By: Albert Miller – On May 21st, at the Meadows Casino in Washington, PA, Nathan “Bamm Bamm” Bryant draws one of the most prolific heavyweights in the country: Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez. The bout is scheduled for five, five-minute, rounds and will be for the undisputed King of the Cage (KOTC) Heavyweight championship. That championship has been around the waist of Paul “the Headhunter” Buentello, Manny Rodriguez, Daniel “DC” Cormier, and most recently: Tony Lopez. The main event bout between Lopez and Bryant is a fight that the regional Pittsburgh fight circuit needs right now.
In recent memory, Nathan Bryant is the most dominant heavyweight to step in the regional cages of Gladiators of the Cage, NAAFS, and promotions of the like. Bryant is a sturdy heavyweight with heavy hands, a proven gas tank, and stopping ability. With the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s acquisition of “The Prototype” Adam Milstead, Nathan Bryant is next in line to be one of the top names in regional heavyweight MMA for the tri-state area. Bryant’s last two fights have been KOTC bouts, both ending in spectacular knock out fashion. It needs to be understood that King of the Cage’s reach, especially when it comes to title contenders, is expansive. KOTC’s heavyweight radar is coast to coast, and as far north as the northern tier of Canada. For Nathan Bryant to be granted a title shot, he had to have impressed someone. For that someone to be sending their heavyweight champion to Pittsburgh, and not the other way around, is a statement in and of itself. King of the Cage is either really impressed with Nathan Bryant or they want to make a statement in his own backyard.
Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez is not just the KOTC Heavyweight champion, he is also the KOTC Super-Heavyweight champion. Lopez is an easily recognizable name, fighting for King of the Cage since the first “Ultimate Fighter” boom in MMA, when everyone was clamoring for anything MMA to put on TV. Tony Lopez has fought on cable, for EliteXC, for M-1 global, for an early incarnation of Bellator, and just about anywhere else a cage might be upright. Lopez’s fight resume is a tale of cage wars ranging from bouts with Tony Bonello, Keith Berry, Joey Beltran, Mike Kyle, Ilir Latifi, Trevor Prangley, Jeremy Horn, and the list goes on for miles. In the days when MMA wasn’t accepted everywhere, when mixed martial arts was not sanctioned by every state and province, Tony Lopez was finding the fights and all challengers are welcome. To be in the same lineal title picture as Daniel Cormier and Paul Buentello, one has to be tested, tried, and tempered. If we consider that Bellator is currently without a heavyweight champion, and that World Series of Fighting’s heavyweight championship lacks the depth and prestige, I feel that it is safe to say that with lineage and legacy considered, the King of the Cage heavyweight championship is in the top two most important heavyweight championships in the United States right now; that title is being contested in the greater Pittsburgh area.
The heavyweight fight at the Meadows Casino is exactly what the regional MMA circuit needs. For one, heavyweight fights (especially one between Bryant and Lopez) have national, if not global, implications. The larger promotions clearly have their eyes on the steel city as our talent keeps getting drawn to the big show. Secondly, being that our heavyweight bouts are few and far between, they happen in big fashion. Nathan Bryant, being a product of nearby West Virginia, made a serious point in Pittsburgh, Ohio, and Johnstown, Pennsylvania that his brand of heavyweight action is worth the price of tickets. I could go on for days about the wars the Tony Lopez has been in. When Tony Lopez weighs in at the Meadows Casino, the whole regional heavyweight dichotomy changes forever, for the better.
If Nathan Bryant is able to best Tony Lopez at the Meadows Casino, he brings a large portion of prestige to our circuits; with a Bryant win, the entire national pecking order changes, because King of the Cage has that much influence over all of the regional scenes around the country. Challengers will be coming to Pittsburgh, Bryant will be representing our area to other regional areas. Nathan “Bamm Bamm” Bryant has the opportunity at hand to advance his career in spades. If Tony Lopez is able to defeat Nathan Bryant, then he may very well light a fire in Pittsburgh that will not be quenched until that loss was avenged. Bryant will train harder, others heavyweights will be attracted to the Steel City, and surely a rematch will ensue. No matter who wins the heavyweight main event at the Meadows Casino, the fans in attendance are the true victors of the product.
Also on the fight card:
• Justin Steave vs. Anthony Morgan
• Pedro Velasco vs. Francis “Mad Dog” Healy
• John De Jesus vs. Javon Wright
• Sean White vs. Fadi Shuman
• Mike Waltz vs. Kyle Holtz
• Ben Seur vs. Justin Patton
• Nathaniel Medice vs. Christopher Furr
• George A. Niebla vs. Charles Lamp
Event details, per Kingofthecage.Com:
This event will be broadcast in over 50 million U.S. households on MAVTV (214 DIRECTV, 810 Verizon FiOS). Check your local cable provider for cable station in your area.
Doors open at 6 pm. and fights start at 7 pm. Reserve seating is on sale now. All Ages welcome. Under 18 must be accompanied by an Adult. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.meadowsgaming.com or call (724) 503-1200. Event card subject to change.