Most amateur MMA shows fall short in one or several categories which make a fight card successful but Combat Night 7 was a pleasant exception. The importance of atmosphere is often overlooked by promoters who opt for venues too large for the drawing power of the fight card. What I found at Combat Night 7 was a room, not unlike a set from Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, packed wall-to-wall with screaming fight fans, teammates, friends, and family. The fighters were mostly well-matched. The skill level displayed was consistent with most amateur shows; however, there were three fighters who stood above the rest: Clay Haywood, Kyle Jacobs, and Elwil Acevedo displayed veteran guile and deft submissions. Kyle, in particular, was impressive throwing his opponent close to the minute mark of the first round and locked up a kimura from side mount about 10 seconds later. Clay Haywood attempted a number of submissions before locking in a rear naked choke late in the second round. Elwil Acevedo plowed through his opponent with a double leg take down right out of the gate and slapped on a key lock, ending the match early in the first.
While most of the fights went off without a hitch, one was certainly problematic. Brent Purvis, who stood no taller than 5’9” and probably tipped the scale at 300 pounds, was visibly terrified of his opponent. By comparison, Matt Bathurst was tall, lean, and ready to go. Though it is impossible to tell what Brent was saying, his body language was clear. He was pleading with the referee who was forced to call the bout off before a punch was ever thrown. It was an empty victory for Bathurst, who clearly trained hard for his fight. In a surprise move, the referee then allowed the match to continue after Purvis’s corner shamed him into fighting.
No sooner did the referee signal the fighters than Bathurst had forced a wilting Purvis against the cage and threw him to the ground like a ragdoll. With little effort, Matt snapped on a rear naked choke, ending the fight. The crowd was clearly disappointed but none more than Bathurst who obviously felt cheated. He, like most fighters, is motivated by competition, which Purvis robbed him of. The fight, pathetic as it was, did accomplish one thing; it served as a reminder that fighting is not for everyone. That being said, Combat Night 7 was a successful show with exciting fights. Other promoters in the area would do well to take note and follow suit.
Photo provided by Puro Photography