Miller Brothers MMA takes 3 Belts home from PA Cage Fight 29; Afterparty Sept. 30 at Taphouse 15
Miller Brothers MMA & Fitness turned up to PA Cage Fight 29 in large numbers on Saturday, with seemingly the entire room in attendance to cheer on our five fighters in action, and nobody left disappointed with the effort. By the time the dust had settled, the fight team had added three new belts to its collections of titles with Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella, Joe Tizzano and Jim Fitzpatrick all earning stoppage victories in their title fights. They were joined by Frank Wallace and Mike Pagano who both had great fights, including a split decision in the Fight of the Night for Frank.
Shorty dominates from the opening bell to win another battle of regional-bests
In the main event of the evening, Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella looked to add a 10th belt to his collection when he took on the Midwest’s #1-ranked Flyweight Nate Williams for the PA Cage Fight Flyweight Title. While Williams was a game opponent, fighting through multiple highly-precarious situations, Shorty was dangerous with his striking and relentless in his pursuit of dominant positions and submissions once the fight hit the mat, securing the victory with a rear naked choke at 1:43 of Round 3.
The first round set the tone for the bout, with Shorty landing the more decisive strikes on the feet and looking to attack on the ground. Although Williams was able to attain top position, Shorty used the opportunity to go on the offensive. Securing an overhook on Williams’ left arm, Shorty walked his foot along the cage to clear the head and lock on a deep armbar. The arm appeared to go significantly past straight, but Williams fought through the pain and escaped the hold.
“I felt his arm pop a couple times,” Shorty said after the bout. “He didn’t want to give up.”
The respite was short-lived, however, as soon after Shorty got on top with Williams down near the cage, raining strikes as the round ended. Shorty picked up where he left off in the second round, dropping Williams early on the feet, then controlling the bout on the ground. After spending time delivering ground-and-pound while looking to pass Williams’ active butterfly guard, Shorty maneuvered to the back and looked to set up a rear naked choke, but Williams was once again able to withstand the submission and escape.
In the third round Shorty’s edge would prove to be decisive. After landing a hook-cross counter which again dropped Williams, Shorty quickly took his opponent’s back and locked on a tight body triangle. With Williams secured in the triangle, Shorty snaked an arm under Williams chin to elicit the tap.
After the bout, PA Cage Fight owner and Matchmaker Paul Matreselva Jr. was effusive in his praise of Shorty, and had a request for UFC president Dana White.
“Dana White – sign Shorty Rock Santella! If he doesn’t get a contract after this fight, I have no idea what else he needs to do.”
Although appreciative of the opportunity to take on another regional #1, having done the same in his quick V3 Fights Title victory in June, he remains aware that his long reign as the #1 non-UFC flyweight means he carries more downside than upside into the cage every time he fights.
“I felt like fighting a tough opponent like Nate was a lose-lose situation for me. I belong in the UFC, so every fight I take outside of the UFC is a risk for me.”
Although it was often hard to hear Matreselva and Shorty’s post-fight interview over the supportive crowd, Shorty made sure to quiet his fans for a moment to dedicate the bout to two friends whose birthday fell on fight night.
“I want to dedicate this fight to a friend of mine, Jesse Sacks, who passed away a few years ago because today was his birthday. Also to my training partner Corey Anderson, it was his birthday too, and he asked me as gift to put in on Nate tonight.”
Slams unable to stop Jim from taking home an arm, belt
amateur portion of the card was headlined by Miller Brothers MMA’s Jim Fitzpatrick as he took on Omar Kellom for the Interim PA Cage Fight Lightweight Title. Those in attendance were advised not to blink, as the two men didn’t hesitate for a moment. After a body kick from Jim, Kellom grabbed the leg and took Jim down. Once on the mat, however, the fight was all Jim as he put his new black belt to work by locking on a tight armbar. Kellom defended by elevating for the slam but it proved only a temporary cure, as Jim again attacked Kellom’s left arm and when a second slam attempt was unable to shake him off, Kellom was forced to tap at :49 of the first round.
The fight’s frenetic pace may have been a result of the prior day’s weigh-in, where things got heated after Kellom hit Jim in the back with a water bottle. With the chance to resolve the dispute the next night, however, Jim was quick to bury the hatchet in his post-fight interview.
“There was an incident at weigh-ins,” Jim said, “but that’s part of the fight game. We had our chance to settle things in the cage, and it’s all in the past now.”
Tizzy shows increasingly dangerous stand-up in TKO victory
Fighting in the first of Miller Brothers MMA’s three title fights, Joe Tizzano took on the reigning PA Cage Fight Amateur Lightweight Champion Tyler Feist. The champion entered the bout unbeaten in nearly three years, but Joe was quick to establish that he came with intentions on leaving with the belt. Joe landed multiple hard shots before driving Feist into the cage in search of a takedown. While Feist was able to withstand the attempts until the end of the round, the early exchanges showed an opening and Jim and Dan Miller in Joe’s corner didn’t miss it.
“He’s done,” Joe recounted Jim telling him between rounds. “That was a great first round, now keep pressuring and let your hands go.”
Joe obliged, as he immediately resumed his offensive spree on the feet. When Feist again found himself backed into the cage, Joe opted not to shoot for the takedown, instead continuing to throw strikes as the champion covered up until the referee intervened at 2:14 of the second round.
“I want to thank everyone who came out to support us tonight,” Joe said to a loud roar from the partisan crowd after the bout. “Thank you, also, to Jim and Dan for creating such an incredible gym for us to train at, with coaches like Mike and Shorty and all my great training partners.”
The PA Cage Fight card brought an end to a busy seven days for the fight team, following on Tyler Bayer’s professional MMA debut victory the prior Saturday. To celebrate all six men who fought we are hosting an afterparty at Taphouse 15 in Wharton, NJ. The party starts at 10 PM and will include both food and drink specials for those who attend. We will also be holding a raffle for a number of prizes, including four pairs of New Jersey socks donated by Proof Clothing Company, as well as fight shirts for Shorty and Jim and a hat from Jim’s sponsor XX2i Optics. If you’ll be attending, please let us know on our event page here.