For Sainte-Julie, off-island suburb of Montreal and hometown to Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kris Letang, non-hockey sport events don’t stop by too often. An August 1999 visit by the Senior’s PGA tour is one highlight. EFL 1: Hands up, Chin Down, an amateur MMA event, was another. Taking place Saturday night in the reception hall of an off-season sugar shack, it was a change of pace for the Erabliere Rossingol. Here, weddings, union receptions, and five nights-a-week bingo are the norm.
A middle-aged man waiting outside for his singles social dance to begin stopped me as I arrived, asking what was with all the young people streaming in next door. I told him it was for amateur MMA. His face showed no recognition. “You know, MMA, the Georges St-Pierre sport,” I ventured. Nothing. Baby boomer recognition or not, about 400 people showed up Saturday, happy to support their friends in the evening’s 14 fights.
Bright lights, a DJ, ever energetic in-ring announcer Eric Emard, and an entrance ramp all welcomed fighters. I asked Empire Fight League promoter/matchmaker Eric Bertrand after why he’d invested so heavily in his amateur event’s production values. He told me he’d wanted his Academie Pro Star fighters, from nearby Mont St-Hilaire, to have the near-experience of fighting in a pro event. Many of them might never make it, he admitted, and so, Saturday was their night to shine.
Unfortunately for Pro Star MMA, and much to the energetic crowd’s chagrin, Total Martial Arts‘ Aaron Fiset and Terry Lamaire, from Timmins, Ontario, spoiled the party, taking decisions over the home team in the evening’s main, and co-main event. After the show had ended, a handful of friends who’d made the 10 hour drive with them danced away to the DJ’s blaring dance music. Doing their best to get the exhausted fighters to join them in celebration, they met with limited success.
Sanctioned by the ‘Federation Quebecoise de Boxe Mixte Amateur’ (FQBM), refereeing duties were split between Loïc Pascal Magnier, and Drummondville pro-fighter Guillaume Lamarche (7-5). Fights took place under amateur rules. On top of being in a ring, the three rounds are two minutes each, instead of five. Fighters wear 12 ounce gloves and shin pads. Elbow, knee, and heel strikes, hammer-fists, and submissions involving twisting (e.g. heel hooks), are all prohibited.
According to Bertrand, EFL 2: Reload will take place September 3rd, at the same Sainte-Julie location. Check back soon for a post-event interview with Bertrand.
Full fight results (weight divisions in bold)
185 – Samuel Duquette (Pro Star MMA) vs. Aaron Fiset (Total Martial Arts)
Fiset wins by split decision.
– A close fight where neither fighter did enough to earn a clean-cut win. The 1st round was the most one-sided, with Fiset landing on top as the fighters hit the ground, escaping an arm-bar, and controlling Duquette from the sprawl. The 2nd round was closer, with Fiset landing with hooks, straights, and leg kicks to start, then getting a takedown, and achieving side control. Duquette then swept him, and began attacking his body and head from the guard. The round ended with Duquette landing an uppercut as the fighters stood up. In the final round, the fighters traded punches and kicks to start, and Duquette later landed a staggered takedown on Fiset. The fight ended with Duquette in the guard and both fighters throwing punches.
With the outcome unclear, the crowd eagerly waited for the decision. Two of the three judges saw it for Fiset, awarding him the win in his amateur debut, likely off of the 1st and 2nd round.
150 – Terry Lemaire (Total Martial Arts) vs. Keone Sananikone (Pro Star MMA)
Lamaire wins by unanimous decision.
– Despite the loud applause Sananikone received entering the ring, he was outwrestled in the co-main event by Lemaire. Landing takedowns in all three rounds, Lemaire achieved half-guard in the 1st, before being swept by Sananikone who achieved side control. In the 2nd, the fighters jostled for position as rival crowd chants began to break out (the K-O chants won the day). After Lemaire got Sananikone down, he took his back, before Sananikone got on top. Lemaire locked in a triangle as time ran out, but the round ended before he could get a finish. Striking was sloppy by the final round, with Sananikone targeting Lemaire’s legs with kicks. After trading punches, Lemaire landed a big takedown, sealing the fight’s outcome. Attempting a rear-naked choke once on the ground, he was unable to cinch it in before the fight ended.
Lemaire’s takedowns looked to be enough to earn him the unanimous decision, and he evens his record at 1-1 as an amateur.
HW – Alex Beaulé (Team Bergeron) vs. Martin Trempe (St-Jerome)
Beaulé wins by TKO at 0:49 of Round 1.
