Concord's Alley falls in Combat Zone 65By LYNNE SNIERSON
Special to the Union Leader
February 18. 2018 9:21PM
Pro MMA warriors Nick Alley and Pete San Antonio climbed into the cage determined to halt a two-fight losing skid and after a relentless and bloody first round of non-stop action, it was San Antonio who emerged victorious in the main event of Combat Zone 65 “Supremacy” at the Manchester Downtown Hotel on Saturday night.
From the opening bell, Concord’s Alley landed a barrage of effective punches and kicks but San Antonio responded with an answer for each. With his face battered and his nose bleeding profusely near the end of the first stanza, San Antonio unleashed a powerful strike with his right hand that stunned Alley. Then moving in for the kill, San Antonio followed with a flurry of strikes that dropped Alley to the mat and the referee stopped the fight just as the bell rung.
San Antonio, who hails from No. Andover, Mass., but trains and works as a firefighter and paramedic in Utica, N.Y., evened his record at 2-2 with the TKO at 5:00 of round 1 while Alley, who carried the banner of Team Link in Hooksett, evened his mark at 3-3 and absorbed his third consecutive KO/TKO defeat.
“It was an all-out war. Nick is as tough as nails and he’s as strong as an ox. He was hitting and kicking me pretty hard and I was fighting as hard as I could,” said San Antonio. “I didn’t even think the fight was over because it was right at the bell. It was all kind of a blur. But this is a really good homecoming for me.”
The co-main event was to be former amateur featherweight champion Jake Pilla’s final outing before turning pro and he came through with a first-round defeat of Rob Fuller, who flew in from Colorado to accept the challenge as many of the regional opponents are reluctant to go up against the tough and talented fighter nicknamed “The Gorilla”.
Pilla, 23, outclassed his 37-year-old opponent from the outset and submitted him via Von Flue Choke with just 1:15 elapsed in the first round.
Pilla lives in Billerica, Mass., and trains with Spero’s MMA in Plaistow.
Pilla, who is expected to formally announce his status as a pro with the next few months, improved to 6-3 and Fuller dropped to 2-5.
Two amateur kickboxing matches kicked off the night’s action and in the first Wakefield, Mass.’ Fouad Shahin, who was undefeated in the amateur MMA ranks, notched his first win in this category by handing Corey Palmer (1-1) of Londonderry his initial loss when all three judges scored the fight 30-27 in his favor. Next up Palmer’s Team Link mate Joe Siejkowski evened his record at 1-1 as the Concord resident was on the winning side of a narrow 29-28 split decision over Andrew Kamakas from Portsmouth as he fell to 0-3.
When the action changed to amateur MMA, Dan Ward from Haverhill, Mass., and Spero’s MMA reversed a seven-fight looking skid to garner his first win with a TKO in 1:57 of round 4. Ward parlayed his experience over debut fighter George Ferrara (0-1) from Georgetown, Mass., to land strike after strike and take his opponent down.
Brian Cosco from Revere, Mass., came into the cage looking to better his 2-6 record with a victory over Aaron Croft (0-0) from Dorchester, Mass., but the fight was ruled a no contest after he took the worst of it until the ring doctor halted the fight. The next match between Portsmouth’s Matt Brady and Tom Pagliarulo was predicted to be a close contest but Brady made light work of it, scoring the TKO in 53 seconds of round 1 to remain undefeated at 2-0 while the Spero’s MMA fighter evened his sheet at 1-1.
In the next match John McNeil from Lowell, Mass., and Team Triumph entered the fray with more experience than Caylen Willis from Amherst and that figured into the outcome as McNeil came out firing with both hands and Willis had no response. The referee determined Willis (1-1) had absorbed enough damage so he stopped the fight with 47 seconds elapsed and awarded the TKO to McNeil, who improved to 3-2.
In the battle between two fighters with identical 3-0 records, it was Mo Al Kanani from Saco, Maine, who remained undefeated with a TKO over Justin Boraczek of Sandown in 2:42 of the first round.
The fight between Manchester native Ramano Medina, who represented Team Burgess in the Queen City, and Chris Mehu from Bucket Brigade in Nashua shaped up as evenly-matched and highly competitive but Medina submitted his opponent with only one second left in the opening stanza to keep his record unblemished. Medina improved to 4-0 while Mehu even his record at 3-3.