The event tent at the Casablanca Resort & Casino was packed on Saturday night for the 18th edition of Mayhem in Mesquite, Mesquite’s top mixed martial arts competition.
Fighters from St. George, Las Vegas and beyond came to Southern Nevada to do some damage and with 12 fights across the night, tons of punches, kicks and elbows were thrown.
All under the spirit of friendly competition and serious MMA action.
The beauty of MMA comes not just in the relationships that fighters, coaches and the fans make, it comes in the form of sacrifice and doing more for others.
Brandon Honsvick, an MMA fighter from Hurricane, fought in Mayhem in Mesquite XVIII and is a shining example of how the sport can extend beyond the fights.
After taking a brutal illegal kick to the head from his competitor Richard Demarsh, Honsvick grabbed his head in his hands and stumbled back into the cage with a visible look of discomfort — and a big bruise — on his face.
“I feel like the first two rounds went really good until the kick, which wasn’t his fault at all,” Honsvick said. “At first I was mad but when I realized what happened and that I had gotten up wrong. He was just trying land is all.”
Composing himself, Honsvick clawed back into the fight and then was able to outscore Demarsh in the end to win the fight for his fourth career victory.
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“I had the opportunity to say no more and take the win but that’s not my way and I wouldn’t do that so I just knew I had to give it everything I had,” Honsvick said. “No matter what that meant, I just had to keep going.”
Fighting back through adverse situations is nothing new for Honsvick, especially recently in his life with the birth of a daughter with down syndrome.
Honsvick says she inspired the ‘Warrior’ nickname that he dons and motivated him to pick up fighting this time two years ago.
“My nickname is Warrior and my daughter was my reason to start fighting again as she has down syndrome,” Honsvick said. “I was given a shirt that said ‘be a warrior, fight for down syndrome’ and right then I knew I was going to start fighting.”
And fight he did as now two years from that decision during Christmas 2017, Honsvick has four victories with three of them coming at Mayhem in Mesquite.
After deciding to fight for his daughter, Honsvick took his work inside the cage to help others outside of it.
“I try to give back to my community and Roots for Kids is the foundation that works with my daughter so all the proceeds to my t-shirts, my ticket, everything goes to them,” Honsvick said. “They’re a foundation that helps with special needs kids so they actually go through and teach the families how to work with special needs and they teach the kids how to speak, do movements, eat and everything else.”
Using what motivated him, Honsvick has chosen to dedicate his time to a passion he loves for a cause that he cherishes even more.
“What better way to say that these kids are not a burden than to give back,” Honsvick said. “She has changed my life so I want everyone to know the way I feel and how we should feel about these kids.”
Manuel Valenzuela (debut) vs. Roger Udabe (1-0)
Manuel Valenzuela, an independent fighter from Mexico, took on Roger Udabe of Cedar City in the first fight of the night.
Valenzuela spent the early portion of the round on top of Udabe and using his size advantage to hold Udabe down. As the round progressed, Udabe was eventually able to free himself with a slick counter move as the first round came to a close.
Round two was spent with each of the competitors mainly on their feet, still getting a feel for the rhythm and movements of the other. Valenzuela gained a slight advantage late by getting Udabe into a hold for a few seconds before the bell sounded.
Udabe finally came alive in the early parts of the third and final round, nailing Valenzuela with a short flurry of punches before he tired out and Valenzuela pounced for a few blows to the head to seal the win.
WINNER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION: Manuel Valenzuela (1-0)
Brandon Williams (debut) vs. Nate Dye (1-2)
A frantic but quick match, Nate Dye made quick work of Brandon Williams with a triangle choke towards the end of the first round to take the victory.
Williams showed the athleticism required with a few impressive moves, but Dye was more technical and came away with the early win.
WINNER BY SUBMISSION: Nate Dye (2-2)
Allenn Arroyo (debut) vs. Marcos Gallegos (0-1)
Arroyo came away with the cleanest shots in a tight first round, landing a few kicks and punches before Gallegos stopped the burst by taking Arroyo down briefly.
Gallegos picked it up by bruising Arroyo in holds in the second round, but Arroyo countered with a strong chokehold that was only a bell ring away from spelling disaster for Gallegos as the round ended.
Doing just enough in the final round, Gallegos was able to get Arroyo in various holds and recovered from the previous round to come away with a late victory
WINNER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION: Marcos Gallegos (1-1)
Dustin Drake (1-0) vs. Kris Ruffin (2-1)
A truly even first round, both Drake and Ruffin floated around the ring landing only passing blows. Ruffin finally took a slim lead by slamming Drake to the ground and following it up with a few shots to Drake’s head while he protected it best he could.
