Season Opener Delivers the GoodsJanuary 30, 2013
By Sandy Hackenmueller
Friday Night Fight’s first show of the year opened its doors up to a full crowd and a full card. Eleven fights in all, so solidly matched that 10 of them went the full distance. Fans were on the edge of their seats as they awaited the decision on their favorite fighter.
A dedicated nationwide entity, Friday Night Fights had fighters in the house from Florida to California, and our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada. Hometown fighters were supported loudly by loyal friends, family and fans.
Out-of-towners were faithfully online, listening to the live audio feed , cheering on their athletes through chat. Chants and cheers for Ontario’s “Milkman” Matt Kendall resonated so loudly through the threads you felt like you were actually hearing it in the room with you.
Eleven fights and only one did not make it out of the first round. The heavyweight bout ended swiftly, with a knockout delivered by Karl Roberson for his opponent Steven Jordan in Roberson’s Muay Thai debut. Impressive enough was the sheer size of these two athletes – but the intensity and impact of the short-lived fight won’t soon be forgotten.
It would appear that the judges faced a challenging night of decision making, but when presented with a battle like the Tarrant vs Robinson bout – seat gripping, game-changing and full of suspense – it’s all worth it.
A definite fight-of-the-year contender, this five-round pro fight had the crowd on their feet before all was said and done. Robinson tore out of the gates very strong – landing powerful strikes and skull rattling jabs. His intent was to knock Tarrant out, and Tarrant fans were looking concerned.
But as the fight wore on, Liam adjusted and strengthened. Picking up momentum with swift head kicks and well placed knees – this tornado did not let up until his hand was raised by the ref. You could not miss the murmurs in the crowd, that this very well was the best Muay Thai fight they’d seen – ever.
Still on an adrenaline high from that bout, fans were amped for the headline match between fight champions Eric Utsch and Alex Berrios. The crowd raged in favor of area favorite Utsch, but it was Berrios who took home the win after five well-paced rounds.
Consensus was that Berrios controlled the first three rounds with the wide range of weapons he had in his fight arsenal. But Utsch gained ground in the last two rounds as he started landing heavy punches and leg kicks – unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the knock-out that would have clinched the win.
The crowd ate it up. This year’s season opener ended with interviews of thanks from fighters in the ring, to comments of gratitude from online fans. A satisfied crowd, an amazing show, and a satisfied FNF team has set the stage – bring on the rest of the year!