by Adam Lawman
Friday night, I had the opportunity to cover a live local event in my home city of Des Moines, Iowa.
Midwest Cage Championship hosted MCC 27 from the historical venue of Veterans Memorial Auditorium. As a native of Iowa, Vets Auditorium aka “The Barn” was always the pinnacle of competition as it played host to the state basketball and wrestling tournaments. It was kind of the Madison Square Garden of our state. The history of the building made for the perfect venue to hold MCC 27.
Just like Iowa’s rich soil, the MCC’s cage is also known for being able to produce the greatest crops. Numerous Iowan fighters who have fought in the MCC have gone on to compete in the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and other national promotions. More of that up and coming talent was showcased on Friday night as amateurs and professionals alike thrilled the audience with explosive MMA action.
The first fight of the evening, an amateur flyweight bout between Dustin Updike and Josiah Oppman, set the pace for the night as both fighters engaged in a vicious stand up battle. Updike was in control the whole fight but received a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose that sprayed crimson blood with every subsequent punch to the face. Updike held on and dominated but Oppman never went down. The decision went to Updike but they won the equivalent of Fight of the Night as they both received awards for their spirit shown in the cage.
The other amateur bouts thrilled just as well. Most of the fights avoided decisions and provided submission and TKO stoppages that served as exclamation points to the great and competitive matches.
In one of the professional bouts, the third to last fight of the night, Chris “Mad Dog” Mickle unleashed the fury of a….well, mad dog on Cory Simpson. Mickle attacked right away and kept pushing forward at 100 mph until he caught Simpson in an armbar to score a submission win in the first round of a lightweight #1 contenders match up. Mickle is a veteran of the sport with over 40 fights under his belt and has fought for the WEC. He is a lot of fun to watch and should be given a look again by some of the national promotions.
The night’s co-main event saw Jesse Lund take on Dean Bradley for light heavyweight contention. Lund scored early and worked Bradley over on the ground but Bradley kept working even reversing positions, however Lund ultimately controlled the fight and beat Bradley into submission with solid strikes while he had his back in round 2.
The main event was a five round affair for the MCC middleweight championship, and every second of the fight delivered. Current champ Elvis “The King” Mutapcic took on the former title holder Zak Cummings who fought his last fight in Strikeforce where he lost to Tim Kennedy. Mutapcic, a Bosnian native, brought a large following of fellows Bosnians and friends and family who almost shook the roof off of the venue with their thunderous cheers and chants for “The King.”
The fight began with a lot of tension from both fighters but Mutapcic took an early advantage with more accurate strikes and some solid leg kicks that resembled what Melvin Manhoef did to Robbie Lawler. Cummings did however, get in some nice scoring of his own but was down in points when they entered the fifth and final round. Sensing a need for urgency, Cummings picked up the pace and became more aggressive. Early in the round, Mutapcic looked to be poked in the eye but the foul was missed by the referee and Cummings did what he was supposed to and pushed forward landing a huge right on Mutapcic that sent the champ to the canvas. Cummings followed and almost ended the fight there with some solid ground and pound, but “The King” somehow regained composure and fought hard to stand back up. Feeling the pulse of the crowd again and working off pure adrenaline, Mutapcic mustered enough power to go for one last hurrah. Mutapcic went after Cummings and landed two big punches that dropped his opponent. Mutapcic was seconds away from winning via a TKO as he battered Cummings on the ground however he didn’t have the seconds left he needed as time expired and it went to a judge’s decision.
Both fighters embraced each other as the audience went crazy. Everyone wa out of their seat and a standing ovation was given to the warriors in the cage. The air was electric and rumbling with screaming approval for such a glorious and epic five round war. Mutapcic took the decision and retained the belt, but no one was really a loser in a fight of that caliber.
All in all, MCC 27 was one of the best live shows the state has ever seen. I implore you all to visit the MCC’s official website where you can purchase past events on DVD as well as read more about the fighters and staff involved with the promotion.
A big thanks goes out to co-owners Ryan Hass and John Halverson for allowing MMAPRIME.TV to cover the event and for putting on such a high quality show.