By Briggs Seekins, #briggsfightalk on Twitter
On November 1st, amateur mixed-martial-arts action returns to the Ithaca area as Gladius promotions hosts a card at the Ultimate Athletics gym in the Ithaca Mall. Five titles will be on the line as the Gladius light heavyweight, lightweight, flyweight and woman’s bantamweight belts are all up for grabs.
Between the two of them, Gladius Fights and Art of Combat have managed to build a thriving amateur fight scene from the ground up. Gladius XIII will feature experienced competitors throughout the card.
Highlights of the undercard include Lushima Lumumba-Kasongo facing Todd Liberato at a 160-pound catchweight after dropping a tough decision at 170 pounds on Gladius’s last card this past August. Former Gladius flyweight title challenger Will Reynolds will battle Isaiah Johnson. Rugged light heavyweight Ahmad Burks, who lost an exciting TKO last August, will meet Jeremy Haig. Frequent Gladius veteran Jerry Bradley faces off with Mark Murray. And in a woman’s bout fought at a 150-pound catchweight, Casey Garland and Kate Riley will make their amateur debuts.
But the real story for this event is the main card, packed with five title fights and two No. 1 contender bouts. In a match that should feature some excellent technical grappling, former Binghamton University wrestler Anthony Jerome faces Kevin Carrier at 145 pounds. In what could be a potential fight of the night, Billy Windrum faces Sam Micale at 125 pounds. I awarded Micale KO of the Night honors for an Art of Combat card I covered in Elmira last St. Patrick’s Day and Windrum scored an impressive TKO victory at the August Gladius card up in Liverpool. Both of these guys have good defensive wrestling and quick hands, which are often the ingredients for a great stand-up fight in MMA.
The vacant light heavyweight title will be up for grabs as Yusuf Jami meets Luke Vinsgard. The Gladius vacancy at lightweight will be filled, as well, when Christian Torres faces James Briggs. Popular, hard-nosed Cortland fighter Janice Meyer will attempt to capture the vacant woman’s bantamweight title when she welcomes Boston-area fighter Fernanda Aruajo to town.
Reigning Gladius flyweight champion Dustin Bertch will face Luis Chalas in a rematch of their fight for the vacant belt last August in Liverpool. Bertch won that fight by Round 2 submission, but the bout was fought under challenging circumstances for both men, as it came following a long rain delay and a last-second switch in venues. No doubt Chalas will be anxious to put a better effort forward this time. It won’t be easy, as Bertch has multiple submission victories now.
Gladius featherweight champion Mac Brown of Homer will defend his 145-pound belt against 16-fight veteran Joseph Goyette. I’ve seen both of these two score slick submission wins in the past, so this is another fight with tremendous potential.