ISKA Referee Tirso Martinez hails Josh Mercado the victor while Scott Baranoski is the face of defeat at Divita Co.'s FIRST STRIKE

Parkland, FLIt was a packed house at The Whale Raw Bar, as Divita Co. and OTM Fight Shop of Pompano Beach along with Krush Models presented First Strike: Saturday Night Fights. It was a contact sport feeding frenzy-match after match of MMA bouts and the first-ever Super Grappling Championship Title Match, featuring Alesandro Rajacic of Pablo Papovich and MMA sensation Mike Bruno of American Top Team in a spectacular outdoor event that brought new blood and seasoned fighters together in the ring to power it out.

Your South Florida Chronicle was ringside to capture all the action and, with a little help from ISKA’s James Morrison (thanks James!), had the inside scoop of what the Judges were looking for: namely aggression, ring control and damage. Additional scoring was impacted by knock-downs with winners needing ten points to take the match.

First Strike highlights from Saturday, May 15 include an outstanding series of speed moves, hitting high and low in a fury of hands and feet by Alexander Ruggiero in Match IV, who defeated his opponent in a unanimous decision. Opponent, Steve Janetis, however, was no cream puff and took some of Ruggiero’s strongest stuff like he was being hit by a marshmallow, though hesitation and his failure to throw follow-up kicks and punches led to his defeat.

Match V was a doozy where Bennet Belcier proved to be a non-stop hitting-machine, with every punch followed by another with lighting-fast speed and tons of agility. Belcier didn’t just rely on his hands to defeat opponent Ahbleaza Hickman-he delivered hard-hitting legs to trip up and tire Hickman for the duration and added ‘shin-master’ to his ammunition list for an impressive match.

The Girl on Girl action of Match VI was intense as Ryan Rogge made her debut against a short (but powerful looking) opponent, Danielle Trembley. She was ‘trembley’, indeed as Rogge landed punch after dizzying punch to take the win in a unanimous decision. Stay tuned for great things from Rogge; she is fierce and determined and has great follow through, taking instruction ringside like a robot programmed for destruction. Excellent come-out, Ryan!

Other spectacular bouts included Match VI with the chiseled and mighty Carl Darbouze, who delivered such intense roundhouse kicks he seemed to be challenging Chuck Norris’ reputation. Darbouze dominated the third round and took down Brent Reeves, who looked like Drago the Russian, the guy who got his ass kicked by Rocky, with Reeves going down in similar fashion, losing by TKO.

The big finale Super Grappling Title Match was long and intense with Alesander Rajacic pulling guard seconds before the first bell, seeming intent on remaining on his back throughout the match-definitely not the best strategy against such an experienced contender as Mike Bruno. About two minutes in, Bruno was on his feet holding a clamped Rajacic who looked like a baby being burped. Overall, Rajacic failed to deliver anything resembling a determination to win, and Bruno barely had to break a sweat to dominate him on the mat and keep Rajacic on his back.

Amidst some confusion at the end of the third round when the ref asked Rajacic’s team if they wanted to go a fourth, with their camp giving the affirmative and the Bruno camp declining, Rajacic and crew stormed furiously out of the ring, leaving Bruno, arms up in a victorious pose, alone in the ring celebrating an apparent retreat of his enemy when a scuffle broke out in the stands, which led to the ref declaring Bruno the victor.

Evidently, there was dissension over the true winner of the match which is what caused the crowd to protest and start to scrap outside the ring. Bruno took the trophy that night, but according to ISKA rules, the fight has been declared a draw between the opponents with an actual score of 0-0.  Divita Co. has since posted the following clarification on their website to help fans understand the series of events that led to a winner being declared in error by the ISKA referee.

Divita Co. Fight Fans,

Bruno brings Rajacic to the mat.

Some clarification on last night’s Super Grappling Title Match Main Event (May 15 Saturday Night Fights)

In the final match of the evening, Aleksander Rajacic (Pablo Popovitch) vs. Mike Bruno (American Top Team), there were a series of events that led to an incorrect announcement of a victor. At the end of the 3rd round, the referee asked the corners if they would like to go to a 4th round. Rajacic’s corner agreed, Bruno’s corner declined. Rajacic’s corner was infuriated and exited the ring. Simultaneously, a scuffle broke out in the crowd, which took everyone’s attention off the match, including the judges. The ring girls entered the ring to award a winner; the referee did not communicate to anyone around the ring. Mike Bruno was alone in the ring with his hands raised, so seeing this the announcer declared Bruno as the winner. This was a premature announcement of a winner due to the fact the scoring reflected a draw, 0-0, meaning there was no victor in the Rajacic vs. Bruno match. We sincerely apologize to all parties involved, both athletes were tremendous competitors and both from very prestigious well respected schools, these unfortunate circumstances were beyond our control.

– Divita Co.

Final Results:

Match I *Grappling*

Sam McCoy makes his Grappling Debut

Sam McCoy of ATT, Deerfield Beach W – Rear Naked Choke vs. Anthony Garavito of Evolution MMA

Match II

Scott Gruebelle of ATT Wolfpack (2-1) W – Decision vs. Villey Joseph (0-1) of Pablo Papovich MMA

Match III

Joe Martine (4-2) of ATT , Coconut Creek vs. Jason Tellus of Evolution MMA (3-2) W – Decision

Match IV

Alex Ruggiere of Xtreme Punch MMA (1-0) W – Decision vs. Steve Janetis (0-1) of The Fist Factory, Stuart

Match V

Ahbleza Hickman of ATT Ft. Lauderdale (0-1) vs. Bennett Belcier (2-0) of LL Boxing/MMA W – Decision

Match VI **Girl on Girl**

Ryan Rogge Preparing for Battle

Ryan Rogge prepares for battle

Danielle Trembley (1-1) of Bowon Muay Thai Academy vs. Ryan Rogge (1-0) of ATT, Boynton W – Decision

Match VII

Scott Baranoski (0-1) of Somchay Muay Thai vs. Josh Mercado (3-2) of Evolution MMA W – Doctor Stoppage

Match VIII

Tiago Porto (0-1) of ATT, Deerfield vs. Alberto Jimenez (1-0) of Atemi MMA W – Decision

Match IX

Moses Abreu (1-0) of ATT, Ft. Lauderdale W – TKO vs. Mike Bevis (1-2) of The Fist Factory, Stuart

Match X

Gleidson Dejesus (0-1) of ATT, Coconut Creek vs. George Poulos (1-0) of Martial Arts Training Academy, Hollywood W-Split Decision

Match XI

Carl Darbouze delivers a crushing right blow

Carl Darbouze (3-0) of ATT, Coconut Creek W – TKO vs. Brent Reeves (6-1-1) of Team Thunder

Match XII

Mike Trujillo (1-0) of Evolution MMA W – Decision vs. Fred Moncaio (0-2) of Pablo Papovich MMA

TITLE MATCH *Super Grappling*

Mike Bruno of ATT, Coconut Creek vs. Aleksandar Rajacic of Pablo Papovich MMA

-DRAW, 0-0-