Top bantamweight prospect Aljamain Sterling, flyweight Sean Santella earn statement wins at CFFC 14
With title belts on the line two of the east coasts' top MMA prospects leaped over another hurdle in their progression as fighters. Cage Fury Fighting Championships returned to Atlantic City, New Jersey for their 14th event entitled No Mercy. On the undercard of CFFC 14 five star bantamweight prospect Aljamain Sterling (6-0) and rising flyweight prospect Sean Santella (10-3) were in action in separate championship bouts.
In his first title defense of the CFFC bantamweight belt Sterling was paired with unheralded North Carolina fighter Casey Johnson (3-2). The upset minded Johnson caught Sterling in a tight triangle choke in the first round but was unable secure the fight ending submission. Sterling powered out of Johnson's triangle choke and would batter his opponent for much of the next two rounds.
Midway through the third round Sterling would ice the fight on the ground. Using his wrestling and lightweight level power Sterling took Johnson's back. The unbeaten bantamweight secured the rear naked choke submission at the 2:11 point of round three.
At 22 years of age Sterling is one of the ten best prospects in MMA today. A member of the famed New York gym Team Bomb Squad, Sterling's natural wrestling abilities are the base for a well rounded MMA fighter. Sterling is currently the number one ranked bantamweight prospect in MMA per the latest ULTMMA.com rankings.
In a New Jersey versus Pennsylvania clash, Santella took apart Tuan Pham (4-5) with relative ease. When the fight hit the floor in the opening minutes of their 125 pound fight, Santella quickly sliced through all of Pham's defenses on the mat. Santella would eventually take Pham's back and lock in a rear naked choke for the win.
The official time of Santella's submission was the 1:53 mark of round one. Santella has now won five of his last six bouts with his lone defeat in that stretch coming in a 135 pound fight versus Aljamain Sterling. Now firmly implanted as a flyweight prospect the 27 year old Santella should be added to the UFC sooner rather than later.
A key member of the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, Santella would add great depth to the newly installed UFC 125 pound division. Santella is tabbed as the number 15 ranked flyweight prospect according to ULTMMA.com but his last few fights have strengthen his case as a four star prospect and a spot in the unsigned top seven.
Cage Fury Fighting Championships 14 No Mercy results
Atlantic City, NJ
George Sullivan def. Greg Soto by KO (Punch) 2:09 R1
*Aljamain Sterling def. Casey Johnson by Submission Rear Naked Choke 2:11 R3
*Sean Santella def. Tuan Pham by Submission Rear Naked Choke 1:53 R1
*Artur Rofi def. Evan Chmielski by Submission Triangle Choke 1:23 R2
Danny Holmes def. Erik Purcell by Submission Guillotine Choke 2:48 R1
Jonavin Webb def. Robert Gittens by Submission Rear Naked Choke 2:35 R1
Mike Medrano def. Matt Nice by Submission Guillotine Choke 0:47 R1
Shedrick Goodridge def. Michael Wilcox by Submission Guillotine Choke 1:17 R1
Brian Kelleher def. Raphael Chaves by TKO (Punches) 3:41 R2
Ozzy Dugulubgov def. Brian Nielson by TKO (Punches) 1:41 R1
Travis Wynn def. Anthony Craparo by Unanimous Decision
*Prospect to watch