Saturday, Sep 21, 2002
Rivera And Berger Victoriousat Ring Of Fury 2
Rivera and Berger Victorious
at Ring of Fury 2
By Jim Genia
Photography by Keith Mills
(September 21, 2002) It was a night of thrills here in Lowell, Massachusetts, as Ring of Fury returned to give New Englanders another taste of quality mixed martial arts action. Proving that his premiere outing was no fluke, promoter Tom Hafers ran a smooth and well-organized event — and put together a card of nine bouts stacked with UFC veterans, a HOOKnSHOOT champ, and the best in local talent.
Squaring off for the United States Mixed Martial Arts (USMMA) welterweight belt, MMA workhorse Steve Berger and crowd-pleaser Nuri Shakir fought fast and furiously. Missouri’s Berger, coming of a tough loss against UFC-rising star Robbie Lawler, stepped into the ring with a ton of experience — and needed it to weather the New Hampshire-native’s storm of strikes. Dropped by a solid left at one point, Berger remained calm until he recovered, then regained his feet and resumed trading until he could secure a guillotine choke. Shakir was forced to tap out at 4:59 of the first round. Although Berger came away with a much-needed win, Shakir — with his ferocity and heavy hands — acquitted himself well.
In light-heavyweight action, the war between Jorge Rivera and Travis Lutter was undoubtedly the best fight of the night.
With Lutter’s HOOKnSHOOT belt on the line, local Team Elite member and USMMA champ Rivera was all heart as he withstood his opponent’s rock-solid ground game. Lutter, a game Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt and Texas Lion’s Den fighter, maintained positional dominance and attempted everything from rear naked chokes to triangle chokes to armlocks, but Rivera showed tremendous poise in defending it all. On their feet, however, it was Rivera’s world [Top photo: Lutter on left, Rivera on right], and at 3:46 of the third round he sent Lutter to the canvas with a stunning right cross [Center photo] followed by a bout-ending flurry. To the excited cheers of the audience, the exhausted "Conquistador" was victorious [Bottom photo shows the aftermath]. Rivera is now both HOOKnSHOOT and USMMA light-heavyweight champ.
In other championship action, Wisconsin heavyweight Ben Rothwell was victorious against Tennessee’s Johnathan Ivey, despite nearly being disqualified for striking while the referee tried to separate the two. Rothwell — at 257 pounds — was too much for the entertaining 265-pound Ivey (who himself captivated the crowd with such antics as charging into the ropes and bouncing off pro-wrestling style, as well as flailing his arms and making faces as he attacked). Rothwell opened up a cut above Ivey’s left eye that required medical attention twice, and as per Massachusetts rules, the bout was called in his favor. At 1:14 of the first round, Rothwell became the new USMMA Heavyweight Champ.
Elsewhere on the card, middleweight champ Keith Rockel put on a clinic as he out-grappled the grappler in West Virginia’s Todd Carney, tapping Carney out with a rear naked choke in the first round. In the welterweight division, Pennsylvania’s Jeremy Bennett and Keith Wisniewski both looked impressive as they defeated Mike Littlefield and Matt Lee, respectively. In each instance, the referee was forced to stop the match due to unanswered strikes.
The crowd of approximately 1,600 in attendance seemed pleased. And with UFC president Dana White, top-ranked fighter Chuck Liddell, boxer Mickey Ward, and UFC legend Mikey Burnett in the audience, Ring of Fury did it once again.
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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