It’s the new boxing, the new wrestling, the new martial arts form and its popularity has never been higher.
Mixed Martial Arts returns to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa August 9 when Cage Fury Fighting Championship presents three, count’em three action-packed title fights.
Of course, hardcore MMA fans know that the mixing of boxing, grappling and martial arts styles you see in an MMA fight isn’t new at all. The form has actually been around since the early 1900s.
But it was in the 2000s that MMA really took off in the U.S. setting attendance and viewership records that rival and even beat the greatest prize fights in history. Put simply, MMA offers up the baddest fighters and the most action-packed bouts anywhere.
Today’s MMA champions mix lightning-fast punches, kicks, knees and elbows, with superb wrestling and grappling skills. They’re capable of knocking out an opponent with a single strike or choking him until he taps or loses consciousness.
Atlantic City and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa have been at the cutting edge of the MMA explosion, especially when Borgata teamed with Cage Fury Fighting Championships, the nation’s No. 1 regional MMA promotion which has a long history of presenting MMA fights in Atlantic City.
That sets the stage for CFFC’s return to Borgata August 9, at CFFC 38, featuring three title bouts and a stacked fight card that is sure to have casual and hardcore fans on the edge of their seats.
“No other regional MMA promotion in the world has the level of talent like we do,” CFFC CEO Rob Haydak said. “Three title fights with six of the best fighters in the world is going to make for an amazing night. All three title fights are going to be electric and the fans will not be disappointed.”
Two of CFFC’s toughest fighters will square off when unbeaten puncher Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder (7-0) meets challenger “Relentless” Craig Johnson (6-2) in a contest that is sure to feature fireworks and almost certainly will end early.
Felder, of Philadelphia, has finished five of seven opponents by TKO, including a second-round stoppage of Marc Stevens at CFFC 33 in March to claim the title. Johnson, of Tennessee, has been nearly as dominant, scoring four TKOs and a pair of submission wins. Both of his losses came via razor-thin split decisions, and he also went 7-0 as an amateur.
In the featherweight division, unbeaten champion Levan Makashvili (8-0) will make the first defense of his title when he takes on veteran Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra in what looks to be a terrific matchup.
Never one to back up, Makashvili fights with pure determination and seems to get stronger as the bout progresses. Hailing from the country of Georgia and now fighting out of New York, Makashvili has beaten five of his eight opponents into submission, including a fourth-round TKO of Scott “The Animal” Heckman to win the belt at CFFC 35 in April.
Bezerra, meanwhile, is a fighter who needs no introduction to MMA fans. The Brazilian made his name with the Bellator promotion, racking up a 7-2 record while twice reaching the featherweight tournament semifinals. A submission specialist, Bezerra (16-3) rarely hears the final bell, winning 11 fights by submission and four by TKO. Two of his three losses came by split decision.
In the third title fight, unbeaten Jonavin “Spyder” Webb battles Dan “The Anvil” Stittgen for the welterweight championship that became vacant when Sullivan got the call to the UFC.
Webb, a BJJ black belt from Philadelphia, has an improved striking game to go along with a vaunted submission attack that has helped him tap three opponents. He also has a TKO to his credit, and looked dominant in his last fight, a three-round decision victory against Mike Winters at CFFC 35.
Stittgen (9-4) is a former UFC fighter from the Chicago area who is also more than capable on the ground. He has seven submissions victories to his credit, including in his last two fights, as well as one TKO. Stittgen fought twice in the UFC, losing to Stephen Thompson by TKO and to Marcelo Zilio Guimaraes by split decision.
“CFFC 38 will go down in history as one of the greatest fight cards ever in Northeast,” Haydak said. “Several of the top MMA prospects in the world will put it all on the line August 9 at Borgata.”
In addition to the championships bouts, the fight card will include a full complement of preliminary and main card contests.