Ruffin continued the momentum from his strong finish to the second with a bruising takedown right away in round three, where he jumped all over Drake.
Drake did his best to defend from his back by keeping his legs up but Ruffin broke through the guard and pounded on Drake’s face until the referee called it to end the fight 58 seconds into the final round.
WINNER BY TKO: Kris Ruffin (2-2)
Trent Lee (1-2) vs. Ryan Gilbert (1-5)
Lee was the aggressor in the first frame, pinning Gilbert against the cage and landing punches to Gilbert’s face and body for a large portion of the opening minutes.
Seconds into round two, Lee threw Gilbert against the cage where hit his face and fell to the ground. Lee pounced and the referee called the fight a few punches later.
WINNER BY TKO: Trent Lee (2-2)
Spencer Sili (debut) vs. Mark Dubovoy (1-2)
The St. George native Sili came out quicker using his hands to throw a few fast strikes as Dubovoy waited for the time to strike and nailed it.
A brief but strong choke followed by a quick flurry of punches left Sili doubled over grabbing his head and the referee quickly stopped the fight in favor Dubovoy just over a minute in round one.
WINNER BY TKO: Mark Dubovoy (2-2)
Jake Meltzer (debut) vs. Ilay Barzilay (0-1)
This one was never truly in doubt as Barzilay dominated Meltzer almost right away and reversed him for a quick rear naked choke to end the fight just one minute and three seconds in.
WINNER BY TKO: Ilay Barzilay (1-1)
Richard Demarsh (0-1) vs. Brandon Honsvick (3-2)
Both fighters were able to score points in the first round, Honsvick executing a few separate chokes while Demarsh countered with blows of his own.
An incident midway through round two resulted in Demarsh losing a point for hitting Honsvick while he had a hand on the ground, resulting in a short fight stoppage.
Demarsh immediately expressed regret and apologized as the match continued, Honsvick struggling to keep Demarsh from on top of him.
Round three was much of the same as Demarsh was able to smother Honsvick, wailing on him with hard punches to the face that Honsvick fought through each time.
A close fight from beginning to end, Honsvick’s resilience — and the points he was awarded for Demarsh’s errant kick — was enough to win him the match by unanimous decision.
WINNER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION: Brandon Honsvick (4-2)
Antinicia Ragges (1-1) vs. Alannah Arnett (3-1)
In the only women’s fight of the night, the matchup was even through most of the first round with Ragges and Arnett landing a few shots.
Arnett broke through and used strong technique to catch Ragges in a nasty armbar that extended her arm to its limit.
Ragges snuck out of the armbar but tapped out seconds later and just before the bell rang after experiencing obvious discomfort.
WINNER BY SUBMISSION: Alannah Arnett (4-1)
Hyrum Lebaron (2-2) vs. Chris Min (5-4-1)
Lebaron and Min were two of the more technical fighters and it showed with clinches, plenty of knees to the body and several reversals.
Through two rounds, the skills of both showed through and it was all even before Lebaron showed a slight edge as the fight wore on in round three.
He landed a hard punch directly to Min’s head that brought him to the ground and then continued with hammerfists to Min that swung the match in Lebaron’s favor.
This one went to the judges, who chose Lebaron with a split decision after some deliberating.
WINNER BY SPLIT DECISION: Hyrum Lebaron (3-2)
FLYWEIGHT TITLE – Christian Clary (3-0) vs. Eraj Aliev (4-0)
Aliev spent the majority of the first round trying desperately to sneak out of rear holds from Clary and did, flipping the round on its head with a nice reversal to close round one.
Clary got behind Aliev and held him again but another strong move by Aliev put him on Clary’s back, where he punished him repeatedly with punches to the side of the head.
The left arm of Christian Clary was trapped between the squeezed leg of Aliev for a minute or two in round three, a position that allowed Aliev to punish Clary with multiple punches to his sides and head.
Clary fought back to stay in it but it was Aliev’s fight by then and he wound up with the win.
WINNER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION: Eraj Aliev (5-0)
LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE – Octavian Trumbo (4-1) vs. Zane Darlington (3-0)
A low blow took all the momentum out of round one for Trumbo, who believed he had scored a victory after Darlington fell over in pain. Trumbo kept the pressure on Darlington, who didn’t back down and made the round even with a few hard kicks of his own.
Trumbo got his revenge — and the win — in round two after pinning Darlington to the cage on his knees and banging away at his head until the referee stopped the fight.
WINNER BY TKO: Octavian Trumbo (5-1)
FIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Eraj Aliev vs. Christian Clary
Follow reporter Terell Wilkins on Twitter, @SpeedyVeritas, call him at 252-367-8463 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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