A blend of different disciplines, mixed martial arts is truly a sport where virtually anything goes in a battle for survival in an octagon-shaped steel cage ring.
The fighter must be prepared to face a variety of moves from his opponent from the outset, in a sport that includes elements ranging from boxing to martial arts.
That’s just what Jake Bohn of Watertown faced as he outlasted his foe in the first round to claim the American amateur mixed martial arts lightweight championship belt on Saturday night at the Watertown Fairgrounds Arena.
“It’s a wild sport,” Bohn said. “Once you get in that cage and the door is locked anything can happen and anybody can win. You have to be ready for anything — but usually it comes down to who trains harder and who is more ready for the fight.”
One of 12 bouts on the card, Bohn faced an aggressive opponent from the outset in Tevin Terrance of Akwesasne, eventually scoring a victory in the first round. “This feels good, but I think I could have done better,” Bohn said. “It was kind of nerve-wracking, too, I was trying to play it cool, but I got through it.”
A Watertown High School graduate and SUNY Brockport product, Bohn hails from a wrestling family and primarily brings his grappling skills to AMA events, as well as those from jiu-jitsu martial arts.
Bohn finished off Terrance with 33 seconds remaining in the first round with a guillotine choke hold — a submission hold in which the fighter has his arm locked around his opponent’s neck.
“I knew he was a boxer, but I didn’t know he had any wrestling (skills),” Bohn said of Terrance. “I really didn’t expect him to be that good and anyone can win a fight, I just wish I could have done a little better.”
This was only the fifth amateur fight for Bohn, who hopes to turn pro in the future, perhaps after his next bout. But that will have to occur out of state since New York bans professional mixed martial arts events.
Mixed martial arts competition draws on the sports of boxing, wrestling, kick boxing, as well as martial arts techniques, including jiu-jitsu.
Victories can be awarded via knockout or decision, but most are won by implementing finishing moves — with exotic names such as rear naked and triangle choke holds.
Billed as “Caged Chaos,” the AMA event was the first of its kind held in the Watertown area.
Also winning a championship belt was Shane Manley of Syracuse, who bested Derek Hart to win by unanimous decision, the only fight to go the distance of an entire three rounds.
A pair of Fort Drum soldiers — J.T. Roswell and Trey Williams — won their respective fights to take their next step in their amateur careers.
Roswell, who is from San Diego, defeated Greg Compagni in the 155-pound weight class by applying a triangle hold — in which he had his legs wrapped around his opponent’s neck. Roswell was awarded the victory with a minute remaining in the first round.
“This is a crazy sport, but it’s fun,” Roswell said. “You never know who you’re going to face or what kind of fighter — there’s a lot of different styles and disciplines out there.”
Williams, who was born at Fort Drum and grew up on various Army bases, recorded a first-round knockout of Matt Mahon in the 205 weight class by delivering the decisive blow with a punch to the head late in the opening period.
“I feel good, although it lasted longer then I wanted it to,” said Williams, who won in his fourth amateur fight. “I had to battle for this one and it was a good fight. I underestimated him a little too much, but I got it done.”
Earlier in the evening, Watertown’s Dickie White prevailed in the 155 weight class by defeating Derek Eason with a rear naked choke hold, which is applied from an opponent’s back.
Event co-organizer John Gibbons called the night a success. He said the fight card drew about 1,200 spectators and didn’t result in any serious injuries.
“For the first one I think it was really successful,” he said. “We had pretty lofty goals coming into this and we were there numbers wise. ... The fights were pretty good and competitive all the way through and we got to spotlight some really good amateurs. And the biggest thing is no one was seriously hurt.”