Regional MMA night packs a punch

© Evening Times of Crittenden County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Evening Times) - The V3 Fights amateur mixed martial arts event at Minglewood Hall in Memphis last Saturday night featured a slate of local and regional MMA fighters on what V3 matchmaker Chantein Wasion called "a stacked card," a label that certainly lived up to the hype.

The card featured 13 bouts in the UFC-style Octagon, with a packed house in attendance, including a very vocal group of supporters for the competitors on this side of the river. In addition to three fighters from Marion and two from West Memphis, Marked Tree, Little Rock, Mammoth Springs, and Bald Knob were represented in the cage. Fighters from Tennessee and Mississippi filled out the rest of the roster.

In one of five title fights, Mike Houston was bested in a brutal bout for the V3 Light Heavyweight Championship that went a full five rounds. Houston lost a judges' decision to the new champ Ryan Banks.

Marion's Law Purifoy went down to Little Rock's TJ Brown. Brown is undefeated in his young career, improving his record to 6-0 with a triangle choke submission victory.

Described as "Mr. Intensity" during his post-match interview, Michael Bunch of West Memphis took down opponent Brandon Pannell in a welterweight bout with a "ground-and-pound" flurry of offense in the first round.

"Fight of the Night" honors, however, went to the much-anticipated showdown between two Marion fighters who Wasion noted "just don't like each other," Tripp "Kano" Carter and Jimmy "Hitman" White.

After the first round, in which the fighters basically engaged in a cat-and-mouse feeling-out process, the intensity went through the roof, aided by a rabid crowd that chanted loudly for both fighters. Carter seemed to be in control for most of round two, although White managed to knock him on his posterior as the round ended.

In the third round, Carter established the upper hand with a surprise takedown, enabling him to land a series of strikes, good enough for a unanimous judges decision. Despite the bad blood, both fighters embraced following the bout.

"He surprised me a little bit," said a decidedly jacked Carter after the fight, "and he sure can hit hard, but I was read for him." With the win, Carter is now in line for a V3 Featherweight title fight with champ Jesse James Wallace, tentatively set for the next V3 card on Nov. 10.

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