The expectations of a small-town mixed martial arts promotion usually don’t exceed past the point of drunken fools fighting to settle a score rather than an athletic competition. Saturday night at the Soldotna Sports Center, the Peninsula Fighting Championship shattered that stereotype by putting on one of the greatest mixed martial arts events I’ve seen in a while.
While some may dispute my initial reaction it’s near impossible to recall another local or even regional MMA event that had as much action, excitement and heart as was displayed at PFC: 4. The event Saturday featured exciting finishes, back-and-forth action and a come-from-behind victory that left the crowd wanting more, more mixed martial arts.
Below are the results of PFC: 4:
Gaeden Ames def. Austin Childers via unanimous decision. Gunner Romatz def. Berring West via TKO at 1:51 of round one. Felix Bobby def. Korey Spooner via submission at :45 of round three. Paul Pelkey def. Brian Lee via TKO at 1:45 of round two. Douglas McFresh def. Alton Prince via TKO of round two. Cody Rice def. Seth Kroll via unanimous decision. Drew Lipton def. Mike Dirks via submission at :44 of round one.
The main event featured a featherweight championship fight as Mark Stogsdill put his title up against challenger Mitch Fields in a thrilling and quick matchup. Both men started out tentative but it was Fields who took control early and maintained it throughout the fight. Fields defeated Stogsdill via submission at 1:06 of round one, providing the PFC with a new championship face in the featherweight division.
While championship fights always draw the crowd, there were two bouts that stole the show Saturday night. One was Ames vs. Childers and the other was Rice vs. Kroll. Interestingly enough, both fights went to the judges scorecard and ended with 29-28 unanimous victories for Ames and Rice. Usually leaving the bout in the hands of the judges can cause quite a stir, but it was the action inside the cage that had people buzzing and begging for one more round.
Both bouts had all the elements of a remarkable fight: Exciting, fast-paced, a comeback round and an exciting finish. In the Ames vs. Childers match Childers easily took round one with his takedowns and top game. However, in rounds two and three Ames made an epic comeback to win both rounds and eventually the fight. Childers suffered the loss but it was an unbelievable battle for an exhausting nine minutes inside the cage.
Cody Rice vs. Seth Kroll had a different story line but still managed to produce a fight for the ages. Rice was dominating through two rounds of action, winning the standup battle and using his Muay Thai effectively. However, in the third and final round both men had a legendary exchange that got the crowd to its feet. Rice delivered a devastating liver kick that sent Kroll reeling back toward the cage, and as Rice went in for the finish Kroll returned with a monstrous right hook that dropped Rice to the mat. That exchange and that match was one of the best technical bouts I’ve seen during a PFC event.
When reflecting on the events of Saturday night it’s clear that this was a turning point for both the promotion and mixed martial arts on the Kenai Peninsula. In reality, I shouldn’t be that surprised about how well the event turned out this past weekend. Before it even began I met up with PFC promoter Isaac Kolesar to discuss the night’s festivities and here’s what Kolesar had to say prior to the start.
“You watch. Tonight’s going to be awesome,” Kolesar said. “It’s going to be an unbelievable night of fights you’ll see.”
I quickly dismissed the comment because every promoter says that. They have to, right? What I should’ve realized was that’s the first time I’d heard it straight from Kolesar’s mouth. The promotion delivered Saturday night with what I would consider the best fight card they’ve put together, period. The only problem moving forward: We have to wait three months to see the next one.
What did you think of Saturday’s PFC: 4 event? Let me know by contacting me on Twitter at @scottlevesque.
Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.