MMA fighters brawl on Buckley
By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 12, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Editor's Note: This article is part of a series about the Buckley MMA Fight Night.
Buckley MMA Fight Night started with bright lights and thumping music, and it ended with bone-crushing punches and a dislocated rib.
In the first-ever official mixed martial arts event on a military base in Colorado, Team Buckley bore witness to a night full of knock-down, drag-out fights. The base fitness center was turned into an MMA arena Feb. 9 for eight gladiatorial contests. Each warrior trained mentally and physically to prepare for the night's events. Below is a recap of four scraps from the evening.
Cory Sandhagen vs. Seth Rodenbaugh - 145-pound weight class
The most crowd-rousing fight of the night involved a quick, but brutal, 15-second exchange between Sandhagen and Rodenbaugh, an Army infantry sniper and Purple Heart recipient.
The fight started with both fighters charging from their corners, colliding with kicks square in the chest. Sandhagen recovered first and jumped onto the stunned Rodenbaugh. Blow after devastating blow connected with the soldier's face, leaving him scrambling to defend himself. The referee dove in and called an end to the fight, giving Sandhagen the technical knockout.
Cody Carrillo vs. Tyler "Thunder" Toner - 145-pound weight class
In the main event of the evening, the 5-foot-10-inch Carrillo battled Toner, an Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran and hometown hero.
The mixed martial artists traded blows while trying to discover the other's reach. Carrillo ended the first five-minute round with a double-leg takedown, transitioning into the mounted position and throwing an explosive punch to the Aurora native's head.
The round-two horn sounded and the brawlers were back at trading blows, but Toner was slowly building his advantage as the round progressed. A punch slipped through Carrillo's guard and caught him on the chin, sending him staggering back. "Thunder" pounced, chaining together a series of punches to the head and culminating with a massive body kick that took the air out of his opponent. With a quick jab, Toner slid under Carrillo and drove him into the cage.
"Stop, stop," Carrillo muttered as the referee called an end to the fight. "My rib popped out." And with that, Toner won the fight with a second round technical knockout.
Rick "The Reach" Van Seters vs. James Nakashima - 170-pound weight class
This Mauy Thai matchup pitted the 460th Space Communications Squadron's Van Seters against the Nebraska-native Nakashima.
Van Seters's long arms provided him with a significant reach in his debut fight versus the experienced and stocky Nakashima, and it looked like the Airman's strikes would keep him upright through the fight -- that was until round two.
Nakashima's strategy changed to bull-rushing into Van Seters to negate his reach and following up with powerful, straight punches to the chin. These blasts lifted "The Reach" into the air, scoring Nakashima four knockdowns during the fight. However, after each time on the canvas, Van Seters rose to his feet, never giving up.
"I didn't want to lose in front of the home crowd," said Van Seters. "They came out and supported me, and I didn't want to lose."
Todd Sheffield vs. Jeremiah Talley - 185-pound weight class
Sheffield, an Air Force Reserve staff sergeant, took to the ring in his debut fight versus the undefeated Talley.
Talley started strong in this scrap with a head strike into a takedown, which he followed up with a choke hold. Undaunted, the sergeant defended the choke and looked for an opening. The grappling continued until Talley was finally able to assume the mount. Dishing out punishment from a superior position, Talley drove hammer fists down into Sheffield's face. The ref, noticing one of fighters was unable to defend himself properly, rushed in between the fighters and called an end to the bout. Talley continued his undefeated streak with a technical knockout.
It was a great opportunity to get out here and fight; it's something 95 percent of people here will never get a chance to do, said the AF reservist.