HARRINGTON – Saturday, Feb. 25 marked a momentous occasion for local mixed martial arts organization Stellar Fights.
In front of a sold-out crowd inside Exhibit Hall at the Delaware State Fairgrounds, Stellar Fights hosted its first ever professional MMA card. Stellar Fights 33 Inaugural Pro/Am featured nine amateur-level bouts and three professional bouts.
Brad Dalton, a 2005 Sussex Central graduate, launched Stellar Fights over six years ago, with the debut fight taking place in front of a small crowd at the Georgetown Firehouse Nov. 13, 2010.
“I think as far as the fights go this is the best fight card we’ve ever had,” Dalton said of Saturday night’s event. “The fighters, the results, the fans, the attendance. Everything was just perfect.”
The night began with the nine amateur-level fights, featuring five wins by TKO and four by unanimous decision.
Light heavyweight bout: Bryan DePhillip defeats Mike Turpin by TKO in the second round.
Kickboxing bout: Rob Viviano defeats Luis Rios by TKO in the second round
Welterweight bout: Eric Maule defeats David Buettner by TKO in the first round.
Bantamweight bout: Eddie Doud defeats Reece Ward by unanimous decision.
Featherweight bout: Jamal Johnson II defeats Tyler Hiob by unanimous decision.
Welterweight bout: Lenny Rufati defeats Mitch Rendueles by unanimous decision.
Featherweight bout: Taylor Pierce defeats Danny Mahoney by unanimous decision.
Heavyweight bout: Ryan Everhart defeats Nate Ronan by TKO in the second round.
Following a brief 15-minute intermission, the professional fights began at around 9:50 p.m.
While many of the amateur fights held three two-minute rounds, or three three-minute rounds, the professional fights were fought in three five-minute rounds. However, none of the fights lasted all three rounds.
“It’s been a long journey,” Dalton said regarding his organization’s first pro fights. “We had a tough year about two or three years ago and we thought about just shutting it down. But we re-grouped and we do four fights a year now, we were doing like eight a year. Every event we’re pretty much selling out now.”
All three professional fights ended in a victory by submission.
Professional lightweight bout: Piankhi Zimmerman defeats Myron Baker by triangle submission in the second round.
Professional bantamweight bout: Terry Bartholomew defeats Don Koch by armbar and verbal submission in the second round.
Professional lightweight bout: Latra Collick defeats Brima Kamara by submission in the first round.
In the first professional fight in Stellar Fights history, Zimmerman improved his professional record to 3-2.
In the night’s main event – lightweight bout between Collick and Kamara – it took Berlin, MD native Collick just 2:20 to collect a victory in his professional MMA debut.
Collick started in MMA back in 2013, with Stellar Fights, before taking a two-year break. Between work, being a full-time father and MMA training, Collick has been busy.
“Wrestling taught me that it doesn’t mean anything until you reach your goal. Everything is a stepping stone, so it’s just another progression towards my goal,” Collick said.
With a successful pro debut, Dalton says this is just the beginning for Stellar Fights in the professional MMA realm.
“It’s definitely a starting point,” he said. “We didn’t want to overload things too much our first time, we wanted to just have a few pro fights and the next one we’ll plan on having six or eight. It’s just going to keep getting bigger.”
Stellar Fights 34 will take place in May, once again at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at email@example.com.