– Taking a detour back to amateur after an 0-2 run as a professional, and a shoulder injury that forced him out of a high-profile fight against Donald Brashear at Ringside 11, Trempe met with more bad luck Saturday, being made short work of by Beaulé. Both fighters came out with fists flying from the start, trading punches before Beaulé tossed Trempe to the mat. The fight was soon back on the feet, where Beaulé sent Trempe crashing to the floor with his fist. Unsure of whether or not to continue, Beaulé paused for a second before going to the ground and landing a few more shots, at which point referee Loïc Pascal Magnier finally put a stop to the fight.
Another setback for Trempe, and impressive win for the physically imposing Alex Beaulé, who was awarded the fight of the night award at the end of the event.
155 – Miky Houle (Kanreikai FC) vs. Patrick Plante (Team Venom)
Houle wins by unanimous decision.
– An exciting, high-paced match-up, Houle was able to remain in control for most of the fight, and take the decision. Taking the 1st round, Houle twice achieved full mount, delivering some ground-and-pound, and attempting an arm-bar to no avail, before being swept by Plante, who finished the round in half-guard. In the 2nd, Houle landed a superman punch, and controlled Plante from the sprawl for most of the round. In the final round, Houle again achieved full mount, delivering ground-and-pound before Plante escaped and threw punches from guard. Houle attempted a triangle choke from his back, then another arm-bar, which Plante rolled out of. The fight finished with Houle in guard throwing punches.
With his third win since April, and second straight against Team Venom, Houle improves to 5-2 as an amateur.
190 – Azzam Jaber (Academie Sportive) vs. Evan Sanchez (Underdog Gym)
Sanchez wins by submission (verbal, due to ankle injury) at 1:14 of Round 1.
– A high-impact fight that unfortunately ended quickly, the two hefty men came out firing, with Sanchez landing rights, then a head kick. With Sanchez taking side-control in the tussle that ensued, Jaber appeared to indicate that there was something wrong with his right ankle. As the fight was stood up after a short stoppage, Jaber caught a Sanchez kick and took him down. Sanchez attempted an arm-bar which Sanchez quickly escaped, but with his ankle clearly hurting him, Jaber indicated to the ref that he could not continue, handing the win to Sanchez.
190 – Frank Audet (Gym Action) vs. Tyler Best (Total Martial Arts)
Best wins by submission (arm-bar) at 1:49 of Round 1.
– After a busy start to the 1st round, with Audet landing a takedown and the fighters exchanging position on the ground, Best achieved full mount. Attempting an arm-bar for a second time after not landing much through ground-and-pound, Best quickly extended and got the tap, and got the finish in his amateur debut.
170 – Jonathan Dubé (Pro Star MMA) def. Marc-André Montgrain (Boxe St-Hyacinthe)
Dubé wins by TKO (corner stoppage) at 0:18 of Round 2.
– A high-action matchup, Dubé landed a takedown in the 1st, achieving full mount before being swept by Montgrain, who took in turn took the full mount position. After escaping, Dubé attempted an arm-bar which Montgrain escaped. Dubé again got full mount, and began landing punches repeatedly as the round ended. Landing a huge right hook to start the 2nd, Dubé pounded Montgrain’s head mercilessly on the ground until Montgrain’s corner threw in the towel, ending the fight, which probably should have been stopped at the end of the 1st.
140 – Junior Lantin (Kanrekai FC) vs. Alexandre Lavoie (Team Venom)
Lantin wins by unanimous decision.
– Lantin took the opening round by outstriking Lavoie, utilizing hooks, body kicks, straights, and a superman punch. The 2nd round was closer, with Lantin again opening with punches, but Lavoie later getting his back. Lavoie worked to flatten him out, but Lantin eventually escaped and later achieved full mount as the round ended. With Lavoie looking exhausted by the 3rd round, and back pedalling for most of the two minutes, the fighters exchanged punches, with Lantin again outlanding. Awarded the decision, Lantin looked positively thrilled with the result.
165 – Ricardo Moreau (Kanrekai FC) vs. Mathieu Lapointe Ricard (Serei Repentigny)
Ricard wins by unanimous decision.
– With both fighters sporting hulking, muscular frames, Ricard got the decision, taking the 1st and 3rd round. The 1st was won by taking Moreau’s back and attempting a rear-naked choke after sprawling. Moreau took the 2nd, escaping a standing guillotine by Ricard, and achieving full mount after the fighters went to the ground, though Ricard swept out in the last ten seconds. In the final round, Ricard spent most of the two minutes controlling from the sprawl, holding Moreau down until the end of the fight.
