By Jaime Feal
Donofrio Entertainment sure knows how to put on a show. This past Saturday night I had the pleasure of covering the “Caged Apocalypse” MMA event live from the premier sports venue in Michigan; The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Right off the bat the crowd could tell they were in for a special event as Gladiator music echoed throughout the Palace, supplemented by clouds of smoke and blasts of fire. Multicolored lighting illuminated the walkway as beautiful ring girls escorted the fighters into the cage. Many in the crowd were seen photographing and recording these extravagant cage entrances, while several hundred more fans were gathered along the walkway to get an up-close-and-personal view of their favorite fighters.
The fights themselves were intriguing and exciting. Rising prospects Chad Coon and former collegiate wrestler Cody Staman did battle in the 135 pound division. Staman looked absolutely brilliant with his wrestling, quickly scoring a takedown and securing full mount. From there he started reigning down bombs on Coon and the referee stepped in to save him from further punishment. Staman wins by TKO, Round 1. It was an extremely impressive performance by Staman who has all the talent and qualities to one day wind up in the UFC. In the post-fight interview Staman stated he came into the fight at about 160 pounds, meaning he cut an astounding weight of about 25 pounds for the fight.
In the Co-Main Event Jason Fischer took on Ivan Wolshlager in the 155 pound division. Fischer showed lightning-quick movement, setting up his strikes with incredible footwork and feints. A powerful judo throw by Fischer put Wolshlager on his back. Fischer then passed to half guard and tried a front choke but gave it up to strike. Ivan was able to get to his feet but Fischer took him down again by the cage. Fischer started to turn up the heat toward the end of round, working some ground and pound and then landing heavy shots with the right hand while Wolshlager turtled up. The horn sounded to end the round but Wolshlager could not get up from the savage beating. The ref called a halt to the bout in between rounds giving the TKO victory to Fischer. Jason Fischer looks like the complete package, flashing great stand up and an explosive ground game.
In the Main Event, local favorite Brendan Seguin squared off against Colorado Fight Factory product Justin Guthrie. Seguin, the Impact Fight League 185 pound champion, came into the fight on a five fight win streak and had already made one successful defense of his belt. Saturday was not Seguin’s night, however, as he was completely taken out of his gameplan. Guthrie, the superior wrestler, used emphatic takedowns and slams to punctuate a dominant performance. The 5 round title fight went the distance and Guthrie reigned supreme with a unanimous decision victory, earning him the IFL 185 pound title.
The matchmaking was extraordinary as every fight was either highly competitive or extremely entertaining. The first fight had an explosive TKO in less than two minutes which set the bar high for the night. However, the standard of excellence never dropped, culminating in a 5 round main event title fight which saw the belt change hands.
Throughout the evening Joe Donofrio proved he was a passionate promoter who was willing to pull out all the stops. Adding to the value of the show was the enthusiastic announcer Phil “The Voice” Davey and his signature line of “ARE YOU READY FOR A BEATDOWN!?” The beautiful Kara Ro, who is also a professional boxer, provides live commentary during the fight and then interviews the victorious fighter after the bout. The entertainment again was outstanding with smoke, pyrotechnics, quality music, fan interaction, and unique cage entrances. Donofrio makes sure his MMA events are intimate and classy, closing off the upper level seating at the Palace and making sure only premium seating is available. A pioneer of professional MMA events in Michigan, Joe Donofrio certainly has a bright future in the sport.
For upcoming events and more information visit www.donofriomma.com