Last night was an unusual event in the sport of mixed martial arts. Two competing promotions teamed up to co-promote a show. The event, Warrior FC vs. Valor Fights: Border Wars, was put together to feature fighters from each respective promotion against one another.
Kentucky-based Warrior FC had Kentucky fighters representing their brand, and Tennessee-based Valor Fights featured Tennessee fighters representing their brand.
The 12 fight event featured 11 promotion versus promotion bouts. Warrior FC took an early lead in the evening winning the first two matches. Valor fights bounced back in the next two match-ups bringing the event to a tie with each promotion having two wins. It appeared that the evening was going to be a back-and-forth battle for promotion supremacy.
However, that didn’t end up being the case. The Kentucky-based fighters went on winning streak, taking victories in the next five fights. It wasn’t until the co-main event that Valor got back onto the scoreboard when Ben Sergent submitted Steve Bell.
That would end up being the final victory for the Tennessee fighters as Ben Rowland would take home the final victory for Team Warrior in the main event.
In the end, Warrior FC claimed 8 wins while Valor Fights had 3 in the inaugural promotion versus promotion event.
Performance of the Night: Brandon Bell
Finish of the Night: Scott Hope
Fight of the Night: Chase Boutwell and Stone Beverly
Dollar Beard Club Beard of the Night: Ben Rowland
View photos from the event, here.
For full event results, click here.
AFS Academy fighter and Invicta FC veteran Gina Begley (1-2) walked away with her first professional career victory. Begley was able to force her opponent, Taylor Turner (1-4), to tap out when she locked in the belly down armbar.
A true ambassador to women’s mixed martial arts, or WMMA for short, Begley has done a lot of work for the sport and women in general. The one thing that has alluded her in her career thus far was earning her first win as a professional fighter. Of course, that all changed for 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu practitioner when she made the first-round submission.
Scott Hope (7-5) had nearly the perfect finish in what would be his final fight. Prior to his match-up with Doug Williams (1-2), Hope informed friends and family that this would be the last time he steps foot inside the cage. What better way to do that then in front of his hometown.
It’s every fighters dream to get the one punch knockout, it’s even more so to do it in your final fight. Hope nearly had the perfect ending to his 14-year career which began officially in June 2003. After his last post-fight interview, Hope took off his gloves for the final time and laid them on the mat indicating this would be the last time he fights inside the cage.
For what probably seemed like an eternity for Jason King (4-3), Brandon Bell (7-6) pummeled his way to victory. Throughout all three rounds, Bell utilized the tried and true method made famous by UFC Hall of Famer, Mark Coleman, of ground-and-pound.
In between the second and third round, the doctor was called in to check on the eye of King who was on the receiving end of many vicious strikes. His eye was swollen to the point that it looked like King would have a hard time seeing. But that didn’t stop him from trying to finish the fight. Even in the final seconds, he attempted to mount an offensive strike, but it was a little too late.
Bell was relentless in his attack but was never able to finish King despite his many attempts. The judges saw all three rounds in favor of Bell.
Prospect Ken Beverly (4-1) was unable to finish Steven Haag (3-2) taking him to the scorecards to earn the unanimous decision victory. The fight was a back-and-forth chess match, with each fighter methodical in their approach.
Haag had Beverly in some dangerous spots throughout the fight but was never able to capitalize on the situations. Although Beverly is quite young, he had enough self-awareness to prevent any further damage and to stop Haag for finishing the fight.
At only 20 years of age, Beverly has quite the future ahead of him.
With nearly two years away from the action, Ben Sergent (7-0) decided he wanted a return to the cage. Since returning from California, Sergent has remained active in the sport. He teamed up with Tim Loy of Valor Fights to help promote their shows. He has even tried his hand in color commentary, and even training a new crop of up-and-coming fighters.
That wasn’t enough to satisfy Sergent. He wanted more. So, when presented with the opportunity to get back into the cage, he didn’t hesitate. Steve Bell (3-8) was up for the challenge even though this two have a history together. The two have trained many times over the years in preparation for each other’s fights.
In his post-fight interview, Sergent said he doesn’t believe in cage-rust. This philosophy was made apparent when he was able to finish Bell midway through the opening round.
The win kept Sergent’s undefeated streak alive, and he improved his overall record to an impressive 7 wins and 0 losses.
In the main event, Ben Rowland (2-0) squared off against Dustin Long (8-4) with the winner becoming the heavyweight champion in both Warrior FC and Valor Fights. Less than one minute into the fight, Long sustained an injury. The injury forced him to tap crowning Rowland as the winner and a two promotional champion.
Long attempted a takedown, but Rowland was able to stop it pushing Long up against the fence. Rowland then maneuvered his way to the outside placing Long between him and the fence. Moments after Rowland settled into position, and he unleashed three vicious knees to the side of Long.
It was on the final knee that landed near the shoulder of Long that popped it out of place. Instantly, Long tapped out from the pain inflicted by his shoulder popping out of place. It was an unfortunate way to end the fight.
Despite the ending, Rowland was overwhelmed with joy when his name was announced as the winner. He is now the new, Warrior FC and Valor Fights professional heavyweight champion.
Officials from both promotions seemed to be in good spirits after the event. The rumor is this concept will become an annual show. But for now, Valor Fights heads to Maryville, Tennessee on June 30 for Fight Night at The Shed next. Meanwhile, Warrior FC plans to have their next event this summer but no date has officially been announced.