150 – Mathieu Allard (Iatskevitch Submission) vs. Alex Coté (Gym Action)
Allard wins by TKO at 1:08 of Round 3.
– After losing the 1st round to Coté, who held him in a tight guillotine for over a minute, Allard bounced back in the 2nd, landing a takedown, and controlling Coté from full mount for most of the round, peppering him with punches. In the 3rd, Allard twice took Coté down, before hammering him with a long series of punches from side-control, and getting the stoppage.
165 – Hugo Boisvert (Kanrekai FC) vs. Jason Fontaine (Pro Star MMA)
Fontaine wins by unanimous decision.
– Boisvert looked good in the 1st, landing a huge slam takedown on Fontaine. Fontaine attempted a guillotine on the ground, but Boisvert escaped, achieving side-control, then throwing punches from his feet.The round ended with Boisvert again getting a takedown. The tide began to turn in the 2nd, where Fontaine threw a head kick that briefly had Boisvert on the ground. Back on the feet, the fighters tied up, with Fontaine eventually getting Boisvert’s back, and unsuccessfully attempting a rear-naked choke. Moving to Boisvert’s guard, Fontaine threw punches to the head and body, as Boisvert tried tried for a triangle. In the final round, Fontaine landed a takedown, moving from side-control, to north-south position, favouring body punches as the fight ended.
Fontaine took the unanimous decision, likely off of the 2nd and 3rd round. The ever-active Boisvert dropped to 2-2 in his fourth fight since late April.
190 – Mathieu Langlais (Gym Action) vs. Kevyn Thouin (Team Venom)
Langlais wins by unanimous decision.
– Fighting for the second time in as many weeks, Thouin again lost by decision, this time in a very close fight. Langlais landed a takedown in the 1st round, achieving full mount, but unable to lunch much offense. Thouin swept into guard, but didn’t land much. Slight advantage to Langlais for having achieved better position on the ground. In the 2nd, Langlais attacked with body punches. After a crotch kick temporarily stopped the action, the fighters tied up, before moving on to trading hooks. Too close to call either way. The 3rd round was the only with a clear-cut winner, with Thouin getting an early takedown, and taking Langlais’s back. Eventually slipping off as Langlais leaned over,Thouin escaped side control, and landed another takedown with time running out.
Langlais was announced as the winner by unanimous decision, much to the crowd and visibly dejected Thouin’s disappointment.
150 – Gabriel Doyon (Gym Action) vs. Alex Potvin (Iatskevitch Submission)
Doyon wins by split decision.
– In a crazy back-and-forth battle, Potvin survived what probably should have been a TKO in the 1st round. Doyon connected with a flurry of punches from the start, eventually flooring Potvin, and pounding away from there. Referee Magnier appeared to stop the fight, but then allowed it to continue, to the irritation of Doyon’s corner. Looking very groggy, Potvin ate a few more shots from Doyon, before getting caught in a guillotine. Potvin eventually escaped, achieving full mount and landing punches as the round ended. In the 2nd, Potvin achieved full mount, throwing punches, and almost winning with an arm-bar, which Doyon escaped. In the decisive 3rd round, Doyon complimented a takedown with right hooks and an uppercut. Potvin in turn landed a takedown, getting to full mount with a bit of ground-and-pound as the fight ended.
A very close fight, with the crowd unsure of who would win. Two of the three judges gave it to Doyon.
Following the fight, the event was temporarily halted after Potvin suffered a diabetic attack, and was treated from a gurney by on-site medical staff backstage.
150 – Jeremy Lefebvre (Serei Repentigny) vs. Christian Ouellette (Gym Action) Ouellette wins by unanimous decision.
– Ouellette took all three rounds in the evening’s opening fight, by slightly outstriking Lefebvre throughout. Utilizing Karate/Thai hand movements, Ouellette had Lefebvre looking lost by the end of the fight.
By schools, here’s how the win-loss records for the night came out:
Total Martial Arts (3-0)
Gym Action (3-2)
Team Bergeron (1-0)
Underdog Gym (1-0)
Kanreikai FC (2-2)
Pro Star MMA (2-2)
Serei Repentigny (1-1)
Academie Sportive (0-1)
Boxe St-Hyacinthe (0-1)
Iaskevitch Submission (1-1)
Team Venom (0-3)
*Martin Trempe did not fight out of a specified gym or team.
Quick results available here.