After more than two years on the shelf, former pro fighter Bob ‘the Train’ Landry pulled out of the station Saturday night, winning the new EFL Heavyweight amateur title in his combat comeback.
Headlining Empire Fight League‘s (EFL) third amateur event in front of approximately 600 fans in his hometown of Ste-Julie, just east of Montreal, the 35 year-old took on Martin Trempe, another Heavyweight with pro experience (0-2) currently on a sojourn at the amateur level.
After the Pro Star MMA home team suffered an 0-3 start to the evening, Landry saved the day, winning via arm-triangle choke late in the 1st round. (See Submission of the Night below for more details).
In the co-main event, 17 year-old Michael Dufort, who earlier this year rang off five consecutive first round submissions, moved up to Featherweight to face 22 year-old Mario Pereira, a fighter with eight years of amateur wrestling experience.
As was to be expected, the closely fought match took place mostly on the ground, with Dufort taking a unanimous decision win, earning the new EFL amateur Featherweight title. (See Fight of the Night below).
Nine bouts took place in all, down from ten after fighter Dan Bechamp no-showed for a Montreal event for the third time this year.
Per Montreal MMA News
Fight of the Night: By far the evening’s most technically sound encounter, the bout pitting Michael Dufort against the previously undefeated Mario Pereira unsurprisingly ended up being a grapple-heavy affair.
Pereira looked to have won the opening round, getting Dufort to the ground, before working from his back and guard, as well as from side-control. Pereira came closest to finishing when he locked in arm-bar on Dufort, who later escaped by rolling out, ending up in Pereira’s guard.
Dufort recovered in the closely fought 2nd round, attempting a guillotine, and cleanly landing a left-right combo on the feet before being taken down. Again trying for a guillotine, Dufort eventually made his way to the side of Pereira’s back, where he attacked with body punches. As Pereira recovered, he achieved north-south position, but Dufort fought his way back to side control. Dufort ended the round sprawling another Pereira takedown attempt.
The momentum continued to shift toward Dufort in the 3rd, as he again attempted a guillotine, before landing a single-leg takedown on Pereira. Moving from Pereira’s guard to side-control, Dufort was unable to do much damage before Pereira got up. After being sprawled by Dufort for a long period, Pereira made the mistake of pulling guard as time began do run down, again ending up on his back, where Dufort threw body punches from until the fight ended. A closely fought-fight, but Dufort had the advantage in the last two rounds, earning himself a unanimous decision, and the new EFL Featherweight belt.
With what was possibly his most impressive win to date, Dufort improved to 10-3 as an amateur, displaying increased confidence and a strong ground game, especially given Pereira’s wrestling pedigree. He next fights for Derek Dexter‘s Victory MMA Featherweight belt at Victory MMA 4 in three weeks. Pereira, now 5-1 after his first loss, will also face Derek Dexter next, as he defends his Summum Fight Featherweight title at this Saturday’s Impakt Fight Night 3 in Longueuil.
Knockout of the Night: Entering the bout at 1-4 as an amateur, grey-haired 39 year-old Sylvain Tremblay certainly looked the part of the extreme underdog against the much younger, 3-0 undefeated, home team opponent Jason ‘Wolverine’ Fontaine. Much to the surprise of the gathered crowd, Tremblay handled himself well, landing a takedown in the opening round, before being swept by Fontaine and having to defend his back until time ran out.
Looking more confidant in the 2nd, Tremblay opened strongly, connecting with a solid body kick that had Fontaine wincing. After sprawling a pair of takedown attempts, Tremblay cleanly landed a huge left leg head hick on Fontaine, who fell face first to the mat, momentarily knocked out.
Though he was greeted with indifference from the crowd upon entrance, Tremblay’s knock out win spontaneously earned him a loud chorus of ‘papi, papi’ chants post-fight. Unquestionably the feel good story of the evening.
Submission of the Night: With a rotund physique more reminiscent of a strongman competitor than a fighter, the returning Bob ‘the Train’ Landry was known in his 2007 pro career as a heavy hitter, going 2-2, with every fight ending via either KO or TKO.
Entering the main event to huge applause, a spinning 360 degree introduction from ring announcer Eric Emard, and thundering music accented with the sound of a train horn, Bob Landry looked in familiar territory as his fight started. Martin Trempe landed a left, then a right straight, before nearly going through the ropes with Landry as he worked to take his back.
The action continued after a brief time out, with Trempe continuing to land punches before Landry finally began firing back. After a wild exchange, Landry took Trempe to the ground, where he eventually achieved full mount, and managed to lock in an arm-triangle choke. With the submission locked in, and Landry’s 291 pound frame lying on top of him, Trempe tapped out, much to the crowd’s delight. Speaking post-fight, Landry said he wasn’t yet sure when he’d be back in action. (Listen to Landry’s post-fight interview here).
Yannick Loof served as referee for the evening’s nine bouts. Sanctioned by the ‘Federation Quebecoise de Boxe Mixte Amateur’ (FQBM), Saturday’s fights took place under amateur rules. On top of being in a ring, the three rounds are two minutes each (three minutes for title fights). Fighters wear 12 ounce gloves and shin pads. Elbow and knee strikes, hammer-fists, and submissions involving twisting (e.g. heel hooks), are prohibited.
Quick results (weight divisions in bold)
HW – Bob ‘the Train’ Landry (Pro Star MMA) submits Martin Trempe (Sparmax) via arm-triangle choke at 2:37 of Round 1. Landry earns the new EFL Heavyweight amateur title.
150 – Michael Dufort (Fight Club St-Jean) def. Mario Pereira (H2O MMA) via unanimous judges‘s decision. Dufort earns the new EFL Featherweight amateur title.
170 – Sylvain Tremblay (Kanreikai) def. Jason Fontaine (Pro Star MMA) via KO (head kick) at 1:22 of Round 2.
HW – Bobby Sullivan (Charbs MMA & Boxing) def. Emanuel Baillargeon (Pro Star MMA) via TKO (punches) at 1:08 of Round 2.
170 – Kevin Lampron (Kanreikai) def. Karim Hammad (Fitness Boxe) via unanimous judges’ decision.
190 – Moustafa El Zanaty (Zahabi MMA) def. Tyler Best (Total Martial Arts) via unanimous judges’ decision.
190 – Kevyn Thouin (Team Venom) def. Azzam Jaber (Pro Star MMA ) via TKO (ground-and-pound) at 1:45 of Round 2.
160 – Patrick Sauriol (Team R-Way) def. Woody Dubois (Fitness Boxe) via unanimous judges’ decision.
145 – Steve Rossignol (Team Extreme) def. Terry Lemaire (Total Martial Arts) via split judges’ decision.
EFL returns for its fourth amateur event January 21st.