Nanaimo's Graham Spencer

Nanaimo's Graham Spencer

MMA fighters win battles

Only the victorious were left standing on the Battlefield after an exciting night of fights in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo’s Graham Spencer won via split decision and Jesse “J.T. Money” Taylor won the main event in less than two minutes to cap off Battlefield Fight League: Island Beatdown on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena.

Taylor’s victory surprised the 800 fans in that it took less than two minutes for the former Ultimate Fighter contestant to choke out veteran Denis Kang.

“UFC and Bellator, I mean, c’mon, man,” Taylor said afterward.

If the main event was kind of short, the semi-main lived up to the billing as Spencer and his opponent Bruno Capdeville went the full three rounds.

“I didn’t really go into the fight with a game plan, because my usual game plan is to take everyone down, but I knew he was a really good grappler so I just sort of wanted to go in there and fight and see what happens…” Spencer said. “We ended up going to the ground anyway, but I was able to do all right down there.”

The Nanaimo fighter won the first round, cutting Capdeville, but the Vancouver fighter might have had a slight edge in the second round. So Nanaimo Impact trainer John Punt told Spencer to force the issue in the third round.

“So I just gave it all I had, especially in the last 30 seconds, my corner was telling me I had to get a takedown so I was able to get a big slam with about 10 seconds left,” Spencer said.

Punt said the final takedown sewed up the victory.

“It was definitely pretty close and you don’t know how the judges are going to score it; you don’t know how they’re seeing the fight,” said the trainer.

The win is expected to boost Spencer (7-1) a couple of places up the Canadian featherweight rankings, and it also showed Punt that his fighter can have success against strong jiu-jitsu guys. So more good, tough opponents await, but in the meantime, the Impact team will savour this win.

“It was a big relief, ’cause it was a tough win and all my teammates lost so I was feeling a lot of pressure,” Spencer said.

Nanaimo’s Ryan Ballingall (4-6) was choked out in the dying seconds of the first round of his fight with Matt Baker. The Langley fighter controlled most of the round, but Ballingall was able to turn the tables late and come up with one impressive flurry before getting caught.

“Ryan Ballingall fought well,” said Punt. “He fought a war, he didn’t back down.”

The other two Impact fighters on the BFL card, Jer Kornelsen and Eli Wyse, lost amateur bouts. Kornelsen dropped a close split decision to Micah Brakefield and Wyse was choked out by Chris Day in the first round.

“Everybody did really, really well,” Punt said. “The amateur guys, it’s amateur. I chalk it up to experience.”

Also on the BFL8 card, Jacen Brooks knocked out Levi Alford with a kick to the head in the first round, Ryan Chiappe bloodied Bill Fraser badly enough for a first-round ref stoppage and Gary Mangat finished Mark Delgado with a rear naked choke in the first round.

Earlier in the evening, Jordan Beecroft TKO’d Mike Jorgensen in the first round, Marcus Vinicios knocked out Tim Skidmore in the first round, Brett Deacon TKO’d Nik Ramsay in the first and Joe Boldo scored a unanimous decision over Johny Wilson.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com