Fighters pack the Sportsplex
By: Michael "Moe" Murphy
Photo courtesy/Michael "Moe" Murphy Robert Vasquez of Camp LeJeune, N.C., delivers a blow to Perry Smith of Weyers Cave, Va. Vasquez won the featherweight bout with a TKO in the first round. The fight was part of Mixed Martial Arts in the Valley II, a 16-fight card held last Saturday at the Sportsplex in Winchester.
WINCHESTER - Nearly 1,000 people filled the Sportsplex in Winchester on Saturday night to watch 16 mixed martial arts fights sanctioned by the International Sport Combat Federation.
The freestyle kick boxing, wrestling and boxing are combined to create Mixed Martial Arts. Lightweight boxing gloves are used.
Fighters from the area faced fighters from Springfield, Mo., North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and southwest Virginia in four hours of action packed entertainment presented by Squared Circle Boxing Promotions of Inwood, W.Va.
Fight promoter Lionel "L Train" Royer added a caged octagon format and says the size of the Sportsplex favored the crowds over the 700 who witnessed last month's MMA in the Valley I held at the Best Western in July.
The cage adds another element of excitement as the competitors are shut inside of an eight sided chain link fence, with a boxing ring floor.
"We really have had success with the first two nights," Royer said. "This is a win/win situation. The people were treated to some excellent fights and the venue showcases local fighters."
Royer already has three more nights scheduled for more martial arts combat.
The fighters will meet again at the Sportsplex on Sept. 15 and then travel to the Harrisonburg Fair Grounds on Nov. 17 before returning to the Sportsplex on Dec. 8.
Jeremy "the Marine" Simms, a crowd favorite, was part of the Marine Color Guard that presented the colors to start the night and was introduced by referee Charlie Headley as the fighter of the 14th fight.
Simms, representing the Predator Fight Club, came out strong as he did last month and scored a first round TKO over Martinsburg's Randy Ladwig to improve his record to 2-0.
Simms is responsible for Marine Corp recruiting in the Shenandoah Valley and has enlisted several Clarke County residents into the Corp.
Zach Rygol, of Stephens City, also fighting for the Predator Club won by TKO over Michael Tucker of Gerrardstown, W.Va. In the Heavyweight division.
Mariah Reed of Springfield, Mo., defeated Krissy Barrett of Martinsburg, W.Va. Barrett who is trained by Royer and Squared Circle has fought on both MMA Valley cards.
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