Two of the best Mixed Martial Arts fighters in Alaska went toe-to-toe for the first ever Alaska Beatdown Southeast Alaska MMA Lightweight Championship on Friday night in Centennial Hall. The result was an action packed bout that finished four-and-a-third rounds earlier than scheduled.
Fairbanks’ Eddie Hoch forced Juneau’s Craig Reishus to tap out in the first round of their scheduled five round bout.
“Initially I wanted to stand with him because that was what he wanted to do,” Hoch, a member of the local Complete Warrior Academy club, said. “I was prepared to stand with him but the minute I saw that take down I took it.”
Reishus, age 25, 148-pounds (9-3-1 record), is dangerous when on his back so the decision by Hoch, 22, 155-pounds (10-3-0) to go to the mat was bold.
“Getting him on the ground was risky,” Hoch said. “He is such a dangerous opponent and such a skilled fighter that I took the first thing available to me and that was the Kimura. Once I got a hold of that position on him I just kept pulling on it until it went. I knew I had it, I just had to keep wrenching on it.”
The initial contact for both opponents was a very brief stand off at Reishus portion of the ring. Both fighters threw punches but Hoch carried forward to pin Reishus’ left arm down as he grasped for a body throw.
Reishus swung his right arm over Hoch’s head and the two went to the mat.
Reishus had his legs locked onto Hoch’s while Hoch buried his shoulder into Reishus’ neck.
In an instant Reishus straightened his legs while pulling hard on Hoch’s head and flipped over onto the top position.
The move was brief as Hoch reversed back.
Reishus then continued to reverse and both fighters were facing each other on their knees.
Reishus put his left arm into a headlock on Hoch who drove forward.
With Reishus on his back, Hoch peeled the headlock off and from a semi-side position forced the arm of Reishus down.
“I defended for a second,” Reishus said. “He is just a strong dude. I need to fight people more my weight, but he did a good job. You could tell he didn’t want to stand or anything and that was why he bum-rushed me.”
Hoch made two extreme pushes of pressure on Reishus’ arm to gain the final result.
“There were a couple of seconds where I reversed him,” Reishus said. “But he stayed in good position. He fought a good fight.”
The fight had been scheduled for five rounds of three-minutes each. The action that took place was over in roughly over one-minute, but fight fans applauded the effort of both combatants.
Hoch bowed deeply in respect to Reishus in the center of the ring after the bout.
“It is a little bit of disappointment that I didn’t give the fans a longer fight, a knockout, a stand-up war or what have you that people come here to see,” Hoch said. “But at the end of the day I am here to win. When I walk out with a W I am relieved to get that. That is the best way to sum it up. It is not a feeling of victory as much as it is the relief that I made it through. Craig is a dangerous opponent. I went in there and I got the job done. If he was in my position he would have done the same thing. I am happy with the win.”
Hoch is a grappler but likes to string multiple aspects of MMA together. Hoch stated he likes to stand up fight to set up his takedowns, and use his takedowns to get to his jiu-jitsu background.
“And a lot of the times jiu-jitsu will mesh back into the striking aspect of the sport,” Hoch said. “In a game like MMA if you only have one strength you are going to get beat, you have to evolve. I like to think I have many strengths. I would fight every day if I could, as long as I was getting paid for it.”
For Reishus, his reputation as a great fighter has been a problem in finding opponents in his own weight division and he has to settle for fights that, while technically comparable, are at his disadvantage.
“My last two fights have been horrible,” Reishus said. “Completely horrible. I will be the first person to say that. I need to fight more than once a year, more than anything. I am still going to be fighting, and if they find someone for me to fight next time I will be down for that. I need to stick to 145-pounds. I could feel that he was a weight class bigger. But it was cool, he fought a good fight.”
According to Alaska Beatdown promoter Russ Stevens an opponent from Oregon is being pursued to next challenge Hoch and additional Southeast weight class titles will be determined in the future.
Friday’s semi-main event was a boxing match of youth verse age, and unfortunately for 290-pound Lawrence Fenumiai, a gifted young pugilist, his aging opponent was local 220-pound legend Al “Mean Machine” Valentine.
Neither fighter backed down in the three-round affair but a lot of action was a feeling out process. Valentine would unload some looping shots and a few jabs and cover when Fenumiai threw leather.
The judges awarded Valentine with the unanimous decision win for throwing and landing more punches.
“I feel really good,” Valentine said. “I had something to prove, not to other people but to myself because of my age. I went out there and changed up my style a bit and everything went okay. I am really happy with my performance and I have never fought anybody in my life that had a head as hard as that man. I could not believe he was standing there looking at me while I was hitting him with knock out punches. That is why I quit doing it because I was getting tired.”
Other bouts included:
MMA - Douglas Diablo using a rear naked choke to force Bradley Wilson to tap out in the second round.
MMA - Jaret Grant (226-pounds, 1-0-0) winning by unanimous decision over Charlie Gallant (209-lbs, a bunch of wins and a few losses).
Boxing - Masae “Bayb” Fanene (heavyweight, 3-1-0) winning in one round over Timieka Sullen (heavyweight, 2-1-0), as Sullen does not answer the bell for round two.
MMA - Christian Rotola (158-lbs, 5-0-0) forcing a first round tap out by Ketchikan’s Charles Cessnun (172-lbs, 2-3-0).
MMA - Jason Frost (185-lbs, 1-0-0) forcing tap out via guillotine on Tony Tompkins (185-lbs, 1-2-0).
Boxing - Inoke Topui (225-lbs, 1-0-0) winner by unanimous decision over Sitka’s Joey Chaires (225-lbs, 3-1-0).
MMA - Clifford “C-Weezy” White (160-lbs, 7-2-0) winning by split decision over Derek Lofstrom (155-lbs, 4-3-0).
Boxing - Mike Ward (170-lbs, 1-1-0) winner by unanimous decision over Tyrel Kleinsmith (160-lbs, 0-3-0).
All proceeds from ticket sales of Alaska Beatdown go to help fund the Juneau Combat Sports Academy, a non-profit that is starting a fight gym in Juneau.