By: Albert Cameron – It was inevitable: we now live in a Post-Chris Dempsey & Mark Cherico Pittsburgh MMA circuit. To the big credit of the Pittsburgh promoters, they’ve been cultivating the main eventers of tomorrow (or today, as perspective would allow) and we haven’t been left with fights that aren’t relevant, with fights thrown together because there has to be main event. What has kept the Pittsburgh MMA circuit strong is that these promoters have maintained a steady and lineal stream of champions and contenders. Without the brass ring, the other fights lose their shine as well. In the spirit of those champions and contenders, Pinnacle FC has announced that their next main event will be Dominic “The Honey Badger” Mazzotta vs. Rob Hannah, a champion vs. a fierce contender. To celebrate Pinnacle FC’s main event announcement, we’re dedicating this week’s Friday Five to the Five Fastest Finishes of Dominic “The Honey Badger” Mazzotta.
No 5: Tim Goodwin (4:37 of Rd. 1; TKO) – Pinnacle FC: Pittsburgh Challenge Series 10
For Dominic Mazzotta’s first fight in the Pinnacle Fighting Championships, he drew a very tough opponent in Tim Goodwin. Truth be told: no matter who Dom fought, it would have been a tough opponent. We often hark back to the adage that Pittsburgh fights are more on the side of “classic matchups” than “mismatches” (and that’s not just me being a homer). Tim Goodwin came in to the fight with fantastic wrestling credentials; throughout the fight, he displayed some very good striking prowess as well. The fight between Tim Goodwin and Dominic Mazzotta could come down to a few factors: who would get the striking edge, who may have had a better training camp, and who would get the winning posture when it came down to the finish. Without position, there is no submission; Mazzotta knew this. When Mazzotta scored the ogoshi (the proper Judo term for a “hip toss”), he landed and scrambled into Goodwin’s guard. From there, Mazzotta took the back and secured the figure four body lock; Mazzotta had position and it wasn’t long before the submission happened. Dominic “The Honey Badger” Mazzotta had made an impact on the Pinnacle Fighting Championships.
No 4: Bhrandon Poindexter (1:54 of Rd. 1; Arm Bar) – Caged Power 10
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I use the Randy Couture adage that “Iron Sharpens Iron” a lot; it’s a metaphorical way of saying that the people you train with make you stronger, the higher caliber of training partner equally correlates to the quality of athlete you become. Your school’s reputation also has a lot to do with the quality of iron that it attracts; having a law degree from Harvard Law means something, just as training with the Mat Factory and having a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from their staff truly means something. I’ll admit ignorance when it’s mine to own: I am not as familiar with the Caged Power promotion as I’d like to be and was not privy to this fight. Coming into the bout with Mazzotta, Poindexter had an extensive amateur career; with amateur and pro careers considered, Poindexter was the veteran in the bout. Both Mazzotta and Poindexter cut their teeth in the NAAFS; the same NAAFS that Cody “No Love” Garbrandt and Jessica “Evil” Eye came up in. According to the official record, Dominic “The Honey Badger” Mazzotta finished the fight, via arm bar, in less than 120 seconds.
No 3: Varon Webb (1:17 of Rd. 1; Rear Naked Choke) – Pinnacle FC: Pittsburgh Challenge Series 11
We, as fight fans and the public at large, give a lot of credit to Dominic Mazzotta’s ground credentials. He is a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he trains with some of the best wrestlers in Pittsburgh’s metropolitan area; but his dynamic striking is often muted in comparison with his submission skills. Again, understanding that position leads to submission, Mazzotta often uses his striking ability to either keep opponents at bay or break through defenses to get into the positions that he’s looking for. In the fight with Varon Webb, Mazzotta had good striking posture and used his deadly accurate Tae Kwon Do ability and nearly knocked the man out with a stiff head kick. Webb recovered just enough for Chip Snider to let the bout continue. Let’s not take anything away from Varon Webb; if you can eat a head kick like that and be able to recover, you’ve clearly got a chin and you belong in combat sports. One minute and seventeen seconds into round number one, Dominic “The Honey Badger” Mazzotta submits Varon Webb with a rear naked choke.
No 2: Doug Hodges (1:16 of Rd. 1; Rear Naked Choke) – Gladiators of the Cage: North Shore’s Rise to Power
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I have to believe that for Mazzotta’s first pro fight, the crowd in attendance had to know they were watching a contender. The first time I met Dominic Mazzotta, I met a guy who was animated, charismatic, and fearless; the kind of fighter that you want to see on every card you watch. I wasn’t introduced to Pittsburgh MMA or Gladiators of the Cage until North Shore’s Rise to Power 2, but from everything that had stemmed from it, it had to be a tremendous card. The bout was two fighters, in the early stages of their pro careers. Hodges stopped fighting shortly after his bout with Mazzotta, and Mazzotta is going on to face Rob Hannah in the main event of the next Pinnacle FC card.
No 1: Jeremiah Yeager (:47 of Rd 1; KO) – Gladiators of the Cage: North Shore’s Rise to Power II
Dominic Mazzotta’s wheel-house is Bantamweight; for the fight with Jeremiah Yeager, Mazzotta agreed to step in as a late replacement and move up a weight class. Everything about this fight (the lack of training time, not being able to research the opponent and train for them) said that this fight should have been a lot more cautious. Mazzotta, an excellent ground technician, dug into his Tae Kwon Do back of tricks to keep Yeager at bay and at :47 seconds of round 1, secure the head kick knock-out victory. That one particular head kick has been in a lot of highlight reels and for very good reason.
At the beginning, I mentioned that we are in a Post-Chris Dempsey & Mark Cherico Pittsburgh; in reality, we’re in an era of Dominic Mazzotta, Rob Hannah, Mike Wilkins and the next generation of Main Eventer. Before, those names were mentioned as could-be contenders; ladies and gentlemen, those names are contenders and our champions. As the next Pinnacle card gets underway, it’s best to believe that those fights matter. Those fights are crowning champions, placing contenders, and getting the next generation under way.
Until next time: Fights, Cameron, Action!