight fighters featured. Also, two of Lowell's finest will be fighting in pro fights promising a huge and electric crowd. I am personally really looking forward to this event!
The main event features undefeated Lowell Born and raised, Nick Drummond. Nick is very well rounded and comes from a great camp (Wai Kru). He will be comfortable wherever the fight goes and usually brings an exciting style to the cage. Nick will be taking on Mike Hurlburt (1-3) who may not have a great record but best believe he will be ready as he is 1-0 under Team Triumph BJJ, beating veteran Ryan Cowette at NEF by guillotine. Team Triumph is on fire and they do not put a bad product in the cage, EVER. This will be a better fight than on paper for sure!
The bantamweight tourney will get underway with undoubtedly the most talented 135 lb. fighter in the region, Pedro Gonzalez leading the way. Redline's, Pedro the Beast (10-5) has been on top for quite a while and has all the tools to beat anyone in the region on any given night. He is coming off a HUGE win for Lion Fights Muay Thai, knocking out one of the nation's top Muay Thai fighters. His ground is strong, his standup is devastating and his strength and conditioning is unrivaled. Pedro's toughest fight has been actually getting to 135 on his giant frame. Once he gets there he is, for my money, the most dangerous fighter around.
Welcoming Pedro back will be Bombsquad's, Josh Lange (3-1). Josh is very slick both standing and on the ground. Josh will come in as a very, very dangerous underdog in this fight and will look to spoil the big plans of Pedro Gonzalez. Anyone who knows anything about regional MMA knows not to ever overlook a Bombsquad fighter. This fight is guaranteed fireworks!
In the other bracket of the tourney is possibly the hottest fighter in New England and I am not talking about Greg Rebello hot. I am talking about a kid who has just destroyed 3 tough fighters in 3 pro fights, Joey "War Machine" Gomez. Joey learned and honed his skills as a top amateur in the nation at Team Quest and now represents Team Triumph. He is coming off a huge KO of highly ranked Joe Cushman garnering him the Reality Fighting title in the process. This kid hits HARD and has all the tools to win this tournament.
Taking on Joey will be "Relentless" Robbie Leroux. Robbie is a gamer who is mostly known for his wrestling but is coming off a standup technical war with Johnny "Cupcakes" Campbell in which he lost a narrow split decision. That type of fight against Gomez more than likely will not end well for Leroux. However, if he can take him down consistently he may be able to grind out a decision and advance to the finals.
My prediction and what I think most people would like to see style wise is Pedro Gonzalez and Joey Gomez. That would be a war for the ages with the winner taking home a 10k prize and almost surely going to a bigger stage. These are not easy fights though and as we all know ANYTHING can happen in MMA. (well most anything)
Also featured on the card is Lowell's own Joe Cloutier (3-0) out of Doomsday MMA. Joe dominated the amateurs and has been carefully matched thus far in the pros but has finished all his fights by his signature move, the Americana. Joe is pumped to be fighting in his hometown against pro debut Dave Bolduc and I am suspecting a similar ending to the first three fights he has had. Joe could really become a star in this organization due a huge fan base and great skill set!
The amateurs will be headlined by a rare women's fight between Redline's Bior Giugni and SSSF's Ashley Jane. Both girls are debuting and come from great schools and could make for an awesome fight.
Team Triumph is well represented in the amateur ranks with some really tough vets in Brad O'Brien who is taking on Burgess' Tim Caron in a 185 lb battle of 2-0 fighters, Ryan Dibartolomeo who will be taking on Redline's Robert Moser and debut fighter Jack Welch who will be taking on Barry Liseno.
Every fight on this card is evenly matched and I for one am really looking forward to, not only the return of MMA to Lowell, but SUCCESS in Lowell! So all you Merrimack Valley MMA fans please come out and support the show so we can have a consistent location near us!!!!